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I am a conceptual Graphic Designer invest igating the blurred and controversial boundary between graphic design and the arts. I question the role of the designer and challenge the role of design by exposing their fluidity and subsequent effect upon understanding and perception.


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Personal Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Self-Consumption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Controlled Exploration . . . . . . . . . . .6

Interjection of Verbal Deconstruction . . .6

Transmutation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Interview with Rory Macbeth . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Review of Indifferent Matter: From Object to Sculpture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Text and Interpretation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Interview with Will Holder . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Epigraph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Sixual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Will Holder : Writing the Page . . . . . . . . . .23 Audience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Content . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Reflection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Appendix A . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

Appendix B . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36

Appendix C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

Appendix D . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

Appendix E . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

List of Illustration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

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‘One position states that design is essentially a functional activity, with the needs of the paying client foremost. The opposing view regards design as too significant to be seen in such terms, and that it ought to be used in ways that emphasise and explore its expressive potential: function versus aesthetic possibility.’ -

Quentin Newark, What is graphic design?, pp.10-11

Since gaining experience within a graphic design agency the question on my mind has been whether designers are entitled to self-express. All the work created within each of my projects has attempted to probe this gap between designer and artist through the deconstruction of established conventions. Utilising deconstruction as a way of exposing the anatomy of design simultaneously tests its flexibility. To probe the gap between artist and designer, an understanding of design is required; therefore, to question design is to question communication with its overwhelming role as the unstable creator of continually transformative interpretation and deferred meaning. Whether it is possible to stop or control the communication of design is the way in which I intend on challenging and understanding the role and function of design and the designer. This Critical Study is laid out to flow from one section to another for ease of reading, and consideration of clarity; paying considerable attention to the themes most relevant to an understanding of my practice, and the questions explored. Briefs It was through misinterpreting the course title Graphic Arts & Design as a merging of Graphic Design with Art and Design that I chose to explore the blurred and somewhat controversial line that separates these two professions. Self-Consumption A critical analysis into the graphic decisions of the work I create through semiotic self-reflection, whilst simultaneously attempting to challenge graphic communication into complete incoherence through the gradual deconstruction of the pragmatic conventions of graphic language. The intention is to create a series of books each analytically reviewing its precursor. The semiotic / self-reflective breakdown would, each time, assess the conventions of its predecessor whilst gradually declining in graphic communication; a process applying to both the design and content. This selfconscious deconstruction of communication will attempt to transmutate into an abstract state of incoherence. Contrary to graphic design tradition, the work I produce is primarily concerned with self-discovery, as opposed to providing a service (although, what I do learn would aid in this field). There are two ways in which I want my work to impose an influence upon me. The first is my contextual written analysis within each of the books I create. I aspire to gain a greater, more developed outlook on the work I make as the body of books progress. I believe that constant reflection is a healthy process that spurs development; and as I develop so do my reflection skills (Fig-1.). The other influence derives from the graphic communication of the books. I want my series to portray a gradual decline in graphic communication in an attempt to highlight the boundary between the function of graphic design and the self-expressive impunity of art and design.

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Using deconstruction as a form of learning, like my self-reflective analysis, it will develop me as a designer, an artist and an individual. Controlled Exploration An investigation into how understanding is attained from design through the study of behaviour and written responses of participants in a controlled environment (Fig-2.). The findings are to be organised, and made sense of to learn and develop from with respect to graphic communication. The investigation takes place in a small room devoid of influence and distractions. In this space participants sit at a desk and write critically about what the chosen object of study is and how it communicates (Fig-3.). To capture the way the object is interacted with – and, to some extent, any sign of subconscious behaviour that reveals something about their thought process – the participant is filmed. All the written responses are studied alongside the footage collected. The data is then assembled into information graphics and print formats that draw focus to the exploration as a whole. My aim is to observe patterns in the way people interact and interpret what they see. In doing so, establish an understanding of the function of communication in design to then either abide by the conventions or challenge them. In the process of collating my findings, I am confronted with design problems that challenge and exercise my creative ability.

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Interjection of Verbal Deconstruction The typographic design of verbal scripts that possess a shared interpretation for consistent reading, simultaneously expressing the instability of understanding through the verbal recital of said scripts to participants within the context of a controlled environment. Like the multiplication of writing in the form of type, each reading of the Verbal Script is recorded for dissemination of a shared meaning (Fig-4.). The Verbal Scores’ feature directions that are to be followed by participants within the Controlled Exploration space on how to draw a triangle. If the triangle is described correctly, and the participant understands the description correctly, then the drawing should resemble the triangle described. If not, the instability of understanding and its transformative ability is exemplified. My exploration should demonstrate how the verbal presentation of speech can manifest into a new form through misrepresentation and misinterpretation on part of the listener and / or the reader. To impose an interjection of the scripted text as a verbal reading the listener has only the reader’s interpretation of that text rather than establish their own, therefore deconstructing the efficiency of understanding.


Transmutation

‘Transmutation of lead into gold is presented as an analogy for personal transmutation, purification, and perfection’ - Antoine, F. & Hanegraaff, W. J. Western esotericism and the science of religion, 1995, p. 96. Transmutation was the ineffective process used in the medieval practice of Alchemy to turn base metals into gold. It is also believed that alchemy was as much a scientific endeavour as a spiritual one where by inner revelation or enlightenment could be reached.

‘So delicate was the transmutation of metals it was said one could not hope to succeed except under the alignments of certain planets.’ -

Godwin, W. Lives of the Necromancer, 1876, p. 20.

My definition of transmutation in design is the process by which communication is deteriorated into complete incoherence and intangibility. Similar to the alchemist ambition of turning lead into gold, the complete eradication of an established interpretation is impossible to achieve. However, if the process of transmutation was for the alchemist’s a means for inner revelation, then I hope also to learn from the application of this process. My main connection to the original definition of transmutation is its association with process and its apparent futility. I do not expect to attain definitive answers from my projects and the explorations that I might conduct within them. Instead, it is the body of work these process driven explorations initiate along the way. Transmutation is, in a sense, a form of deconstruction in that it studies the conventions it breaks down. However, transmutation is applied with the intention to control interpretation, to create a common ground on which no individual establishes an understanding. Hypothetically, it is through the exaggeration of the Deconstructionist longing for freedom of interpretation that complete incoherence is established. Within the project Self-Consumption, I rely on this process of transmutation to gradually deteriorate the conventions of legibility and attempt an incorporeal existence of the books I create. Through the deterioration of legibility and graphic function, I am exposing the inner framework to learn from and aid in the process of Deconstruction for the next book. It is a cyclical process in that critical reflection is required for an understanding of what is to be deteriorated, and through the process of deterioration new elements are exposed for critical reflection; a transmutation of graphic design convention into incorporeality and knowledge, as opposed to gold. 1. Kinross, R. (1994) Fellow Readers: Notes on Multiplied Language, Hyphen Press: London. 2. Lupton, E. & Miller, D. (1996) Design, Writing, Research: writing on graphic design, Kiosk: New York.

