Spring 2023

Ramp up the key strokes

RUHUMAN: The Typewriter Art of Keith Armstrong

ed. Barrie Tullett and Tom Gill. The Caseroom Press, £20.

Keith Armstrong (1950-2017) was a poet, artist, film-maker, musician (under the name ‘ruhuman’) and activist who earned a reputation for his typewriter art while still in his teens. He published a small but ambitious art and poetry magazine called The Informer from 1966-71, and that brought him into contact with writers, such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Bob Cobbing (see Eye 93) and Dom Sylvester Houédard (aka dsh, see Eye 20), who became a friend. Issue no. 8 featured an unpublished essay by Boris Pasternak. The Informer was also a vehicle for Armstrong’s typewriter art, such as the work above: werwerEO itmakesugodotty? (1970). You can see this and many other examples in RUHUMAN: The Typewriter Art of Keith Armstrong, which explains how Armstrong’s life and work were both constrained and liberated by his disabilities, which resulted from childhood polio. As his mobility decreased, his typewriter art took a back seat to other causes and enthusiasms …

John L. Walters, editor of Eye, London

Read the full version in Eye no. 104 vol. 26, 2023

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.