Project Background

Beginning in 2000, filmmaker and Abecedarium:NYC co-director Lynne Sachs became intrigued by the concept of an “abecedarium”, a book designed to take a child through the first steps of reading. As a new mother, Sachs cluttered her young daughters’ play area with these age-old formulae for learning: A is for apple; D is for dog; X is for xylophone. She wasn’t completely satisfied, however, because, for the most part, these ABC books functioned more like a conventional cultural literacy test than intriguing introductions to the world of words.

Over the course of the next six years, Sachs examined the work of other artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians and poets who had created their own original interpretations of the alphabet (See History of the Artist Abecedarium). During an artist residency at the MacDowell Colony, Sachs began work on a project which would intertwine a meditation on words and their meanings with an exploration of New York City.

In 2005, Sachs proposed creating a multi-media online abecedarium with the Donnell Media Center of the New York Public Library. The Media Center is known both nationally and internationally for its thirty-year history of exhibiting avant-garde film and video to the public. Through the NYPL’s initiative, The New York State Council on the Arts provided a production grant for Abecedarium:NYC. In 2006, media artist and web designer Susan Agliata joined the project as co-director. In 2007, media artist Joseph Tekippe joined the project as ActionScript Programmer and Innovator and In Choi joined as PHP Programmer and Blog Technology Developer.

Lynne Sachs + Susan Agliata

Flash Programming and Design: Joseph Tekippe
Blog Programming and Design: In Choi

Abecedarium:NYC is made possible in part with public funds from The New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

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