A similar method of transmutation takes place within Interjection of Verbal Deconstruction. In this project I set out to expose the processes of understanding as transformative, and display the unreliability of the commonplace mediums of communication; such as speaking, reading and writing. An essay titled ‘Fellow Readers: Notes on Multiplied Language’ published in 1994 by Robin Kinross (1.)(Fig-5.) was first brought to my attention whilst reading about the design history of Deconstruction in ‘Design, Writing, Research’ (2.) (Fig-6.) by Lupton and Miller. However, it was not until my interview with Will Holder, when I was directly recommended this text, I began to engage with it.

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Fig-2. - Controlled Exploration space

Fig-1. - Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra

Fig-3. - Participant in Exploration space 8

Fig-4. - Sony Cassette-corder TCM-818 002

Fig-6. - Design, Writing, Research: writing on graphic design (1996) Fig-5. - Fellow Readers: Notes on Multiplied Language (1994)


3. Saussure, F. de (1916) Cours de linguistique générale, Part 1, chapter 1: Harris translation, pp. 68-69.

‘The word arbitrary also calls for comment. It must not be taken to imply that a signal depends on the free choice of the speaker. (We shall see later that the individual has no power to alter a sign in any respect once it has become established in a linguistic community.) The term implies simply that the signal is unmotivated: that is to say, arbitrary in relation to its signification, with which it has no natural connection in reality.’

The essay discusses the role of language, specifically regarding type, and the arbitrariness of its meaning. It was through reading about the ways communication transgresses understanding as a result of these ‘unmotivated signals’ (3.) that inspired my idea for Interjection of Verbal Deconstruction. To employ writing, reading and speaking as methods of transmutation I designed Verbal Scripts (Fig-7.) that feature and act as instructions to be read aloud into a recording device. Each Verbal Script acts as a graphic score in that it must direct the same recital from every reader; the reading must be as true to the text as possible. The next stage is a participant’s interpretation of the recording. If a coherent understanding was established then the participant’s drawing should closely resemble that which was described. However, since this project aims to illustrate the arbitrariness of commonplace mediums of communication, the responses of each participant should have transmutated. Within Controlled Exploration I used transmutation in the gradual deprivation of the participant’s ability to perceive the object of study. Through the application of constraints, the interpretation of the object transmutates into something new. In the second exploration of this project, titled A Controlled Exploration into Graphic Deconstruction: Part 1. (Fig-8.) the participant wears a blindfold and attempts to attain an understanding of what the object of study is with their remaining senses. Thinking of transmutation as deconstruction, the object of study transgresses with each interpretation into a new form. However, in my definition of transmutation, there is no such thing as an object transmutating into a new form. If the object is still perceivable then it has deconstructed within the midst of the process of transmutation. At this stage the signified has mutated, but whether you classify it as something new is debatable. The Theseus Paradox, also known as the Ship of Theseus, is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object, therefore, very much applicable to this debatable quality of transmutation. The paradox appealed to my idea that an object exists mid stage of transmutation before it develops into an incoherent / incorporeal ‘object’. However, transmutation is a process of deterioration into incoherence; the Theseus Paradox is the changing of components that nevertheless retain the original function. Therefore, as much as they seem compatible they are not. Earlier in the year a film by the 2013 Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost was due to be displayed at the Hyde Park Picture House (Fig-9.). After doing some research I discovered that the film was based on a book of the same name by Rory Macbeth. The book, titled ‘The Wanderer’ (2010) (Fig-10.), was a genuine attempt to translate ‘Metamorphosis’ (1915) by the German writer Franz Kafka. I recognised this act of mutation as similar to the process of transmutation. Rory Macbeth explores the relationship between ‘ideals and their realisation’, establishing a gap between the purity and clarity of ideas and intentions, and the messy contingencies, contradictions, and conflicts of the social realm. Rory works part time at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and here at Leeds Metropolitan University. After further research into the work of Rory Macbeth I decided that it would be highly beneficial to my practice if we met for an interview. I wanted to ask about Rory’s projects and introduce him to my idea of transmutation (See Appendix A).

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Ryan: I wanted the opportunity to talk to you because I watched Laure Prouvost’s film rendition of the Wanderer, and I found how you managed to mutate Franz Kafka’s story kind of, not the same, but similar in that we both deteriorate something, to some extent, that struggles to communicate in the way it once did. This is why I thought it would be interesting to talk to you. Rory: I see the way that you’re looking at that and I know that’s what it is that ends up happening but I’m not sure it’s actually what I do. Certainly for that piece of translation, it was a genuine but misguided attempt to translate it. It was done through a believe even though I knew it was probably going to be wrong but I wouldn’t allow myself to write down a line unless I believed it was right so it 10 was kind of done through this really painstakingly slow methodology. The books not particularly long but it took about 5 or 6 years to translate. A single sentence could take hours. I took it sentence by sentence and what I did was stare at the sentence until it became clear that one or two words probably meant something and as they did you try and work out what the relationship between ‘donkey’ and ‘stone’ might be, say they were the 2 words that you had decided were definitely right and eventually the rest of the sentence will start finding a place and it snaps into place and suddenly you have a coherent sentence. The thing that was interesting for me was that I kind of assumed it was going to be easy to do, that it was going to be this spiral of nonsense that was coming out. That each sentence prompted the next so what you ended up with

was a narrative, it wasn’t like Google translate where you just get nonsense it was this thing that actually told a story, so the moment you’ve already got a sentence that says something, the next sentence will be influenced by it. Inevitably it starts telling a story. Which I found kind of surprising but in a way it was done out of a belief that it was right even though I knew it probably wasn’t. At no point did you set out to mutate this story? No, but I had wanted to do it for quite a long time. I have mucked around with various different ways of trying to do this. Something with language and translation and when I was asked to do the film with Laure I came across a great quote which made me sound really clever. It was by a poet called Octavio Paz, he writes in Spanish but his poems have been translated into lots of different languages. Lots of poets are quite sceptical about poems being translated coherently into a different language and when he was being asked about his poetry and if it worried him that his stuff was being translated in this way he just said ‘oh no, it’s great’ and when asked what he meant he said it’s a translation anyway, the moment you start using language it translates the thing you’re talking about so already its wrong. And in a way that helped, that thing that language never does right. It makes the thing that I do believable or right for me and there is rightness to it even though traditionally it’s wrong. It does turn into something other but that wasn’t the way I thought about it. I think because text is so bad at doing its job it’s really good as a raw material for art making. Where you can play around with that, texts that already exist become incredibly

