ETAOIN SHRDLU is the approximate order of frequency of the twelve most commonly used letters in the English language, best known as a nonsense phrase that sometimes appeared in print in the days of “hot type” publishing due to a custom of Linotype machine operators.
See also: 1) French: ELAOIN SDRÉTU, 2) German: ENIS RATULO, 3) Spanish: EAOSR NITLU, 4) Italian: AEION LRTSU.
A whole host of interesting and thought-provoking work by Aleksandra Mir. First, from her recent show at Mary Boone, Gary spotted an interesting example of Neuland in use. Visually the drawing reminds me most of the cover of Wulf Sachs’s book Black Anger, shown here on the right. The exhibition had a great name, playing off the politics of color and the supposed purity of whiteness. The words WHITE HOUSE were paired variously with PURPLE HEART, IVORY TOWER, RED NECK, AGENT ORGANGE, GREEN THUMB, SILVER LININGS, and others. Second, I am sad to have missed Mir’s show Newsroom 1986–2000, but she is distributing the catalog free on her website along with other catalogs, which are collected here. This PDF distribution of artists’ catalogs is a very interesting and timely gesture, as is Mir’s starting Newsroom’s catalog with the project’s Press Release. Over 200 front pages from the New York Post and Daily News were recreated to build a narrative of found phrases from the city in the years leading up to 9/11. Interesting, too, were these pages’ production of which Mir writes, “During the two months of the duration of this show, I will create an environment that primitively simulates a newsroom of a major agency or newspaper. The material output of the agency will take the form of drawings, which for me are traces of activities such as reading, moving, talking, remembering and reporting. Together with a team of assistants, I plan to create 200 drawings inspired by the aforementioned tabloid covers and my personal references to them.” A photo of the team in action can be found here.
Dexter Sinister have done a great interview with design critic/curator Emily King that touches on a many aspects of their practice, including their adoption of the “just-in-time” (JIT) production model popularized by Toyota from the mid-1950s on. But it was the American carmaker Henry Ford who first articulated the process in his 1926 book Today and Tomorrow. Toyota executive TaiiChi Ohno, who brough JIT to Toyota, says of the book “I, for one, am in awe of Ford’s greatness. I believe Ford was a born rationalist—and I feel more so every time I read his writings. He had a deliberate and scientific way of thinking about industry in America. For example, on the issues of standardization and the nature of waste in business, Ford’s perception of things was orthodox and universal.” For Ford at his most quotable, his autobiography My Life and Work, is available online free at Project Gutenberg.