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design and visual culture


GB 25 DE E28 IT E24 ISSN 1767-4751





design and visual culture



ISSUE 19 SPRING 2010 GB 25 DE E28 IT E24 ISSN 1767-4751


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Caroline Bouige is a journalist on the editorial staff at tapes: magazine.

Caroline Bouige is a journalist on the editorial staff at tapes: magazine.

Caroline Bouige is a journalist on the editorial staff at tapes: magazine.







Playing with verisimilitude in contemporary images and design.





Caroline Bouige is a journalist on the editorial staff at tapes: magazine.



Marie Aumont is an independent French graphic designer and typographer.


AD and critic, Vronique Vienne writes for Print, Metropolis She is co-author of Art Direction Explained, At Last!






Cover by Christoph Niemann. Illustration Subway (2008) for the book Petit Dragon (Gallimard, 2009). Fonts: Boton by Albert Boton, Oranda by Gerard Unger, Kievit by Michael Abbink. 8













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AD and critic, Vronique Vienne writes for Print, Metropolis She is co-author of Art Direction Explained, At Last!

Editor-in-chief of Typo magazine and member of the Designiq studio in the Czech Republic.



Thierry Chancogne teaches graphic design at ESAAB Nevers (school of applied arts in Burgundy) and ENBA Lyon ( ne arts school). Gilles Rouf neau teaches photography and digital publishing and coordinates the graphic design-electives at the school of ne arts in Valence.

Keiko Ueki is a curator and Jean-Nol Polet teaches at the Alliance Franaise in Osaka, Japan.




Isabelle Arvers is a curator and journalist specializing in digital art.





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Diana Mesa is a digital art critic and theorist. Guillaume Le Grand is a journalist.


Marie Aumont is an independent French graphic designer and typographer.









Charles Gautier is a graduate of the cole Estienne (school of industrial arts and graphic design) in Paris. He is currently studying for a masters degree in linguistics and semiology.
















True Colours
Jeroen Koolhass and Dre Urhahn (Haas & Hahn) are ghting violence in the favela with brushstrokes and Praa Canto in the heart of Rio de Janeiro is the latest project by the Dutch pair. Aided by 20 local youths with training as professional painters, the instigators of the Favela Painting project have taken a no-go area and brightened it up with pop colours. The favela proudly bears its multicoloured kinetic rays and shines in the city to forge itself a place amongst the rest of Brazils cultural heritage, on an equal footing with Sugarloaf Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Rather than the usual voyeuristic approach which concentrates on the sordid aspects of life in the favela, Praa Canto hypnotizes the tourist and exists as an artwork in its own right. LP

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Linguistic Device
Workers at the translation company Margarida Llabrs in northern Spain speak four languages: Catalan, Italian, French and English. The Dctil studio from Barcelona, specialized in designing visual identities, delved into the translation profession, which requires translators to understand the meaning of a text in one language and rewrite it in a corresponding manner and with the same meaning in another. The studio designed a visual language that graphically represents the expertise of each translator in the ofce. The source language is colour-coded with colours from the national ag of the original language and combined with the colour code for the target language(s). Each translator has his own personalized business card to show he works at Margarida Llabrs centre (symbolized by an M) and to identify his individual translation skills. IM

For the cover of the Spring 2010 issue of re:D, the alumni magazine of Parsons The New School for Design, William Bevington, a lecturer in information mapping, has reinvented interactive design. Based on a retro dot-todot, his mirror-image cover is designed as part of a doublesided puzzle theme. Limited to a typewriter for the front cover a tool that the graphic artist has used for more than 20 years Bevington had fun emphasizing visual dichotomies and making unexpected connections. On the back cover, there is a digital version of the Calderstyle mobile. The puzzle: a design metaphor la Parsons. LW


How to Make an Exhibition Bloom?

The Fraktur typeface of the exhibitions title, Florarium Temporum, in stained-glass colours, sets the tone. A manuscript written in 1472 by a monk from Eindhoven called Nicolas Clopper is the star of the show. It dominates the centre of the room, surrounded by two concentric exhibition walls with numerous openings to allow glimpses of the ancient treasure. Dividing the exhibition into three parts, the Dutch studio EDHV presents the cultural and social context of the manuscript and imitates the books calligram. To break up the circular shape of the exhibition, they covered the walls in layered patterns, 15th-century paintings and statistical charts with information about the period. Over design, admits Remco Van de Craats, the AD from EDHV. The array of graphics lls the empty space and provides information while continually reminding us of the medieval aesthetic. The heterogeneous style is repeated in the poster and other visual communication for the event. CB
WWW.EDHV.NL AD: Remco Van de Craats. Graphic design and typography: Lenneke Heeren. Scenography: Wendy Plomp. Photography: Ewout Huibers.

