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


"image + language" Category


UNIVERS REVOLVED


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

UNIVERS REVOLVED is a three-dimensional alphabet consisting of 26 letters. It was created by Korean artist Ji Lee as an attempt to challenge and question conventional reading methods. With the Latin alphabet as the starting point Lee revolves the existing letters around themselves in a 360 degree using a 3D modeling program until they become symmetrical ‘objects’ which the user can arrange to form words and sentences readable from left-to-right, right-to-left, top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top, as well as using them to build sculptures, buildings or furniture. His project ‘3-D Chess Board was created to “add an extra dimension of physicality to the game’s battle field.” Lee combines learning with play. On one hand he wants to challenge the linear way in which we perceive and on the other he seeks to add a playful perspective, turning two-dimensional letters into three-dimensional objects which you can build and create with. (More about the importance of play in learning and building is to be found in Johan Huizinga’s book Homo Ludens). Similar to Lee’s 3D alphabet, graphic designer and illustrator Karl Nawrot uses a playful approach too, where “geometrical forms don’t confine themselves to neither the constraints of two dimensional paper nor the responsibility of representing something else”. This can be seen in several of his works and typefaces including the Bauhaus Type 2012 ,  Ghost(s) Writer or Stencils etc.

11one_action

Example of words written with the typeface Universe Revolved

 

Karl Nawrot

Example of work by Karl Nawrot

Lee states that the linearity of reading, which we have adapted to as the reading standard, could be a possible limitation to extend our ability to perceive the world in different ways. While linearity offers a system to ease communication it also leaves out certain aspects for which our brains would be able to convey and interpret in their own ways. Linear means for something to be arranged in a straight, or nearly straight, line; a sequential progress of an order. An arrangement that provides the most ‘logical’ way to read, perceive and understand. Linear goes from A to B, B to C, C to D and so on. However there are plenty of examples of non-linear narratives as well. The early calligrams of Emil Bønnelycke and Guillaume Apollinaire, where written words are placed to form a visual image, to Tarantino movies where the scenes are jumping from one chapter to another and back again, almost resembling a circular structure. Although many mention-worthy novels, films and texts belongs in this category, it seems that linearity is reserved for formal matters whereas the non-linearity belongs to the narratives. And this exactly is what is so interesting about Lee’s Universe Revolved.

It could be that it’s either the linearity of which we learn or the mere lack of three dimensionality in most subjects such as literature, physics and mathematics that is the core problem. And if it’s applicable or not is hard to determine, as the linear methods do provide common ground for us to communicate and understand each other in the first place. Imagine if that was only the first step in the learning curve and that Lee and Huizinga’s ways of combining playing and learning was applied, not instead of, but in extend of this first step. Fora dyslexic or a person with dyscalculia it might be difficult to follow a course of which you have to make a logic sense out of a two-dimensional arrangement of letters or numbers, but if these subsets of alphanumeric had an actual, physical existence too, there would be a change for one to grasp, feel; sense these letters and numbers, not only for their logical purpose but for their potential as well. Take the Danish mega brand Lego for instance. The very name is a hybrid of the phrase ‘Leg Godt’ which translates to ‘Play Well’. The playfulness is incorporated in the very name, and though the various sizes and colors of the lego blocks don’t indicate a specific value, it’s possible for kids (and adults) to construct three-dimensional objects, letters, cities etc. in a way that makes sense for them.

For this research we have both made our separate attempts to interpret the Latin alphabet in a personal way. With tin foil and patience, WooRyun Song has created letters by grabbing and crumbling the foil into small, physical landscapes each one containing a different letter. Due to the chosen material it has reflective paths and shiny hills. When the letter A has been formed, you go to B, C, D until all letters has been given a physical existence. She then unfolded the roll of foil, stretching it slightly until it’s back to its two dimensional form. Using digital techniques, she made the last few steps to create a new font in this project called ‘From Plane to Line, From Line to Plane’, outlining the patterns and letter of the tin foil landscaped.

From-Plane-to-Line_1200       From Plane to Line, From Line to Plane

As for Sidsel Lehn Mehlsen, she used the video game Mine-craft (quite similar to the idea of Lego) to build sculptural letters in a virtual park. Inspired by Lee’s approach she revolved the letters around themselves, but unlike a full 360 degree the letters have only been extracted at 90 degrees angles, forming a cross when seen from above.

Skærmbillede-1_1200 Skærmbillede 2018-05-21 kl. 12.00.44

Skærmbillede 2018-05-21 kl. 11.59.05 Skærmbillede 2018-05-21 kl. 11.58.57

AZART (ART from A to Z)


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE CREATORS OF AZART TYPEFACE:

Azart alphabet is designed by Guy Rombouts & Monica Droste

Guy Rombouts is trained as a printer-typographer. Since the seventies, he works on alternative communication systems.  According to Rombouts, direct communication is not possible because some ‘feelings’ cannot be expressed through our language. This is the main cause why he is searching for a system where form and content might coexist. which is an almost impossible goal to reach since every language is subjective and languages are constantly changing.  Guy Rombouts expands and questions what it means to communicate.

Link to Guy Rombouts lecture: [x]
 1986778110

AZART

In 1984, an abstract alphabet called AZART was finalized by him and his companion Monica Droste. There are few references that term alludes to:

 

•    AZ-Art, art from A to Z, art for art

•    French word hazard that means the coincidence

•    The Azart is Russian for inspiration or passion in the game

•    The bridges: Idea, Word, and Conscience. (pictures will be bellow)

 

Each letter correlates to:

 a line with the specific name,

the color that relates to the first letter of that color and sound

In Azart each letter is translated by a corresponding line, on the basis of the first letter of the word which describes the line.

A is angular, B is barred, C is curve, D is deviation and Z is a zigzag line.

 

Screenshot (541)Screenshot (564)

Rombouts02

 

AZART CHARACTERS & AZART COMPUTER PROGRAM

AZART alphabet is very much trying to make word physical or special. It combines letters into words as two-dimensional objects, instead of one-dimensional strings. According to Guy Rombouts, the use of color causes stronger affection between letters than in normal text. Just like in spoken language – where each sound influences the sounds preceding and following it – letters must adapt to their neighbors. This is way sentences appear as 3D characters. It creates an image in which each letter is replaced by a line.  When the lines are linked together forms and word as  images appear.

Azart words define themselves in a visual way

PRESS THE LINK*

http://www.azart.be/azartstart.html     

 

AZART PROGRAMME

The Azart computer program was made after the alphabet’s completion. It visualizes the natural Azart writing activity and the method/principles how the words/sentences are communicated through Azart.

 

Screenshot (563)

you can create your own Azart word with the image link above:

On this website you can see a number of bridges designed by Guy Rombouts and Monica Droste. The serpent figures in the bridge railings forms a word.  Nine letter- or Word-bridges by artist couple, 1994. The Belgian artists designed a whole new alphabet, ‘ the regulation ‘, an image in which each letter Azart is replaced by a line. The squiggly figures in the bridge railings forms a Word.   Bridges to a  certain extend do refer to language they have same function – connection and comunication

bridge
 

Quotes from the interview of the witte Raaf (that in our opinion give some insight to approach that Rombouts has) :

Volledige interview: https://www.dewitteraaf.be/artikel/detail/nl/3110
 

‘De verwondering over het gewone; het feit dat wij het normale niet normaal vinden.’

‘The wonder of the ordinary; the fact that we normally do not find it normal. ‘
 

‘De alfabetische volgorde is een garantie voor neutraliteit, ze kent geen hiërarchie.’

‘The alphabetical order is a guarantee of neutrality, it has no hierarchy.’
 

‘Ik was gefascineerd door de spanning tussen woorden en dingen. Je hebt die strakke, lineaire lijst van 26 drieletterwoorden, die allemaal even lang zijn; maar de objecten zijn totaal verschillend.’

‘I was fascinated by the tension between words and things. You have that tight, linear list of 26 three-letter words, all of which are equally long; but the objects are completely different.’
 

‘Obsessies kunnen vervelend worden, vooral als je er niet zelf voor kiest. Als je zelf een obsessie kiest en daar tijdelijk inkruipt – als spel, ironie of knipoog – dan kan het heel ontspannend werken.’

‘Obsessions can become annoying, especially if you do not choose them yourself. If you choose an obsession yourself and temporarily sneak in – as a game, irony or wink – it can be very relaxing.’
 