rich material for you to investigate the problematics of language The way that Laure and I ended making that film was that she really liked the text itself which she heard being recited by an actor at a live event where she was doing a performance as well and we were chatting afterwards and laughing about the possibility, eventually started taking it quite seriously and when it came to coming up with a strategy for making it work we realised that the wrongness about the way I had gone about translating was something that we could then exploit. Such as the various kinds of points which go wrong for when a film is made of a book, a famous book and everyone goes to see the film and think the books better. We wanted to make that impossible to say by exploiting all the parts that go wrong and make them go as wrong as possible. A series of frame works that will upset the accuracy of what’s happening and make things miss. We had taken that the translation has an initial wrongness to it and I then had to write the script and I had never seen a script in my life, I knew nothing about it. There were moments where Laure had misunderstood lots of stuff so her entire film was based on the fact I had only got 3 quarters of the way through the book. The translation wasn’t finished but for the film it was, we deliberately hired the lead actor he felt really right for the part but he was really crap at remembering lines and there were lots of lead actors that did screen tests that were good and could remember stuff really well but this guy was great so we exploited the fact he couldn’t remember lines and gave him a huge chunk of dialog and told him he had to get it right first time and of course he just took it wherever he wanted. The script transformed and transformed


until it becomes its own thing so you can’t turn around and say the books better because the books got nothing to do with it. It was a series of attempts to try and make the film its own thing. I like the fact that what you have translated is Metamorphosis. It turns out it is, I didn’t know that. I was vaguely aware of what Kafka had written about and when I was a kid I pretended to read it but never got round to it and I had been wanting to do a translation for a long time but assuming it might be from a language that I didn’t recognise even the alphabet. It might be Sanskrit or it might be Russian or something like that and I spent a lot of time just wandering randomly through the foreign sections of libraries just to see if a book would jump out at me and eventually this one did mostly because it was so little and because it was Kafka. I think it works both ways. Part of me is slightly disappointed in that it might be a bit obvious. I wanted to ask; how exactly do you probe the gap between ideas and reality? It’s something I pulled off the internet... What’s really interesting about that quote is that it was written as a result of a discussion with Alistair Robinson, he was writing a piece about some work he was shown and what happened was that lots and lots of people copied it so it’s become this standard text which I find really fascinating. It was something that was on my mind, I guess it always is but I think that’s my interest in language, it’s the thing that sits somewhere in between ideas and their realisation and is usually the thing that fucks it up and I think that’s what I really like about language is that those two things seem to map directly

onto each other and then we try and say it and it ends up in the wrong place. Languages do manifest in different forms, like design for example that is in a sense its own language, so when you say languages you don’t just mean speaking? No, but I think there are loads of different languages there, I think the thing I find particularly interesting about language in the narrow sense, in terms of words and whether they are written or spoken, is that they are particularly bad at doing their job. Whereas I think there are other languages which are much better at it. Arts much better at saying complicated things, if you say a complicated thing in language it just becomes massive and it becomes really difficult and unwieldy, very hard to get hold of whereas you can hold a very complicated idea through intuition and I guess it’s that. Using one language to talk like the other, I think that’s why so many artists are interested in using the formal idea of language it’s because they are using a different language to deal with it. I want to ask about this quote: “Our process of interpretation is a constantly frustrated loop which can never attain a point of conclusion” That sounds proper doesn’t it, did I say that? I recognise the frustrated loop bit, which rings a bell. It sounds like it makes sense with what I do, I quite like that. The tone of it sounds like it’s a quote that I’d probably written rather than said and tried to sound clever with and its nearly worked I think. When I was talking about ideas and reality and this language being the thing that tries to connect it, it doesn’t touch either of them properly. It

just spirals in its own little world and that’s what makes it such a fascinating subject matter, for me it doesn’t make it fascinating to use words to express myself. I like to use it as raw material to express how it doesn’t work because I find that more meaningful and what I think is really interesting to do is to sit back and go ‘ay?’ occasionally and obviously you can’t actually do that all the time or you would go mad but it’s really good to just check that stuff and realise the stuff you are dealing with is problematic, it doesn’t really work. I think there’s a real value, it’s not just an intellectual pursuit where you are pointed out that language is crap. There’s something quite heartening, quite human, quite meaningful and moving about being confronted with that, in a way it kind of makes me feel alright about constantly being accosted by words and this constant pretence 11 of saying I understand it. What does that mean? What does that poster mean? Or what do any of the other languages that we are surrounded by mean? We make those assumptions in that actually there’s something really beautiful in just being able to except it as being wrong footed or that it’s going to fail.


Fig-8. - A Controlled Exploration into Graphic Deconstruction: Part 1.

Fig-7. - Verbal Script

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Fig-10. - The Wanderer By Franz Kafka (translated by Rory Macbeth)

Fig-11. - Exploration Space

Fig-9. - The Hyde Park Picure House


My initial reason for the interview was to see whether the implementation of mutation within his work was done with the same intention as my idea of transmutation. I discovered that we both interpret and utilise mutation in our own ways. As mentioned in the interview, The Wanderer was written in the way that it was – not as a deliberate attempt to completely alter the story, it’s meaning and subsequent interpretation – but as a genuine belief he was re-writing the story. My interview with Rory lasted roughly an hour, in that time we discussed the themes surrounding my work such as mutation, the instability of language and the pushing of boundaries within design. Discussing mine and Rory’s work exposed our similarities in opinion and our differences in outlook, but above anything taught me more than I could have read about these areas of interest. Context

‘(Social) space is a (social) product [...] the space thus produced also serves as a tool of thought and of action; that in addition to being a means of production it is also a means of control, and hence of domination, of power.’ - Lefebvre, H. The Production of Space, (1974 Trans. 1991), Blackwell: Oxford, p. 26. Within the Controlled Exploration project, I attempted to create a space devoid of communication (Fig-11.). To ensure that each participant of my exploration has the ‘same’ level of influence upon their interpretation of the object of study, I attempted to control unwanted communication by dressing the space in black fabric and the participant in a black boiler suit. By cancelling out all exterior influence, the participant is solely focused on the object of study. However, a space devoid of influence and distraction is impossible, and also paradoxical. The very recognition something is devoid of communication means that something is being communicated. Everything always communicates as there is always something to be signified from a signifier.

‘A black room, MDF mat, a book – and this ludicrously over codes the only complex objects in the room, a camera digital SLR and a paperback called ‘Kapow’ –’ - 010, Controlled Exploration into Graphic Communication, 18th November 2013 The assessment space, in which each participant is subjected to a controlled environment, represents the paradoxical intention of transmutation. This controlled exploration space will never function as a communication void; it will always be a space that asserts the pretence of a vacuum, and attempts to control interpretation through its context.

4. Lupton, E. & Miller, D. (1999) Design, Writing, Research: writing on graphic design, p. 9.

This attempt to create a controlled interpretation is an attempt to establish a shared meaning. Through the use of the same context for every participant of my exploration, a common ground on which to share the same interpretation is created. However, this all depends on whether the signification is successfully signified equally for each participant. The Post-Structuralists would argue that ‘because signification is not fixed in material forms, designers and readers share in the spontaneous creation of meaning’ (4.); therefore, resulting in an inconsistency as each participant brings into the space their own interpretations of this ‘controlled’ environment.

