|James Dolence, Bryce Wilner, Zach Collins, Ficciones Typografika 019-021, installed 07.04.13.|
The audience for artwork on the side of a garage in South Minneapolis is limited. What prompted you to do this, and do you also consider the online life of the project in addition to that in-person audience of neighborhood visitors?
This may sound funny, but I really believe in the intelligence and imagination of people. The poster was made for people, to be viewed at a human scale, intimately and also from a distance. It's a medium entirely devoted to life as a human, however distant that concept has become in our world. I used to do much more of this type of public projection in grad school, and this specific idea has been circulating in my head for some time, but it found momentum only recently. I had been invited to take part in round four of a similar project in Manchester, UK, called No Fly Posters. The idea there was to use abandoned buildings as a ground for posters devoted to that theme -- the founder, Jon Bland, started it as a response to a property owner's rejection of some early fun with the space, then started inviting designers to create work that poked fun at his admonition, "No Fly Posters." I just decided that I wanted a medium that I could exploit at will and as often as I wanted, but also knew immediately that I would want to invite artists, poets, and designers from all over the world to join in.
The online life of the project both documents and extends the project's reach, and it is especially satisfying to share images of wrinkled posters as opposed to digital versions. Once I have enough submissions, which will be sooner than later, thankfully, I'm also planning on printing a newspaper version of the posters at scale. I'm really looking forward to that; that medium will preserve the transparency, and each poster will interact with each other in a new way.
|Detail of Ficciones Typografika 019-021|
I've been surprised by the conversations this has started with both neighbors and people stopping by. Most seem to feel it is art of some kind, and that is just fine. I can completely relate to street artists and hope this might be a way-station for that kind of activity. It's also a defense-mechanism of sorts: my garage has been tagged a few times, so if it happens again, it will only complement the work on display at the time.
|James Gladman, Travis Stearns, Huiqian Wu, Ficciones Typografika 013-015, installed 06.27.13.|
Tell me about the title. Of course, Typografika is the name of your studio, and "ficciones" is Spanish, hearkening Borges' famed anthology?
I've been using that term for many years with regard to both my own work as well as some advanced design seminars I've taught both here and abroad. It is entirely inspired by Borges, though "typografika" was actually a term to describe Czech typographic unions some time ago. My early studio name was ¡ü16.øäk! I started using Typografika around 2000 because it seemed simpler, though I still like the conglomerate nature of the early moniker. It references the languages I grew up speaking, and their identities.
|Hans-Ulrich Allemann, Cyrus Highsmith, Götz Gramlich, Ficciones Typografika 010-012, installed 06.24.13.|
I'm glad it comes across that way, it really is a hope of mine that people will enjoy it. So much of our activities are online and revolve around "hearts" and "likes." These get to be rained on and seen by chance, or on purpose. It might be hard to get them up in winter, but I am going to experiment with some heated wheat paste then.
To what degree are the works site specific? I see one, Götz Gramlich's "My wall, your wall, our wall, no wall," which seems to be. Will there be others?
It's entirely up to the individual. I have encouraged people to work with their own native languages, so I hope Götz will submit a new one in German. I really want to share the vibrancy of language in all of it's forms. There will be submissions from Thailand, Iran, China, and beyond, I hope.
|Erik Brandt, Ficciones Typografika 007-009, installed on 06.19.13.|
That poster was reworked from an earlier version I submitted to Mut zur Wut (Courage to Anger), the Heidelberg, Germany poster competition founded by my friend Götz. I like this version better, it's more direct in a sense, and the typographic experiment is subtle yet pointed. His competition invites people to take on subjects that "anger" them, and this one is related to the inaugural event, where I used type found in Minneapolis to determine the message that tried to capture early disillusionment with the promise of Obama. The recent revelations of NSA surveillance of citizens worldwide has only compacted this feeling. We came so far, but at what cost? It is deeply disturbing to me. Travis Stearns and I share a similar viewpoint, and his recent submission echoes that same sense of foreboding.
|Detail of Ficciones Typografika 007-009|
Well, thank you for that compliment, sincerely. It fills a need to communicate and experiment, and it's especially satisfying to include others, both students and professionals, artists, poets, and designers. It's so simple, and so joyful. Armin Hoffman remarked once that posters expose the soul of a city. I am hoping to share the souls of the world.
|Ben Proell, Ficciones Typografika 16-18, installed 06.28.13.|