‘Ik hou ervan dingen bijeen te brengen zonder ze vast te leggen. Dingen vastleggen is vreselijk. Ik probeer lijm te vermijden.’

‘I love to bring things together without recording them. Capturing things is terrible. I try to avoid glue.’
 

‘Er is niets zonder moeder. Zonder moeder bestaat niemand.’

‘There is nothing without a mother. No one exists without a mother.’
 

33248912_2090353467703144_4136731827412926464_n

33401195_2090353904369767_8909452731161247744_n
 

Pam: ‘I also composed a new alphabet with shapes that you can see above. I stood in the form of the letter that, in my opinion, represented the letter. After having been in this form I converted it to a computerized graphic letter. My alphabet is still from A-Z and you can read it in your own way. It was interesting to try out how I could use my body to create an alphabet and not to use the existing form.’

PAM

 

FOURFOLD Autonomous Scenography

Autonomous Scenography-project that started in 2014 by Meryem Bayram

Bayram’s artistic practice as visual artist and scenographyer explores the parallels between humans and their environment. Fourfold will be an interactive installation that challenges our conception of the known and the unknown, the rational and the irrational.

The  project is  a living encounter between Meryem and visual artist Guy Rombouts.  In this work her proposition of a space will be given as a gift to the body of the fellow artist . Guy`s response to it, his “unpacking¨of Meryem`s spatial gift will generate a core of the “Fourfold” event.   the communication between both artists extends the field of language+image and action. the ritual itself becomes a  form of communicating. Language is not only sound that comes out of your mouth it is also an act.

15042644331

 

The Code of Imagination


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

INTRO, OUR INTEREST

During 3 weeks of design theory, we came across many different font types, some of which were far from understandable. Some of these abstract types surpassed the intelligible and had a whole coding system for themselves, in which every letter of the alphabet had a symbol of its own, which should be able to be coded and decoded in order to write and read text.
In it’s own special realm of this font families, there is a book that navigates the imaginary, it’s the Codex Seraphinianus.

 

text in the codex

text in the codex

It’s creator, Luigi Serafini , was an architect, designer and painter, who published the book in 1981. It took him around 30 months, between 1976 and 1978, in a single room apartment in Rome to create the 360 pages of this curious “encyclopedia
The book describes almost scientifically a different and strange world, reminiscent of our own planet but equally strange and obscurely abstract and unfamiliar. It is composed by two parts, one which seems to be about human science and a second about general nature, society and ruling structures of this foreign world.
The piece stands for itself, it should be seen as an art book that does have an explanation; it is extremely fantastic and creative with wondrous drawings and ideas, which stimulate your fantasies, and invite you to dream along its colorful and psychedelic illustrations.

 

Codex-Seraphinianus-08

At a first glance you will be taken through constant confusion, where referencing what you see from what you know from the natural world leads nowhere. The feeling it creates could be described as the one of a child, scrolling through an encyclopedia, believing that what is written makes sense but is not able to verify if true or not. The pictures are all that is left to rely on and are the actual source of the story telling going on through our heads.
Ever since its publication, this book stayed as a mystery; intellectuals from all disciplines have tried to “understand” and “decode” it. Despite the familiar characteristics of language like rhythm, repetitiveness, paragraphs and even punctuation, there has been no success on making sense of this “text”. It simply can’t be figured out, but why should it? What would the decoding of this alternative encyclopedia bring and why are the efforts centered in doing so? Which interpretation would be the correct/truthful one?

COMPARING THE CODEX TO OTHER BOOKS

The Codex could be compared to the “Voynichmanuscript” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voynich_manuscript), written around 1450-1520, which is also also written in a code impossible to decipher and is illustrated with bright colored images of a scientific nature, just as in the Codex Seraphinianus.

voynich-collage-pic905-895x505-95001

The feeling the codex creates could be compared to Aldous Huxleys  “Brave New World” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World);  a novel about an utopian or dystopian future where everything seems to be so great and neatly organized that it gets scary, and even though it is quite different from our world we see parallels that remind us on how easily our order can slip into the realms of suppression and absolute control, without us even noticing. The aesthetic of the world described in the Codex reminded me of this morbid perfection of the modern world.
In more general terms, the story of the interpretation, coding and decoding of the “Codex Seraphinianus” could maybe be compared as a more recent artistic Bible. “The Holy Book”, which sets a broad set of rules and explains stories through metaphors, could easily be compared since, for centuries, the scriptures have been read, analyzed, compared, re-written, interpreted and decoded by intellectuals and well as whole cultures and societies. But, which interpretation is the right one?

IN RELATION TO PHILOSOPHY

Interpretation is a key element to understanding, a fundamental capacity and force of the human essence. The reason for this need falls uncertain and as mysterious as the subject of this text, but somehow it’s force is so essential and true as any other basic necessity such as eating or reproducing, interpretation is key to learning, evolving, developing and creating, it is indeed inevitable and inescapable, nevertheless, when could we say an interpretation is true?
Plato, tried to explain the burdens/risks/nature of this issue, through what is probably the best known philosophical allegory. It’s the allegory of “The Cave”.

The Allegory of The Cave
People have always lived in a cave and haven’t seen the outside world. There is no natural light, and all the inhabitants can see are the shadows on the wall projected by the light of a fire. They are fascinated by the reflections, moreover they believe those shadows are real and if you concentrate, look and study them, you will understand and succeed in life. They don’t realize that they are looking at mere phantoms.
One day by chance, someone discovers a way out of the cave. At first he is simply overwhelmed and dazzled by the sunshine in which everything is for the fist time properly illuminated, and once his eyes adjust to the light, he encounters the true forms of the shadows he had been seeing on the cave. Previously he had been looking merely at phantoms, but now, he is nearer to the true nature of being.

allegory_cave

When the cave dweller crawls back into the cave, he is confused by the dark setting of his previously familiar space. Confused, he tries to explain his co-habitants about what he just saw and discovered, about the truth he had witnessed. At first, the other cave dwellers don’t understand his ideas, they believe he is being sarcastic and at some point, even plot to kill him.
This allegory is a symbolic explanation of philosophy and humanity; Cave dwellers are humans before philosophy, the sun the light of reason, and the messenger a philosopher (and what happens to the messenger, is what truth tellers can expect when they take their knowledge back to people).
This allegory is a warning as well as an explanation about the risks of pursuing the truth, of thinking and exploring, but, where does the force of wanting to understand, to think, to decode and understand come from? Science is maybe busy trying to find the truth of things, while art is maybe one of the fields looking to solve the bigger question, WHY?

MEANINGLESS ART, IS IT TRULY MEANINGLESS?

It is believed that the Codex Seraphinianus doesn’t have a purpose, but do purposeless things mean nothing? Is the same to make an incomprehensible statement than making no statement at all?
In art and out contemporary times this is a burning question looking for an answer. E.g. What is tho be expected from a stone carver artist today?
Stone Carver: I want people to see that I pushed the material as far as I can possibly go. I maybe want people to see themselves in it. Maybe that they wonder about my reasons for carving it. I want them to argue about why did I make it the way I did and maybe have different ideas of what the reason and its purpose is.

CONCLUSION

Philosophy as seen by Plato and many others, is a practice that will teach us to live and die well, some sort of therapy for the soul. Pieces like the Codex Seraphinianus, despite it’s attractive and superficial nonsense take a stand towards curiosity, imagination and discussion. It encourages doubt and reflection, study and analysis, key element to critical thinking and human/personal/intellectual development but most important, it encourages imagination.
The book gives us back that brave imagination of a child, that creates the story itself by looking at images and assuming what is written. The book is an invitation, to exercise our imagination again, another time, its another chance for the adult to go back to the golden age of childhood, before going to school.
Weather its real significance has, will or had ever existed shouldn’t be the main focus, instead, we should appreciate the process of adapting our eyes to the light and be courageous enough to be doubtful and think, go out of the cave even if what we see is confusing, truthful or not.