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A4+++: Gabriel Cante (ESAG-Penningham design school, Paris, 2010) worked on his degree project all over the city. His love of enamelled plates, painted advertisements and vernacular typefaces led him to revamp the advertising mural for contemporary brands. The young graphic designer started out by creating three alphabets in the same type family, Facel-Vga, in homage to the defunct French car brand, paying special attention to its visibility at a distance. After a rst attempt on a Facel-Vga advert using the whole type family (left-hand page, bottom) he then attacked murals for Nescaf and Smirnoff, and nally worked on the A4+++ concept, making 4 x 3 billboards in type. His work is an example of permanent advertising in housing estates that are plastered with new posters every morning. VD

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Protey Temen

By Caroline Bouige


Photo Dmitry Donskoy for Khouligan magazine no, 11(67)

How do see your own approach, compared to other studios in the country? Our approach is artistic, concentrated on the expressiveness of the image. We work principally on festive and fun elements. Your inuences? A mix of inspiration resulting from artists of the rst half of the 20th century, some contemporary fellow designers and, above all, the streets of the towns, with all the signs they have, adverts, kiosks Objects generally constitute one of the most powerful sources of inspiration for me. How would you dene your style? Its a mix of Russian avantgarde and the design of Japanese advertisements, all linked to simple grids, as the Swiss use. In other words, we like bold images on simple layouts. Why do you work primarily with primary colours and geometric forms? These colours are always fresh, and something appealing and warm emanates from them. And also, a lot of our clients work in the entertainment

Why is this? A whole book could be written about this point. Todays graphic design scenario in the country is divided into two broad categories: on the one hand, those from the Soviet era, with their design and visual values, and on the other, a new wave that has emerged internationally on the blogosphere. The two approaches are completely opposite to each other. Are the clients responsible for this, too? Certainly, because design is seen as a commercial service

Whats the situation concerning the censorship of images in Russia? Can you say anything, show anything? Yes, you can, and we will. Dont laugh. Theres no problem except with regard to the Orthodox Church and sometimes the contemporary art sector, but they dont count: the preoccupations of the Russian Church are too mystical for me to understand.

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What are the distinguishing features of Russian graphic design today? Its too consumer-oriented on the one hand and too artistic on the other.

Your style is highly unusual. How do you work? How does it evolve? In recent years it has changed above all from one method to another. I noted that regularly, after a period of a few months, I make some major changes and try to compose something totally different. I always try to look everywhere, to draw inspiration and sneak a look in all directions in the various media. A few days ago, I stole the idea of the menu layout of a cafe, and created a whole project based on it. These markers do not always have an effect on the nal results, but they inspire me a great deal, and thats what matters.

A recent book you have found interesting? The Vignelli Canon, which states things clearly and beautifully, a bit like the feng shui of design, perhaps...

How have you felt the effects of the economic crisis? In Moscow, most design projects have been frozen since the end of 2008. The major clients have all been greatly affected. Immediately after all of this, the commercial context affected the designers, as the clients didnt think twice about halting projects that had already been started. There is a positive side to all this: numerous artistic projects emerged from the crisis. A lot of people are worried about the future and have started to interrupt their payments, to sit on their hands. Everyone thinks that nothing has changed. The principle problem of design is its dependence on the market. Every hiccup affects us rst of all.

and so, in most cases, the companies frequently take a hand in the nal result. However, a new wave of commercial operators is increasingly accepting a bold form of graphic design, and comes to the studios with a wish to see something that is truly new. Id really like to see where Russian graphic design will be in ve yearstime.

business. Its a touch of madness in these recent years in which sombre colours, which make me sad, were popular. I work with simple forms. Their iconic style is very useful for envisaging a message that is simple. During the creation and composition of these forms, I explore their rhythm and relationships. I also adore the illustrations of alchemists, ranging from dropped initials to medieval books.

Left: Dragon amidst the Sweets. Personal project, exhibition piece for Icons of Dobrotarism. Digital print on vinyl.

A quotation about images? Attractive things work better, Donald Norman. Or the Russian version: A bad aircraft wont y. Tupolev, the aircraft maker.

Right: Alla Pougatchova (Russian singer and actress). Personal project as part of a series of portraits for Aficha magazine.

Logo for a jazz venue, Lives.


Protey Temen

Ask for more, more, more. Estonia Biennale poster.

Right: Cover for Amelias Magazine, a British lifestyle publication with an issue dedicated to Russian underground culture and life in Moscow.

Left: Boris Godunov, personal project, sketch for the costumes for a theatrical production of Boris Godunov.

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Far left: Poster. The main task of the state is the extension of human life, public commission.

Current changes in the graphic design scene? The discipline is splitting into different scenes: street art style, corporate, fashion, the youthful market and essential style.

Right: Illustration for an article about Metallica published in Aficha magazine.

Your motto, or a recommendation for our readers? Sit down and just try something; then go out and think about it. Repeat.

Left: Portraits of Protey Temen in the Smile Institute exhibition. Below: Rise! Rise! Rise! Decorative objects for a Barcelo-Muscovite party.


Protey Temen

Left: Personal creation made as part of the Dobrotarism project, produced as an advertising poster.

Right: Part of the Icons of Dobrotarism exhibition, Ice Creams of my Dreams: Turtle Cream and Skull Cream.

Right: Some of the paper motifs with which the artist takes a dig at the bling-bling aesthetic.

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Left: Experiment based on the idea that cuts and bruises can lead to something beautiful.

What typefaces do you like to use? Helvetica Neue, which is perfect for everything. Garamond Italic, for some chic projects. But what I like best of all are hand-drawn letters, which help me to stress, using bold and angles. I like these letters as much as my pets.

