Emily Floyd - Classroom Code


In Kesh Alphabet (2017) Emily Floyd uses a letter from an imaginary alphabet created by the feminist science fiction writer Ursula K Le Guin. Create your own alphabet using the space of your classroom to encode each letter.

This activity can be undertaken individually, in small groups or as a whole class working together.


  1. Create a simple map of your classroom. You don’t need to include furniture or objects, just- a simple outline of the walls and doors of the space.
  2. Look around the room and find objects or locations to represent each letter of the alphabet. For example,“C” could be a chair or an air conditioner could be “A”. As you find the location of each letter mark them on your map.
  3. Once youhave a complete map of the alphabet in your room, try spelling out your name by moving to the different locations.
  4. Use a piece of string to create words in the space with a person standing at each letter of the word. Watch how the shape of the string changes as each person moves to form a new word.
  5. From here there are lots of ways to use your newly encoded alphabet, try some of these:
    • Using multiple sheets of acetate create complex pattern by overlaying multiple words together.
    • Use an overhead projector to project these seemingly abstract patterns. Trace them onto large sheets of paper using ink or paint.
    • Create a performance work as a large group spelling out messages in the space.
    • Try videoing these performances - can you use multiple cameras to film the movement from different angles and then edit them together?
    • Take your map into a blank space like a quadrangle or hall to further abstract your alphabet in new ways - masking tape, dance or even a musical!

You will need

  • Writing materials
  • Ruler
  • Acetate sheets (optional)
  • String


  • How has this changed your perception of the space? Does the space now feel different? When you move around the room next week do you think the pathways you take to travel in the space will have changed?
  • If you presented an artwork that you have developed from this new alphabet - would it matter if they audience understood the system you have used? How much would you choose to tell them about the process you have used?
  • If we can think about the alphabet and language as a code system what other codes do we interact with each day? (ie; traffic signs, emoticons, body language.