Skip to Content Skip to Search Go to Top Navigation Go to Side Menu


"image + language" Category


Letting some things drown & A hidden camera show


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

 

O: An Introduction.

Recently, I have been looking at produced language while diving into modern religious or cult-ish writing techniques and aesthetics. This is mainly the language used by Scientology and the way its founder L. Ron Hubbard confuses the reader, which then, makes it possible for Hubbard to arrive at simpler conclusions. I have looked at the writings of William S. Burroughs in his book The Job, where he argues for the seemingly nonsense idea of language as a virus. The following is a result of these readings.

 

I: Letting Some Things Drown (For The Sake Of Picking Them Up Again). 

In the first chapter of the very first scientology book, Dianetics: the original thesis (1948), L. Ron Hubbard concludes after a small, compact and confusing rant on topics such as heuristic science, workability contrasting idealism, semantic difficulties, psychosomatic ills, the unknowable/the knowable, spiritualism, deism, telepathy, clairvoyance, the human soul, field of thoughts, dynamic principle of existence, that the first cornerstone of what for the reader seems to be everything, is for the human to SURVIVE!. This is just after the section entitled important notes, placed on page four, where the church informs the reader that:

 

“Trying to read past a misunderstood word results in mental “fogginess” and difficulty in comprehending the passages which follow. If you find yourself experiencing this, return to the last portion you understood easily, locate the misunderstood word and get it defined, using a good dictionary or the Glossary at the end of the book.”

 

The problem is not that these difficult concepts such as telepathy, dynamic principle of existence, etc. are hard to grasp. The problem is that Hubbard is using them as a sort of “mental fogginess”, so when he finally concludes that the essence of all this is to SURVIVE!, the reader might not have understood what was meant above but the essence of it (to survive) we all surely understood, and we then do not need to use a good dictionary to understand this.

Hubbard also tells us in the text that we do not need to concern ourselves with the basic questions to our existence. He says that by dividing everything in the field of thoughts into two categories, the unknowable and the knowable, we then do not need to concern ourselves with such indefinites as spiritualism, deism or the human soul. This is of course addressed towards those who search for meaning. Hubbard constantly plays with concepts that an ordinary person will be confused by, and what the ordinary person will easily understand and in these easily understandable parts, he then gently pads our backs to ease our worries.

L.RonHubbard

 

 

II: A Hidden Camera Show

As William S. Burroughs writes about his invented professor, Professor Wilson Smith, he does it in a very scientific and authoritarian way. He uses this authoritarian language as a tool to create confusion and chaos, so his own radical and confusing statements have a chance of being seemingly logical. He writes:

 

“The word has not been recognized as a virus because it has achieved a state of stable symbiosis with the host, though this symbiotic relationship is now breaking down, for reasons I will suggest later. I quote from Mechanisms of Virus Infection, edited by Mr. Wilson Smith: “Viruses are obligatory cellular parasites and are thus wholly dependent upon the integrity of the cellular systems, they parasitize for their survival in an active state. It is something of a paradox that many viruses ultimately destroy the cells in which they are living.”

 

After Burroughs has claimed that The word has not been recognized as a virus he then quickly makes a shift to Professor Wilson Smith, making it seem like it is exactly this that Wilson Smith argues for, although Wilson Smith is not. But when Burroughs then quickly again reassures the reader that the spoken word as we know it came after the written word due to a virus infection, which also is a highly speculative statement, Borough is then again putting this idea of the word as a virus into our minds, and it is only made possible by the use of an authoritarian language.

We see that Burroughs is using language like it is an actor in a hidden camera show. Like a scene where an actor is dressed up as a police officer on a train station, ordering passengers to get out of the train, only to be left on the station, tricked by what they thought was the law. This is just as I have done by manipulation all of Burroughs’ statements for my own agenda.

But what I in generally would like to propose is this: Let everyone take advantage of these techniques to create a more chaotic environment, were illogical facts can sprout in the chaos of all other illogical facts. But to make this environment to perfection, there are other techniques we need to acquire. Luckily every technique can be learned for this purpose since much of it already has been produced for us to observe.

 

fcec6bfd258dc344b5b5b553975743bd

 ~ mads b. sørensen, 2017 ~

 

 

The Infinite Script


Sunday, March 12, 2017

 

the infinite script_screenshot_1100

“The infinite script” (2016) is an alternative way to look at a human being. It is an uncommon representation of a nature and specifics of mental and behavioral algorithms.
This work is an attempt to visualize a functioning organism as a mechanism supplemented with a human intelligence that uses algorithms. The visibility of the algorithms is created by a computational language and visual information, which are united in one endless artistic research.
A self-development of an artist is a key point of this audible script. It has been performed as a visual monologue of the artist together with the video projection.
 

Thesis by Kateryna Snizhko as a video/animation artwork, presented at the 2016 graduation show as part of the department of photography

 

all rights to this thesis are property of Kateryna Snizhko © 2016

for more information check out Kateryna's website : http://www.experiolation.com//

 

I wish I could read


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Write me something

and I will try

Try to read

Corrie_de_Boer_borduurwerk_op_linnen_3

 

Gekleurde brieven (Coloured Letters) is a work from Corrie de Boer made in 1977 and exhibited in the Stedelijk Museum, as part of the permanent design collection.

9 letters_small

Corrie De Boer, colored letters (detail), 1977, embroidered linen

The work is called nine letters hung next to each other. Embroidered letters on white a4 linen in different colours. None of them actually readable, but giving the intention something was written. This was a work that talked to me a lot. The colours give their own feeling to letters, even though there is no content. Each letter has got its own colour. Dark green, light green, yellow, orange, red, burgundy, purple, dark blue, light blue. Emotional content.
There is always an intriguing relation to text and the surface. Is the ink in or on the surface?
I wonder what happened  if I would be allowed to touch the letters with my fingers, that could maybe make it possible to read the letters, like a blind person. Since these letters only seem to be real, but looking closer nothing is actually readable, no real word is used in the embroidered letters. The empty whiteness inside of the embroidery becomes an imaginable type (a letter).
A similar situation takes place in the catalog accompanying the exhibition Surface.
In this case the embossed text, white letters on a white glossy paper, is clearly part of the surface, although it is also tangible or touchable. The texture of the letters is enabling the observer to read the title of the catalogue. The play with floodlight makes it visible and forces you to play with that surface in the light to read.

 

I like to sit on a bamboo chair ActIII_FAUX

Cover with embossed text and content page in which the inverted text is the surface too. catalog designed by OK-RM. • Chapter ActIII - FAUX, where the inverted text is the surface itself

 
Surface and Subject-matter are each others equivalent as the inside of the booklet was also not a clear description of what happened during the exhibition. It became a work on itself. It was a poem a theatre play.

 

Not how but why it’s been made like this


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Designed by COMA (a Dutch graphic design team working in Amsterdam and NYC)

Why ? First impression

Because of the colors. The weight. The shape of the cover. The transparent papers inside. The size of it. Maybe also because it looks like the books my mother used to have and read when I was little.

 

Why ? The object itself

hella copie

Physical aspect

Facing it, the object is shiny, composed of a large not centered title, a long and wide color picture placed horizontally in the middle and a silvery text at the bottom. The object looks humble, not pretentious. You easily guess it’s about a woman but the only thing you can see is male bodies holding red vases. The object wants to be complicated. By framing it’s cover with lines neither the text nor the picture are following, the object seems in a paradoxical state, containing without holding, focusing while spreading.

The object seems to feel comfortable on a table, it adapts to its surrounding. When you get in contact with it, it’s mostly homogeneous cold. At one point, the object asks to be touched further more.

After a week, the object seemed to reject the room I gave it on the floor. The colors of the book didn’t agree with the contact of the blue lino my room is filled with.

d5

Many try outs showed that the object is not cooperating with any of my pockets which made me think that it’s not the type of object you can easily bring with you. Maybe it doesn’t want to be shared.

The investigation on the book and its environment led to the idea that design make an object belong to a place. A shape could apply to many structures. For this case, I could say that the addition of the table and the hands are comfortable for both the user and the book.