Candy Chang, Civic Designer


Candy Chang is able to juggle work for multinationals, public art projects, civic design and community guerrilla interventions, to make the world a better place and more pleasant to live in at both a global and local level.
By Linda Kudrnovsk

A passionate graphic designer, member of the TED Conference, a researcher at the Infrastructure and Poverty Action Lab, a committed citizen involved in urban planning, architecture and computer graphics you defy all simplistic classication. How do you dene your job? In the past 18 months, I have held a full-time job with Nokia in Helsinki. I was working within a small creative team commissioned to develop a holistic vision of mobile exchanges, through research in the eld and an approach of design thinking. At the same time, I sought and it was not always easy to nd equilibrium between this job and the other projects I was really keen on: art projects, public installations, collaborative projects with different organizations and community groups. In the past five years, I have only held a full-time job for two years. The rest of the time, I have worked on piecemeal projects paid for by grants and aid. In this way, I can react to short-term opportunities and save some time for my own experiments and work, which, I am beginning to understand, is the approach that best guarantees success for me. I have just left Nokia, in order to dedicate myself once again to more personal projects and y with my own wings.

The rst time I heard about your work was for the Street Vendor Guide that you created for the street sellers in New York, to help them respect municipal regulations. How did you discover computer graphics? When I held the post of assistant art director at The New York Times, I became aware of the effectiveness of outlines and diagrams for synthesizing the main elements of a piece of information into just a few points. I began to show an interest more especially in the social challenges in town and the results of urban planning. And when I came up against difculties in improving the district that I live in, I decided to learn through ofcial channels and so attended a diploma course in urban planning. Which made me realize that a lot of important information was not being distributed to the public. I wanted to ll this gap and use design to help citizens understand the rights they have and help them to nd their way around the places in which they live, work and have fun. There is a major difference between available information and accessible information. The Street Vendor Guide and Tenants Rights Flash Cards are two projects that form part of this initiative.

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Left: 2007. How to share local information? How to ask a question like Where can I donate used clothes? According to Candy Chang, the answer is: ask passers-by via these basic flyers that are easy to fill in, or via a functional form that works in the same way online.

Preceding double page: 2005. Inspired by the illegal Art To Do artists collective, this composition of Postits to be filled in was an installation for Windows Brooklyn. One hundred and fiftyone passers-by noted down how much rent they paid and described their lodgings, thus answering New Yorkers favourite question.

To each context its medium of communication. For Johannesburg, some school blackboards at busy junctions. Questions, information, requests can be circulated easily.

Left: 2008. Local history under your feet and before your eyes. For a public event on Governors Island in New York Harbour, the islands past is revealed using (removable) spray-on paint in the form of a chronological stroll. Candy Chang used the same technique in 2010 on New Yorks pavements, inviting pedestrians to meditate on such questions as Do you know your feelings? and So why do you do it?

What is there behind your public and urban projects? An obsession to help, to educate others? Or a form of exhibitionism? I adore experimenting with public space and creating public art, which is both practical and a vehicle for emotions. There are numerous improvements still to be made in public spaces, especially when you compare them to the Internet. From the outset, the Internet has been considered a sort of public space liable to become a public venue for information. From many points of view, this has come true and I wonder how our physical spaces can continue to progress. In an integrated environment in which citizens tracts are illegal and in which businesses can promote their products in an increasing variety of media, we need to reect on our concept of public spaces so that they are not necessarily given over to the highest bidder but truly reect the needs of society. I have undertaken small experiences that often need few means: self-adhesive street art on which one can write the history of the places, virgin Post-its on window fronts for rental offers, temporary stencils on pavements to help with directions, a map of public lavatories, serving exible and cheap platforms. I am interested in the creation

of experiences and situations that bring together existing resources, individuals and energies in new forms encouraging independence. Why is it so important for you to involve yourself in this type of activity and be a socially committed designer? Why worry about your neighbours? We increasingly have more and more tools to talk to the other end of the world, but it remains hard to talk to your neighbours. Neighbours are holders of inestimable local resources and knowledge. Thanks to my neighbours, I learned how council meetings work in New York. Ive also shared my wi, some chairs, a large pot, a bike, some design books, a corkscrew, an iron, professional studio lighting, an inatable bed, some wine and food. And thats just with a few of my neighbours, because I only rarely see the others and have no way to break the ice with them. If we have no way to share information, this wealth of knowhow remains largely unexploited and we live in places which, in the way they work, resemble huge hotels in which there are groups of strangers passing through. How can we mould our public spaces so that they bind together individuals in meaningful ways? If we had better tools, we

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Above: 2008. A traveller is less interested in the number of kilometres to his destination than in the flight times. Created for

the Illuminators exhibition at the airport of Yekaterinburg, this map links the Russian city with both Sydney and Buenos Aires in 19 hours.

Far left: 2010. This notice aiming to promote good neighbourliness on one side invites the observer to knock to borrow a ladder, some tea, etc. The other side indicates what the occupant would himself like to borrow. Simple and effective.

Above, left and left-hand page: 2009. New York has more than 10,000 street vendors. Licensed by the authorities to facilitate access to local regulations, Candy Chang made use of computer graphics and several languages in this combination of poster and leaflet.

