Archive

Exhibition

Being someone who likes to keep up with all forms of creative startups, there was no better way of seeing the most successful in all in one place, it’s Makegood Festival. Exhibitors are dotted about the Old Selfridges Hotel site opposite the new Selfridges store. The whole event is put as a form of graduation for the businesses that took part in the School for Start Ups and all backed by people who are genuinely passionate about their product or company and who are, for the most part looking for collaborators and contributors. On the website they go on to say,

Makegood Festival is an extravaganza boasting a vast, indie pop-up market of over 200 brand new creative businesses. Alongside this, Makegood will play host to a series of punchy talks and debates from an unexpected lineup of the world’s most fascinating creative minds. So why not pop in to our big, beautiful melting pot of culture, creativity and entrepreneurship.

 

makegood

As well as hosting some really exciting projects there were a number of talks and workshops. One of the talks was demonstrating the work of  ‘Voltz’ (image below) which was chaired by Jason Bradbury of Channel 5’s the ‘Gadget Show’. Their work certainly was eccentric with their ‘wildcard’ contraption being a motorised trike that has the ability to drift, sadly I cant find an image, but there will be a clip somewhere on the Voltz site or Gadget Show archives.

DSC_0002

 Doug Richards (‘Dragons Den) was also floating around and interviewing the various startups.

IMG_0923

 

It was a great opportunity to speak to likeminded people about my little venture (type bombs) and about future collaborations. This was really exciting knowing that very soon I’ll be on my own, after I graduate and that finding work will be totally independent but these kind of events are really encouraging. I’ve made some in-roads with a few people the most exciting of which was for a gallery taking part in the Folkestone Fringe who are looking for volunteering artists and designers to create furniture in response to the festival. So I’m holding out for that and a couple of others which sound interesting, heres to more venture like this.

 

blue

UPDATE: The exhibition has been profiled by UAL.

Derek Jarman (31 January 1942 – 19 February 1994) was an English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author. His final film and script ‘Blue’ is currently showing at the CHELSEA Space gallery, London.

Donald Smith, head curator of the gallery asked me to categorise and tweak the images from the two books which make up a large part of the body of the work for the exhibition. Heres a little excerpt from the Tate website about his work, and ‘Blue’.

‘The relationship between film and painting continued to be central to Jarman’s work; the non-narrative flow of imagery and improvisatory collage-like quality of his films was more suggestive of a painterly than a cinematic sensibility.

Jarman was diagnosed as HIV-positive in December 1986. His last set of paintings were highly coloured works in which a word or slogan was daubed across an effusively scraped and splattered ground, again dealing with aspects of his illness. The violence and anger of these paintings contrasts with the serenity of his final film, Blue (1994). Made when he was virtually blind, it consisted solely of a monochrome blue screen, with a soundtrack of voice and music.’

2

4

56

Memory Palace cover

‘The story is set in a future London, hundreds of years after the world’s information infrastructure was wiped out by an immense magnetic storm.

This has taken me so long to finally get round to writing the exhibition has now finished, but hey here goes anyway. In all fairness I was actually visiting the V&A for a talk at the tail end of London Design week part of the Digital Design Weekend which is a new aspect of the festival they had launched for the first time this year. The event was a preview of the amazing NASA Space Orchestra from the uncontainably enthusiastic designer Nelly Benhayoun (this will be covered in the next post, so please check that out to) but onward with Memory Palace.

Book cover

pg. 1 & 2

Technology and knowledge have been lost, and a dark age prevails. Power has been seized by a group who enforce a line of extreme simplicity on all citizens. Recordings, writing, collecting and art are outlawed.’

Memory Palace’s main themes, the idea of a dystopian dictator lead society and removal or destruction of cultural artefacts all drew great parallels to George Orwell’s ‘1984’ and the ideas surrounding memory in Ray Bradury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’. Similarly to Orwell’s novel the exhibit was also set in a future London, in which a selection of todays various Graphic Designers, Illustrators and Typographers had used the concept outlined in Hari Kunzru’s book (which was the base for the whole exhibition) to explore the possibilities of a somewhat pessimistic outlook on humanities future.

Small type image main

Small type image1

Small type image2

Sam Winston 16g Zinc letterpress plates, ink & wood.

The approaches to typography were particularly interesting. Sam Winston’s work (above) ‘The text (from Kunzru’s book) I worked on focused on mankind’s worship of the periodic table – I specifically decided to look at combining the science of modern chemistry and the imagery of sacred eastern geometry.’In this case the use as type as image works really well, the letterforms lending themselves to create texture and contrast.

