New Year, New Portfolio
With the passing of the new year, and all the attendant reflection this entails, I’ve finally taken the time to revisit my portfolio pdf. The main goal of this redesign was to represent the growing diversity of my practice while highlighting the common threads (typography, poetics, collaboration, etc.) that tie my work together.
The process of thinking through my work was surprisingly difficult. Though it’s a new portfolio, it doesn’t actually feature very much new work. This is partly due to the honest fact that my newest work isn’t necessarily my best (something I clearly need to work on), and also due to the desire for the portfolio to act more as a signpost, rather than a comprehensive collection. Nonetheless, there are several exciting new projects included, alongside new documentation of older work. I’ve cherry-picked through my output over the last few years to select pieces that point towards the type of work I want to be doing.
Download the portfolio here
In yesterday’s lengthy post I touched on notions of trend cycles in graphic design. And then I discovered Trend List, an amazing and overwhelming catalogue documenting current stylistic tendencies in graphic design.
At the root of what I’m thinking about, and what I assume most graphic designers think about, is how cultural/political currents become embedded into the formal structures of design, and vice versa. Maybe staring at this site for a few hours will help…
Illegibility, Ugliness and Counter-Hegemony
A contentious spread from 032c issue #13
In my current phase of design research, I’ve been enjoying a wealth of ecclectic readings. My friend and craft theorist extraordinaire Nicole Burisch pointed me in the direction of Judith (or rather, Jack) Halberstam‘s excellent introduction to The Queer Art of Failure. In referencing James C. Scott’s Seeing Like A State, he writes:
For Scott, to “see like a state” means to accept the order of things and to internalize them; it means that we begin to deploy and think with the logic of the superiority of orderliness and that we erase and indeed sacrifice other, more local practices of knowledge, practices that may be less efficient, may yield less marketable results, but may also, in the long term, be more sustaining. What is at stake in arguing for the trees and against the forest? Scott identifies “legibility” as the favored technique of high moderism for sorting, organizing and profiting from land and people and for abstracting systems of knowledge from local knowledge pratices. (…) “Legibility,” writes scott, “is a condition of manipulation”. He favors instead, borrowing from European anarchist thought, more practical forms of knowledge that he calls metis and that empahsize mutuality, collectivity, plasticity, diversity, and adaptability. Illegibility may in fact be one way of escaping the political manipulation to which all university fields and disciplines are subject.
Albeit largely due to the use of the term “legibility”, this section sparked some interesting ideas in relation to the material practice of graphic design and typography. Translating the argument literally (pun intended) to design practice, I can’t help but think of the so-called “legibility wars” of the 90s, and to a lesser extent the ideas of vernacular design put forth by the practice of Tibor Kalman. I’ve always felt the deconstructionist work being done by this generation of designers was abandoned too soon (or at least the theory was), as discourse shifted towards “new media” (with a brief moment of introspection on the political potential of design) and aesthetics shifted towards a nostalgic, serious, and safe, faux-modernist/classicist current (largely due, imho, to the events on 9/11 and Dave Eggers).
Song for Sunday: Siskiyou – Twigs and Stones
Sunday December 16th 2012, 12:20 pm
Filed under: music
A beautiful song by Siskiyou, and a beautiful video by Brett Story, for a chilly day.
FUSE Magazine launches Issue 36-1
Tuesday December 11th 2012, 5:02 pm
Filed under: events
14 December 2012, 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM (authors’ panel @ 6:30 PM)
Centre des arts actuels Skol
372, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, espace 314
w/ musical selections by Boncha Immigrantz
The Artivistic collective, FUSE Magazine and Skol artist-run centre, invite you to the launch of FUSE 36-1/Promiscuous Infrastructures ou la lutte pour l’invention de possibles. FUSE‘s first-ever bilingual issue, guest edited by Artivistic, emerges out of the collective’s engagement with the Québécois student strike and social uprising of the past spring and summer, in relation to its ongoing project on “promiscuous infrastructures.” Rather than synthesize what happened or tell people what they already know, Artivistic approached the issue as an occasion to be self-reflexive and critical and to continue the struggle, investigating the (aesthetic) form of the strike, the capitalist history of universities, and contextualising the local anti-austerity struggle with those of allies abroad, and across time.
Join us in celebrating the launch of this special issue alongside local contributors, friends and allies of the Artivistic collective. A limited number of copies of the issue will be available for free at the event, with special offers on subscriptions to FUSE as well as Skol membership.
