Neptune’s Moons Poster
Show poster designed for the upcoming Neptune’s Moons concert presented by the Howl Arts Collective. Though the central graphic acts as a literal interpretation of the title, the poster also makes subtle reference to Afro-futurist aesthetics and sci-fi 70s funk in the digitally-lettered title treatment. It’s too bad we won’t be printing this with glow-in-the-dark ink!
In conceiving of the show, Kaie highlighted this quote by Marc Dery:
“Hack this: Why do so few African-Americans write science fiction, a genre whose close encounters with the Other — the stranger in a strange land — would seem uniquely suited to the concerns of African-American novelists? Yet, to this writer’s knowledge, only Samuel R. Delany, Octavia Butler,Steve Barnes, and Charles Saunders have chosen to write within the genre conventions of SF. This is especially perplexing in light of the fact that African-Americans are, in a very real sense, the descendants of alien abductees. They inhabit a sci-fi nightmare in which unseen but no less impassable force fields of intolerance frustrate their movements; official histories undo what has been done to them; and technology, be it branding, forced sterilization, the Tuskegee experiment, or tasers, is too often brought to bear on black bodies.”
– Mark Dery, Black to the Future
Neptune’s Moons event page here.
Updates are slow on the zine, but things are happening nonetheless. Meanwhile follow lokimon on tumblr, updated far more frequently with plenty of inspirational imagery.
Tumblr mosaic created here.
I’ve mentioned the International Typographical Union in a few of my recent blog posts, both the historical union itself and the design group aligned to, and inspired by it. Above is a short slide show showcasing projects by the latter group, and below is a concise contextual history of the former that I’ve written for the next issue of FMTM.
The International Typographical Union was the first national labour union in the United States, founded on May 5, 1852 (the name was changed from National to International in 1869 after it began organizing members in Canada). The I.T.U. was composed of typesetters, printers, apprentices and journeymen, and was considered one the most democratic and progressive unions; condemning Sunday work, actively supporting organizing efforts by other craft unions, and being among the first to institute membership by women, with Augusta Lewis Troup becoming the first woman (in 1870) to hold a national office. In 1906, the I.T.U. secured the eight-hour work day through the use of tactical strikes in major cities, paving the way for a standard that would be implemented across other industries. After World War I, when employers sought to lengthen the work day to 12 hours , the I.T.U. fought back with massive strikes across the country, engaging in a three-year long battle that cost employers dearly, successfully defending the union’s significant gains.
On December 31, 1986, the I.T.U. dissolved, largely due to the automation, mechanization and digitalization of the trade. The remnants of the union membership merged with the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
More great slideshows by Charlotte Cheetham on printed matter here.
Sketch for Sunday: Perpetual Krisis
A little collage I made today combining an old photo of mine from my trip to Portugal and a painting from Alex Schaefer‘s burning banks series. I think it works quite well, and if I can find a way to reproduce it nicely, it should make it into the next issue of Four Minutes to Midnight.
Song for Saturday: Made You Die
Saturday July 20th 2013, 9:04 am
Filed under: music
I recently stumbled across this fascinating article from the Walker Art blog describing designer Sang Mun’s degree project at RISD: ZXX. ZXX is a type design project that attempts to “articulate our unfreedom” through the design of a typeface that cannot be decoded by OCR technologies. In light of the recent revelations about the NSA Prism program , this project is particularly relevant.
What’s interesting to me is how this project seems to bring together inherent aesthetic cues of the “ugly” trend (I really need to come up with a better term for my understanding of this) that I’ve been discussing here (the distortion/layering of type elements and placement, the concept of default/open-source design, issues of illegibility/accessibility, through to the presentation of the project) with a critical social commentary of the surveillance state and privacy concerns. It makes me wonder whether this “state of anxiety” may be at the root of the aesthetic currents running through graphic design practice.
What’s also really encouraging is that ZXX might be a representation of a re-engagement with design language, and typography/type design specifically, as a form of critical engagement and aesthetic experimentation, much like Neville Brody’s FUSE project from the 90s. Hopefully it’s not just closing a loop, but a “sign” (pun intended) of things to come. I’ll certainly be taking some of these cues into, and using the typeface within, the next issue of Four Minutes to Midnight.
See more of the project, and download the typeface, here.
Brahja Waldman’s Quintet Street Poster
Street poster designed for Brahja Wladman’s Quartet (Quintet for the show) double album launch this Friday at Café Resonance. Howl co-produced the album, and I also designed the CD packaging, images coming soon.
Facebook event here. Photo by the city’s best poster paster-upper, Stefan Christoff.
Some thoughts on “Critical Graphic Design”
Last weekend I was invited to participate in a small symposium/dinner at the N/A space in Toronto on the subject of “Critical Graphic Design”. Organised by Chris Lee and Patricio Davila, the dinner brought together a diverse group of (mostly local) designers, educators, researchers and activists to chat informally about what critical graphic design might be, with the goal of moving towards a series of workshops in the summer.
I was honoured to be invited amongst the numerous guests, which included a couple of old friends, a couple of design heros, and generally all people I’d like to get to know better: JP from Paper Pusher, Anouk from Studio Feed, Sheila from The Public, Abake, Michelle Champagne, members of the Beehive Collective, and many more.
It was a pleasure to meet everyone around a delicious potluck, and I was really excited by the prospect of this re-engagement with design discourse. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay very long, and I wish I had had a chance to speak with people more in depth. Nonetheless, quite a few interesting ideas emerged from that night, and I’ll sketch a few of them out here.