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Prior to my production of the space was a knowledge that context can function; in this case, to control perception. My understanding of the transformative properties of context was developed from my visit to the Henry Moore Institute. During the time of my visit, there was an exhibition titled: ‘Indifferent Matter: From Object to Sculpture’ (Fig-12.). Visiting this exhibition made me question the seemingly random juxtaposition of objects within a space, and how that space alters them; thus proving the involvement of space in our interpretation. Running alongside this was my awareness of the book: ‘The Production of Space’ (1974) by Henri Lefebvre. Lefebvre wrote about the relevance of space and its production, particularly to society and our social situations. Within The Production of Space Lefebvre argues that space is a social product / or a complex social construction (based on values and the production of meanings) which affects spatial practices and perceptions. With these sources reinforcing and building on my understanding of context I felt confident with the knowledge that I could design situations that attempt to control interpretation and perception of any given object within a space.

‘The meaning of an image is changed according to what one sees immediately beside it or what comes immediately after it. Such authority as it retains, is distributed over the whole context in which it appears.’ -

Berger, J. Ways of Seeing, 2008, p. 22.

Indifferent Matter: From Object to Sculpture: 25th July – 20th October 2013, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds

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This exhibition explored how objects resist and how they are coerced into becoming sculptures that attain cultural and historic value. In the gallery space my attention was drawn not to the work, but their unusual placement within the exhibition and their juxtaposition between each other. Although I could not understand it, I felt as though there was something more to the objects and sculptures observed. I was not able distinguish if the objects and sculptures possessed relationships linked by their concepts, or if the relationship was only that they simply contrasted with each other in an attempt to highlight the art gallery’s ability to transform object into art in a gallery context. In this exhibition there was an example by Robert Smithson, ‘Asphalt Lump’ (1969)(Fig-13.), which in its original environment of a factory it would have been overlooked as a frequent by-product from the industrial process of steel production. A gallery space acts like a hypothetical frame that transforms the spectators’ approach to understanding an object, because what they see is communicated differently and it becomes a piece of art or sculpture. However, I felt as though the gallery failed to explain the relationship between the objects and sculpture. It was not clear whether this was deliberate. I considered the possibility that the objects were juxtaposed to represent an implicit relationship. For example, Félix González-Torres’s ‘“Untitled” (Placebo)’ (1991)(Fig-14.) is paired alongside Neolithic jade bi disks from 3400-2250BC (Fig-15.). Both these items commemorate the dead via concept; the meaning of which is attained from their location - the Neolithic artefacts were found in burial sites and ‘“Untitled” (Placebo)’ uses the gallery to communicate the concept by replenishing the sweets to ensure the sculpture is returned to its original commemorated human body mass.


Robert Smithson’s ‘Asphalt Lump’ (1969) became sculpturally ‘man-made’ when the artist decided that this by-product was already a sculpture and he claimed it as his own work. Like a designer brand, a name gives the object added value by the virtue of the product of a well-known name; if the artist is not recognised then the gallery would instead fulfil this role. Contrasting this are a neighbouring collection of Eoliths (Fig-16.) which were widely debated in the late 1890s because they were not ‘man-made’ as originally thought but a natural geological process. This juxtaposition implies the fluid instability of a given name in that an object or sculpture’s change of meaning can render its name out of context and even out of date. Hans Haacke’s ‘Grass Cube’ (1967)(Fig-17.) stands adjacent to an unnamed recently discovered mineral species. It was interesting to note that the nomenclature would be decided during the course of the exhibition. Both these items seem out of place to me because they are both natural and are usually found in their outdoor environment. However, the unnamed mineral is unfamiliar i.e. recently discovered, therefore, it could be viewed or misinterpreted as a sculpture in the gallery context in which it is placed. This shows that the piece of grass in the ‘Grass Cube’ is no longer just a piece of grass, but instead, just like the unnamed mineral, it is viewed as a sculpture i.e. a piece of art. Therefore, it is illustrating the interchangeability of an object into art and viceversa. This could be the intention of the exhibition showing that the items on display possess relationships. The hardest space to critically assess was my favourite part of the exhibition, which was a room of Andy Warhol’s ‘Silver Clouds’ (1966) (Fig-18.). The whole space in which the bloated silver bags floated seemed surreal; it almost felt like 15 stepping into slow motion. This sculptural piece drifted around a display by Steven Claydon, which was designed to protect Roman marble sculptures that were made by unknown ‘authors and sitters’, whilst, simultaneously representing gallery and transit storage, and the manner these pieces are observed and interacted with in different contexts. Claydon’s installation represents the changes an object or sculpture undergoes as it passes from storage to the pristine public space of the gallery or museum. In doing so, this installation reaffirms the exhibition’s intention of showing how a gallery interferes with an object’s original communication. When you understand the role of Claydon’s display installation, it is easier to consider a relationship between his work and the surrounding piece by Andy Warhol. The main contrast is that Warhol’s ‘Silver Clouds’ are interactive, whereas Claydon’s display demands the traditional convention of distant careful observational respect. However, Warhol’s work further challenges this as the ‘clouds’ appear fragile and ethereal yet they are touched and interacted with by gallery visitors (Fig-19.). Although the message of the juxtapositions were difficult to attain without prior knowledge of the items on display, it appears to me that the gallery may have selected these items and carefully juxtaposed them to further highlight the fact that a gallery context transforms an object into art; this reaffirms the understanding the exhibiting artists already have. Initially it was interesting experiencing a situation of vague correlations, as I found it reminiscent of my work and the on-going theme of ambiguity associated with my controlled explorations. I became aware of the variety of transformative


Fig-13. - Asphalt Lump by Robert Smithson, (1969)

Fig-12. - The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Fig-15. - Jade bi disks (3400-2250BC)

Fig-18. - Silver Clouds by Andy Warhol (1966)

Fig-14. - Félix González-Torres ‘“Untitled” (Placebo)’ (1991)

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Fig-17. - Hans Haacke Grass Cube (1967)

Fig-16. - Eoliths


techniques that utilise context. Without the vague presence of an implicit relevance between the juxtapositions, I might never have recognised the extent of context in transforming perception. Consequently, this exhibition has shown me that location is a key factor to consider when attempting to analyse the ways in which design communicates. The designer can utilise context to the advantage of their design, but context cannot tame the multitude of meanings that might transgress from it. Despite how controlled the environment may be, the spectator should not be underestimated. The consideration of space as a communicator means that it is a language, therefore, unstable and transformative. 5. Kinross, R. ‘Fellow Readers: Notes on Multiplied Language’, 1994, p. 5.

‘The director of the performance, in collaboration with others, presents an interpretation, a reading. We the audience receive it and interpret that interpretation, and our attention interacts with and may affect this interpretation’. (5.) As mentioned earlier, the Controlled Exploration assessment space was designed to possess the same meaning, therefore, instigate the same interpretation for all who entered. Within ‘Fellow Readers: Notes on Multiplied Language’ Kinross refers to this same function of a shared meaning, in regards to typography as multiplied text.

