Typography as Memorial - Seize Control of the FDA by Be Oakley

Typography as Memorial - Seize Control of the FDA
by Be Oakley
1st ED of 250
Risograph printed (Black and Red)
May 2024
48 pages


Typography as Memorial - Seize Control of the FDA is an essay based on a typeset designed by Be Oakley. This font was made from the design of protest signs used during an important and historic event in queer liberation. By sourcing letters from the handwritten signs, the font looks to both historicize and reenact this important event in the ACT UP Timeline. This publication also features a reprinting of the first section of FDA Action Handbook.

This handbook was created from the Seize Control of the FDA event, to demand that HIV and AIDS medication be fast approved and reprioritized. This is a powerful text on our relationship to medication during the early days of the AIDS pandemic. The handbook, as well as other historical documentation from the Act Up movement. The Introduction: WHY THE FDA? is an excerpt from The FDA Action Handbook by Jim Eigo, Mark Harrington, Margaret McCarthy, Stephen Spinella, Rick Sugden 9-12-88.

From the essay:

"Typesetting this book from the hand drawn signs used during the Seize Control of the FDA action is my way of honoring and activating this archival material.  Every time this typeset is used it acts as a memorial in honor of our queer and trans ancestors who fought for the lifesaving medication we have today. The connection between the design and text is crucial. Design is a powerful tool for the creation of radical content rather than a tool for those with power and resources. This is obvious in the many powerful graphics created by ACT UP during its years of activism.

All letters shown in the font come directly from protest signs displayed during the event. The typeset creates a functional visual language made by those who were lied and died from HIV and AIDS and fought like hell to survive."

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