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Fowler in Focus: Communication Systems in a Global Context

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Fowler in Focus: Communication Systems in a Global Context

October 24, 2021–June 26, 2022

Written and visual communication has taken many forms over human history, whether based on graphic signs or phonetic-alphabetic systems. This installation features an ancient Egyptian stela, the first Armenian newspaper, an early modern Inka knotted khipu that records sophisticated numerical accounting, the manuscript of Hank Levy’s 1973 musical score “Whiplash,” after which the 2014 film was named, and the logbook recording “the birth of the Internet” here at UCLA. A selection of rare books and manuscripts showcases the distinctive writing systems of Japanese, Ge’ez, Arabic, Javanese, and English. Religious texts embody the divine; calendars often guide prophecies; and all these texts seek to move a message from sender to receiver. Meanwhile, the art of writing itself has inspired many artists, such as the 20th-century Senegalese painter Yelimane Fall whose inventive calligraphic style manifests the healing power of words.

Image credits (L-R):

Yelimane Fall (b.1953, Senegal; d. 2019), Ocean of Generosity, ca. 2000; paper, paint; Fowler Museum at UCLA, X2008.5.7; Museum Purchase

Mungo Thomson, The White Album, 2008. Ten-volume set of artist’s books in white Plexiglas slipcase. Collection UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Hammer Museum.

Principal scribe and artists of figurative miniatures unknown, except for T’oros of Taron (Armenia); The Gospel According to Mark [Gladzor Gospels, page 189], 1300-1307; Gladzor Monastery, Vayotc Dzor, Siwnik Province, Armenia; vellum, pigment, gold leaf; UCLA Library Special Collections, Collection 2089, Armenian MS 1 and 170/466; Gift of Dr. Caro O. Minasian, 1968

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