6. Kinross, R. ‘Fellow Readers: Notes on Multiplied Language’, 1994, p. 3.

7. Kinross, R. ‘Fellow Readers: Notes on Multiplied Language’, 1994, p. 6.

Text and Interpretation ‘The exact repetition of information is the defining feature of multiplied text, and what is missing from writing’. (6.) The multiplied text is an attempt at controlling meaning by presenting a common ground on which to share the same interpretation. However, the role of deconstruction in design is to question legibility (for example in type) and to create ambiguity that instigates the freedom of interpretation. Text alone, with its breadth of dissemination, opens out multiple interpretations with each reader or with each reading. ‘One only has to think of any reader turning the pages, misunderstanding, turning back to see what was said before, sneaking a look at the last chapter, being distracted by a phone call or the demands of a child, perhaps falling asleep and dreaming around the text, and then returning to this business of turning marks into meaning. The process is individual and unpredictable. As if we needed a designer to make this so!’ (7.) Within Interjection of Verbal Deconstruction I created verbal scores that attempted to possess a shared meaning for every reader. Like music notation or a graphic score, I wanted to create a concise guide on how to read the text aloud. However, like my paradoxical intention to silence communication, creating a ‘shared meaning’ is just as futile. Another designer working with this dilemma in language is Will Holder who is a typographer, a writer and an editor based in London. Holder’s work takes the form of books, publications, public performance and writing (Fig-20.). In these various formats Holder interrogates the relationship between language and object, exploring how the fixed nature of objects can be destabilised through linguistic interpretation. Holder’s biannual journal FR DAVID, edited with Ann de Meester and Dieter Roelstraete, provides an experimental space in which to discuss these relationships, and in which to explore the use of language in the ‘service of the visual’, (Fig-21.).

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I decided to contact Will Holder as I felt that a face to face meeting would be appropriate for the nature of his work. I did not want to ask him set questions for straight forward answers, but instead use my questions as conversational prompts for a more natural discussion about his work.

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Fig-20. - Will Holder performing

Fig-21. - FR DAVID


Ryan: You are described as a typographer, designer, editor and writer. How do you define your practice? Will: I’d call it typography. Mainly because I’ve tried to be quite explicit about the fact that its design. All my work is design or should be defined as design. Do you feel like you have to be quite explicit because you’re saying is that writing is design? Writing as typography more I think, because typography’s a subset of design which predominantly deals with language so I prefer to call it typography rather than design because I think the general public thinks of graphic design and images and that’s not really where my interest lies, I’m more interested in the production of reading and writing and especially that it’s something that we all do; that we’re all designing our lives in a sense that we’re all designing our work. We’re more preoccupied with representing ourselves and our works than we are with much else I’d say, and a lot of that involves a lot of writing. Another consideration in that sense is that a lot of that writing isn’t considered as production. It’s not really something you’d ask to get paid for if you were commissioned. Like all the emails you write and all the phone calls you have are not really what is considered production even though everyone’s doing it all of the time. There’s constantly this idea to especially not call it art and not call it performance, the readings I do I’d also call typography or type-setting and I noticed that I have to be quite explicit about defining it as such and not simply throwing it on a pile that’s called art because I think it’s more interesting for people in general, these books are concerned with this idea and

what graphic notation was set up for in the first place, quite a large part of it is that it produces a reading. Anyone can come to that score and produce music and it’s a very democratic form or it’s proposed as that. It’s also failed in a lot of senses in most terms but it’s tried to reinvent itself as a more democratic, idealistic or utopian form of production. I equate that with reading and writing as well, that anyone can read. For about 120 years now, everyone is able to be educated and can learn to read and write and it’s something we all have in common but I feel that it’s something that’s underwhelmed, undervalued and under exploited as a communicative form in favour of the graphic or the visual. Speech is favoured over the visual but people don’t consider that design. That’s something that we do every day. We speak, write, read and listen but no one would understand that as design and I think that’s why I started to call myself a Typographer. In the sense that it’s from the point of view of graphic design or from the point of view of design the best way of looking at these factors, looking at reading and writing – I’m not a sociologist, I’m not an ethnographer, I’m not a linguist and I have been educated in Graphic design so I come at this from graphic design and I’d like that to be clear. The production of writing can be classified as a larger technology for reproducing language, which is typography, a huge machine that everyone works with every day. Whether you’re speaking or writing. I would rather see it from that point of view. If you take a photo and put it online a text will have to be produced in addition to that image so there’s always a production of language which situates images. I’m more interested in that language. I’m

not disinterested in images at all, I’m very interested in images but I do acknowledge that they always need context and that context is predominantly oral or linguistic which is why I prefer to get to the root of that, the production of context and production of readings and writings, how images are written by a way of secondary production. I really like the typography in F.R. David. Where did you learn about Typography? The only teacher I did get a lot out of at art school was my Typography teacher. He was a really great teacher but he taught like that in terms of constrains, he would say ‘something wasn’t right, go back and do it again’ with not much explanation, but you would figure it out. I would almost say that working with Stuart Bailey was pretty important for me in terms of calming down, trying to rewrite a text a hundred times 19 until it’s something that’s precise and controlled, I think I was a lot more expressive typographically before I met Stuart. There’s no one moment that I can say that’s when I learnt Typography. It’s learning it as you go along. The typeface used in F.R. David has something quite traditional about it, there’s something that resonates with traditional book design except that it is typeset a lot larger than most books would be. It’s just aesthetic as well, all of a sudden you come across a typeface and you think it’s the closest to what you imagined being necessary for this bookish, straightforward book typography. The italic version of that typeface is a different italic, once you settle on a couple of constraints it feels like it’s pretty infinite. I think there are four or five, maybe six rules that I have for F.R. David that I stick to. It seems to regenerate itself quite often and quite pleasantly.


Meeting Holder was beneficial because he helped me to further understand some aspects of his work and further developed my awareness of critical theory (See Appendix B). He also introduced designers working in a similar field, particularly recommending the work of Hyphen Press emphasising ‘Fellow Readers: Notes on Multiplied Language’ by Robin Kinross. Moreover, Holder influenced my idea for Interjection of Verbal Deconstruction through his in depth explanation of his ‘verbal type-setting’ performances. Epigraph My study into the communication of graphic design has naturally led me to the communication of linguistics in design. Writing consists of symbols that can take any form, but its primary focus is to communicate, as, some believe, design should. The juxtaposition of words and layout i.e. the communication of the interplay between the two is the role of the designer, as are the shapes these words form; therefore, text is an element of the design. In my attempt to challenge graphic design conventions, I am subsequently altering the communication of any text in situ with said design. Everything communicates, and this includes the shapes that form our words.

‘Language and writing are two distinct systems of signs; the second exists for the sole purpose of representing the first.’ - Ferdinand de Saussure, (Course in General Linguistics (1916) by Bally, C. & Sechehaye, A.) cited in Of Grammatology, 1976, p. 30.

