16 Dez DNA – Series
Surprise Subscription #11
Last month’s Surprise was a fluffy, fuzzy treat for the eyes. So for November, we thought we’d change it up a bit, with a challenge for the brain courtesy of DNA – Das Neue Alphabet/The New Alphabet!
Published by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) to accompany a series of exhibitions and events that began in 2019 and will end in 2022, the DNA series is made up of eight bright, striking, pamphlet-style books in both English and German, with more to come. They are light and thin enough to carry around in your pocket, but don’t be fooled: what’s inside packs a serious punch.
The New Alphabet is an examination of our world of signs, symbols and algorithms. The information explosion we are living through is predicated on breaking the world down into smaller and smaller units, then patterning it, gamifying it, subjecting it to The Algorithm. But this leaves our systems of understanding vulnerable: languages, codes and systems are all too easy to manipulate in the service of political, economic or technological exploitation.
Which is where The New Alphabet comes in. Reframing, repurposing, creolising our systems of understanding, from music playlists to body language, archives and accidents, this series is establishing a powerful new tool for resistance in the face of the functionalization and commodification of human modes of representation.
So far, eight volumes have been published in this vital series. By the end of 2022, there will be twenty-six, following the organisational principle of the alphabet. You’re holding just one of them in your hand – a random choice. Non-algorithm-generated. We don’t hope you like it – we hope it does something to you. What that is, is up to you.