would have more to say than just Have you seen my cat? Whatever the situation, civic design goes beyond a love of ones neighbours. For the first time in our history, the urban population has overtaken the rural population, and in 2050, more than two-thirds of the worlds population will live in cities. Every day, citizens have to struggle to nd out their rights as tenants, as taxpayers, as owners of small businesses, as public transport users thanks to quality design, this experience can be gratifying or even pleasant! Quality design not only facilitates the use of a city, but also makes it possible to know whether the city works. The means of communication are a system of infrastructure as important as the roads, electricity and drains. We really need designers to help make citizens information more ac-cessible and appealing. What are you working on at the moment? Recently, I co-founded an organization called Civic Center, which aims to support citizen involvement through recitals, services, products and public installations. We are currently launching a number of exciting projects, including an interactive public installation at Turku in Finland, together with a service in New Orleans that will help locals nd pro-

fessional activities in their district. I am also working on a graphic novel aiming to demystify urban planning by telling the story of the project for the construction of the Lower Manhattan Expressway. Set around the confrontation between Robert Moses, the instigator of the project, and Jane Jacobs, a local leader, the story presents two different approaches to planning and the lessons we can draw from them. I also work with the members of the TED Conference on communications and air quality projects in India. Its extraordinary to be able to be in touch with such passionate and committed people in so many elds science, art, society. This collaboration helps me look at things differently and develop new solutions. I have a lot of admiration for people like Joseph Paxton, a gardener who was so inspired by the veined leaves of the giant water lily that he tried to reproduce this motif in the construction of buildings, including the steel and glass megastructure that was the Crystal Palace, built in London in 1851. I like the idea that a gardener can be an architect too, and in turn I aspire to make use of this openness of mind that enables me to think: This leaf would make a great building Which makes me think that in terms of disciplines, the only limits are those we assign ourselves.

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Through its installations and interactive architectures, Electronic Shadow develops the poetics of interactivity against unfathomable backgrounds of digital data and within the ongoing metaphor of a reality augmented by inhabitable images.
By Isabelle Arvers

Inhabiting the Image


Le Pavillon des mtamorphoses, 2010. This 16m space can become entirely transparent. Its walls turn into image substrates that make the pavilion a fusion of totally synchronized matter and light; a place in perpetual metamorphosis, suspended in time and space.

They are architects, designers, scenographers, artists... But Electronic Shadow eschews classications, preferring to hybridize them all. This year the duo architect Naziha Mestaoui and lm director Yacine At Kaci celebrates ten years of collaboration. Inside their interactive architectures, space expands and is remade with projected images. The habitat becomes modular and interchangeable; walls vanish, leaving only invisible membranes to project onto. Space reacts to the presence of its inhabitants, to their aspirations and desires, and becomes a medium, an interface for play, according to the time of day. A sensory space for experimenting and living, where the body is central and every sensation is augmented. For the past decade, Electronic Shadow has been harnessing art, innovation and research in this way to conceive a kind of future. Their collaboration stems from the story of digital and artistic creation. Mestaoui and At Kaci met in 2000 in Paris, at the International Festival of Internet Films (FIFI); and very soon set up Electronic Shadow, a reference to the traces we all leave daily in the virtual world shadows that exist only through the reality of an interface body. In 2000 they devised Lcharpe communicante in partnership with France Tlcoms research and development lab. The idea was to endow a garment in this case, a scarf with media to enable communication and augment the sensations perceived by our bodies. The following year, the duo went to Palermo, Sicily; at the French Cultural Centre they created a hybrid real/virtual space, blending physical and network presences. The architecture reacted to visitors presence, but also to the ow of data exchanged on the internet. The space was augmented by another reality, by an invisible layer of data. The couples work then began to yield a uid, pure aesthetic revolving around lightplay. Their approach to projects always begins with ideas, which are then whittled down and become concrete. Accompanied by numerous collaborators, they manage their projects from A to Z, from conception through execution of the physical elements as well as the imagery and interactivity. They start with tentative ideas, including unviable ones, and then we push the execution as far as we can,

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until we hit the impossibility barrier, at which point we switch to ction, with the conviction that it will only be a matter of time until the technique is available, and, without waiting for that moment, they nd creative solutions that let them realize their vision. Their dreamlike installations are often metaphors to do with immersion in the data ocean; with mythical quests; with moving between two realities or elds of experience, in the interstices. Water, uidity and the sea are recurring themes. Fluidity the state of transit seems to best characterize the moment when boundaries blur and the visitor steps through the looking glass. The motion of water also represents perpetual change another characteristic of the spaces conjured up by Electronic Shadow. Their manifesto project, 3 minutes2, winner of two awards in 2004 (Grand Prize, Art Category, at the Japan Media Art Festival; and the Prix Ars Electronica), is a space transformed by images and its inhabitants actions. Video mapping (a patented process) immerses the audience in images that redene the outlines of the space and are transformed, by the mere shifts of an arm and mood, from a cityscape into a sunset. Le Pavillon des mtamorphoses, shown at the tenth Designers Days event in Paris in June 2010, renews the idea of a space recongured by the visitors presence. The 16m2 installation consists of panels in Priva-Lite Quantum Glass (made by SaintGobain), glazed in a way that provides near-perfect transparency and reects the projected image, immersing the spectator in it. The glass, a momentary state derived from perpetual motion because it is liquid in suspension, captures and re-diffuses the light. The wall, as if made of static water, becomes both image and reection. In Le Pavillon... the walls give way to an innite space that is simultaneously reconstructed with images of nature and abstract or urban images. Interacting with the visitor, the space becomes moving lights and colours, and scrambles ones spatial bearings by remixing them to produce another reality a reality augmented by images of actual reality projected onto transparencies, creating an optical illusion and the feeling of a dream. Through endless play on transparencies and reections, the image is deployed

Windows Experiences. Interaction with a wall of images, via a Microsoft Surface computer-table that lets you apply imagery, light and reflections to fit your mood. Permanent installation at the HQ of Microsoft France, 2009.