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The quote is taken from ‘Of Grammatology’ (1976)(Fig-22.) by Jacques Derrida. The book is a Deconstructionist criticism of grammatology; the study and science of systems of graphic script. I chose to quote from this book as opposed to its origin: ‘Course in General Linguistics’ (1916), by Bally,C. & Sechehaye, A. because Derrida’s Post-Modernist deconstruction of this set way of thinking, concerning language and writing, represents my project intentions to deconstruct ideological graphic design conventions. Although I have cited Derrida as use of the quote for his connection with Deconstructionism, it is the original meaning of the quote by Saussure that applies to my work. I interpret this quote as meaning that writing is a product of speech, in that speech is relatively a direct means of verbalising the mind, whereas writing works to visualise the verbal but in doing so possesses its own communication that alters the meaning. Therefore, writing is a derivative form of communication, relating to my idea of transmutation. I agree that writing obscures language as there is more said concealed within, around and outside of the text than what is written to communicate on one level; this is a shared dilemma in design, and is something I am confronted with in my attempt to transmutate communication into the impossible state of complete incoherence. As mentioned above, the design in relation to writing alters its original communication because through their shapes our words possess the ability, in our culture, to detonate emotive expression. For example bold or large type appears to shout. Some typefaces possess associations that can alter the meaning of a piece of text. The layout of text implies a hierarchy of importance that directs the attention of the reader. The design of the text is as expressive as emotive speech, and this led me to my choice of Sixual category: Ways of Drawing Speech.


Sixual

‘Typographically design should perform optically what the speaker creates through voice and gesture for his thoughts’ -

Sophie Lissitzky-Kuppers, El Lissitzky, 1967, p. 360.

In my exploration of the ways typography attempts to represent the emotive and expressive ways in which we speak, I discovered Zang Tumb Tumb (Fig-23.) by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876 - 1944). This book is an Italian Futurist sound or concrete poem published in 1914. I see this piece of work to be a great visual representation of speech and sound through the use of typography. The poem is an account of the Siege of Adrianople (1912–13) of which Marinetti witnessed as a reporter.

8. Davis, M. Graphic Design Theory, 2012, p. 115.

9. Davis, M. Graphic Design Theory, 2012, p. 111.

The book utilised a technique known as parole in libertá, or words in freedom. It was the Futurist poetic tactic of liberating words from syntax and grammatical structure. In an attempt to represent the Futurist adoration for “the great discoveries of science” – such as motorised transport, machines of war and the printing press – traditional free verse was dismissed as passé. Like the Dadaist (Fig-25.) and later the Deconstructionists (Fig-26.), the Futurist’s disruption of typographic convention was a subversive act against an opposing view. This use of parole in libertá was to romanticise industrialisation through the belief that ‘the visual form of language should be an expression of new, modern times, not a reflection of another older social reality’ (Fig-24.)(8.). Marinetti’s introduction of ‘ “mathematical and diacritical marks [the small notations on letterforms that tell us how to pronounce a word] into the sequence 21 of alphabetical symbols as part of his attack on syntax” these marks expressed his fascination with the machine – therefore changing the appearance of verbal language to something more mechanical’. (9.) The visual expressiveness of parole in libertá within Zang Tumb Tumb blends the characteristics of the mechanics of the age, with human self-expression, representing the unison between man and machine and subsequent reinvention of syntax to express this unity as the new voice of a modern (progressing) generation. This expressive use of mechanical type is the visualisation of the voice of Marinetti’s utopia.


Fig-22. - Of Grammatology (1976) Fig-25. - Zang Tumb Tumb by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

Fig-23. - Zang Tumb Tumb by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

Fig-24. - parole in libertรก

Fig-26. - Emigre

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Writing the page (See Appendix B) that I’ve gone through in the hope Writing the page and your that it might be read in the same relationship with that page is quite way as me, by someone else or circular. You could produce a similar someone else At the same time relationship with the reader that that reading is so fragmented, so they are in a similar self-reflexive broken up, so dispersed and in relationship with the page as you danger of being side tracked at any are. That they are as aware of being moment because that’s the nature producers of that work as you are of it. That’s also the nature of our a producer of that work, they are own production nowadays I think. aware of being co-authors. This is We produce a similar situation on Derrida, and this is not Saussure. the page, of a reader in the same Saussure would say there’s one condition of production that I was author he puts down on the page in. If you read this, what does it and what he wants the reader to produce? What does it produce understand is absolutely clear and in your mind? There is a sense of unambiguous Derrida would say the universal in that, a lot of F.R. every reader who comes to this David is reproducing things that page, depending on their context we all have in common, we all and their history and what they’ve understand. Sometimes it’s more read before, what they’ll read explicit, but its acknowledging afterwards is a new producer of that instead of being individuals that work, a co-producer of that provoked to produce individual productions, also in relation to work. what you’re saying, a lot of that It seems to me that that’s why design individuality is quite self-reflective. is so interesting. That we’re making Neo-liberal economies are happy to tools for other people to use and produce this as a product. co-produce. I would also say that’s what art does nowadays as well. Its definitely about acknowledging That art is so instrumentalised in the reader, if you talk about an industry of culture and there’s a functionality or pragmatics I think lot more people who are producing that’s always assuming someone art in the way that we’ve produced else’s conditions or someone design, that it definitely does have else’s use of that in their life or an outcome and that outcome can use for that within a certain set of be defined, that use can be defined, conditions that govern their life. its reading can be defined or at least You can’t control that, you have broken down in the way that you’d no understanding of 100 people, if you gave them all the same page break things down. you would have no understanding Taking F.R. David as an example, at all of what they might read, what it’s a similar situation. I’m reading a they might do or what might be the lot more than what’s on those pages. outcome. You can as a designer, be I am trying to reproduce a reading quite guiding or steering in that, that we have in common. Which is through something that is universal. somewhere between Saussure and We know what certain words do, Derrida, but it is like taking Derrida we know what certain forms of into consideration but how can you typography do, what the effect or get back to something that is closer outcome is. We can predict that, it’s to Saussure. quite quantifiable, quite predictable So what F.R. David is trying to in terms of what things produce, produce is a copy of that reading but it’s always acknowledging that

despite everything being chance based, despite every 1 of those 100 people being quite unpredictable on the other hand is a lot that you can predict and that’s kind of the scoring directed functional nature of design and music and making scores and Art does that to an equal extent. Art is a commodity, in as much as art follows the rules of the market. It’s not really as free, as liberated as most people understand it to be. It was just labelled that 100 years ago but it’s just a commodity really, it works in under the conditions of our work and I’m more interested in those conditions. I suppose that’s why I always work with art more musicality or musical productions as a way of talking about this, the relationship between design and art or typography and art, the production of language around artworks.

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Audience The use of deconstruction within all my projects is the way in which I have attempted to better understand design. These self-driven projects reveal my dilemma with audience as I have made or conceived them primarily for myself. The consideration of design dissemination, as brought to my attention by Will Holder, made me consider who would view my work. The gradual deterioration of graphic legibility within the format of a series of books was the intention of the project Self-Consumption. Without knowing the reason behind these design decisions, a spectator would only understand the process taking place. This would mean that the purpose and meaning would be misconstrued by the spectators’ unguided interpretation. However, if I documented and explained my design decisions the project would be less at risk of being misunderstood, and perhaps be more susceptible to the interest of a wider audience. Initially, I had not considered an audience for my design, therefore, it would not matter what audience this design attracts. However, I have since discovered this to be something of a naïve view, as each spectator of your design is a co-producer of your design. What you create lives on with each interpretation that each spectator brings to and takes from that design; this is an aspect that my projects lack. An audience can tell you something about who you are in exactly the same way I would like my design to, as your audience sees something that connects with them and their interests. Therefore, what starts as a self-reflective endeavour during the design phase, ends up as an encounter of opinions.