Preview of the issue on CULT Montreal.
In this Issue:
ANNE BERTRAND Re-enchanting the Institution
ANNA SHEFTEL et PATRICIA BOUSHEL Translating the printemps érable
CINDY MILSTEIN In the Street for Social Strike
ANNA ADAMOLO Anna Adamolo e l’onda anomala (traduit de l’italien par Eleonora Diamanti)
GRACE KYNE-LILLEY It’s Only Going to Get Worse: A report from London
PHILIPPE ENVER Autant en emporte le vent : Météorologie d’une GGI
MARK PASCHAL Whose University?
KEVIN YUEN KIT LO avec PHILIPPE et NANCY VERMES Atelier Populaire
Projects by THIEN V., FAIZ ABHUANI and ARTIVISTIC
Critiques de / Reviews of:
Insurgence par RONALD ROSE-ANTOINETTE; “Bill 78” by JONAH CAMPBELL, “Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship” by AMBER LANDGRAFF; “Porn O’Rama / CTV on TSV” by ANDREW JAMES PATERSON.
It begins in the book…
I’m so excited to come across James Stuart’s Master’s Thesis “It Begins in the Book: Writing the Material Poem” freely available online. An expansive thesis, it comprises an 80-odd page exegesis and 3 creative projects (The Material Poem, The Homeless Gods and Conversions). The overlap between his interests and my own is startling, given the niche nature of my concerns.
My reading of Stuart’s written thesis has sparked many ideas for my own research, specifically around his three-pronged model of materiality:
“what enables, and how does, a reader to respond to a literary work (material basis); what socio-cultural forces influence the relationship between writers, readers and the language-object (materialism); and finally, the actual material expression (or materiality) of a language-object.”
Coming from his background as a poet, Stuart’s examples and references are new and fascinating to me, and his analytic focus on poetry (specifically in its definition re: its material basis) has given me a lot to chew on.
LOKi design now on Pinterest
I honestly didn’t think it would come to this, especially with all the social/bookmarking networks I’m already on, but I’ve finally started using Pinterest, and I’m actually finding it pretty useful and fun! Not so much as a way of discovering, but more as a way of keeping track of various and often ephemeral inspirations.
Follow me here!
2 quotes + an image
Tomato, mmm… skyscraper, I love you.
“…in the best instances, a double reflexivity is at work: a medium is (re)constituted in a recursive way that is nonetheless open to social content—in a way, moreover, that reminds us that “form” is often nothing but “content” that has become historically sedimented.”
– Hal Foster, This Funeral is for the Wrong Corpse
“Literature in the written sense represents the triumph of language over writing: the subversion of writing for purposes that have little or nothing to do with social and economic control.”
– Robert Bringhurst, The Solid Form of Language
Thinking through some things as I embark on the research and conception phase for the next issue of Four Minutes to Midnight, specifically around the materiality of texts. It’s all a little vague right now, but I feel I’m working towards something quite original and interesting. Here’s hoping. I’ll be documenting my process on here as I go…
Expozine 2012 recap
Four Minutes to Midnight table at Expozine
This year’s Expozine weekend was another smashing success, with an especially impressive roster of exhibitors, including many new artists and publishers, and a great vibe all around. It seemed slightly less crowded and chaotic than usual, which was nice, allowing people to engage more with the exhibitors. For this year’s edition, in addition to my normal organising duties, I also helped to redesign the website (code by Hello Everyone, full implementation still in progress…), and got to see my new logo silkscreened onto tote bags and t-shirts!
It was so nice to get to see all our self-publishing friends again (like seeing fam for the holidays without the emotional turmoil), and table alongside Billy Mavreas and Larissa from the Concordia Co-op Bookstore. An entertaining (to say the least) set of neighbours!
Though we didn’t have a new issue of Four Minutes to Midnight out for the fair, we had plenty of fun stuff available (pictured above). The Wu-Tang prints were incredibly popular, as was our new set of poems. We completely sold out of Riot and Capitalism Kills Love prints, which makes me feel that all is all right in the world (despite the current news headlines). We didn’t sell a ton of back issues (the Expozine Issue and Happy Hour), but I was really happy to share their stories with those that were interested. John’s Hard Mouse Best Mouse, an EP of quickly written and recorded song sketches, was also a really nice treat.