 

codex seraphinianus1

 

_____________

Emoji and Hieroglyphs


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

When I see emoji I often think of hieroglyphs and wonder if and how there’s a connection. Why I make this connection is obviously not hard to imagine, since in both cases images are being used to communicate. But is this fact relevant, or is it a negligible similarity? In order to try to answer this question I will look at the most commonly known example of hieroglyphics: Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Egyptian hieroglyphs were the formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt. It combined logographic[1], syllabic[2] and alphabetic elements, with a total of around 1,000 distinct characters. Hieroglyphic characters can also have multiple meanings depending on how they are used. For example, the symbol for ‘house’, which was pronounced as pr, can also be used phonetically to represent the sound ‘pr’ in other words. Combinations of hieroglyphic characters could therefore be used to spell out larger words and composite phrases. Only a small percentage of Ancient Egyptians knew how to use hieroglyphs, such as priests, royals and civil officials.

Emoji however are ideograms[3] (or pictograms) and smileys[4] and can be used by anyone with a device that supports emoji. They are often used to signal a certain emotion or to shorten basic sentences by replacing text with image. Decorating and simple joy are in my opinion big reasons for its use as well. Once when I was at the airport to catch a flight, my mother send me a message saying: “Have a good flight! :airplane: ”. Here the airplane emoji really doesn’t add anything in terms of information, but it simply looks ‘nice’.

An important thing that distinguishes hieroglyphs from emoji, is that most emoji don’t have a clear meaning. A simple smiling smiley, for example, can be interpreted in a lot of differentways. This because of the context it is being used in, but also by everyone their personal association with that smiley. Some people believe it to be friendly, others get the idea the sender is being very sarcastic. It can even get so specific that the meaning of a certain emoji is only known by two individuals. Me and my best friend often use a specific emoji and we always know exactly what we mean by using it because we share a certain experience. This experience we share, created its meaning. If someone else sends me that same emoji I will never read the same meaning because it’s an entirely different context.

In essence, the use of emoji cannot be considered a language at all for there is no universal system that teaches us how to use them. One could attempt to write a very complex message with emoji, but it would simply turn into a riddle with a high probability of being misunderstood. This fact shows an interesting paradox, for the use of emoji can be considered very practical in certain situations, but its use quickly turns impractical when the amount of emoji used to communicate something increases.

With hieroglyphs, this is not the case. It allowed ancient Egyptians to compose a huge variety of texts from medical documents to poetry; texts that are significantly more advanced than what is possible to convey with emoji.

So, in the end the similarity mentioned in the introduction seems negligible, even barely existing. One could argue that emoji still holds potential for becoming a language, but it is nowhere near it now. And why should it? Looking at it from this perspective might be the wrong thing to do in the first place. Emoji much more seem to be about joy and intuition. It’s a way of communicating in a free and playful way, not designed to be eloquent at all.


[1] In written language, a logogram or logograph is a written character that represents a word or phrase.

[2] A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent the syllables or (more frequently) moras which make up words.

[3] An ideogram is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept, independent of any particular language, and specific words or phrases.

[4] A smiley is a stylized representation of a (originally) smiling humanoid face that is a part of popular culture worldwide.

Abeceda NOW


Monday, May 21, 2018

 

ABECEDA 1926

 

 In 1926, the Czech dancer Milca Mayerova choreographed the alphabet as a photo-ballet.

Each move in the dance is made to the visual counterpoint of Karel Teige’s typographic music.

Teige was a constructivist and a surrealist, a poet, collagist, photographer, typographer and architectural theorist, and his 1926 photomontage designs for the alphabet are a uniquely elegant and witty invention, and one of the enduring masterpieces of Czech modernism.

 

Abeceda

 

In the graphic design world, movement refers to the path of a viewer’s eyes as he or she looks at your work. Since movement can add such a large sense of unity in design, it plays a significant role in the ceration process. By tying the different elements of a design together in a specific way, you can control the movement of your viewer’s eyes throughout the medium. As a different media, body does the same thing in ABECEDA 1926 photo-ballet. There is the different movement which is more analog, natural and already exist but still a path of a viewer’s eyes as he or she looks at the work, using the body and an action as a method of design. Despite the fact that the terms action and surface are disconnected even opposite things.

 

Letters get created

by movements > Movements who

literally give the sound exhaling.

abc

In our case of the Abeced Alphabet an example

with the first letter of the alphabet, the letter ‘A’.

The body language of reaching towards the sky asking an ‘A’. 

But expressing ‘Aas confidence standing tall, putting your hands in your wrist, chin up.

So one single letter can have a wider scala of meaning.

A aa

A letter without  a sound of the voice, a movement of the hand can be like an incomplete inform. Just an ”A” on a paper.

 

Body language which is connected to words is a missing factor in language these days. Digitization is transforming things into less natural outcomes. Which is interesting is relating those two opposite sides; the digitized, formulized and made as a stabilized, structured letters out of the natural, smooth, changing, body movement. Even we can find some elements from both sides in all the sides, still the texting, mailing and internet talk has no presence of body and sound which is ironic because we generally attend to imitate the existing features that we know, take them as a starting point or repeat them.

 

We can see the first examples of this attend in the ”Cave Paintings”. Cave paintings are also known as “parietal art”. They are painted drawings on cave walls or ceilings, mainly of prehistoric origin, dated to some 40,000 years ago (around 38,000 BCE) in Eurasia. The exact purpose of the Paleolithic cave paintings is not known. Evidence suggests that they were not merely decorations of living areas since the caves in which they have been found do not have signs of ongoing habitation. They are also often located in areas of caves that are not easily accessible. The paintings are remarkably similar around the world, with animals being common subjects that give the most impressive images. Humans mainly appear as images of hands, mostly hand stencils made by blowing pigment on a hand held to the wall.

Some theories hold that cave paintings may have been a way of communicating with others.

 

33132479_2159603404055339_7157237393018322944_n

 

The body and other elements are using for communication in a way with ”movement/action of the body and also in a way with ”captured frames such as; paintings, photographs, and even typography as visuals. So we can really understand the idea of connecting body language with the captured, reflected typography together.

 

designtheory5

 

According to that point and various examples, we can tell that art may imitate life. The movement, the performance reflected and created an alphabet. But could it possibly be possible to create an alphabet without any reflections from life?

 

The Unneutral Alphabet


Monday, May 21, 2018

 

 

 

Language is never neutral. Even if we use the same language to understand each other,

everyone has his own way of using it. The way we speak and write is influenced by our

environment, our experiences and how and where we learn to use words.

Letters are the basic element to form words and thereby use them to speak but

also in a written form.

By writing with universal typefaces like Times New Roman, Helvetica or Arial we give our

written words a visual appearance the majority knows and can use it as a common visual

communication tool.

But as we know language and communication is never neutral. So how would it be if we

would express it’s individual nature by creating your own alphabet with it’s own typeface?

It would look different for everybody, depending on what someone associates and

connects with single letters. It’s out of the question that it would make the communication

between each other very difficult. But it also creates a diversity of visual forms of language.

And to create your own individual typeface could be a great way to find out more about

how you link your personality and experiences to the way you express things.

The typeface from “Müller & Hess”
Müller and Hess

is a perfect example for an unneutral individual

typeface. It underlines their statement of “the impossibility of neutrality.” They creates an

alphabet based on pictures of things they are surrounded by and to which they have a

connection to. For everyone who just sees the pictures it stays unclear what they mean

and for which letter they stand. They created their typeface to contrast the “neutrality” of

their home country Switzerland.

For us this was the impulse to create each our own typeface which is not made for universal

use and doesn’t try to be as neutral as possible in order to be used by as many people as possible. It’s only readable for ourselves.

 

 interpretation image/alphabet                                                     interpretation of image/alphabet

Typography and beyond


Monday, May 21, 2018

We tend to relate typography to alphabet, in fact, according to the definition of Wikipedia,

typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing, and letter-spacing, and adjusting the space between pairs of letters. The term typography is also applied to the style, arrangement, and appearance of the letters, numbers, and symbols created by the process.”

So typography can actually be more flexible than the letters we are used to.