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Similar to Marinetti’s implementation of the mechanics of his age, modern designers can utilise the internet for its magnitude of dissemination. Selfexpressive designers can rely upon this medium to expose their work to international criticism and interest. However, whether this work is seen and the voice of the designer is heard amidst this territory of confluence is another matter. Through the consideration of audience, the designer has to further consider the elements surrounding and instigating the interpretation of that design. With an audience in mind, the consideration of context, production and dissemination function at their best as appropriate factors for that particular target market. Design produced for a specific audience will tell you little more than you already know, as that design was catered to service that audience.

“Modernism is the expression by individual human beings of how they will live their own present, and consequently there are a thousand modernisms for every thousand persons.” -

Octavio Paz, Nobel Prize reception speech, 10th December 1990

As mentioned earlier, the verbal scores created for Interjection of Verbal Deconstruction were designed to possess a shared meaning to anyone that reads them; this is possible to practice, as it is within Modernist typography, but impossible to achieve. These verbal scores were intended to be wide ranging, diverse and democratic, yet conditioned and controlled for a singular interpretation of the design observed. Although the controlled explorations within the Controlled Exploration project attempted to do the same and instigate the same interpretation through the use of space, the production of design adopted a different technique with regards to audience.


My ‘consideration’ of audience attempted the opposite to the aforementioned, in that the design containing and bringing together the explorations and their findings, attempted to reflect my idea of transmutation by producing a visual that appeals to a less comprehensible niche market. In doing so, the target market is reduced to the few willing to decipher its meaning or those who understand and connect with this style of communication. I believe that my overall lack of audience consideration, whether conscious or not at the time of production, reflects my priority as an ‘artist’ to attend the proposals of my own self-initiated interests. Content

10. Lupton, E. (2011) ‘Reading and Writing’, in: Blauvelt, A. & Lupton, E. ed: Graphic Design: Now in Production, p. 59.

For me concept has always come first, perhaps this is a conditioning of art school, but it does not mean I consider design as secondary. Since all of my projects feature their own content, it makes sense for me to discuss its relevance in providing an outlet of expression. I do not believe ‘Designer as Author’ (1996) by Michael Rock is responsible for inspiring ‘a wave of would-be design authors, especially among those who equated authorship with self-initiated projects’ (10.) With the advent of new technology, the frontiers of self-expression were guaranteed to expand into new territories whether Rock had written that essay or not. In 1998 the New York School of Visual Arts opened the ‘Designer as Author’ (now the Designer as Entrepreneur) programme. It would seem that both this institution and this text were catering for a trend of already inspired design authors.

‘Shattering the constraints of minimalism was exhilarating and far more fun than the antiseptic discipline of the classical Swiss school.’ - Frej, D. & McCoy, K. ‘Typography as Discourse’, cited in: ID Magazine, 1988, p. 34.

11. Rock, M. (2009) ‘Fuck Content’, in: Blauvelt, A. & Lupton, E. ed: Graphic Design: Now in Production, p. 15.

The need to self-express is inbuilt, particularly in my case, therefore, I find it is difficult to fathom why anyone would create content without a desire to self-express, unless they strongly believe their design would be lacking without self-authored content. I do not feel that without ‘deep content’ my work would ‘reduce to pure style or a bag of dubious tricks’ (11.). I initiated my own content for specific reasons. The content of my work, as revealed so far, consist of exploring themes within design; I see the production of design as an ideal platform to better understand these themes. Therefore, self-initiated content and its design function in complementary unison to develop me as an aspiring graphic designer / typographer. This specific use of combined concept and design is what I have defined as the characteristic of a Conceptual Graphic Designer. This title can be interpreted as implying a pretence in that a commonplace Post-Structuralist view of design usually stems from the outside view of someone unconnected to the design profession, therefore, implying the role of graphic designer as conceptual, and my detached / distanced study of design as an outsider or Post-Structuralist thinker. Contrary to what the name could further imply, the design work cannot exist as conceptual; however, this was the unintentional outcome for the SelfConsumption project.

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Any critical writing made in relation to this project refers to the concept and the intention to create design in relation to that concept. Without the production of design, the potential of the project is limited, therefore, incomplete. SelfConsumption never came into fruition because I placed too much importance on its conceptual realisation, thus hindering production till it was too late. For the title of Conceptual Graphic Designer, a careful balance of both practices is required. The process of content production for the Controlled Exploration project relied on conducting experiments on students from the university and then reading their written responses. However, after collectively reading Fuck Content (2009) by Michael Rock, a conflict of opinion arose regarding what you consider authorship. A friend believed each participant of my exploration was a joint author of my project, therefore, worth classifying as collaboration. I disagreed based on the principle that without my authorship of the exploration there would have been no responses. The involvement in my experiments made them contributors, not collaborators. (Fig-27.)

Fig-29. - Katherine McCoy - the graduate program in design (1989)

Fig-27. - Answer Sheets collected into Answer Sheet Archive

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Reflection The project I intend to discuss is Controlled Exploration. Although a collective submission, the piece I will focus my critique around is the Data Collection book (Fig-28.). I will start by drawing attention to the irrelevance of this title as it was intended that none of the books feature any titles. The way in which you navigate the submission is reliant on observation and study, to further represent the ongoing theme of ambiguity throughout my controlled explorations. Continued within the book is this theme. Without knowing where to look or giving the design your time to understand it, the book will simply exist as you see it. My interest in creating something of a ‘puzzle’ for the spectator has reoccurred within my work for years. My understanding and recognition of it as an interest in Visual Communication only developed this academic year. It was through the study of the Deconstructionist movement, most notably the work created at Cranbrook Academy (Fig-29.) in the 1980s, I began to find similarities and it is primarily the reason why I work in this way. This method of working has always come naturally. I am more conscious of it when creating ‘clear and concise’ design, such as the Controlled Exploration into Graphic Communication poster (Fig-30.). It is hard to say where this interest may have stemmed from, but like the undertones of function within Oulipo poetry, if my work falls short in visual aesthetic the vague presence of something concealed should heighten its allure through enigma and trust or assumption of spectator intellect. The role of Data Collection (See Appendix C) is to list the actions enacted by 27 each participant from each exploration. The actions are listed as numbers along a justified line adjacent to a three figure number above it; this number represents the participant responsible for the action/s listed. The line acts as a timeline displaying each action as they occurred within the footage or performance of the participant in the space. The fold-out tabs reveal the Key to decipher actions enacted by each particular participant. Positioning this key on the inside of the tab, once folded out, it remains visible as you flick through the book. Although Data Collection features instructions on how to be used, it is hard to say, without thoroughly testing, if a spectator would have interpreted the use of this book as I had intended. Absent from Data Collection are the names of the participants, instead the names are replaced with a corresponding number given at the time of the exploration. I considered, since there would be space, featuring the names of the participants. However, I decided against this in an attempt to remove any bias association with identity and gender. Consequently, the identities are unified as numbers, and the focus in on the frequency of actions. The overall look of the page with its abundance of numbers appears code-like. Although this was unintentional, it was befitting with the poster designed for Controlled Exploration into Graphic Deconstruction (Fig-31.). The positioning of the text on the poster appropriates a code I found using the internet (Fig32.). I find code reminiscent of my work in that it can only be understood by certain individuals or through time and study. I also find that the banality of its appearance is in-keeping with the design theme within my work, particularly this book.


