Crescent text

For the Museum of IF archive, if an object does not fill the retangular frame of a webpage image, a decision is taken to fill it in with the website’s standard colour, fushia. This is to avoid any confusion between the object and a presumed ‘neutrality’ which is often represented by white or black. Here you can see that in addition to the crescent shaped object in the centre of the image there is also a kind of visual noise towards the bottom right corner. We must assume this has significance. Likewise, with careful inspection, it can be seen that the crescent shape bearing the text is actually quite smooth, but that it has pulled in with it a white background that has been cut off at angles. This is because that specific part of the background, the surface upon which it rests, is considered to be part of the display.

The meaning of a crescent in our language is based on a misunderstanding of how the word was used in Greek. In describing a ‘Crescent Moon’ the Greeks were in fact speaking of the Moon as being at a kind of ‘dawning point’, due – in the course of subsequent nights – to increase. The crescent symbolised the first growth of a movement towards the full-bodied, round shape. So, the meaning was intended to be, “to come forth, spring up, grow, thrive, swell, increase in numbers or strength.”

This transitive sense of the word ‘crescent’ may give rise to thinking that the intention of this object is to provoke the growth of the partial word forms. We might make these word forms out to be:





32 [or 82] (



[unknown characters]

This poetic script might lead to associations based on our own cultural background. Rain – bad [the meaning of the prefix ‘mal’] – acid. This meaning quickly breaks down however with the introduction of numbers. Could they qualify how bad the acid rain is? Then why the “gy” and “isy”, short snippets of what appear to be the endings of English words?

Before we return to this, let’s consider that crescent shape and the angular cutting of the surface upon which it is sitting. The image involves a double cutting. First, of what we might presume was paper, upon which the text was printed. Second, the ‘cutting out’ of the background to focus attention on an angular white space.

Partial text

It seems that it is important for us to consider an undualting perimiter around the paper cutout crescent. Yet its symbolism is very difficult to determine.

When photographers ‘capture’ a crescent moon they predominantly set the exposure level such that the camera picks up the crescent, but not the spherical shape of the moon – as that would spoil the illusion. Therefore the following kind of image is in a minority:


In this image we see a series of halos, ghosting and shadows. The graphic symbol of the crescent is as far removed from this representation of the moon as the broken word symbols are from language. And given that our understanding of the word ‘crescent’ is based on a misinterpretation, should we perhaps treat the black marks with more caution? Perhaps they are not letters or partial letters at all, but simply black marks that bear a resemblance to the form of letters. The arbitary seeming white periphery  might be there to provoke us into speculating about the removal of the ‘crescent’ from the spherical moon, when we come to symbolise it (And the leaving behind of the halo, and any differentiation of the edge, or the shadows of the moon).

Lastly there is the dust like fragments in the lower right corner. And on very close inspection a kind of fluxing around the crescent itself. Are these other provocations relating to the real moon? The ‘dust’ of the moon? The ‘flux’ representing the gravitational pull that informs our tides?


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