GW_Pict_1_750 static1.squarespace.com

Ghost(s) writer, 2013

This work is a work from Karl Nawrot, a French graphic designer who now works in Paris. He was inspired by three dimensional grids when he made Ghost(s) Writer, which is “an object dedicated to the act of sketching… It rejects the idea of a definitive form and its function is left to the user or the viewer and can be approached as a typewriter, a construction game or a sculpture.” The typographic work of Karl Nawrot expands past normative visions of what the alphabet is, into multi-dimensional visions of what it could be. Having trained as both an illustrator and a graphic designer, as well as having taught drawing at Gerrit Rieveld Academie, Nawrot is prolific in the way he combines narrative and storytelling, drawings, line, space and sculptural architectural forms with type design. The way he works with material is particularly innovative, often creating forms that resemble architectural models, which then become a basis for type.  An example is a model that derived from Le Corbusier’s Domino House, where the staircase is translated into a cave-like form. Instead of looking at a lay-out, two-dimensional alphabet, static on a screen or paper, we are looking at a process, which is given much emphasis over outcome. Because for Nawrot, it is crucial he gives himself a physical narrative to work with, so that whatever the ‘final product’ is, it is linked to a fiction.

Similar to the Domino House model, Nawrot created the Breu for Marcel Breuer font by making plaster model interpretations of Breuers abandoned building, The Parador Ariston, where he saw the rooms as instead ‘nests and caves’, which forms were illustrated in the letters. This playful, almost childlike, but acutely refined, material approach to the alphabet is what makes Nawrot unprecedented in todays typographic realm.

 

The infinite potential of the tools and ways we use to communicate through words and letters is being pursued in a similar way by Guy Rombouts, who created the Azart programme.

Guy Rombouts’ work can be spoken about under the term of ‘visual arts’, however throughout the mid 20th century he worked as a graphic artist with an ongoing fascination for communication systems. He is principally known for his Azart alphabet, which questions the way we interact with letters by adding multiple dimensions to how we ‘read’ words and sentences. Perhaps this is what makes his sculpture work fascinating- Often Modern sculptures will be associated with ideas, feelings or explore pure materiality, yet Rombouts creates 3d forms which may appear abstract or indirect, but in fact according to Azart, directly communicate something. Also his ‘typographic’ sculptures have often been put into public spaces, for example the 9 foot and bike bridges on Java Island in Amsterdam. Just like language bridges the gap between people, Rombouts forms connect the land together. Language doesn’t just have to come from the mouth.

 

millienina_1300

Azart alphabet

 

This new alphabet gives letters new and double meanings, related to objects and colour, which when strung together as words and then sentences, creates a loaded and complex shape of values and connotations. Like Nawrots process, Azart embeds narrative into characters, and new shape and more dimensions to letters. With this programme a user is put into a position of eradicating their memory of ‘normal’ character shapes, and take on a new vision where, like when we speak, each sounds from a letter is influenced by the one before and after it, thus the form of the word uses 3 dimensions to resemble this. We must question, is typing on an electronic document static or moveable, is it personal or objective? Just because we have fed a computer images into its memory does not mean it is fixed there. As important and useful as they are, in the age of computers, it is important to use creativity to expand and question what it means to communicate.

 

This leads us to discuss the work of Émilie Ferrat and François Girard-Meunier, who graduated from Graphic Design at the Rietveld academie with a collaborative ceramics project, ‘Ceramics with Émilie / Ceramics with François.’ They explored the way language can become material in an installation, in which there was a video where the two designers talked about some clay forms they had sculpted. In the videos, the idea of ‘meaning’ is broken down. They explore, in a new way, the on-going puzzling relationship between words and objects. How do they relate to each other? What do they mean? What is meaning? By translating the idea of a known object into another form and material, there are many questions to be asked, to which answers and messages can be found within the material. Hence, a form prompts a dialogue. You can find their work here http://designblog.rietveldacademie.nl/?p=47725

 

Suprisingly, we made a work which is closely connected to those ideas.

The work is inspired by the game kids use to play in order to learn alphabet. They have to associate a random letter with an object that begins with that letter.

Here’s an example with the letter C

game to learn alphabet

The fact that we have learnt our whole life to associate specific words to specific objects can be very limited, that’s why our work is meant to show the variety of forms and shapes and stories you can give to typography.

 

objects

We followed the same concept as the game for kids, but instead of focusing on the words, we focused on the objects.

We made a list of random words following the letters of the alphabet, and then sculpted abstract shapes out of it.

A=apple                                                   N=nose

B=bed                                                      O=olive

C=candy                                                   P=pickle

D=diamond                                               Q=queen

E=egg                                                       R=rainbow

F=fish                                                       S=shell

G=glasses                                                 T=tree

H=hairdryer                                               U=umbrella

I=icecream                                                V=violin

J=jar                                                         W=window

K=keyboard                                                X=xylophon

L=locker                                                     Y=yellow

M=moon                                                     Z=zucchini

pickle_1300

Pickle

 

But of course you can go further with the idea and play with the words which surround us in our daily life. Here’s an example of how a character would look like with our system

character

With this system, you don’t visualize just one thing anymore. The first thing your brain wants you to think it is is a character, but by being more attentive you can see a whole set of signs, of objects within one object, words within one word. At the end it makes clear for us with this experience and Azart alphabet that typography can actually be seen from different perspectives. With the shapes that Guy Rombouts creates, he makes an assemblage which gives the word another way of seeing it. The shape Azart alphabet gave us with Millie’s name might look like a rabbit, and mine, well… It’s up to the viewer to decide what it can be. All those systems want us to think differently, there is still something hidden behind the shapes we see at first, there’s a meaning even if it might not be obvious. Another example of that can be calligrams, drawings made by handwriting. You can choose to relate the writing to the drawing, but it’s not a necessity. With our character, the idea was to see what else you can obtain by replacing the eyes by eggs, legs by lockers, arms by apples, etc. But maybe the clay objects could have communicate something ? As for the pickle example above. Maybe this system can be considered as a new way to communicate with your lover, while other people wouldn’t understand what you are trying to say.

Eye Movement and Words


Monday, May 21, 2018

When we read, our eyes do not move left to right in straight steady lines; the eye goes back and forth. The movement is a combination of small rapid jerky movements, saccades and fixations, where our eyes actually stop.

When we read a text, our eyes do not move in a straight line across the page. They make skips from words to words call saccades. They also skip words, repeat words, and fixate on words.

In the image, the dots show the fixations.

 Image 1

The brain creates the illusion of smooth line and that we read every word. But the eyes fixates on only about 60% of the words we read. The eye will fixate on the less familiar words. The brain will complete, fill in the blanks.

The are three regions of  perception:

  • the Foveal region takes up only 1 to 2% of your total vision, which is around 3 to 6 letters we can see very clear;

  • the Parafoveal region is around  24 to 30 letters which are not perceived very clearly;

  • the Peripheral region is everything else we perceive, such as gross shapes.

The page, the screen where the letters are written on, give us a frame in which our eye will stay in during the reading process. But what happens when this frame disappears?

20curtain12 large_9232d231-14e0-4598-9bd2-9a1b592dc775

Arktype Curtain and "Fire Basket"by René Knip

René Knip challenges this idea with his Curtain Arktype typeface. This typeface is meant to be hung up in a space. It is taken out of the paper into a 3D world even though the typeface itself stays flat.  The work balances between the 2 and 3 dimensional. One could call it 2,5 dimensional. The white negative space of the paper around the letters does not apply to this typeface anymore, as so is the frame given by the paper or screen in which a text is normally written on/in. The negative space is the breathing room around the subject that determines how appealing it looks.

Now that it is hung in the air, you will have to determine the frame.  You will perceive the surrounding and the text as a whole. The eye will change the way how it is perceiving the text. This is also due to the fact that the letters are connected vertically even though the words are placed horizontally, still, this will guide your eye in a different way.

An interesting thing happens to the text that has now lost it frame. It is no longer just the text that creates the visual narrative, since the text is immediately influenced by its surroundings. The two are inseparable. The Curtain Arktype makes the viewer experience reading of text in a different way. As said before, the eye does not pay equal attention to every part of a text or every letter. The eyes move around, locating interesting parts of a scene.

When reading a text created with René Knip’s 3D typeface, there is almost too much for the eye to focus on. The eyes of the beholder make jerky saccadic movements from the text to the background, finding interesting parts everywhere. The words become truly visual, where meaning is created not only by the meaning of the text, but also by their sight. Furthermore, negative space has become positive, as it has become defining creator of context.

The text and the surroundings become equally important and following that you will look to it more as a composition between the text and space. Your eye movement will be guided by the shapes around it, an eye movement which is closer to one looking at a painting, sculpture rather than one reading words.