It felt like the design of this book is a communication between vanishing in its environment (this conclusion came with experimenting the book placed next to the toilets for few hours) and being dedicated to a specific situation (open on a 75cm height table, in contact with both glances and hands).

 

illudesign

Why ? What does the contact of this designed book to a non-designer person ?

 

Non-Designer Person (NDP) : It’s a book.

Hypothetical Designer Person (HDP) : Yes. Can you guess how it was made ?

NDP : It has a blue wire that connects all the pages and the cupboard cover, so I guess it was industrially sewn. The pages are smaller than the cover.

HDP : Do you feel any rhythm in the layouts ?

NDP : Yeah, you can feel a harmony in the structure and links between texts and pictures. Sometimes the presentation wants to show an evolution, the composition is a bit repetitive. Maybe because of the grey frames that are always at the same place on each page.

HDP : How many colors do you see ?

NDP : Six. Blue, red, grey, black, yellow and white.

HDP : What do you think the colors are based on ?

NDP : I guess that the pictures taken for the book were inspiring for the designers, so the colors must belong to the topic.

HDP : How can design tell something without any words ?

NDP : In this case, you can follow a conversation between how the images and the texts are placed. There are smaller and bigger images, just like the text. The parallel is made by the composition and the sizes.

HDP : Without knowing what the book is about, can you guess the subject ?

NDP : The rhythm of the book is carried with transparent mat papers,  dividing the object in multiple parts. It feels like your are transported from a place to another in a spatial way. You also feel that the positions of the pictures are showing an evolution. As if the book is built through its topic.

HDP : Now that you wondered how esthetic can lead your glance, how do you meet the content ?

NDP : Content can be shown in so many ways. You can say something, and act in a way that says something else. Opening a book that you find esthetic, a book that attracts you and, then, realize that the content is disappointing, you feel like you’ve been cheated. Esthetics can fool you, because design is the structure of the content, it’s what make the content accessible.

HDP : How would you apply these ideas to this specific book ?

NDP : This book lied to me in a way. Because I felt like the content wasn’t worth the design.

 

Why ? How to meet a book without reading it ?

 Defining taste, instinct and anticipation

 

Either you hide your eyes, or you empty your brain.

The first part of the book that you notice is the spine, which is always trying to attract you. Showing all the information you need. Since I have to focus on the object, I blurred my vision to only see color spots on the shelves of the library. What is easily attractive to me is simplicity.

But then, the question that comes to me immediately is « How design can please me and others ? How can a designer can discuss beauty and attraction ? How to anticipate the singular tastes of people ? »

My instinct led me to this book in its visual aspect, and what I define as beauty could lead me to another interest, the topic. Beauty or visual statements can be the link to knowledge. It’s just like meeting someone in a club. First of all, you’re attracted by the spine, then by the cover, and, finally, by what’s inside (if you dare opening). Design is maybe about meeting an appearance to then go further, what makes you want to understand the attraction of what we define as « beauty ».

I’d say that design is the body while content is the mind. As your esthetic cannot please everyone, your mind is flexible, and the information you can get in a book won’t ever sound the same. Both esthetic and content can evolve but the link between how you show and what you show always works as parallel.

In fact, the book says something. The way you edit a book makes the object a story on its own. When you see the evolution of the images and the process Hella is going through, the discussion bellow the pictures emphasize this specific process. While the project is getting bigger, the information on the book are moving. Even though I feel like the book has a repetitive aspect, the pictures taken by Joke Robaard are a link between the content and the visual aspect. Esthetic is built but content is the starting point, so that’s when design has to adapt.

« [Maybe] Graphic Design will need to become a part of the thing and not the thing itself »

Michael Bojkowski

 

What seems interesting, reading back the first impressions I had, is that Graphic Design evolves with technologies. To me, this book can stand for a specific time of the book’s History (the 00’s) as Michael Bojkowski made me realize, questioning « Why graphic design ? ».

Hella Jongerius by Hella Jongerius / Rietveld library catalogue no : jonger 1

Wimble click crumblechaw beloo


Thursday, September 15, 2016

650-ANDREEA_PETERFI_ANNELAKEMAN

Umberto Eco in his Six Walks in The Fictional Woods is referring to the idea of an optical illusion, for explaining how we are perceiving the fictional novels. Throughout his essay we are being shown, several illustrations with which he is visualizing the concept behind his es- say. Although it is not a children’s book, he is adding the illustration for the means of having a common understanding on the topic he is referring to and the concepts he is presenting.
While in children’s books, unfortunately, the freedom of the child using his fantasy is taken away, by – and thus imposing the fantasy of – one or more grownups, directing them in what they must see and understand as to have a common memory. I will come back on this subject later.
In Eco’s book though it is necessary to have the same understanding of the concept he is proposing. He is pointing his finger, saying “this is what I mean and not other”. Being able to maintain a certain common understanding, while using words, either in speech or writing is very difficult, as De Certeau is pointing it out in The Practice of Everyday Life:

“The readable transforms itself into the memorable: Barthes reads Proust in Stendhal’s text; the viewer reads the landscape of his childhood in the evening news.”

 

650-ANDREEA_PETERFI_ANNELAKEMAN-2

Simply because we have agreed that, say: cup is a cup it does not mean that we are talking about the same subject/object. Each of us are having a specific memory of the word, being related to either the time we have learned it first, space, surrounding, atmosphere, mate- rial, color, size or form, are additions to the experience we are relating the word to.
When we say the word cup we refer to all the cups from everyone’s memory, and to the only one cup we relate to personally, all the cups we have happened to see, and even the ones we do not yet know about.
Here I will make a short parenthesis for coming back to what I have said above, about the common memory of the children, whom have shared the same book in the past. Clearly there are a few objects in each generation (related to time) or cultures (related to place) we can think of, that are bringing a sudden nostalgia. Referring to one of these objects from our common memory, has the power to affirm and acknowledge the ground where one that stands facing the others. Thus sharing a specific memory of a specific object can be decisive for taking or not part of the group.

650-ANDREEA_PETERFI_ANNELAKEMAN-3

Once this idea is settled there is no need for other words to explain ourselves. We now can trust each others understanding on a number of other discussions, that we do have similar experiences.
Let’s take the 90’s generation as example. We might have experienced objects as Tamaqotchi, Nokia Querty, Pokemon and Dexter’s laboratory even though we come from all different countries and cultures. Recently I have participated in a some similar talks in a few different settings about Tamaqochi. It seems that somehow the memory of this object, keeps reoccurring. There are exactly a few specific answers to the question: “Oh! And do you remember Tamagotchi?!” that represent the object at it’s best and everyone understand their meaning.With or without the additional -
annoyed : “Oooh! Noooo, please….(it was such a stupid game, it would always die during the class)” .
and the enthusiastic : “Yes Yes! (I actually had a few)!”.
Whether one remembers more the annoyance or the pleasure, in the end both sides know exactly what it all meant or felt like. Thus trough sharing a common reference point they are becoming ‘a group’. They can now feel closer by the fact that they have shared a common/similar experience. Trough sharing a common experience the ‘other’ becomes ‘we’. While the ones that did not share the experience have a harder time to relate to the word and the meaning it carries with it.
This of course is a simplistic example and as such I am here not discussing the importance of sharing the idea of the Tamagotchi persé as an object/name, or as an experience, but replace it with something of a bigger importance – and that is where we, although having developed language to be able to transmit thoughts, can not get over the struggles of truthfully understanding their meaning and in some cases we overlook their importance by not being able to relate to other people’s experiences only trough words.

 

Cover_shaded download this thesis by Andreea Peterfi
all rights to this thesis are property of the author © 2016

 

Breakdown of book bricks


Monday, April 18, 2016

you enter

the room

the walls

are books

their backs

turned on you

the books

won’t share a word

unless you take one of them

one brick from the wall

but the wall they form

can’t be broken down

they turned their backs

on you

you have to turn your head

sideways

to read what their names are

even when it is your own room

your own wall

it can feel like the chinese wall

in fact

it’s all chinese to you

so you give up

a big bookcase

is not in favor

of the books

nor you

the renovation of an ancient building 

now

this is

what i’m going to do

 

i’ll break down the wall

brick by brick

book by book

 

what do i feel?

which book belongs

to that

what i feel

?