Mouth Type

This typographic piece by Oded Ezer was the highlight for me. The image above is from a series of eight short animations involving interaction and construction with letterforms. The example here saw Ezer pronouncing the letter, so in the case of the letter ‘G’ on the left you can make out the phonetic make up of the letter (‘gj-eee’) and as this developed he had synced a repeating pattern of his mouth at different stages of pronunciation to create a similar effect to an LED ticker sign. Seeing other experimental typographers work always makes me think, ‘if only I’d thought of that,’ especially with Ezer’s ‘mouth’ type. Its the ingenuity of employing the visualisation of speech and pronunciation to actually create the letterforms that is really inspiring. The fact that when your watching it you have to all most lip read adds another element the piece, the viewer having to work out the sequence. This definitely has legs to developed into a bigger project, I think visually seeing a huge wall of mouths moving to create text would look great.

flexi ticker orange

Unfortunately I can’t even recommend it anymore as it finished last week, but if it was still on then… you get the idea.

becky_window_view_520px

“Chetham’s Library was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world. It is an independent charity and remains open to readers and visitors free of charge.”

Well there you have it, Chetham’s Library has to be one of Manchester’s true hidden gems. The Library building itself isn’t actually visible from the main entrance, and I suppose gives me at least one excuse for having never visited. The Library holds regular exhibitions which can be found on the website – Chethams. Initially the title ‘Godlies, Merries & Pleasant Histories The Chapbook tradition’ didn’t give much away, and normally would of resulted in a complete ignorance fuelled about turn. But no thanks to some Godly intervention did I regret any initial doubt.

IMG_1694

As the newly built shelves at Chetham’s Library began to be filled with large, leather-bound works on important subjects like religion, philosophy, science and history, another, quite different sort of book began to find its way into the noisy busy streets of Manchester: little books, cheaply made, quickly produced, and priced to match, filled with songs and poems, stories of love and adventure, histories and moral instruction. At first they were known Simply as ‘little books’ advertised in one publisher’s catalogue as ‘small godlies, small merries and pleasant histories’, but by the early nineteenth century they had found a name for themselves – chapbooks – named after the travelling chapmen or pedlars from whose packs they were sold to an increasingly literate population,

Chapmen were travelling salesmen who supplied a wide variety of small goods to the scattered communities of pre-industrial Britain: pins and needles, sewing threads, fancy buttons, ribbons, pocket scissor, cloth and many other small items likely to be needed by a country housewife as well as the books which took their name, A well-off chapman would have owned a donkey or horse while the less successful simply carried his pack on his back, and lucky Indeed the man (or woman. a few plied the trade), who made enough money to set up a proper shop in a market town, from where, in turn, other chapmen could be supplied with goods.

The main printers of chapbooks were also to be found in these market towns. At first, of course, to London, where generations of printers sold small chapbooks from a shop in Aldermary Churchyard, Bow Lane, rebuilt by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire. By the middle of the eighteenth century, other market towns became important centres of chapbook production: Newcastle, Banbury, Bath, Penrith and Manchester where chapbooks formed part of the trade of the very first printer, and where the great chapbook-printing family, the Swindells, held sway until the middle of the following century.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How were they made, these chapbooks? Until the early nineteenth century, they would nave been printed on wooden hand presses, like the one here In the Library, and later the cast-iron equivalent. They were printed on both sides of a single sheet of paper which was folded to make a booklet of eight, sixteen or sometimes twenty-four pages. Their illustrations were generally crude woodblock prints or worn type ornaments. The paper was cheap, the type rather haphazardly set, and they were quickly, even carelessly produced. Despite that undeniable indictment they have a charm that meant they were purchased, not just by the working classes at whom they were aimed, but also by wealthy collectors, anxious to own as many of them as- possible. Those collectors often bound them together in boards, the reasons for many of the survivor, such as those shown here from the collections at Chetham’s Library, Manchester Central Reference Library and two private collectors.

Today, chapbooks are the source of intense scholarly interest. Tiny repositories of traditional literature, local, economic and industrial history, they are studied for what they can tell us about the past. Their production and distribution sheds light on the history of the book and the rise of capitalism, their topical songs record patterns of immigration and emigration. Yet their charm remains a potent reminder of the power of cheap literature, and their spirit can be traced in such varied published material as tabloid newspapers. Penguin paperbacks, zines, religious tracts, comics, small press books, blogs and even reality television.­

IMG_1696

IMG_1699

HERO

Just seen this on ItsNiceThat and had to share. Not heard of Rob Lowe before but already can tell he’s right up my street. Using graphic elements and pattern work in this series titled Super Alpha he comments:

‘Coming from a graphic design background I’ve always had a love of typography. The alphabet is an amazingly resilient code that can take a huge amount of abstraction whilst still being recognisable to us. The core letter shapes can be seen as frames that can be clothed in endless ways.

I have a preference for bold, simple letters and coupling that with my signature drawing style was a very natural progression.’ (Lowe, 2013 cited on ItsNiceThat.com)

He’s exhibiting some of his work this week at the Lomography Gallery Store in London (6th-28th June). So I’ll definitely be heading down there to see this.

Super_A_hi_res