 

ONES AND ZEROES


Monday, May 21, 2018

Grid comic

READA-LEGIBILITY OF FORM

Tracking   the    mutability    of    forms    of    logographic    script    to    pictorial    images    and    back    again,    we    wondered,    how    are    these    forms    created?    While    creating    is    the    act    of    mark    making,    it    is    also    the    reading    of    the    mark    that    realises    its    objective.    How    do    these    marks    come    to    be    read,    and    who    reads    them?

As    a    single    unit,    type    is    able    to    express    itself     independently    through    its    form.    From    the    pictorial    evolution    of    early    ideographic    and    mnemonic    characters    (e.g.    Hieroglyphs,    Indus    script,    Oracle   Bone    Script)    to     typographical    manipulations    of    the    modern    age    like    three-dimensional    fonts    or   Toki    Pona,    the    image    of    a    printed    character    possesses    a    compelling    representational    force.    Be    it    logographic    or    asemic   (see   Asemic    magazine),     something    can    be    ‘read’    in    the    image    of    the    type,    even    if    there    exists    no    content    that    can    be    extracted    from    a    surface    reading    of     its     writing.

 Indus civilisation unicorn seal

Pictographic unicorn seal 

The    way    in     which    type   is    assembled    to    be    read;    like    building    blocks    stacked    upon    each    other,    individual    letters    at    their    most    basic     and    mutable    are    formed    into    words,     sentences    and    paragraphs.    As    always    a    system    of    structure    is    needed    for    random    bits    of    buildable    content    to    be    organized    meaningfully,   language’s    orthology    is    the    grid    that    gives    single    units    of    type    the    ability    to    function    as    part    of    a    larger    picture.    This    can    be    seen    in    letterpress    printing,    where    typesetting    treated    each    character    as    a    block    of    type    that    could    be    moved    and    arranged    into    boxes    of    legible    text    in    the    composition    of    the    page.

The    form    of    type     and    its    structure    both     lend    to     its    ‘readability’,    which    appears    to     occur    one    block    at    a    time.    To    understand    how    such    ‘reading’    might    work    we    can    move    to     the    pictorial    roots    of    type    where    some    similarities    between    the    component-centric    reading    of    images    will    surface.    For    example,    unlike    the    way    in    which    we    treat    type    in    writing,    focusing    more    on    the    spelling    out    of    words    and    thus,    used    to    glossing    over    the    small    units.    The    way     in    which     type    is    broken    down    and    treated    in    typesetting    and    by    digital    processing    systems,    unit    by    unit,    is    also    mirrored    in    the    way    whole    sceneries    are     pieced,      tesserae     by    tesserae,    in    roman     mosaics.

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 21.40.55

Underlined text above translated to mosaic 

THE UNDERLAYING GRID – MOSAICS & BIT PLANE

Early    roman    mosaics    were     simple    constructions    of    dark    Tesserae   and    light    Tesserae,    relying    on    the    dramatic,    harsh    contrasts    of    these    colours    to    sculpt    forms    on    the    two-dimensional    plane.    A    binary    system    like    this    creates    a    yin-yang    situation    of    positive    space    and    negative    space,    filled    and     unfilled    pockets    within    a    structure    that    controls    the    presence    of    these    two    factors.    The    stark    contrast    between    the    negative    space    and    positive    ‘filled’    space    of    a    mosaic    lay    is    instrumental    in    carving    the    form    of    a    glyph    from    the    empty,    unfilled    space,    thus    creating   a    mark,    an    indication    of    presence.    Established     before,    the    link    between    pictorial    representations    and    type    is     evolutionary,    but    stems    from    the    simple    act    of    mark    making.    In    leaving    a    mark,    a    definition    of    a    ‘readable’    form    from    the    senseless    blank    space    is    created,    images    pieced    together    in    mosaics    and    paintings,    penned    verses    in    manuscripts    all    produce    by    various    marks    a    ‘readable’    concentration    of    meaning.     However,    unlike    calligraphy    and    letterpress    printing,    which    deals    with    an    active    method    of    mark    making    by    addition,    the    way    in    which    mark    making    occurs    in    mosaics    can    be     described    as    the    ‘surfacing’    of    a    distinction.    It    is    this    definition    not    by    addition    but    rather,    distinction,    that    draws    an    interesting    link    between    the    laid    mosaic    surface    and    the    bit    plane    beneath    the    impenetrable    screen    of    our    computers.    Digitally    rendered    type    and    warriors    in    mosaics    appear    to    be    drawn    from    the    blank    space,    even    if    the    forms     are     so     clearly     distinct    from    their    backgrounds,    they    inherently    belong    to    the    weave    of    the    grid    interlocking    the    entire    plane.

Caupona di Alexander e Helix

Floor mosaics of the Severan Period @ Caupona di Alexander e Helix

Bit Plane img 1         <Bit plane img 2

Bit plane image slicing 

This    can    be     attributed     to    the      shape     of     Tesserae     which     allowed     for    a    tight     fit     of     pieces     within     the     structure    of     a     mosaic     lay     and     naturally     with     its     geometry,     producing    a    grid      network     that      flowed     through     the     entire      mosaic.     More      importantly,     it     also     determined     the      placement     of      other      pieces,     functioning     independently     as     a     growing   support     system.     The      bit      plane   of   a   computer    functions      on     a      similar     grid     logic     in   developing    computer     graphics    (see    4:14    Ivan    Sutherland’s   Sketchpad,   40:44   for   graphic  animation )     that     allows      for     simplified       organization     of     information      and     systematic     mapped      identification    of     what     should    go    where.    With    the     grid     system     making     for    an     efficient     positioning     of     negative     and     positive    ‘marked’    space,    with    both    being    created    simultaneously,   as   opposed   to   a    hierarchy   of   surface-to-type.    As   a   result,   we   see   a   single   grid   plane   (surface)   created   containing   both   contrasting   elements,    a   ’reading’   of   such   a   surface   becomes   more   attentive   to   the   qualities   of   form   in   type,   as   something   carved   from   the   plane   itself   and   therefore   intimately   tied   to   the   surface   upon   which   it    exists.   Eventually,     mosaics    evolved     to     contain     elements     of     gradation     and     cutting     of     Tesserae     to   accommodate   circular   shapes,   making     for    more     elaborate     and    decorative    lays,    much    like    how    bit    computers    from    the    80′s    have     played    up    their    resolution    game.    What    doesn’t    change    is     the    language    upon    which     the     form     is     communicated;    inter-woven  presence    and     absence. 

ascii art

ASCII art

animated_binary_pic_2_by_palaios

 

ONES AND ZEROES

 The    translation    of    alphabets    into    Morse    code    produces    a    type    that    can    be    transmitted    via    electrical    pulses,    audio    tones    and    mechanical/ visual    signs    (heliograph/ Aldis    lamp),    one    that    while    can    be    recorded    in    print,    is    transmitted    in    a    form    distinct    from    the    printed    aspect    of    type.    Morse    relies    on    a    binary    system    of    dots    and    dashes,    or    equivocally,    flashes    and    pauses,    positives    and     negatives,    ones    and    zeroes.    The    materializing    of    this    information    as    ‘readable’    content    on    the    bit    plane    follows    a    series    of    conversions  of   data,   text   and   instructions   from   the   same    binary     system   (e.g. B=01000010)    to     corresponding     alphabets,   actions    and   responses     and     in     the     process     computers    read     each     letter     as     a     series     of     1s     and    0s   (or   any   other    two-symbol   variant) ,     which    to    us    remains    complexly    coded    when     left    untranslated.    Yet,   to   a   reader   who   recognizes   the   tightly   knitted   fabric   of   language,    presence (1)   and   absence (0)   are   meaningfully   placed   to   form   a   legible   and   therefore   visible   picture. 

Aldis Lamp

Aldis Lamp

If    we    were    to    consider    how    non-humans    read    or    what    type   would    be    in    a    situation    unable    to    relate    itself    to    print,    we    could    say    that    the   attention   to    presence    and    absence,   down   to   how   a    character   materializes   itself,    being    conscious    as    well    of    the    textural    fabric    in    which    it    materializes,   will   form   the   basis    of    the   behavior    of    such    a    type.  