 

and

what do i want?

which book belongs

to that

what i want

?

 

where am i

with this feeling that i have

and the book that i want to read

?

 

for each feeling

and each desire

a book

and a place

so i took all the books

out of the room, now it’s empty

like the first page

 

i put the books on piles

piles of feelings and desires

piles of knowledge

books can give you everything

if you take care

 

now this is what i’m going to do

i’ll start to write

first pile

epilogue

learning

i want to learn things

i am curious

big books

history

the atlas

FullSizeRender (7)

dictionaries

encyclopedia

next to notebooks

and dummies

and books for dummies

how to

cut

paste

sew

read

draw

think

find

go

the place is ready

for reading

as well as doing

the worktable

 

second pile

FullSizeRender (6)

introduction

loving

i want to read

about the love in the world

and want it sometimes i feel without love

sometimes i feel in love

and want it

there is a note written inside

with love, for you

i’ll read to you and to myself

poems of love

bed side stories

books that keep a place warm in

 

the bed

 

FullSizeRender (5)

third pile

first chapter

you can’t read

on an empty stomach

stained and smelling books about food

and cooking

world dishes

when we sit here we always talk about food and share ideas for dishes and tastes on our tongues

kitchen table

 

 

 

FullSizeRender (4)

 

forth pile
dreaming

second chapter

fantasies

fiction

stories

to disappear in

 

when you think you want

to watch the television

or when you are bored

you sit in the chair

and lean sideways

then you grab a book

and start to read

and to disappear

 

a good chair

 

 

 

FullSizeRender

fifth pile

books with mud and sand

third chapter

flowers between the pages

encyclopedias of plants

latin names and hours

of drawing

books of gardening

the hammock or the garden chair

 

 

 

sixth pile

forth chapter

dreams of traveling

flora and fauna

nature and travel books

national geographic

capitol guides

next to the computer

to book a flight

 

computer table

 

FullSizeRender (3)

seventh pile

fifth chapter

when you’re an art student

art is everywhere

also when you’re a normal person

there is an art way of looking at things around you

it is nice to have books to leaf through

or read carefully

monographies

biographies

auto

biographies

art

philosophy

theory

catalogues

magazines

fanzines

on the easel

on the bench

on the work table

in the bathroom

in plastic jackets, shower-and-bath-proof

in on behind the closet

everywhere

the rest of the books

many thanks to-

FullSizeRender (8)

ideas

pleas

novels

 

books are a part of life

but a wall of books

is too far away

 

to bring the books close

 

to accompany to your tea

and your company

to show pictures and lines

for your eyes only

 

the books can travel with you on vacation

or on a rolling table

through every wall of the house

 

 

 

a book as a bookshelf

Schermafbeelding 2016-04-18 om 21.42.35

books forming a bookcase

holding other books

showing their faces,

finally

when you break down the book wall

you will

discover books

in places unexpected

finding them back

after long loss

a rose

and its smell

between pages

a postcard

a letter

a bookmark

notes, lines, circled words

a younger you

wrote a letter

 

 

surprise yourself and others

with books as gifts in corners

and between the pillows of the bench

 

books say something you can’t Schermafbeelding 2016-04-18 om 21.42.00

put into words

books that you know

that will always be there

next to your bed

or under it

on the closet

standing on its small edge

facing you

with a different page each day

 

books that you carry

that carry your thoughts

a small book in

a small bag

book size, pocket size

with you

 

FullSizeRender (9)

body books

big books

book hats

big bags

hat books

a book in a hat

a book in a sock

smelling a little of sweat

sock-pockets for books

follow your steps

some say the library is unnecessary

some say it has already gone

words are everywhere

the library

is the world

form your library

from the words in the world

Physical letters


Monday, February 22, 2016

 

 

A

 

large_Curtain_2

 

This image is from a project of an hanging typeface that René Knip developed with Janno Hahn for the art academy in Istanbul, Turkey. I thought it was quite a beautiful image regarding typefaces and it got me curious with this idea of building curtains through the act of connecting letters.

In the first place I think it is interesting that we are speaking of objects now. Even though this typeface can and does work in an independent way when printed on a flat surface or on a digital platform, its design was developed based on the fact that it needed to work as a physical thing. The letters needed to be able to be hung and to connect between themselves.

 

BLOG1

A drawing is a different mechanism and makes use of a wider freedom while when you need to construct or build something it is dependent on a big set of criteria. Not everything is possible and it is ok. :-) The material, the craft and the limitations of earthly conditions give some direction on the process of making the design. Possibly they add a new layer or content and richness.

 

There are two artists about whom I can speak shortly in this sense.

 

BLOG6 BLOG2

 

 

Karl Nawrot (x) is a french graphic designer based in Lyon, France. We can say he has a very hands-on approach on the process of developing his designs. The  b&w image above shows two fases of the research for the typeface Lÿno that he designed in coöperation with Radim Pesko: first a sketch of cutout shapes made out of Albert Heijn packaging boxes that were later translated in a flat design. It is indeed a very experimental way of dealing with drawing, to try to find two-dimensional shapes through the making of three-dimensional sculptures.

 

Hiroaki Ohya is a Japanese fashion designer that has been working on the issue of clothing through a more artistic perspective. She transformed old t-shirts into letters (second picture above), keeping recognizable elements of the t-shirt, as neck and arm holes, and making letters that are readable.  They are intriguing pieces to look at, I feel, one doesn’t know if they are in fact still t-shirts or letters already.

 

~-~-~

B

 

 

96662_original

 

 

Going a bit further I wonder what does it mean for a letter to become an isolated object…?

Look at that little G lost on the sidewalk…

(Probably nothing very important but) I cannot help myself from feeling a certain fascination, seeing them out of their context and physically engaged in my world. One thing about symbols and language is how abstract and mysterious they seem to be when you don’t know how to read them. And when they are taken out of their function of communication they get some of these qualities back and open up a space for poetic understandings.

 
printing-press-letters

 

One of the first times it did happen was probably with the invention of movable types on the Gutenberg press. Even though as stamps they were not meant to be read themselves, letters started to take up space and had to be organized by shape and volume, not as a message.

Representative of the democratization of books, letters as objects are also very representative of the alphabetization. It only makes sense to shape so many things in the world as letters because so many know how to read. And actually primary schools are one of the places where you are going to see more letters-objects and to hear the actual speaking of the A, the B or the C as individual entities. This is done in certain schools for pedagogic reasons to get the students familiarized with the alphabet before starting to make words and sentences

A possible association of meaning that one can make of letters as things is with the playfulness of childhood and all the memories of the beginning of education for those who can read. There’s quite an abstract feeling in learning and schools if one thinks of it…

 

“Do you know what ‘A’ means, little Piglet? It means learning,
it means education, it means all the things that you and Pooh haven’t got”

Winnie The Pooh

I found this quote in the book  ‘One letter words, A dictionary’,  by Craig Conley, in which he tries to find the possible meanings that each letter can have when used by itself. It is quite interesting to find out a letter can be or mean so much. However I also like the possibility of a more poetic and abstract meaning.

 

 

~~

 

 

João Vieira (1934-2009) was a portuguese artist very much interested in the alphabet as a theme and on the idea of using letters as objects for their poetics possibilities. Like the situation of the second video above: “a runway of letters”. Which latent meanings are at stake? Or is it a formal exercise?

 

joao_vieira_uma_rosa
uma rosa é

Mainly known as a painter of letters,
he said in 2006 “I started to paint letters because I wanted to make poems with painting”.

 

Quite curious to see the way how this Portuguese artist dealt with the canvas since there is not so much tradition of painting in Portugal. There is a lot of literary tradition though. His first paintings were abstract and gestual and depicted simple shapes;  later he started to work also with quotations from famous writers and with the form of the alphabetical letter by themselves. His interest by letters grew into sculpture and into performances. In his first performance The spirit of the Letter (1970) he built several letters in wood that were later destroyed by himself and a group of kids. It was the next year he did the performance Expansions (first video above) where he made giant ones out of foam, plastic and leather and used them to interact and play with the public.