in the form of successive vertical panels. This verticality is visible in several of the pairs works: Focus (2005), then the stage designs for Carolyn Carlsons shows, such as Double Vision, and Futurino for French electro/rock band Rinrse. The image repeats, bursts, adds to itself and redenes the space that constructs it. Quizzed about this recurring form, At Kaci says that the verticality refers to the gateways to perception. They are like doors in our subconscious, except that these solid doors refer us to the spaces they reveal. This makes it possible to get away from the notion of a framed image and to make sure it becomes a space. The horizon is the space and verticality its time. This is the principle behind Windows Experiences, a commission devised as an interactive landscape set in an architectural space at Microsofts new French HQ in Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris. It consists of seven panels (totalling 20m long x 6m high) offset at various angles from the wall, and on which the image features. Various semi-generative environments plunge the visitor into a blend of videos and 3-D, constantly renewed so as to never quite be the same. The visitor interacts with the projected space using a Microsoft Surface computertable a process that had already undergone experimentation in the duos Camera Obscura installation (2006), for which Electronic Shadow designed its own table with a built-in tactile screen. From applied art to home automation: a home-of-the-future concept that Electronic Shadow is currently developing in its forthcoming apartment, where all the furniture will be multifunctional and all the walls modular, able to be transformed as needs dictate. A home that goes beyond functionalism and whose every space, as in Japan, serves several purposes. How do you imagine a future in which you are already living, and move beyond the futuristic concepts of the 1950s? In 2010, Electronic Shadow advocates futurealism: envisioning the future with the technology and especially the imagination available today; being able to stir emotions, whatever the physical or immaterial medium, and to play with perception, which is itself an interface with how we apprehend reality.

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Echo & Narcisse. 2009-10. This installation rolls off figures numbers of trees cut down, births, etc. as they change in a poetic attempt to display abstract data in real time.

Electronic Shadow invisibly incorporates most of its technological systems into its spaces, to give the illusion of an in-between world of ideas in keeping with Platos theory. Human beings are thus situated at the intersection of the material and immaterial worlds, and their digital identities are reflected in their everyday existence, relayed by all the interconnected systems.

Opposing realities is out; the thing now is to fuse and augment them. In Electronic Shadows view, reality and our habitat are becoming extensions of the digital world, and human beings today live equally in the physical space and in the digital space, in which they leave their trace, just as they once did in a world made only of objects and matter. After the hybridization of the past ten years, we are now moving towards the fusion of matter and information. Everything that science ction has thrown up whether new materials, nanotechnologies, progress in home automation or the development of chips and computing power is today increasingly credible. We consider the architectural space whether on an urban or domestic scale, private or public to be the extension of a vaster realm extended by digital networks and the mobility-induced shift in how we relate to geography. Whereas most habitats today are still governed by an old conception, with rooms assigned functions, much space for storing physical objects, and the predominance of surface over time, it is now clear that each persons digital life has truly become a space in itself. These traces accumulate to form the strata of the digitized human memory: a topography in which one is reected and plunged. cho & Narcisse, shown at Room Book, a venue dedicated to Electronic Shadow at Paris fashion store Lclaireur, is a statistics-based installation. The visitor enters a space whose walls are constellated with gures and mathematical data. At its centre, a pool reects the changes to the statistics number of births, number of deaths, CO2 emissions, number of trees cut down, etc. in the form of small crosses that gradually ll the pool. Visitors, whose images are captured by a camera, see their reections appear at the bottom of the water and gaze at themselves, their recognition impaired, through an ocean of data. In Superuidity, one of the duos very latest multi-user interactive environment projects, shown in July 2010 at Lclaireur, the small crosses represent the interconnections of people on networks and the way information can now spread exponentially when it is received by someone and then

Superfluidity. 2009-2010. Playing with liquid matter and the spread of waves in visible and audible spectra, this multi-user interactive system consists of a networkconnected musical instrument and an online 3-D communal space.

forwarded a metaphor for the quantum state of matter, known as superuidity. The work is simultaneously available online and in the physical space, and accessible on any smartphone. In this shared environment, each cross creates a sound phrase according to the various connections, and comes to lie on a layer of information; the layers build up and form waves, or strata into which one can still plunge ones gaze. White crosses, lit beings, blue-tinged worlds, aquatic sound moods... The realm of Electronic Shadow made of transparency, reections, lights and images immerses us in a world that seems almost too perfect, verging on artice. Yet in this dreamlike realm, even the accidental is perfect material: Accidents are the physical effects of light with matter a glint, a parasitic light, a vibration but they are denitely the most beautiful aspect of a production, and we incorporate them in the overall perception, which is perhaps what creates this impression. For us, image and space are inseparable, because the accidents caused by fusing them produce the effects that interest us most which is why we never show one without the other. From December 2010, Electronic Shadow will hold a ve-month retrospective at the Muse Granet in Aix-en-Provence, southern France.

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Thomas Higashiyama

How can one explore the forms of comic strips as a graphic designer? What remains once the text and images have been masked or eliminated? Thomas Higashiyamas approach moves step by step towards a graphic analysis of the ninth art, a second reading of a medium that generally does its best work in narration, without self-reection. He looked at the drawing board, its grid and a dynamism stripped of information, undertaking an examination of its relationship with the image and the accentuation of the graphic features. Higashiyama studied how the grid brings together the ingredients of the comic strip one by one, superimposing and pushing them towards their climax, measuring their breadth and limits the way a gourmet studies an elaborate recipe. After completing his report on the speed at which mangas are read, having gained his diploma and following the discovery of abstract comic strips, he embarked on the production of two works. The rst, focusing on the masking of forms and texts, set up an eloquent aesthetic of abstraction and guided the reader through a mysterious scenario. The second, marking a return to clear form, took as its sole objects the grid, boxes, empty speech bubbles and textured grounds and tested the play of structures. Starting with a basic layout for narrative comprising peaks of action and slower passages, the work evolves through the graphic potential of the story. With interaction between in and out of frame, the savouring of an instant or circumstances of dialogue, it offers comic strip writers new paths forward along which to experiment. CB


Top left: Creation of a layout: drawing plus grid. Bottom left: Dynamics of the grid. Above: Masking of a manga.