Heptapods

Heptapod Logograms 

Arrival (2016)

Space in the Metro universe


Sunday, May 20, 2018

How do we recognize a map? That is the main question rising when we stand in front of the new decorations that appeared in differed Metro stations in Amsterdam. Together with design bureau Fabrique, Group A architects was responsible for the design [x] and renovation of stations along the Oostlijn Metro in Amsterdam.  Group A has created a design that is not only a return to the basis of the original design’ but also reflects ‘a vision of the future’. In an interview for Grafik.net website, Rene Knip, the main designer of the project, said: I’m taking the walls of stations and starting to tell things, I’m leaving it open — stories that are not understandable but everybody wants to read. I give type the opportunity to mean something, I give the people visual material to build meaning, a visual story that is free to dive in – the way they do it is their story.”

 
metro 1
Photoshop sketches for visual language tableaus for the renovation of the Oostlijn metro in Amsterdam, 2013

 
When looking at these decorations, they immediately receive the shape of mystery maps revealing unknown places. They become a visualization of a secret landscape or an imaginary place. The reason that we see those unknown images and connect them to maps might be the language that was used in the design of the decorations. The use of red broken lines and empty dots, above a white background, connect us to the visual language of the Metro maps, but also to childhood treasure maps that uncover precious secrets. Knip described that the Metro designs were inspired by childhood experiences.

The Metro stations can perform as a universe on their own. When we look at a Metro map, we find out it is very much composed by straight lines, even though the path in fact is not straight. The maps are not designed in a way that allows you to find your location in the world, but instead they give a relative information of where is your station in the order of the Metro station system. Your location is relative to the route you are on.

In this universe there is an order of actions that you have to perform in order to get to your destination starting with passing your ticket to enter. Once you arrive, you pass your ticket again and go back to the outside world. The Metro maps are the maps of a parallel world, that is connected to the locations outside, but also has existence of its own. You can travel under the city in a parallel universe that its whole reason of existence is to allow you to pass between places. In New York, abandoned Subway stations are becoming a strange space in which things are changing and transforming according to time.

 
metro 2
The tiling on a platform at Chambers Street has become significantly damaged

 
When we step out of the metro, and in our way out we see the decorations on the wall, it’s clear for us that they don’t try to illustrate the outside world. Why do we still relate ourselves to those maps? We know what it is but we don’t understand it, we recognize it as a metro map but we cannot read it. Maybe the motive of fantasy that they hold, the fact that they are almost something familiar, but not completely, is what gives it its power.

 

metro 3

Amsterdam’s Metro map

 
Is it possible that the way the decorations communicates might change with time? when we look back at something in time, we might not understand the meaning of it, but this appearance of something that it constructed by rules might give us the feeling that there is a meaning hiding behind the unknown language. An example for this can be the hieroglyphs found inside the pyramids in Egypt. No one had used the hieroglyphs for more than 1,500 years, but since discovered, people knew that the hieroglyphs are not only decorations on the Egyptian kings’ grave tombs. Even though people believed that the hieroglyphs has a meaning, they were decoded only after hundreds of years, with the discovery of the rosette stone that was found in 1799. The stone is inscribed with three versions of a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The top and middle texts are in Ancient Egyptian using hieroglyphic script and Demotic script, while the bottom is in Ancient Greek. As the decree has only minor differences between the three versions, the Rosetta Stone [x] proved to be the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs.

 
Maybe in hundreds of years, the cultures following ours will come across those Metro decorations that has the quality of a secret map or a secret language, and will try to find the meaning lying behind those vague maps. Maybe when that happens, they would be able to find their own Rosetta stone [x}, and give new life to our symbols, that will receive a new form and meaning.

tumblr_o6swairt5L1r54c4oo1_1280
Linear IKEA Store “Transit” Strip Map
 

emojis


Sunday, May 13, 2018

So what it basically iS?

.                                    Symbols, that help to describe/show things/emotions.

Did it all start from the primitive period, when people drew animals on the walls of the caves, using images and signs in order to describe?

2017-01-092_1300

 

 

Or from the first ‘:)’ in the poem from 17th century?

 

 

emojis

 

 

Anyways, it became popular in the 90s when in SMS people started using emoticons. Emoticons are punctuation marks, letters, and numbers used to create pictorial icons that generally display an emotion or sentiment.
Actually, it officially started in 1982, when in Carnegie Mellon University the joke in online message board went wrong and made a huge misunderstanding. Dr. Scott E. Fahlman came with a proposal to use emoticons in order to define jokes and non-jokes.  : – )

Kao(face)moji(character)s are Japanese emoticons ¯\_(?)_/¯ .

e(picture)moji(character)
the first emoji was made by Shigetaka Kurita in 1999 for the first Japanese mobile internet platform i-mode.
(the 176 original emojis are now part of the permanent New York MOMA collection)

In 2011 Apple (of course) made them famous by adding them in iOS 5, but only for the Japanese version.                                  (2 years later Android joined :-)
After noticing the growing popularity of emojis around the world they added them to every keyboard.
Now every user can switch from English or German to emojis’ keyboard.

With the help of Unicode Consortium    (- a non-profit group that maintain text standards across computers) (and Google’s petition to get emojis recognized  )             emojis are (almost) everywhere.                                                                                                                                                                                                    O-:

in 2010 Unicode accepted 625 new emojis proposed by Apple.

in 2013 the US Congress Library added the ‘Moby Dick’ written in emojis languages

in 2014 the gender and skin-color issues raised

in 2018 157 emojis were added.

 

You can propose your emoji and explain why it is necessary to add it                                                                                                 http://unicode.org/emoji/selection.html

2 times a week the Unicode meets up to discuss wether the pasta should be on a plate or in the bowl

wether it is important to add a sugar cube to emojis’ list

wether the girl’s haircut should be till shoulders or longer

You can go to https://emojipedia.org/                if you are not sure in the meaning of the emoji and do not want the misunderstanding to happen

You can go to                                                             if you want to analyze the emojis you are using

http://emojinalysis.tumblr.com/                                                                            (sometimes they can tell more than your daily horoscope from Cosmopolitan)

 

http://emojitracker.com/                       if you want to know what is in trend on Twitter

 

 

We are now way more reachable for any person in the world

We are now able to understand people without words

 

                           are emojis the new Esperanto?

                                                                                                                                                                How are they effecting us socially?

In Japan, where the emoji was born, there are declining birth rates due to people loosing interest in romantic relationships.

 Hikikimori – a group of young men who dont leave the house and only communicate through technology.

                             We are loosing the power to communicate face to face.

However, Match.com released data proving that the more emojis a singleton uses on their dating site seems to result in more dates, therefore more sex.

      Our phones have become priority.               In general, if someones phone pings they stop their real life conversation for their phone.

Emojis are  proven to help dyslexic people – they help us to sense emotions in bland messages.

                                                                                                             what is the future of emojis and our language?

The Pursuit Of Completeness


Sunday, May 6, 2018

 

ColourCard-4

 

Once in a time, lived a young hero who found himself on a quest: the pursuit of completeness. He traveled across the lands, west and east, observing cultures and reading the ancient texts. He discovered so much on his journey, and came across many wise sages who offered him mysterious advice. And yet, the hero found that the more knowledge he gained, the more distant his goal seemed to become. At certain moments the target would completely disappear and he would be left raw and dizzy, lost. In these moments he would cling even more desperately to the words of the wise-men, reading, researching, searching obsessively until his vision would once again appear in the distance. But it was hopeless, it hovered like a mirage on the horizon, never any closer no matter how fast he ran towards it.
On a particular night, exhausted and alone, stuck but stubbornly holding onto hope, the hero fell into an unexpectedly peaceful sleep. It was as if his body was floating gently on a warm sea, and, in the eye of his dreaming mind, an image appeared: A full rainbow across a grey landscape. It was so dazzlingly crisp and clear, so bright and vivid. The air was still and perfectly silent and in that moment the hero knew that he had received the sign that he had so desperately been needing. He woke up with the new day, crying tears of joy and gratitude. His quest was far from being over, in fact he was certain that the hardest challenges were yet to come but, finally, he had clarity and direction. He would leave his texts behind, all his pointless, distracting knowledge and set out on his own path.

The next night, as the hero was sleeping, he dreamed of the devil and of fear. The dream was bathed in a red glow and the devil knocked on his door. Terrified, the hero resisted but then a calmness came to him. He opened the door and invited the devil in and together they sat down for a meal.