 

BLOG7_1100

 

~~

C

 

The Latin alphabet is based on sounds, the signs are phonographs, and I think it is where some of the interest of the topic lays. Each letter only refers to a sound that is a small fragment of a message. Without that it is a very vague and abstract form or thing and we are attributing to it the materialism of a physical thing. What does this object refers to anyway??

These letters are objects that can get old and used, they can be torn apart, they have a space in our bowls and stomachs. You can touch them, kiss them if you like, throw them in the thrash.

The same way that we animate objects in our imagination – as in filling them with life and identity – we do the same with this letters which is a kind of complex thing at this point. A mute symbol of a sound playing its life again.  Yes, complex situation but only an ordinary detail of daily life business.

..

 

 505944e557527f33c872008fa3254eca – 

BLOG4

zzZzee you aroud

A wide variety of books and a bride with no groom


Sunday, February 21, 2016

notebooks  

- – - – - – - – - – - – -  - – - - – - – - – - – - – - – - - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - - – - – - – - - – - – - – - – - – - – -

A WIDE VARIETY OF BOOKS
AND A BRIDE WITH NO GROOM 

(Roughly about emojis)

 - – - – - – - – - - – - – - – - - – - – - - – - – - – - – - — – - – - – - – - – - – - – -- – - – - – - – - - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - - - – - – - – - –  - - 

Bride with no groom

 

 

The first time I saw Emojis  was 4 years ago, around 2011. I had done that big investment and changed my Blackberry for an Iphone. Coming from the Blackberry world it was very important for me to be able to chat for free so I downloaded Whatsapp, which was gaining popularity in my Ecuadorian chatting circle of life. But coming from the Blackberry world I was also missing to be able to send their super cute “Smileys” (how I called them before calling them “Emojis”, by the way my grandmother calls them “caritas” which means “little faces”).

Smileys, Emojis, or Emoticons where not included in Whatsapp and apparently they were not in my super new and slick Iphone neither. A friend recommended me to download an app called Emoji Emoticons, this applications was going to somehow make a Emoji Keyboard appear in my Iphone. So I did Sparkles on Apple iOS 9.3

remember finding very strange the fact that this Emojis will appear in my keyboard as another language. Between the options I had I could either write in Spanish or write Emoji. Technically I couldn’t do both in the same time. Emojis in Iphone interface at that time weren’t categorize as a complementary element to written words, as they appeared in my BlackBerry. Rather they appeared as a whole new language. The Emoji pack for the Iphone was also a lot wider than the Bb Smiley pack. Suddenly having so many options made me question my real need for them. They were all new so I was not used to them and they all seemed not suited to my usual way of communication and a bit arbitrary. Somehow because they where not the Emoji I was used too, they also felt “un-official”. I knew I could demand them to be official and that I couldn’t defend that the Bb smileys were official indeed, but I think it was an interesting instinctive (?) reaction.

I asked myself for example if I will ever need 4 Volumes of books (each one with their own color) and 3 types of notebooks.Where was the ecuadorian flag? And why was there a Bride and not a Groom? What happened with him? Is it the hat? This little and easy remarks (maybe a little bit too easy: Pseuo-Nationalist and Pseudo-FeministFace Throwing a Kiss on Apple iOS 9.3) catch my attention. With the time Emojis started to be used more and more and they started to feel like a some-how “official” thing. Despite this the arbitrary feeling to it was still there. They were being used for a lot of people but were they representing this people need of communication? (AND NOW OMG, MY QUESTION HAS BEING HEARD BY THE GOD OF ADVERTISING AND AlwaysG is also bitching about Feminist-Emoji-Rights…Face Without Mouth on Apple iOS 9.3: Always #LikeAGirl – Girl Emojis)

The ancestor of the Emoji is the “Smiling face”, even though earlier versions are known, Harvey Ball is recognized as the official designer of the smiley, he did it back in 1963. Emoji were born in the late 1990′s created Shigetaka Kurita, an employee at the Japanese telecom company NTT Cocomo. Kurita came up with the idea to add simplistic cartoon images to its messaging functions as a way to appeal to teens. He draw them using a pencil and a paper in a 12 by 12 pixel grid. This is how he came up with 176 crude symbols representing from faces to music notes. This emojis were a hit in the Japanese market, and other mobile providers adopted this feature. In 2007 when the Iphone appeared Apple and Google realized that they had to catch up and they added their own Emoji keyboard in the Iphones. This feature was hidden in the US Iphones, but we soon discovered that we could download an app to make them appear. By this moment the propositions given by provider were partially overlapping symbols and had its own way of coding. Emoji from a different provider often could not be displayed between them. Also emoji via email was a problem. 

 

 

National Park on Apple iOS 9.3
(This is a landscape painting hanging in the wall of this article for decoration and recreation purposes)

 

 

So Emoji added to the Unicode Consortium in 2009.Unicode which was founded in 1990 is a network of contribution members. This is the organization who punctuates, encodes, names and sketches Emoji to make sure that each platform (e-mail, iOs, Android, Google, etc) shows the same character. Then each platform can design their Emoji.  Since then the Unicode Consortium adds new Emoji features each year. This emoji features are held by employees from Apple and Google…Man in Business Suit Levitating on Apple iOS 9.3

In June 2015 there were 37 Emojis added, including an upside-down smiley, a nerd, a robot, a taco, a cheese, a hot dog, a mosque, a synagogue, etc. They also enabled, understandably, the option to change the skin tone of certain human-emoji to different hues on the FitzPatrick Scale, a “recognized standard for dermatology”

Looks quite hard to determine what Emojis are needed to represent all the Emoji-users needs for communication, it is clear that we are looking for solutions to be more expressive via text, but in the same time it also sounds too-easy easy to ask for emoji-representation of everyone. Tyler Schnoebelen lingüistic-related man has done some observations. As he says, “we’ve learned to talk, and we’ve learned to write, but we’re only now learning to write at the speed of talking (i.e., text), sending messages over vast expanses, absent any physical contextual clues. If you are talking to someone face-to-face, you don’t need an additional word or symbol to express “I’m smiling” because you would, presumably, be smiling.” But when we text between each other we loose all the non-verbal faculties like vocal intonation and body-language. Thinking about texting in this way makes very clear the necessity of a body-related language to emerge among chatters to leave intentions clear in a fast, casual way as easily as making a gesture.

But Emoji are not as limited as body-languageMouse Face on Apple iOS 9.3. Because among this very understandable body-expression conventions we also find other pictograms. Pictograms that seems to represent objects, actions or just words. And that have no defined meaning. This is the shady part of emoji. One of the reasons for which we cannot communicate solely with Emojis. With the times though there are some interpretations that have been stablished among certain people for example the girl with hands up in her head is in Japanese context a gesture for “OK”, but in other contexts is mostly interpreted differently. Each Emoji is still very much open for interpretation and I guess with time this language will be shaped to fit our needs for communication. We will add emojis we need and the existing emojis will be filled with the needed meanings. Until then I guess we will keep playing with this pictograms in this shady zone trying to scape from the limitations they offer and trying to use them our way. Hoping also that Emoji will find its way to make us all Smile and will not create any sort of discrimination feeling to start a war, or a second feminist revolution. 

senorita

 

Thats all I have to say. But I have also this emoji-related links to recommend: 
emojipedia.org
Tearsofjoy.nl
emoji.ink
emojiliteracy.com
emojitracker.com
emojinalysis.tumblr.com/
emojicate.com/

And things to read: 
nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/11/emojis-rapid-evolution.html
time.com/2993508/emoji-rules-tweets/

“What can I say?”


Saturday, February 20, 2016

The world is pretty big, it’s cool we fit on it. Beat Muller and Wendelin Hess also noticed that the world indeed is pretty big. They were asked to do a visual essay for the Eye Magazine with their opinion about the neutrality of a country in a global world. They answered pretty clean cut clear with:

“Die Unmöglichkeit der Neutralität”

 

Muller-+-Hess_1500

 

They put together an image-based alphabet,    mixing Swiss mountains,    portraits of the pope, bloody guys, sports,     porn and by this stimulating the     uncontrollable    visual    stream of today.

