Thuistezien 124 — 21.12.2020
If you think that almost everything is said with the twenty-six letters from our Latin alphabet, you are wrong. On decodeunicode.org you will find over 137.000 characters which are all available on the computer. These characters belong to 150 different writing systems, of which our Latin script is only one. But that’s not all. There are almost the same amount of writing systems that have not yet been digitized, with a corresponding quantity of characters. The only thing is that we cannot use them on the computer. Those are the Missing Scripts.
The fact that large tech companies such as Google and Microsoft are behind the digitization of writing systems does not make it any easier for these Missing Scripts, whose requests for digitization have sometimes been shelved at Unicode for years. This is the umbrella organization that decides on its own what is and what is not accepted and thus made available for computer and smartphone. Are there commercial reasons for this or are the applications simply not complete enough?
Typography. Letters. Scripts. Living scripts. Historical scripts. Digitized scripts. Non-digitized scripts. The Missing Scripts project is a collaboration between Institut Designlabor Gutenberg (IDG) Hochschule Mainz from Germany, Atelier National de Recherche Typographique (ANRT) from Nancy, France and the Script Encoding Initiative (SEI) from Berkeley, USA. In this video registration you will see the artist talk that was recorded during the Alphabetica 2019 symposium. The protagonists talk about the Missing Scripts project and the accompanying exhibition in the Alphabetum in West Den Haag plus you will get a short introduction to a number of ANRT projects.
Text: Miranda Meijer