Right: Distortions: accentuation of the dynamics of images in a manga. Below: Book on the forms of narration.

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graphic design

by diana mesa and guillaume le grand

Culture Machine: Designers, We Shall Not Squander The Legacy

Whenever the critic, theorist and historian of the media Peter Lunenfeld so refreshingly tells computers history, considering them culture machines, one witnesses the birth of a new form of knowledge that reaches beyond print and shatters the way meaning is created through digital culture.
Lunenfeld has not only the skills but also the guts to look from a different angle, encapsulate and reect on the complexity of the effects the use of computers has brought into contemporary human culture. Though he initially spoke mainly to digital artists, his current thinking proves relevant to all those who use a computer as a production tool. By setting design on top of all categories of human interactions, he is calling us to actively take part in the impulses of our generation and to be responsible for them.
You expand Marshall McLuhans metaphor of the Guttenberg Galaxy which describes the culture of print to talk about the Design Cluster. Are you thus revealing a Design category above contemporary human relationships? Do you then fully agree with Canadian designer Bruce Maus famous napkin sketch, which makes design the master narrative of the 21st century? How would this transform graphic designers practice? Maus sketch shows design at the start of the 20th century within concentric circles of business, culture and nature. Due to the development of everything from nano-facturing and genetic manipulation to the spread of CAD-Cam technologies and ideas about terra-forming the surface of Mars, Mau now sees design as becoming the outermost circle, containing nature, culture and business within itself. I think Maus position is optimistically preposterous. It is optimistic in that it sees an expanded notion of design as having the potential to be a positive force for change, an essential component in the rebooting of the narrative of technological and social progress. The sketch is preposterous because it is both ahistorical and presumptuous about human agency. Ever since the rst human selectively bred two animals together we have been designing nature, and once the denition of design becomes the act of human making, how can design not be said to have been the motive force in culture all along? Finally, while there are unintended consequences of human action all the time across all these registers (anthropogenic global warming comes to mind), all one needs to do is look at how impossible it is to design the solutions to problems that we make, like massive oil spills, much less the problems that nature throws at us. That said, if designers in general, and graphic designers in particular, can see computers as our new culture machines, as I discuss in my forthcoming book, they will be able to make use of these culture machines to further their own visions and nd vast new publics. Everyone understands how engineering and marketing function within the new media world; what is often misunderstood is the role of design, especially the design of the visual aspects of interface and the composition of screen space. This lack of understanding generates a vast wasteland of clunky interfaces and templated websites, but it also means that those who have sophisticated skills and a deeper understanding of how to create and communicate visually will have unparalleled opportunities in the 21st century. Could you give us some concrete examples of how new media has inuenced graphic design? Every new medium has an impact on visual communication, it always has. A generation ago, televisuality drove the scratch aesthetic that Californian David Carson perfected in magazines like Beach Culture, Raygun and Bikini. Of course the inuence was mutual, with music videos on television often stealing directly from graphic design models. You see the inuence of new media on graphic design in the sheer proliferation of digital tools of production, of course. Think about the ease of importing and manipulating electronic photography and melding it with texts and graphics. There are aesthetics that tap into nostalgia for bygone eras of electronic culture, like the recent craze for low-res, eight-bit


graphics. The inuence goes beyond questions of style, though, because digital systems are really huge-scale networks of distribution, communication and consumption. Designers love to work with musicians and authors, but the thumbnail-size album and book covers in electronic marketplaces like the iTunes store and Amazon have created a huge vacuum

in the visual presentation and packaging of media. The good thing about being a designer, though, is that a problem becomes an opportunity, the opportunity can lead to a solution and while the solution itself becomes a new problem, the most exible of 21st century designers understand that this loop is what makes their lives and professions so compelling.
What is the role of graphic designers exposed daily to the online media inuence, considering that the use of templates is overwhelming, from commercial to public websites with no distinction? In electronic environments, graphic designers have to give up so much control; they have to abandon notions of scale whether people look at their work on everything from buildingsized super graphics to cell phone screens; they have to give up on colour choices, since every monitor offers its own hues and brightness; they are rarely even offered the opportunity to nish every 1.0 is superseded by versions 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, ad innitum. Graphic designers can either seethe in frustration and wistfully recall the sureties of linotype and the primacy of print, or they can do an about-face and start to revel in the new possibilities. It is unavoidable that designers will be called upon to design templates for others to then ll in everywhere from shopping sites to Facebook. Designers look at this new state of affairs and begin to wonder, If I ignore this, will I become irrelevant? If I succeed too well, will I obsolete myself? The tools of production are so widely distributed that the specicities of the designers craft seem to be available to vast numbers of the untrained and inexperienced, but the operative word here is seem. Good graphic designers do more than just make; they also see and think in profoundly radical ways. Training in classic graphic design issues like composition, the relationship between gure and ground, hierarchies of reading and sensitivities to issues of colour, shape, density and legibility are all incredibly useful in electronic environments, even if the parameters are not as xed as they used to be.
Overleaf: 1. Peter Lunenfeld. Antoine Villaret 2. Design Cluster sketch by the Canadian designer Bruce Mau. Right: Works by graduates of UCLAs Design Media Arts course run by Peter Lunenfeld, 2010. 3. Poster for the Hello World exhibition of the students nal projects. 4. Melissanthi Saliba used motion-trackingbased graphic plotting in a mediation on waiting. 5. Madeleine Gallagher explored the notions of femininity and seduction. 6. Gautam Rangans interactive work was inspired by an Indian myth.