                                                                                                            We are very visually orientated animals; from cave paintings to computers. We did not start communication with words. Homo sapiens first attempts at passing information took on the form of cave paintings. A small child first learns to draw before it is able to master more complex communication.   28.000 years after the first cave painting the alphabet emerged in Ancient Egypt. From then on communication in written word gradually took over. When you look at newspapers over 100 years old you see a large amount of text and an absence of pictures. Compared with newspapers from today they look like a dry toast morning read. In The Netherlands the best selling newspaper would be ‘De Telegraaf’. When you compare their percentage of image use with other papers they have the highest. It seems like visual language is gradually taking over written words, like we are going back in history.

 

Naamloos-22

 

The origin of text and the origin of visualizing seem to have the same goal: communication. Somewhere between the two lay contradictions and overlaps. We often need one of the two to translate the other of the two. For example on your computer; The computer used to be a very complex machine that could only be used by trained experts. Only when the Graphical User Interface (GUI) was introduced did computers become everyday appliances. This means that the computer actually is a big bang bomb of information, codes and things we don’t really understand. This GUI translates all this information into images, metaphorical images we recognize and know the means of. It is an international language, all over the world people from different cultures use the same icons, folder buttons and trashcans.

Naamloos-2Amsterdam_Lawrence_Weiner_Translation

We are constantly translating things we want to say into something other people can understand. When the Dutch artist, Bas Jan Ader made ‘too sad to tell you’ [x] he was too sad to tell you. He communicated visually rather than with words. When I feel too sad to tell you I send you a Crying Face Emoji. Like caveman, like baby, like Bas, we reach out for visual communication.

 Naamloos-3

                                                              Image and language need each other, sometimes. Sometimes they become each other: like slogans. Slogans balance on the edge of image and language. The words in a slogan are not working as a neutral informative tool. The words in a slogan become images loaded with suggestions. Reading becomes looking and looking becomes reading. We become image readers, because we understand images more rapidly.

An artist who works with the tension between words and images is Ed Ruscha, an American artist born in Omaha, Nebraska. His interest in words and typography are the main subject in his paintings, prints and photographs. The words, sentences and phrases in his work often radiate more than only a neutral meaning. When I look at the word “The” in the image below, it no longer looks like a word but becomes a picture, leaving its body, getting new meanings and becoming a word again.

12am215ed-ruscha-ooo

The combination of a (background) image and a ‘word’ provoke a lot of suggestions that ask for multiple interpretations. You could say that these text-images explore the possibilities and limitations of non-verbal communication. Ruscha is aware that letters, as well as words can speak. Different forms of lettering can change the meaning of a word. About his liquid letters he claims “I could make an “o” stupid or I could make it hopeless or anyway I want it to be and it would still be an “o”. He wrestles with the question “What can I say?” and “How can I say it?” Language is like a loaded gun, and we shoot, so what can i say?

 

The Impossibility of Neutrality


Friday, February 5, 2016

Neutrality. Growing up in Sweden, the term has been a part of me since I was born, and a part of my country since before any of the world wars. It is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the quality or state of not supporting either side in an argument”. It is used throughout society in everything from neutral tasting yoghurt to neutral states in politics. But what does it mean? And is it even possible? I chose to explore and discuss a part of this which is dear to me as an art student, image making.

I started exploring neutrality through a work of Swiss designers Müller + Hess called The Impossibility of Neutrality, which is a commission by the English graphic design magazine Eye. It is an attempt to create an alphabet consisting of imagery instead of typography. Each letter in the alphabet has been replaced by multiple images. They chose multiple images because different people have different perceptions of what an image could represent. So to make this more precise, the viewer can look at multiple images to understand which letter the sender is trying to convey. The work deals with typography, text and photography, and how it is impossible to be neutral in imagery.

Impossibility-neutrality_1_1300

The Impossibility of Neutrality ©1999 by Müller + Hess, first published as Max Bruinsma's article Reduced to the Max in Eye-mag #32

From this work I went onward to The Photographic Dictionary by Lindley Warren. The Photographic Dictionary is a website with photographs representing words. Each word in the dictionary is represented by a photograph. The word that is represented by the photograph below is the word embrace. What happens in this work, just as in Müller + Hess’s work, is that the impossibility of neutrality becomes very apparent. The representation of the word becomes very personal, and in every image there are many messages that the viewer can read into, and every image can be interpreted in many different ways. An image can not show something neutral, as text can. Or can it?

bgk 007

Embrace by Brendan George Ko through The Photographic Dictionary

Stock photography is often used as an image that can just be interpreted in one way. It is a photograph showing something in a very non-personal and mostly objective way. It is used widely by, for example businesses, who in this way can acquire quality imagery for their business at a lower cost. When using a stock photography service, the user searches for a word or a phrase, and the matching photograph appears. For this to work, the image has to be non-personal and work for a specific use within many different contexts. Does this mean that the image is neutral? And does it apply to all types of images? Images showing people can hardly be neutral I think. Most of them show an accepted norm for the human being which they send as a message. But let’s take something else as an example. Let’s take this image of U.S. dollar bills. I believe it is more or less neutral. It portrays the dollar bills as they are, no more and no less. I feel it is not carrying any messages more than the concept of U.S. dollar bills. But then again the concept of U.S. dollar bills holds a lot of messages in itself, within everything from geography to economy and politics. And also, the bills are stacked irregularly and have creases on them, which makes me think of money that is earned in illegal ways, passed on in duffel bags.

_3LITEN

Dollar bills by iStock

Another type of neutrality which I think is interesting is when an image or a message has been used so many times and in so many different contexts that it has lost its original meaning and doesn’t really say anything anymore. An example is the art sold at IKEA. It has been bought, sold and shown so many times in so many different contexts that the original context or message is completely lost, and it now doesn’t really represent much at all. Maybe this isn’t neutrality, but more some kind of visual confusion or loss of context. But just like the stock imagery, these images are often just used to replace one word, which in this case is decoration and/or art. This makes these images neutral in the way that most people don’t really experience or see anything when looking at these images, but instead just see a materialization of the word decoration or art.

Ikea_Art_Liten

Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's by IKEA

Something that I think fits very well into this discussion is the word perception. Perception is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the way you think about or understand someone or something”. People will always have different ways of perceiving things, and when looking at an image, the image is always interpreted regarding to the perception of the viewer. Perception connects to what the viewer has seen, heard and experienced before. This is why the portrait of Audrey Hepburn from IKEA has lost it’s original context. Because it has been seen more often at IKEA or as a decorative art piece, than in its original context. This is also why we are able to find different messages and meanings in what at first glance appears to be a neutral image of dollar bills shown above. If the bills would have no marks and stacked in a perfect order, then the assumptions and the messages we are able to read into the image would still be there, just that they would be other messages and meanings. And because of perception, my conclusion in this essay is that it is impossible to be neutral. Whatever image is presented, the viewer or user will always be able to see one meaning or another in an image, and an image will always be able to be connected to something in the life of the viewer and therefore be interpreted through this experience.

On a side note I also believe it is a bit funny that Müller + Hess are Swiss, from the viewpoint that Switzerland is supposedly the oldest neutral country in the world. I wonder if any of their government officials read that issue of Eye Magazine.

Ceramics with Émilie / Ceramics with François


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

650-Emilie_Ferrat_and_Francois_Girard-Meunier_RV_lowres_1 Rietveld Graduation Show

Émilie Ferrat [x] and François Girard-Meunier [x] graduated from the Department of Graphic Design. As part of their graduation show they presented a collaborated project ‘Ceramics with Émilie / Ceramics with François.’ This project was chosen by an independent jury to be nominated for the Design Award and was for that reason part of the exhibition ‘Selected Gerrit Rietveld Academyie Awards 2015’ organized in Castrum Peregrini [x].

Screen shot Peregrini-show

Castrum Peregrini Presentation

 

Ceramics with Émilie / Ceramics with François

‘The medium is the message.’ These words of Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan still offer room for artistic exploration. Because how exactly the message changes when the medium, or the material, is changed remains shrouded in mystery. In their collaborative project, graphic designers Émilie Ferrat and François Girard-Meunier use a classic yet surprising approach: dialogue.
 