The following night, the hero dreamed of a woman of the night in an orange dress and a fight against yellow men, a dream of guilt and shame but also of an incredible strength and willpower.

The night after that, he dreamed a beautiful dream of the woman he loved. Lost together in the night, in an empty world, they mourned the loss of all those they had once loved but, gazing into each others eyes, saw the eyes of their parents and friends and past lovers and they smiled in their hearts.

 

ColourCard-1     ColourCard-2     ColourCard-3

 

The hero could feel it in his body. Finally it had come! Life was guiding him. So strange and peculiar these dreams, so profound the significance of these colours! The full spectrum of life, in the full spectrum of the rainbow. Now he understood red, orange, yellow and green with an understanding beyond words. Oh silly, silly words he laughed. It was all in the colours, it was all in life always. The hero fell asleep that night full of anticipation, but the blue dream did not come. Nor did it come the next night, or any of the nights that week. No blue, indigo or violet dreams. He started to worry, he had made such incredible progress. He was almost there but now he could feel himself slipping away again. Weeks went by and the hero had no dreams. The colours which had once seemed so vivid now seemed dull and meaningless. Life seemed dull and meaningless and the hero mourned the loss of those clear, bright eyes he had once looked through. Weak and confused, he reached again for his books. He was desperate to understand and so desparate to feel that beautiful way once again. But, remembering how certain he had been of their futility, he put them away again.

Gathering up strength, the hero resolved to set himself out into the world to search for the answer. If the colours would not come to him, he would go and pull them out of whatever situations he found himself in! He would do whatever it took. He started with painting the dreams he had had. And then he painted paintings with all the colours of the rainbow, trying to understand what they had meant to him and how they were in relation to each other. He came to some interesting, intuitive understandings. It seemed that the first four colours existed on the foreground plane and the blues and purple in the background plane. The further he explored this, the more obvious it became to him that there was a divide. There was the realm of human emotional experience, of textured and colorful personality, all belonging more to the material world and then there was the realm of the spiritual, the land of the soul which belonged to a mystical, divine world. Yet how to split this mystical world up into blue, indigo and violet, he could not yet work out. He needed some kind of way to access them.
Remembering his earlier dreams, the hero went in search of the devil. Let me find the adventure that will take me through the full spectrum, he thought. He kept his ears and eyes open and wandered the land. After weeks of following symbols and signs he found himself, one dark night, approaching a huge and abandoned church. He heard a terrible, hypnotic chanting inside. He quietly pushed open the door and looked inside. There was a huge crowd of all terrifying, evil beings; men with knives and guns, gangsters and crooks, giants and witches and demons. They did not notice him as he crept inside. He was scared but calm in his determination. He looked to the front of the church and saw, standing by the altar, a man leading the chant. The hero’s ears singled out the man’s voice and he was gripped by an incredible torment. The voice was so

big, powerful and so direct. It felt like it was calling him directly. He was filled with fear and immediately regretted his ever having come here. He wanted to turn and leave but the voice was so beautiful and hypnotic that he could not. He was trapped in indecision but then the calm voice of his red dream came back to him, ‘open the door and let him in, offer him something to eat and drink’. He watched himself as he pushed his way to the front of the crowd to stand in front of the devil. The devil slowly turned his fiery eyes upon the hero and as he did this the hero felt his body fill up and he stood taller and he felt amazing and powerful and he lifted up off the floor and reached out his arms and roared. The crowd of people roared back and he flew up higher and higher spreading himself out more and more until, all of a sudden, he came crashing down to the ground. He felt a sharp sensation in his face, it took him a second to realize what had happened and then he got up and started laughing at himself. Walking back through the crowd, his nose bleeding, he laughed because it seemed so funny how seriously he had been taking it all.

 

ColourCard-5 Tarot7-1

 

James Bridle – The Anicons


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

“as an artist and activist, James Bridle 1980 shows the impact of the techno-surveillance society we live in. He has converted data collected with a spy camera for his project The Right to Flight to create a kaleidoscopic animation. As a protest against this ruthless technology, he has made unusable images.” – Change Makers

 

Skærmbillede 2017-11-29 kl. 17.10.34

James bridle is not only an artist and an activist, he is also a writer and a publisher and has appeared in magazines and newspapers like Frieze, Wired, Domus, the Atlantic and many others. He has a master degree in computer science from University College of London and wrote his dissertation on creative applications of Artificial Intelligence. Bridle also lectures regularly at conferences, universities and other events.

The Right to Flight was a four month installation, event series and ongoing research programme investigating technical infrastructures, surveillance, ballooning, and utopias. Ballooning has taken a dark turn since the zeppelin raids of the first world war to the use of surveillance-balloons in Iraq and Afghanistan and on the US/Mexico boarders.

James Bridle is in a specific case talking about a stolen car which is found trow Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) in northeast England in this text he is describing how a system like this is making every car a potential suspect, and how the surveillance-community suddenly becomes visible, and take a physical shape.

 

I have always been really interested in how our community has become an  surveillance-community, the way we store images, knowledge and numbers in our cloud, for instance. How you can find an answer to nearly anything in the “cloud”. How our focus has moved from the physical to the not physical – metaphysical. How Apple would be able to place you at a crime scene if you are owner and user of an iPhone with finger and face recognition. The norm is to tolerate that without questioning.

I think James Bridles project is interesting because he’s making those data unusable, data that is highly important in the way we are interfering and meeting each other today. Data which is not physical any more but have a high value in its metaphysical form.

I did a project earlier this year about how we began in some contexts to weigh the aesthetics higher then the function, and in some cases the understanding as well. And I think what James Bridle is doing can be understated in a similar way.

When you see graphical displays of books, posters or clothes etc., you begin to see a rhythm of incomprehensible elements, repeatedly one sees that a particular artist or designer chooses to use aesthetic elements like the Russian, Greek and Arabic alphabet as bearer of language. Some choose to use bar-codes or Gothic letters, ornaments that are clearly from another time, then the context it is viewed – used in. It is now only a matter of creating an aesthetically beautiful product, the recipient is now 100% uncritical and chooses only on behalf of aesthetics.
If you see Comme des Garcons for instance, they made a collab with Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy. In this colab there were t-shirts, hoodies etc with a text in Russian. I see people wearing this without knowing anything about the meaning of the selection of letters, they are only wearing it for the aesthetics and the fact that it’s popular.

 

Skærmbillede 2017-12-10 kl. 20.14.07

 

The connection I see between these two is that people of today’s society, the post internet generation, have such easy access to awareness – information, facts, news etc, that we have to some extent, stopped caring about it. We are choosing, consciously or unconsciously, what to be aware of and what we want to care about.

Even though both Bridles footage and Comme des Garcons/Rubchinskiys design with the language/letters is filled with important and valuable information, the finished product in these projects is only an abstract form. Roughly said, we are ignoring the value in this information and only choosing to see the abstract result that gives us aesthetic pleasure.

The book of imaginary beings by Jorge Luis Borges.


Monday, November 27, 2017

imganiary-book_950


” I would say my design-style is pretty classic.

I try to make my designs inviting and appropriate

to the subject matter, whether fiction or non-fiction. ”

 - Francesca Belanger 

     

For thirteen years ago Francesca Belange designed the cover of  The book of imaginary beings written by Jorges Luis Borges. The only guidelines she got about how the design should be was the length of the book. The author passed away the 14th of June 1986 so communication was impossible, which maybe makes the design work different. Or easier? Because direct opinions do not really exist only the words through the editor. However the book turned out wonderful, with its old but new appearance. And there we have it, that is the reason I choose this book. I loved how it felt when I first held it, when I flipped through the pages and felt the uneven cut of the pages in the book. It reminded me of a really old storybook with a long and rich history. It felt like a book with strong words and that made me curious. I got the urge of wanting to know more about it. And the design, what was the feeling they wanted to accomplish?