Another work in progress, on the factories of desire that became Disneyland and the Playboy Mansion (just over 60 km from each other), had its first instantiation as a performance lecture with backup dancers in the Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles. I have since been working out yet more ideas, mostly about the interrelationship between popular musical movements and police power, in a seminar/studio on rebranding LA, which has been a good way to continue these collaborative experiments in what I call visual intellectuality.
In the spring of 2010, the rst group of students you worked with throughout their graduate programme had their nal exhibition, Hello World. Having also witnessed some art schools projects in Paris, how would you characterize both groups? I was amazed at the similarity between the two contexts. My students work independently as media artists, ranging widely across forms and conceptual models. Athens-born, LA-based Melissanthi Saliba deployed motiontracking-based graphic plotting to create a meditation on waiting. Gautam Rangan took an ancient Indian myth, animated it and then crafted an interactive, physical interface that served as both the control and the ground of projection for the piece. Madeleine Gallagher worked with and around digital imagery, video, and lm to deploy the American Elegant Gothic Lolita subculture to interrogate notions of femininity, display, innocence and seduction, careening from Fragonard in 18th-century France, to cosplay [costume playing] in Harajuku in 20th-century Tokyo, to a tea party in San Franciscos Golden Gate Park at the start of the new millennium. In Paris recently, I spent time with the EnsadLab fellows. Though they were working in teams for the most part, and with funding and direction from either faculty or other partners, the same sense of transmedia exploration was present, with groups working on cell phone video, interactive displays and the aesthetics of demos. The graphic my students used for the poster of Hello World was an adaptation of a drawing of two intersecting cones I use to

Professor Catherine Malabou declared the end of writing and claimed plasticity (as a space modality and not as an aesthetical one) is the ontological feature of our epoch, challenging the notion providing language is the sober way to truth. As an author of four books and many articles, but also as an editor of the Mediawork project whose editorial lines aim is precisely to link graphic designers and writers, how do you experience the interchangeability between visual and language? I dont see an interchangeability between the visual and language, but rather a complementarity. The question is how to use each to best effect meaning. The visual can free the imagination and create fluid connections, but it is not an advance over the capacities of text, it is a different mode of knowledge production. The best graphic designers understand how to harness the powers of each of the specic forms they use in transmedia projects, creating compelling synergies rather than frantic muddles. I have been pondering over how the act of thinking and then making a record of that process can be seen as a multivalent, open position, as opposed to the older notion of writing or picture making. If texts in their broadest sense can be thought of as media scripts, then the specic medium that instantiates that script can change, evolve, morph and even turn back upon itself depending upon the situation. To take an example from my own work, I am constructing an alternate, connectionist history of Los Angeles and its arts and cultural life. One of my rst forays into this arena was an essay entitled Gidget on the Couch: Freud, Dora (No, Not That Dora), and Surngs Secret Austro-Hungarian Roots. This rst came out in paper in The Believer magazine. It was simultaneously released online. The essay was then anthologized in a book titled Read Hard: Five Years of Great Writing from The Believer. The periodical Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular, based at the University of Southern California (USC), funded me to work with the designer and design writer Dmitri Siegel to create a digital-video version of the ideas. Thus far, then, the one core media script has taken form as a magazine article, a text-based website, a chapter in a book and an online, linear video.

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Graphisme en France 2010-2011. lpreuve du temps

Centre national des arts plastiques 17 x 24.5 cm 20 pages English and French Free

Made of New Materials Sourcebook for Architecture and Design

Christiane Sauer ditions Gestalten 24 x 30 cm 280 pages English 49.90

Preserving graphic design objects for posterity is the theme of the 17th CNAP Annual. The designers interviewed here are against their work becoming a collectors item and some even dismiss the idea of a graphic artwork entirely. By decoding some of the longest-lasting visual identities the Pompidou Centre and the RATP (Paris public transport operator) we discover the key to their longevity and a series of examples, mainly from New York and London, reveal the different ways of putting together a graphic design collection. The pragmatic Anglo-Saxon approach that led to Ray Tomlinsons (1971) @ sign entering the MOMA collection is what has also enabled work previously considered ephemeral to be preserved and exhibited in France. Atelier 25, founded by two former ESAD Strasbourg students, designed the layout. They tuck images in the creases of fold-out pages to emphasize text, plus a selection of works, a list of prizes and a calendar of events. Download the work from VD

Christine Sauer explores the realm of possibilities in architecture and design through the use of innovative new materials. She gives us her invaluable and incisive perspective, not just on the uses of these materials but also their manufacturing processes. The rise of chemistry and physics in the industrial sector during the 20th century and concurrent developments in research in the social sciences has permitted connections to be made between architecture, design and advanced technologies. We look at thermochromic surfaces, sandwich techniques, tubular frameworks, pore structures, vacuum infusion, foam wood and metal foam and reinforced natural and aromatic polyamide bres. At the beginning of the 21st century the processes as well as materials are becoming sustainable, ecological and functional, while architects and designers just dying to try out all the new possibilities are coming up with the craziest new ideas. IM