Screenshot_Selected-images1
 
    The installation consists of a video of the two designers conversing and a number of glazed clay models –a mobile telephone, for example, and shot glasses, jigsaw pieces and some undefinable models– with which Ferrat and Girard-Meunier stretch the boundaries between form, material and meaning. A new plain field is established. The video shows their fresh and resolute debate on their progress in working with ceramics – a new material for both of them. The dialogue is explicitly overacted, which stresses the artificiality of the form (a recorded conversation about models they made earlier). The overacting harmonizes nicely with the glaze on the clay models: a shiny layer upon robust content. The spoken and material form are one.
 
Screenshot_Selected-images2
 
    ‘Do you think it’s the ceramics that is giving meaning to our talks,’ one of them asks, ‘or rather that our talks are giving meaning to the ceramics?’ The relationship between words and things is a complex one. It is a relationship that has puzzled many philosophers, artists and linguists. By deliberately speaking as amateurs, ferret and Girard-Meunier open up a new perspective on this relationship.
    The material prompts conversations that lead beyond just ceramics: design in a broader sense, a philosophical ‘brain in a vat’ argument, personal insecurities and the history of art, these are all subjects that lay hidden in the material. The ceramics function as a conversation starter: the medium turns out to contain many messages.

text by Thomas van Huut [x]

 

for full length video [19 minutes 54 seconds] contact François Girard-Meunier

 

matter of drawings


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Finding your way in the Designblog, we all do it in a different way. What catches our interests? What do we remember of it and how do we connect it to other links, artists, events, books etc? I was browsing thru the Designblog and ended up in the category ‘Beeld en Taal’ (image and language), went into the illustration part and found this post: Considerations on the matter of drawing.  Luca Carboni is explaining his fascinations for drawing and asks himself if drawing is one of the oldest way in which mankind is expressing itself, is drawing a medium in which the Zeitgeist is always an important part.

In drawing you can see the influence of the time. Luca says: ‘As an expression of time it’s the best medium to communicate something of that moment, every idea, process, image.’

8e90d8fe-ab97-11e2-9637-ae88113b62bc    Luca connects this with the book “The New Yorker Album of Drawings 1925-1975” from the Rietveld library. The book exists out of different cartoons from “New Yorker” magazine in the period 1925 till 1975.  Cartoons made by: Saul Steinberg, William Steig, Richard Taylor, Peter Arno, Charles Barsotti, Geoge Booth, Barney Tobey, James Thurber, Charles Saxon and many more. One of the best known is Saul Steinberg who worked for almost 60 years for the New Yorker. The magazine is a combination of fiction and journalism. The cartoons in the magazine have always played an important role. Above that, until the 1990s they never used photographs but only illustration.

Pantumblr_md4nqoNce51rfltouo1_500

When I read the post for the first time, I immediately made the connection with the artists Brecht Evens (born in 1986). He is a Belgium artists who makes a lot of cartoons, illustrations and strips. I think in his beautiful watercolor drawings  you can see that the time we live is an import aspect, just like in the album of drawings from the New Yorker. Evans worked for the ‘New York times himself. A part from that he published two books. Most recent: “De liefhebbers” [The Making Of] (2011) and before that “Ergens waar je niet wil zijn” [The Wrong Place] (2009).

10411139_747114228683909_110301245057733465_n

In the cartoons of the New Yorker the zeitgeist indeed plays an import part. And it is this what makes those drawings so smart and funny. Is this all that matters?  Was it only the time we lived in, that played an import roll. We still do admire the drawings and cartoons these artists made. The drawings still speak to us.

Brecht EVens2

The same goes for Brecht Evens. There is something mysterious about these drawings that always holds our attention, regardless of the time in which we live.

The Blind make the Blind See


Monday, December 9, 2013

When I walked along the bookshelves, trying to find the most interesting book in the entire library (which is quite a task I have to say), the first thing I noticed that I was not able to read the title on the spine of one of the books I was passing. Usually I would just pass by the book, like people pass by signs written in a language they do not understand, besides, I am not interested in books which are not worth adding the title on the spine of the book. It is almost like the designer tries to tell you already that it is not worth it.

Though the title was on the spine of this book and it was in English.

The reason why I could not read the title of the book is because the title is written in braille. Not in the way of feel-able braille but in big and small dots. The dots are printed in silver on purple, reflecting the light in the room which makes it even harder to ‘read’ or recognize the text.

So I decided half consciously, half unconsciously to take the book from the bookshelf to take a closer look at the cover. I reached out to the book and grabbed it from the shelf. Because I am right-handed the first thing of the book I see, when I pull it from between the other books, is the backside. (Provided that it was not placed upside-down or backwards on the bookshelf, which was not the case here.)

Help me, I am blind - cover[3] Help me, I am blind - cover[2] Help me, I am blind - cover

 

I now realize that it is a pity books are to be read from left to right. Since then the front of the book is on the left side of the cover. Because of this and the fact that the majority of the people is right-handed, you will always see the back of the book first when you get it off a bookshelf. Most books are designed with the thought that you will see the front of the book first and the back last. If you experience the book the other way around, you get answers before you even have questions, causing you not to be interested in looking any further.

So I grabbed the book from the bookshelf with my right hand. Unintentionally already reading the back of the book, which contained both the title, the writer and photographer of the book. So when I turned the book in my hands to the front it already was not a question anymore what this previously so intriguing text in dots on the front of the book meant. Though what I immediately noticed when turning the book in my hands was the nice manageability of it. It has the size of a small purse, a slightly bit smaller than A5 paper format, which makes it very hand-able.

I personally always appreciate this very much in a book. I do not like to read books which are so big you can barely hold them or so small you can not even hold the pages without covering at least a quarter of the page with your thumbs. In my opinion reading a book should be a pleasant and comfortable activity, independent of  the content being pleasant or not. Unless, of course, it was the artists specific intention for the book to be not comfortable or pleasant in its physical appearance.

Help me, I am blind - side.jpg

 

Another thing I noticed, when turning the book in my hands, was that the cover was filled with one big picture spread over both the front, spine and back, keeping the three connected as one. The picture slightly being out of focus suggests the view of a sunset with an object reminding me of a curtain partly covering the view. Also this raises questions, it being partly unclear about what you are seeing. You can quite clearly recognize the sunset though the object in front is raising questions as ‘what is this object?’ and ‘where are you when this object is in your view?’ The last thing I noticed before actually opening the book was that the sides of the papers were black, matching the dark design of the cover well. The black edges keeps the book together, prevent the book from splitting up in paper en cover.

 

two-dates

When I opened the book on the first page, I was confronted with two numbers divided by a short horizontal line. When taking a closer look I found out that those two numbers stand for the passing time in the book. The texts in the book start on 12/05/2009 and ends on 08/06/2009 covering 27 days of  the southern hemispheres autumn and the northern hemispheres spring and summer. Every single day in that month is represented in the book. First by one or more pictures than by a text. These pictures (by Heidi Specker) from Australia are given another meaning through the texts (by Theo Deutinger) from Rotterdam.

The Book is build up in such a way that you are first confronted with one or more pictures, allowing you to find your own connection with and between those pictures. All these photos cover a spread, only allowing you to take in one photo at a time. While looking through these photos there is never one clear answer to the question what connects them. Is it a subject? An abstract keyword? Or just the day those pictures were taken?

Take A Quick Look Inside

The groups of pictures are followed by the texts, which always start with the date and the title on top of each other divided by a short horizontal line. All the texts start on the right page, leaving an empty white page on the left. This empty page is very pleasant when going through the book since it allows you a deep breath after those very informative photos. The content of the text seems to be based on the photos without any further knowledge gained from the photographer. They start right from what you see and develop into a more personal description from the writers perspective.

The book ends with the photo from the cover (which turns out to be an airplane window) and the text:

‘For a moment I totally forgot why I am on this Lufthansa flight heading to Frankfurt. Or isn’t it me who is flying? Suddenly I have the feeling that I have never been to Australia at all.’ – 090608, Evidence

In this way Christoph Keller both brings back and abandons the distance between Heidi Specker, the photographer, who was there to experience Australia through making photos and Theo Deutinger, the writer, who experienced Australia through the photos and his texts.
For more information on the designer Christopher Keller have a look at this: [link]

Rietveld library catalog no: spe 1

NINETY-ONE BOOKS IN ONE


Monday, December 9, 2013

Books. They are there. Just there. As long as I can remember. Starting with Maan, Roos, Vis (Moon, Rose, Fish) and Wie heeft er op mijn hoofd gepoept? (Who shitted on my head?), learning the alphabet, learning how to read. But there is another way of looking at books. a total different kind of books. How does the book look like and why. Why is it done the way it is, why does it work this way and why did they do it.

