> Alternumerics (V.4)


I don’t know why I began to mutilate fonts into forms that both reduce and expand its power. It wasn’t as if language had stopped working for me. I could still seduce my enemies and humiliate my friends with the existing alphanumeric set on my keyboard: I could still write. But I wanted more. I got greedy. I wanted language to work for me and no one else. For Mac and Windows.

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(truetype font + print, 2005)
Right, left, or center, politics speak the same language. This font formalizes the universal aspects of politics known the world over as we begin the 3rd Millennium.

(truetype font + prints, 2005)
This font eulogizes the passing of Agnes Martin (1912-2004), painter, mystic, writer.

"I suggest to artists that you take every opportunity of being alone," She once said.

(truetype font + print, 2005)
This font also eulogizes the passing of Agnes Martin (1912-2004), painter, mystic, writer.

"I paint to myself. It comes from outside. I don't believe in that inner stuff. You sit and wait," She once said.

(truetype font, 2005)
Prisons as a model of community have proliferated in the 21st Century. And not only do prisons take away freedom, but also time. How do keep your time in a prison? What does it mean to count time? This font reduces the function of language to one of its essential components: as a marker of time.


(truetype font + notebooks, 2001)
What is it like to write like me? You don’t even know me. Lowercase letters are phrases I think I say in conversations. Uppercase letters are parenthetical comments based on what I think I say in conversations and common mistakes I make when writing. Numbers are names of friends, family, and former lovers. Punctuations are incidental words I use to feign interest, confusion, or indifference.


(truetype font + prints, 2002)
I never remember my dreams, both the day kind and the night. This font helps me remember. Lowercase are doodles I make while I daydream. Uppercase are phrases I remember or think I remember while I dreamed. Numbers and grammatical marks are things and people I have played in my dreams. Other things too, but I won't tell.

SWEET--after Charles Fourier

(truetype font + prints, 2001)
Utopian Socialist Charles Fourier thought the world should be organized around our pleasures: every one should have equal access to affection, justice, and exquisite food. This font reinterprets Fourier's philosophy into a textual graphic system and gives form to the unique connections Fourier made between radical politics and utopian desires. Different relationships between the letters (and words) develop based on simple changes in word processing: point size, page width, leading and kerning.

--after Stephen Mallarmé

(truetype font + web poem, 2002)
“The imperfection of languages consists in their plurality, the supreme one is lacking: thinking is writing without accessories or even whispering, the immortal word still remains silent; the diversity of idioms on earth prevents everybody from uttering the words which otherwise, at one single stroke, would materialize as truth.” —Stephen Mallarmé. This font formalizes Mallarmé’s insight that silence is the true universal language. Lowercase letters are empty kerning spaces of varying lengths. Uppercase letters are empty kerning spaces and typographic symbols inspired by Mallarmé.


(truetype font + audio CD, 2000)
Lowercase letters are phrases taken from popular love songs of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Uppercase letters are phrases taken from transcripts of sexual harassment cases in the United States from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Numbers and symbols are words that heighten the tension between the play of the uppercase and lowercase letters as they shift between the voice of pleasure and the voice of violence.

(truetype font, 2000)
The Black Panther party for self defense was one of the most radical political group America has produced. Their idea was simple: the police and the government will not protect black people. They, in fact, were part of the problem. So the Panthers took over everything from policing to education to breakfast programs for black communities in Oakland, Harlem, Detroit, and elsewhere. This font memoralizes the Panthers in iconographic form.

--after ACT-UP, V.1

(truetype font, 2000)
This font is a work-in-progress collaboration between National Philistine and artist/ACT-UP historian Mary Patten. Like the Black Panther Omega 2000, this font memorializes--in iconographic form--the visual history of ACT-UP. Combining civil disobedience, theater, rage, sex, and pleasure, ACT-UP transformed forever the landscape of activism.

(pdf, 2001)
This FAQ (frequently asked questions) explains the methodology and history of Alternumerics.

It doesn't explain why language works (and not works) the way that it does.