Ich & Kar, Ian Wright, Stphan Muntaner | C-Ktre

Design & designer Collection Pyramyd 15 x 16 cm 120 pages English and French 13


Square format, brightly coloured covers with eyes peeking out at us and detail of a meaningful image with a numbered back cover. Theres no doubt this book is from the Design & Designer collection by Pyramyd Editions. Since 2002, each book in the collection has been devoted to the work of a studio or design group exploring the fields of design and visual arts their own way. The Design & Designer collection now boasts three additional titles. Three distinctive design approaches featuring Ian Wright, Stphan Muntaner/C-Ktre and Ich & Kar. Ian Wright appeared on the cover of Etapes International 18 . This British illustrator studied graphic design in London in the 70s before starting up his own design studio in 1981. Portraits

make up the bulk of his portfolio and are the focus of his work which constantly experiments with new materials. If Ich & Kar were a drink it wouldnt be a sickly sweet, watered-down cocktail, but a strong, ne spirit a straight whisky on the rocks, please. The French duo, Hlna Ichbiah and Piotr Karczewski, reveal their work in two books showing everything from logos for bars and luxury hotels to their design research, constantly on the lookout for wild ideas. Stphan Muntaner is less well-known but no less original. Dabbling in a little of everything, this sculptor, illustrator and poster designer has also been the head of C-Ktre studio in the multilingual city of Marseilles for ten years now. IM

Modern Living. The Graphic Universe of Han Hoogerbrugge

Submarine DVD Idea Books DVD English 20.35 Han Hoogerbrugges clear lines are mixed with black humour and brutal forms. A swaying one-armed clown, followed by a man hanging from a noose, squirming. In the background, we see the artist waterskiing on a giant cigarette. This Dutch artist earned his stripes with GIF and then with Flash animation. Han Hoogerbrugge begins by filming himself and then makes screen shots which he traces and then redraws. With their body language and expressive hyperrealism, his characters and mutilated selfportraits transgress the boundaries of good taste. When it comes to respecting the laws of physics or unleashing the lunatic within, our digital designer prefers the latter. This hasnt stopped him from working with MTV and Diesel. Barking, line dancing and cackling guaranteed. CB

A New Kilo of KesselsKramer

Pie Books Japan 14.8 x 25.7 cm 428 pages English and Japanese 24 Protected by a fluorescent green cover with the glow of an industrial pesticide, A New Kilo is hard to miss on the shelves. The latest publication from KesselsKramer is a book and CD-Rom that presents a selection of public and private commissions by the Dutch agency between 2005 and 2010. Packaging, posters, brand identities, publishing projects, advertising projects and TV commercials make up the second part of KesselsKramers visual testament the follow-up to 2 Kilo which presented projects from the agencys first ten years, from 1996 to 2005. IM

Impressive. Printmaking, Letterpress and Graphic Design

R. Klanten, H. Hellige Gestalten 256 pages 24 x 30 cm English and German 44 John Kristensen, on the Firey Press foundrys blog, is just astonished by how designers in the past intuitively knew how to create images that immediately conveyed all the important text and information. Impressive examines the graphic designers fascination with rediscovering letterpress printing (the craft and the discipline) and the renewed interest in old-fashioned printing techniques. With embossing, stamping, screen-printing, lino cuts and the use of multiple types of paper, graphic designers have total control over their own production process. The methods were made popular by Martha Stewarts wedding invitations in the United States in the 90s. IM

3D Typography
J. Abbink & E. CM Anderson Mark Batty Publisher 224 pages 21 x 26 cm English $45 3-D letters, grated carrots, wax, feathers, porcelain and fake eyelashes: this book is bursting with all the creativity of 3-D type with letters designed by artists, typographers and even apprentice bakers. Whether playing on perspective, representing skilful design and technical dexterity, or just wacky ideas pushed to the limit, the quantity and variety of letters in this book attest to our desire to write the world in tangible, solid materials. Poetry, humour and just plain delectable shapes with all the expressiveness of a material world you can touch and feel, invoking an original universe and adding new dimensions to type. CB

{De}signed Black on White by Swip Stolk 50 Years of Visual Statements

Willem Ellenbroek Uitgeverij De Buitenkant Publishers 528 pages 17.5 x 25 cm English 39.50

The enigmatic and perplexing Swip Stolk gives us a glimpse into his inner workings in his first monograph, in black and white. After 50 years of loyal service to untamed design, the unfathomable character takes a look back over his work. Starting in the 2000s and going back to the 60s, the book tries to avoid both an analytical reading of his career and any possibility of linking the images. In Swip Stolks half century of artistic production he has thrown nothing away. His sketches, tracing paper and design research have all been painstakingly conserved and he presents them to the reader, alternating different kinds of paper throughout the book. This strange Dutchman has established himself as the antithesis

of Wim Crouwel. The self-taught designer, who never completed any formal training, doesnt conform to a style and is not content with any particular technique: drawing, animation, web design, type or photography. His diverging path has resulted in frequent collaborations with Anthon Beeke. He jumps from designing campaigns for Citron to playing AD for a Dutch fashion magazine, then filming commercials for the TV show, Vara . He ricochets from prestigious cultural institutions to BMW, invents a coded language for a brand of shoes and then starts using it himself. Swip Stolk is both everywhere and nowhere. A controversial figure who fully embraces his graphic ambiguity. CB

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