Design.

When we were looking at the books in the library of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, this was the book that got my attention. “Boy Politics”. It’s the color of the cover I saw at first, the grey, green color. Typical Rietveld I would say. Now when it’s lying next to me in the room, it’s almost like camouflage against the wall. Maybe this color is something we inherit from the Rietveld because the designers of the book, Anton Stuckhard and Andrea de Sergio both graduated last year at the Rietveld from the Graphic Design Department.

boypolitics 1 DSC_0407

Second thing you see: the way of binding. Screws. Good combination with the title I would say.

Boys. Strong. Screws. Politics. Connection.

On the cover there is only text, 5 narrow columns next to each other. The title is pretty clear in a simple fond. The cover is the index of the book but on the same time every number in the columns is related to another book. The front and the back cover page form the index together. Because it’s simple and clear you get immediately a lot of information. There are ninety-one numbers, relating to the other books and twelve different themes.

Science. Education. Work. Family. Hygiene. Sport. Media. Art. Sexuality. Murder. Music. Fight.

When you turn the book around there is in the right upper corner a small text.  It tells about the makers of the book, they didn’t design the book but they designed the presentation from which the book results. Marc Roig Blesa (2009, VAV, and Rogier Delfos. They work also together at the “Werker” Magazine. It’s a contextual publication about photography and labour that inquires into the possibility of formulating a contemporary representation of work [link].  While reading the small text you find out that the whole book is made out of ninety-one other books, the other books related to the numbers on the cover. The pages out of the books they choose are a visual essay analyzing the historical and still present instrumentation of the figure of the boy. All the books used are from Roig Blesa’s personal book collection, published between 1920’s and 1990’s. These books were presented at the Rietveld Library, organized in conjunction with the Marginal studies, a workshop by Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos at the Graphic Design Department. In the vitrines they presented the different books, opened on the page you see now in this one. So in a way, the design of the presentation was determent for the book. In between the different subjects there is again a thin paper with the index on it. All the books in the vitrines had a number, these numbers are the numbers related to their place in the index.

253324_584267184938477_1406346908_n

The pages are printed on a bit bigger than A3 format, but they are folded in the middle so the size of the book is kind of A4. The folding of the copied books and the folding of the A3 paper isn’t the same. It’s done that way that the left page of the first book becomes the right page of the new book, and so they form a new page with the second book. The difference between the images is very nice, they change from black-and-white into color and back again. Because it are all copies from the old books, they couldn’t choose them self which images would be color or black-and-white, but the rhythm in it is great. On the side of the pages you have a folding line and not a cut, you can open the page and see the copied book page in total. When you flip one page, you have two different books next to each other but that’s something you almost don’t recognize.

Boypolitics1Boypolitics2

The different size is what you see immediately but the subjects are the same. Also the switching between text and images makes it interesting to look at. On the top of the page there is on every page a small white line and on the bottom there is only black. Just to make sure that you see that it all are copied pages. Reading for me was a bit harder because the language of the books is various. German, English, Spanish, Dutch.

The image language in the book speaks strong, for me at least. The way the different books (Werker and this ‘catalog’) were putted together, forming a relation, made me curious how the rest looked like. Because the text that’s on the pages isn’t complete, you mainly focus on the images. As said before, a visual essay. While relating to the year the books are made and the photo’s it was for me a playful and inspiring way of trying to understand a bit of the boys history. The size, the weight, the coloring, the screws, the simple idea of only photocopies turned into a book, makes you want to hold it in your hands and really understand it.
In a way I think that the designers of the exposition were the main designers, they were the ones who provided the inside of the book and related the images. But without the strong outside it would have remained only a temporary presentation. The designers of the book found the perfect solution in translating it.

For The Children


Sunday, December 8, 2013

For the children a design by Rik Meijers

After some introductions of new ways of looking and dealing with books, I tried to focus in how the connection between artist and designer work together in the best way. When I say ” in the best way ” I’m always being subjective, understand a book in the way the artist wants is not always possible.

During my first research I didn’t get amazed by any book , Every time I founded a special design for my eyes I couldn’t understand the connection between the content and the choices the designer has done, because there could be thousands of possibilities to represent that content in an understandable way, at this point I got confused but I had to keep with the research.
but this time, I just only wanted to focus in my first visual attraction and then go deep in how that specific design works with the content.

During this process, walking at the Rietveld library I found one book that was shocking for my eyes ,this book is called For the children and is designed by Rik Meijers .

As an starting point I can talk about the cover wich consist of a painting collage .
The titled >‘For the Children’< and some of the other words as >+stickers or coloring book< belong to the painting.

‘For the Children’ is printed in A4 and all the drawings inside are scaled to this size

The paper used for the cover is shining and inside Rik Meijers used white cardboard paper.

CONTENT2

 

Inside the book you can find 16 illustrations, drawings in black and white and 2 pages full of stickers, all scaled to A4, this combination gives the feeling of those children coloring books, which is mentioned at the cover (coloring books)

content3

 

The design of this book is quite simple it gives all the importance to the drawings, which I guess is the purpose of the artist.

This simple design make you wonder how to deal with the book, if making new creations in top, I mean, using the book as a real coloring book or enjoy and observe this book as a finish book and finish work, I think Rik Meijers wants to present the book  in this ironic way which in my opinion could be logical by the fact that the drawings are not representing scenes for children.

6

 

As a conclusion I thought this design was connecting perfectly to the concept the artist wanted, but then I realized that the artist was also the designer of the book , Rijk Meijers made me think about the artist being his own designer, which in my opinion sometimes could be really good because they know exactly how to present their work clearly, but sometimes could be totally the opposite and the artist needs a designer that understands the best way to show their work in a clear way .

content4
 

Rietveld library catalog no: Meij 2

Khhhhhhh


Saturday, December 7, 2013

I was browsing through the list of books acquired this year at the Rietveld Library and I came across the title “Khhhhhhh” by Slavs and Tatars.

Interesting title that made no sense to me and therefore made me curios and furthermore choose the book for my exploration and design research.
Now I know that Slavs and Tatars (S&L) is an artist group and this book is a combination of research and study alongside giving a written lecture and investigation through the book which was published in connection with their exhibition on the topic which the book investigates [X].

Before starting the exploration of the book, to be clear about who S&L is, this gives a pretty good hint: “Slavs and Tatars is a faction of polemics and intimacies devoted to an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia. The collective’s work spans several media, disciplines, and a broad spectrum of cultural registers (high and low) focusing on an oft-forgotten sphere of influence between Slavs, Caucasians and Central Asians”.

Looking at the book the first thing one notice is of course the cover – afterwards turning the book around, feeling the weight in your hands and looking at the back.

Khhhhhhh, cover

The cover consists of the K and the H’s from “Khhhhhhh” scattered over a picture of a room that looks like a mosque. The letters are in a sort of bad computer game-like font with a thick white border and a filling of grey/silver’ish screen noise. Strange combination which immediately intrigued me and invited me to open the book and look at the inside.The way the letters are scattered is of course a choice which have been made, like everything else in the book, and the way these letters are scattered is no different. They move up and down in a rhythm that divides the cover into sections. Also the effect of the font adds to the feeling of them moving.

The book is slightly bigger than A4, half a centimeter on each side and has a thicker cover but still not hard, which gives it the feeling of a catalog more than a book-book.

The back of the book is a continuation of the mosque room with a big white print on it of an open mouth with the two sentences:”Mothers Tongues” and “Father Tongues” written under it.

Khhhhhhh, cover and back

By looking at the cover and the back you already get a feeling of what the book might be about. Something with letters and a strange pronunciation of /sound from this “Khhhhhhh” + the mosque, the strange print of the open mouth which almost goes “AAAAAAHHHHH” at you, the inside of the mouth with foreign alphabet symbols and finally the Mother Tongues and Father Tongues indicating, again, language and inheritance of tongues/pronunciation.

