For Rebeka, a New Citizen of these Uncertain States of America

from: Richard Fletcher fletcher.161@osu.edu
to: National Philistine <feed@nationalphilistine.com>
date: Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 4:08 AM
subject: Re: Font commission
mailed-by: gmail.com

Dear Mr Chan,

Thank you for getting back to me. I have several interests in your work, which I first encountered not long ago, when I spent a month in Bilbao and saw your 3rd Light (sic) piece in The Luminous Interval exhibition.

I went several times & especially enjoyed watching how other visitors engaged (or not) with the piece, how they would keep their distance at the back to the gallery & not venture to walk around it!

One thing led to another & I discovered the wonderful range of your work, from your New Orleans piece to your Sade work. As I am a Classics professor (at Ohio State), I was excited to discover your Phaedrus Pron, which I plan to write something on in the future in relation to Alain Badiou’s ‘translation’ of the Republic (do you know it? It has appeared piece-meal in Lacanian Ink) – when I get round to it, I would love to speak with you further about your links with Plato.

Anyway, the specific reason I am writing is to see if you would be interested in a font commission. I am at the start of a collecting project based around creating a kind of conceptual portrait of my partner, Rebeka Campos-Astorkiza. Rebeka is a linguist (also at OSU) who works on the interaction between phonetics & phonology & her work is one of the angles I want to focus on in her collected, conceptual portrait. Now, if you were willing to accept a commission for a font-work, what I had in mind was a piece that employs the symbols of International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

Rebeka is especially interested (as far as I can understand!) in the impact of sounds on one another when phonological units are juxtaposed (e.g. the phenomenon of Sandhi where the /n/ in ‘inbetween’ becomes an /m/). This type of phenomenon would be given an enormous range of possibilities with one of your fonts. I am completely open as to what kind of font you would create (e.g. an ‘Oh’ font or one of your earlier ones).

We can discuss the details further if this is something that interests you. In the meantime, thank you for your time & consideration. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Fletcher

[Yesterday my partner, Rebeka, passed her naturalization exam to become a citizen of the United States of America (pending her swearing in ceremony). To celebrate, above is an email that I sent to artist Paul Chan back in 2011, where I naively asked him for a font commission inspired by Rebeka and her work as a linguist. Paul, understandably, didn’t reply, but I would send him another email, more directly focused on his interest in Plato and that began a conversation and friendship  that culminated with our collaboration on the book project Hippias Minor or the Art of Cunning in 2015. While it is somewhat embarrassing to read this email now, it reminds me that Rebeka inspired me to connect with artists and that without her encouragement Minus Plato would never have existed in the first place. Congratulations, Rebeka and thank you for your daily inspiration.]

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