20171127_003024
 The uneven pages

Belanger wanted to give the book a dreamy and exotic look. She used the Aldus text font with the Locarno light display to try to achieve it, and I must say that she has. The book look really like a dreamy and of course it is a fantasy novel, but the feeling that this book contains another world strongly appears. It’s interesting to know which font she used, believe it or not but the font says a lot about the book, its feeling, its own language and everything between that.

belanger 343belanger 22

The book also has many beautiful illustrations of the imaginary beings. They are fantastic as well as the design, I asked Francesa if she had contact with the illustrator Peter Sis, and she had. She says he was lovely but can not recall exactly what they talked about. It’s visible in the work they did together on the book that they had some kind of connection I would say, I think that is important in all work, whatever there is, that there is some kind of affection between the people. Even if they hate each other or do not speak that much to each other. It just has to be there, even if it is just a few words.
Belanger divided the layout of the book based on the placement of the illustrations, and that the imaginary beings needed to start on a new page to give the book style a flow and organization. But also because sometimes the imaginary beings is on a page itself, some times on the same page as the text and sometimes w
ithout the border that appears on the full page art, all these decisions were made in relation with the space. Belagner says that this must have been something she asked Peter Sis about. She says that she would never alter art without the acceptance of the artist.

belanger 34belanger 33
It all comes together to a strong, wonderful book with a strong expression and layout. When I hold the book I get that – I really really want to read this book – feeling. Witch book design are all about.

 

I like to say that a book jacket or cover has to grab a

reader’s attention, and my job is to invite her in”

– Francesca Belanger

 

The book of Imaginary Beings, designer: Francesca Belanger, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 855.6 bor 1

Building Blocks: De Stijl and Typeface design


Friday, October 20, 2017

video-1508250602   Spending an afternoon using an old letterpress I experienced what it would have been like to create printed text in the early 20th century until offset printing took over almost completely. This was a nice way to immerse myself into the subject of De Stijl and its relation to type design.

The Stijl movement which was founded in 1917 consisted of artists and architects who started building a new world, presumably as a result of the war that was just coming to an end. They literally started constructing their ideal world out of furniture, buildings and artwork. It seems to me that they tried to clear up the mess they saw around them by creating perfect straight lines and rigid blocks. Using primary colours, black and white, strict rules and useful functions they began portraying a ‘perfect’ world. In a way, they brought everything back to the basics while simultaneously making basic things more complex.
When researching De Stijl’s typeface design the first thing that comes to mind is the magazine published by Theo van Doesburg. The front cover, designed by Vilmos Huszar particularly caught my attention. Specifically the way the same exact rectangles create both the image and the type.
It seems to me like a practical method to create text, why not use the same structures used to create image, kill two birds with one stone kind of thing, and seeing as the spacers of the letterpress are perfect rectangles why not use those…? The Doesberg type shows this use of the letterpress spacers particularly well. One can see exactly where the spacers have been placed to create the alphabet.

alphabet-Theo-van-Doesburg-02
The same goes for Vilmos Huszar’s use of ‘building blocks’ to create both the text and image of the Stijl magazine cover. Or the logo he made for  ‘Miss Blanche Cigarettes’, again the same shapes are used to create the text and the image.

Huszar

 

This theme of using the same ‘building blocks’ to create image and text alike began to be a recurring subject in my research on de stijl’s type design. The line between image and text seems to blur and they both become the same thing, both showing information to the viewer.

Another fine example of this, is the 1941 publication of the fairy tale Het Vlas (The Flax) written by Hans Christian Andersen and illustrated by Bart Van Der Leck. The entire book is constructed out of straight lines, both the text and the images. One can see the strict guidelines that Van Der Leck stuck to precisely. This idea of having strict rules interests me, I find myself doing this at times with my own work, for example not letting the pen lift off the page. Although it makes sense to create these guidelines at times, I do get to a point where I’m thinking ‘I could create a more satisfying outcome if I didn’t have these self imposed rules’. Perhaps I am experiencing a similar thought to that of Van Der Leck when after disagreements with other members of the movement he decided to depart from De Stijl and create more abstract works with diagonal lines and other shapes and colours. Here is an early piece by Van Der Leck from his time with De Stijl and then one of his later works where you can see his departure from the strict guidelines.
 

Compositie 1917 no. 3 (Leaving the Factory), 1917 Abstract Composition, 1927
 
Abstract Composition, 1927 / Compositie no. 3 (Leaving the Factory), 1917

 

Going back to when he did use straight lines to illustrate the images and text for the fairytale, it seems as if this rigid rule was almost created as a challenge… To push further into the non obvious, the non default way of drawing things, the strictly abstract and to also challenge the viewer. In the literal sense as well: the text in this book is not necessarily easy to read.

Lets not forget who the audience of this book was supposed to be. If I imagine coming across this book as a child, lying among all the other softly illustrated fairy tales it would definitely stand out, I would have had to focus extra hard on each letter for it to make sense and watch as the lines constructing the letters merge into the ones creating the images. This principle, the way the image and the text is created in the same way, out of the same blocks is what stands out most about the typefaces designed by De Stijl. To take this one step further, it could be said that it is all the same, all the creation made by these artists is the same, for they use the same rules and guidelines.

The buildings, the furniture, the paintings, the typeface, all a creation from the same lines, forms, shapes and colours. This element is what I tried to explore in this little animation, the way the same ‘building blocks’ can create image and type. The seemingly rigid forms shift and transform around the page and merge into each other. Where is the line between image and text? I tried to play with this concept by letting the ‘building blocks’ move around the page and shift from image to text and then back again.

A word categorization


Friday, May 12, 2017

I chose a word (with the limitation of this website’s tagwords) and then I found an image which I connected to the word. By repeating this I created myself a collection of images. I have organized the words in categories by the logic of their images. The word categories you are seeing below are like poems and also like spells, I think.

 

1. hyper hybrid, fragile, personalized, unseen

 

2. all-round, narration, hole

 

3. perfection, endless

 

4. disturbing, comment, white, poem

 

5. symmetry, craft

 

6. still, choreography, conspiracy

 

7. body, invisible, real

 

8. concept, conversation

 

9. metaphor, control, ghosts

 

 

 

A Poetic Threesome


Friday, May 5, 2017

Words are magnets. Put two random words together, and they will enter in an (unintended) relationship. Of course in some cases it works better than others, in one case the result will be poetic, in the other criticism or humor will enter the stage.

As I was experimenting with this, using the tag words from DesignBlog, I noticed something. While combining the random words, they also started connecting to my surroundings, which were in that situation: the objects in my room.

 

Atmosphere_1100

Can random words and images enter in a “poetic threesome”?
I decided to do an experiment.

First I thought that maybe I should combine imagery from Google Image with the words, to make everything as random as possible. I tried this, but it didn’t really bring me any further. Of course some nice things happened, but it felt too general to me.

Anita_1100

ArabicArt_1100

I liked the personal, intimate side of my first observation.
I made up two guidelines for myself
:

1. use 26 tagwords from designblog starting with an “a”

2. use personal objects from your direct environment

 

Asian_1100

I wanted to know what would happen, combining the random with the personal. The personal intertwined twice in the process: combining the random words.
I think I unconsciously made choices according to my own taste. Even though I tried hard to combine the words randomly, I couldn’t help seeing the connections that might happen. In the end, I’m a person, not an algorithm, and I decided to embrace this.

ArtistMind_1100

anxiety_1100

Also, the objects are personal. I chose objects that were personal because I got them from someone important to me, because they were mine for a long time, or because I use them daily.

aboutabsence_1100

I made may own small home-studio and started making the words and the objects literally interact.

Americans_1100

Some interesting things happened:

Affection_1100

- The impersonal words became more personal, and more meaningful, simply because they were combined with my own belongings

Artichoke_1100

adidas_1100

- The objects, that I’d always looked at in one way, became something else, the words created gateways to other meanings

Klaas_1100

 I think also the white background allowed the object to break with their original context and start forming new connections.

Plant_1100

I found myself looking at my plant in a different way this morning.
Normally I barely notice it.

Am I living an automatic life? Or is the plant living an automatic life?

activism_1100

I wonder if there’s a third personal side to this: the connections we make when we see the random combinations. I make specific connections, someone else as well. We all have different imagery in our minds and different associations to the words used.

Vis_1100

What will the objects think of all this?
I don’t think people would like to be put in a random context. I wouldn’t like to be called Amusement or About Absence.

Maybe someone will invent a way to give objects a platform for their opinion. Objects have rights too.
Until that moment, humans will have to give the objects meaning. And I think sometimes it’s good to re-evaluate this meaning.

Why should a fish be food and not amusement?

Can’t avocado’s also be animals?

Why should pepper never be afraid?

And why is Anita no hero when she’s standing in the kitchen all day?

 


Log in
subscribe