In 2002, a coalition of photographers, digital artists, writers, museums, and cultural institutions coordinated a multimedia project and installation in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. The installation was accompanied by a heavy tome titled ABC DF: Diccionario gráfico de la Ciudad de México, which was sold with a CD-ROM: the Diccionario interactivo in both Spanish and English. Invoking social geography, urban anthropology, and semiotics, the whole project relied on the accumulation of images and free associations to produce a multilayered experience that the producers likened to really living in the city. However, in the Diccionario gráfico and the Diccionario interactivo, our access to the visual images depends primarily on a nominal system, which guides us through the visual field by way of discrete words organized alphabetically. This essay examines how such philological canalization of the semiotic process both enables and interrupts our experience of the urban.