Opening the book there is no first page with information about the publisher, designer, year or anything, but on the opposite page there is the table of content written in Russian and English opposite of each other as if there was in a way some kind of comparison between the two languages. Maybe the book is about language? The paper is thicker (115 grams), a bit yellowish and has a really nice smell.

As you can see on the picture, the book has chapters and sub chapters.

Khhhhhhh, content


The following page is a Russian text in fat black lettering and two translations of the same text in English and I think Czech. The text says:” Genghis Khan, me you midnight plantation! Dark blue birch trees, sound in my ear! Zarathuse me, you twilight horizons! Mozarticulate me, dark blue sky!” – by Velimir Khlebnikov. I found it interesting that the two first letters in Velimirs second name are Kh. Also Genghis Khan was the leader of the Khan clan in Mongolia from 1175.
Before moving on to the rest of the book I would like to add a quote to give a shorter and probably more precise introduction to the book that might make more sense than what I’m able to explain: ” the book is;  A reconsideration of pedagogy, progress, and the sacred role of language via the perspective of a single pesky phoneme, [kh].Khhhhhhh explores the thorny issues of knowledge versus wisdom and the immediacy of the oral versus the remoteness of the written word thru a fireside chat around sacred hospitality, Velimir Khlebnikov, and numerology.”

After this starts a long investigation of the phenomenon Kh which I, before reading this book, had no idea was a phenomenon in language and how it undergoes different names and symbols in Semitic, Cyrillic, Turkic and Arabic alphabets. Because of the different languages each page consists of an English text, the translation in Russian, pictures from Slavs and Tatars exhibitions and beautiful drawings of the Kh in different languages and in which direction these symbols are to be drawn.

Khhhhhhh, alphabet Khhhhhhh, pages

The choices which S&T has made for this book helps to pass on the investigation/research feeling and works almost like having a wall with a lot of sticky notes and pictures on it. They make this work without being confusing, which very easily could happen, by dividing the pages into sections. As in the table of content, the pages inside the book are divided so the left, slim column is for the Russian translation, most of the rest of the page has the English text and then you have pictures, illustrations and alphabets/symbols scattered over the rest of the page, with descriptions of each picture under each picture + footnotes. Busy, busy pages! The graphic of the lettering becomes more like a picture on the page than a text. Still everything is framed and kept inside a border of approximately 1,5 cm.

Khhhhhhh, pages

There is a lot of information on each page and the drawings, the texts, the translations and images are placed differently on each page so when you turn the page you have no idea what will come at you. As mentioned before this could give a very confusing experience with the book, but instead of being confusing it just keeps you really interested and curious.

S&L them self says in an interview that with their publications they: “Attempt to resuscitate the sacred character of language, from the devotional act of reading to the ritual of the printed word”, – which might be why the book design is how it is,  jumping up and down and moving on the pages as if it was the spoken language with it’s rhythm, different heights and lows and not the printed word.
It is almost impossible to describe the book with words, especially written words, which funny enough makes so much sense considering what the book is about.

Khhhhhh pageshift

To indicate that the book moves into a different area in Appendix A, the pages changes completely and the background is a big photo.

Khhhhhhh, Appendix A

And the same goes for Appendix B, which is the last chapter.
I would really recommend you to have a look at this book and Hey! ….
It’s super easy because they even have a free pdf version uploaded online and on all their other publications www.slavsandtatars.com

 

Rietveld library catalog no: slav 1

Scattered Matter


Sunday, October 27, 2013

 

 

ES Sandberg1

 

The picture shows a manuscript called ‘Lectura sub aqua’, part of the series ‘Experimenta Typographica’ from 1943 by Willem Sandberg.

Sandberg, a Dutch graphic designer, typographer and long term director of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam was forced to hide when the German occupation authorities discovered that he was involved in the resistance. While concealed on different farms, Sandberg produced graphic works out of the materials he found there – utilizing collected quotations – that correspond with his view of the world.

The chosen manuscripts states: ‘La propriété c’est le vol’ – property is theft. The slogan is a quote from the French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudon, taken from his book from 1840 ‘What is property?’. Proudon was a French politician, largely considered to be the ‘father of anarchism’.

I find Sandberg’s manuscript an interesting starting point to ponder the relation between content and form. The repetition and graphical variations that he applies on the inherently strong political statement seem to point out the link between the visual appearance of the statement and its content. Moreover, I find it an compelling artistic choice to break down the phrase into a simplistic formula, eliminating all parts of the syntax apart from ‘propriété’ and ‘vol’, making the phrase into an undiluted juxtaposition of two nouns. I feel that the two words not only strengthen each other, but also get the message on a high conceptual level.

Sandberg’s work reminds me of some of the text works of Lawrence Weiner. Weiner started this conceptual artistic practice in the 1960′s/70′s utilizing brief phrases, statements or words combined in formulas put up on walls. I see quite strong analogies between the ways that the two creators employ typography as their medium, in spite of coming from different eras and creative practices. In the 1960′s and 70′s, when Weiner evolved as a conceptual artist, his work was considered extremely avantgarde. Looking at Sandberg’s work from 1943 gives me a new perspective on Weiner’s wall pieces.

ES Lawrence Weiner

As many of his statements manifest, Weiner is an artist strongly rooted in the present. At the event of the opening of his current solo show ‘Written on the wind’ at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Weiner stated: ‘Time is looking at the sky and realizing that it moves.’ I always enjoy making connections between art works from different eras or fields. Discovering references between Weiner and Sandberg was nice, because it points out once more that there is no inherent difference between ‘applied art’ and the so-called ‘fine art’ that Weiner would belong to, if you would obey those categories. I don’t know where that difference would lay. I find it intriguing that once one decides to devote time and attention to art, it becomes inevitable to realize that similar tendencies have been and are present throughout art history, also crossing between fine arts and applied arts. Artists and designers work on certain ideas and develop certain styles that keep influencing each other, while those ideas keep gaining visual, symbolic and historical meaning with every new era they enter.

One could say that Sandberg and Weiner share the way that they use language and – more specifically – typography as their medium. For some years, I have had a huge interest in the relation between the content and the form of an art work. To me, Walter Benjamin genuinely sums it up: ‘Beauty is not the object and not the shell, but the object in its shell.‘ The relation of the object and the shell is a very relevant question for myself and my own artistic works. If I was asked to chose one source of inspiration for the rest of my life, it would be this one.

The reason why I have chosen to compare the works from Sandberg and Weiner is my interest in the question how phrases change when their visual appearance is changed. What I like about conceptual art is its power lying in the mere thought. In 1968, Weiner manifested some view points on conceptual art in his ‘Declaration of Intent’: ‘The work need not be built.’ I can just agree with that. I can say that I find the relation between Sandberg and Weiner interesting with regard to the different fields they come from (applied art versus fine art), the different times and the different working methods. Both of the artists’ works inspire me to think about the relation of the content and the form. It furthers the understanding of Weiner’s work to hear him talk about it – e.g. the fact that he considers language sculptural. Weiner also states that his works are to be understood as gestures – which are immediately understandable, so they become language, too.

Weiner and Sandberg are interesting examples, because both of them chose for the immediacy of the language, while at the same time playing around with different colours and graphic variations. Also, by using language as a tool or medium, they put a concrete thought out there, which comes off as quite forcing compared to other media like painting or sculpture, while at the same time it leaves a large space for personal interpretations and associations. I like the directness of working with language, but also the openness.

Weiner always works with the same typeface – a very simple mono-space font designed by himself. As he states in this 2008 video: „I don’t like Helvetica, because (…) I find it a clumsy typeface. I don’t know if I find it clumsy because of its association or just aesthetically clumsy, but I try to avoid it.“ By creating his own font, Weiner avoids standardized visual appearances. His wall statements seem to get carried on to another level of visual meaning through the font they’re set in and to gain additional meaning by the way they are molded by their appearance. But even this typeface seems to be perishable, as the artist reveals: „It seems to be functioning for a while and I guess, one morning, I will wake up and it will have entered into the culture in such a way that I’ll try to find another typeface.


Log in
subscribe