Shapeshifters 2007-2008

Lectures in 2007-2008 | Seismographics – The way graphic designers deal with the almost imperceptible ultrasounds that seem to announce major social-economical, political, cultural and technological changes, and try to communicate them, stands central to Seismographics. What is the responsibility of the designers’ community? Does design automatically imply an ideology? What influence can designers have? How can they translate these signals into communication processes? What tactics and strategies are to be used? These and many more questions will be discussed by some of the world’s leading graphic designers.

29 November 2007: Martijn Sandberg
20 December: Omar Vulpinari and Cristina Chiappini
24 January 2008: Martí Guixé
14 February: Anthon Beeke
13 March: Lars Müller

Martijn Sandberg (NL) | 29 November 2007

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The work of Amsterdam based Martijn Sandberg (°1967) constantly explores border areas, such as the tension between text and image, legibility and illegibility, the private and public. His images consist of texts for which he developed his own a typography, so far removed from most fonts that they are barely legible as text, and can only be decoded upon careful inspection. The ‘image’ hides the ‘message’, despite of the fact that these messages are of central importance, not only playing on the tension between image and message itself (‘kill the pics’), but also referring to social issues, such as the Power to the People phrase covering the surface of a transformer station in Amsterdam, or the permanent installation We’re only in it for the Money installation at the SVB Bank, Zaandam.

www.msandberg.nl

Omar Vulpinari (IT) | 20 December 2007

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Born in San Marino and raised in the United States, Treviso based Omar Vulpinari is obsessed by ‘visual narratives that punch in the eye and explode in the mind. If it’s not a knockout punch, it has to be an orgasmic caress’. Vulpinari sees communication as a mirror, speaking an archetypical, universal language that needs no further explanation, forcing us to understand our society and ourselves, and pushing us to a decisive behavioural change. Fabrica, the communication centre of Benetton, where he has been working as creative director of the Visual Communication Department since 1998, is defined by him as a combination of ‘risk and utopia’. Fabrica is an international school and laboratory with no exams and degrees, but with world-class teachers, where fifty international students receive a twelve-month scholarship to work for an impressive list of clients, in ‘an atmosphere void of fear’. Central to all this is experiment and what Vulpirani describes as ‘the luxury to commit errors in a real market process’. Published in 2004 by Electa, his Fabrica 10: From Chaos to Order and Back is already a classic.
www.omarvulpinari.com
www.fabrica.it

Cristina Chiappini (IT) | 20 December 2007

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Cristina Chiappini began as a freelance graphic and new media designer in 1989, and has since worked in the fields of publishing, corporate and web design, interactive projects and motion-graphic television. Her list of clients includes the fashion brand Marithé + François Girbaud and RAI, as well as humanitarian projects such as the European Network for the Prevention and Eradication of Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children. Her work in this area led, among others, to the book entitled Roses of Flesh, in which she dealt with the serious and complex issue of the mutilation of female genitals in an amazingly open and accessible way. In addition, Chiappini also initiated a project of her own, in which she tries to confront young people with real sex in a period in which all too many people only learn about sex from internet pornography. The project plays ironically on typographic dimensional relationships between type elements and human sexual organs. Chiappini is also vice-president of aiap, the Associazone Italiana Progettazione per la Communicazione Visiva, which is the Italian trade association for visual communication. She lives and works with Omar Vulpinari.

www.cristinachiappini.com

Martí Guixé (ES) | 24 January 2008

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The work of the self-declared ex-designer Marti Guixé can also be described as ‘beyond design’. Instead of creating new objects which prioritise form and are discarded by him as ‘superfluous’ and ‘boring’, Guixé prefers to concentrate on ideas, systems, living matter such as food (‘the only vital object’) and human behaviour. As a ‘global designer’, constantly travelling between Berlin and his city of birth, Barcelona, Guixé analyses situations, rituals and gestures and proposes radical solutions with minimal ergonomics – simple, immaterial, humorous and often iconoclastic, such as the index finger ruler tattoo and his ‘techno tapas’ finger food for today’s computer people. Doing so he touches areas such as anthropology, gastronomy and human and exact sciences, but also typography and graphic design, with a signature that is totally his own.

www.guixe.com

Anthon Beeke (NL) | 14 February 2008

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Anthon Beeke’s designs have always generated controversy, starting with his 1969 alphabet composed entirely of naked women. Once celebrated as the most important Dutch designer of the 20th century that is still working and alive, Beeke (°Amsterdam, 1940) holds the public a mirror, in which it is confronted with an unknown self-portrait. World-renowned because of his posters for theatre companies such as Toneelgroep Amsterdam and Theatercompagnie, or the Stedelijk Museum and Kunstrai, Beeke also designed exhibitions, scenography, catalogues, books, magazines, corporate identities, postage stamps, TV-commercials, packing, children’s games, and advertising campaigns. As creative director of Studio Anthon Beeke in Amsterdam he also designed musea, and became the co-publisher of trend-forecasting magazines such as View on Colour, inview and Bloom, together with Lidewij Edelkoort who once described Beeke as the man kick boxing society with slippers on. Having taught at many art colleges, he is also head of the department ‘Man and Communication’ at the Design Academy in Eindhoven.

Lars Müller (CH) | 13 March 2008

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What good is art and architecture if elementary human rights are disregarded? What good is a beautifully designed vessel if it is empty or its contents are unfit for consumption? We need a new formula.’ Lars Müller was born in Oslo in 1955, but has lived in Switzerland since 1963. Lars Müller Publishers, which came into being twenty years later, has made a worldwide name for itself – and not just in specialist fields. Labelled as ‘a school of seeing’, it offers a platform for exceptional proposals and people who stand for quality and tenacity in art, architecture, photography and design, while trying to move beyond the dimensions of visible design and inquire into ‘the conditions of life on our planet’. Lars Müller is also a passionate designer outside the sphere of books. Corporate Design, Signage Systems and Corporate Publishing are the focal points for the Integral Lars Müller Studio. Since 1996, his studio has also been part of Integral Concept, a group of five studios with the same intellectual approach but different key interests, from architecture to product design and active in a great number of fields. It is located in Paris, Milan and Baden, Switzerland.

www.lars-mueller-publishers.com