Delving across four millennia into the depths of Egypt, ABJD explores the genesis of the Alphabet, the obscure technology that transformed human communication.
The exhibition is a sonic and visual excavation of the Proto-Sinaitic Scripts that date back to c. 1800 BCE. These Alphabetic inscriptions originated in Wadi el-Hõl, a strategic military and trade route in the Western Desert. They matured in Serabit el-Khadim, a rich mountainous site in the Southwest of the Sinai Peninsula where Egyptians from the Delta and Canaanites lived and mined Turquoise gemstones.
Mining and trade generated communicative labour that broke down speech into single consonant sounds with corresponding letters. The first sound-letters were Aleph and Bet, symbolising an Ox and a House, and shortened as A and B. By turning few sounds into a palette for assembling words, the Alpha-Bet popularised writing, storage and transportation of human thought.
The exhibition revives this linguistic invention with a multimedia installation comprising moving image, sculpture, and sound. Works daw on the vast scenery of the Turquoise mines and the Western Desert. The combined works celebrate an age-old technology that birthed the ABJD-based phonetic linguistic systems including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Latin and their contemporary off shoots used across the world today.