A CONTROLLED EXPLO

Fig-30. - Controlled Exploration into Graphic Communication poster (2013)

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Fig-32. - Computer-esque code

Fig-34. - Red light bulb

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This exploration is an exercise in the un-suppressible human nature to perceive. The various transmutations* I expect to obtain will illustrate that understanding – of design in particular – cannot be abolished, only silenced and stifled into a new form. Indicate quote with altered upbeat tone of speech "Writing sets language adrift, untethering it from the speaking subject. In the process of embodying language, writing steals its soul." - Ellen Lupton & J.Abbott Miller PAUSE: 3 SEC Your participation in this exploration would be much appreciated so please stop by. Thank you for your time. The description is now complete, please pause the cassette player.


My use of the typeface Courier New originated in the Controlled Exploration into Graphic Deconstruction poster as a bridge or visual link between this project and the poster for Interjection of Verbal Deconstruction (Fig-33.), the project ensuing. (My use of this typeface for Interjection of Verbal Deconstruction was to link with the convention of Courier New in film scripts.) I wanted to create a vague resemblance between the posters for each project to imply the relationship between them. I decided to continue my use of this typeface for the Controlled Exploration into Graphic Deconstruction project as it resembled type used in computer coding.

12. Ambrose, G. & Harris, P. Basics Design 02: Layout, 2011, pp. 28-29.

Through justifying the lines of actions, comparisons can be made with regards to the performance of the participant, the more negative space / softer line colour the less of an active performance in the assessment space, the more denser lines / the darker the line colour indicates a more active performance. Apart from the justified lists, the text is positioned on the page using Jan Tschichold’s extension of the Van de Graaf canon (12.). In contrast to the ambiguity I could have created with Deconstructionist techniques of Linguistic Deconstruction, I opted for the harmony associated with modernist layout. In the case of this book, and with most of my work, I want an initial indistinctness followed by a recognition of clarity and function. I used this canon because it provides simplicity. My use of specific movements is to utilise their facets – believing in their ideologies is extraneous. Within the Controlled Exploration book(See Appendix D) there are no margins around the text, this was to challenge the following quote.

‘Are not the margins on book pages similarly meant to obviate the necessity of fingering the 29 type-page?’ -

Warde, B. The Crystal Goblet, or Typography should be Invisible, 1955, p. 1.

I chose to challenge this question, not as an expression of my disagreement with a modernist ideology, but to observe the consequence of an act of deliberate defiance. I find the outcome appealing as a result of its alternative aesthetic, but whether it complements the text is speculative; finger-marks amidst the text could be the intention of the design. I see Data Collection as a piece of information graphics as it functions to inform. Therefore, the design is reliant on clarity and ease of function to establish a coherent understanding. It could be argued that there could have been a simpler way to present the data, perhaps on a single spread, or as a diagram. I chose to display this data in the format of a book because it felt more containing and appropriate for the depth of information, which could have come across as too intense if presented all at once. Imagery featured in this book is photographs of the red light bulb (Fig-34.) on the front of each tab to indicate the change in exploration. The light bulb, as explained in the Controlled Exploration book, symbolises my assertion that deconstruction or the transmutation of design are the intended goal of my work. I decided on the use of a simple 3-hole pamphlet stitch as opposed to staple binding as it was professional yet simplistic. Another use of this binding was to counteract some of the code-like banality of the design by interjecting character and a flash of colour. The use of colour in the binding reoccurs throughout my bookwork, in most cases implying a colour coded system (one for each


exploration). In the case of Controlled Exploration and Data Collection, the use of the colour red is used to represent the red light bulb.

‘The producer must ask, Where will the work be read? Who will read it? How will it be manufactured? What other texts and pictures will surround it?’ - Lupton, E. ‘The Designer as Producer’,1998, cited in: Graphic Design: Now in Production, 2011, p. 13. Data Collection was designed and produced as a single product to exist as a ‘one-off’ in situ with the other similarly designed submissions of this project. If I was to consider reproducing this book, I would have to alter the design and the process in which it is assembled to best suit the efficiency of the mechanical reproduction process. Design designed for commercial dissemination opens out new territory and a practice in which I aim to explore further. A question reoccurring throughout my design work is whether I am too vague and trusting of my potential spectators. With little explanation on how to approach or understand the data presented it could appear contradictory of its intended functionality. It, therefore, seemed appropriate to test the effectiveness of this ‘ambiguous’ style of design through the introduction of another exploration titled: A Controlled Exploration into My Communication (Fig-35.) (See Appendix E). Similar to A Controlled Exploration into Graphic Communication, this exploration questions the effectiveness of my design as a functioning whole. I recruited a small selection of students from my course to critique my design within the controlled exploration space for 5 minutes. In addition to their written response, they were filmed to reveal the ways in which they interacted with my Controlled Exploration project. The next stage would have been to consider making corrections or amendments in response to the study conducted.

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Fig-35. - Controlled Exploration into My Graphic Communication (2014)


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Appendix A Rory Macbeth, 10th March 2014, Broadcasting Place, I wanted the opportunity to talk to you because I watched Laure Prouvost’s film rendition of the Wanderer, and I found how you managed to mutate Franz Kafka’s story kind of, not the same, but similar in that we both deteriorate something, to some extent, that struggles to communicate in the way it once did. This is why I thought it would be interesting to talk to you. I see the way that you’re looking at that and I know that’s what it is that ends up happening but I’m not sure it’s actually what I do. Certainly for that piece of translation, it was a genuine but misguided attempt to translate it. It was done through a 32 believe even though I knew it was probably going to be wrong but I wouldn’t allow myself to write down a line unless I believed it was right so it was kind of done through this really painstakingly slow methodology. The books not particularly long but it took about 5 or 6 years to translate. A single sentence could take hours. I took it sentence by sentence and what I did was stare at the sentence until it became clear that one or two words probably meant something and as they did you try and work out what the relationship between ‘donkey’ and ‘stone’ might be, say they were the 2 words that you had decided were definitely right and eventually the rest of the sentence will start finding a place and it snaps into place and suddenly you have a coherent sentence. The thing that was interesting for me was that I kind of assumed it

was going to be easy to do, that it was going to be this spiral of nonsense that was coming out. That each sentence prompted the next so what you ended up with was a narrative, it wasn’t like Google translate where you just get nonsense it was this thing that actually told a story, so the moment you’ve already got a sentence that says something, the next sentence will be influenced by it. Inevitably it starts telling a story. Which I found kind of surprising but in a way it was done out of a belief that it was right even though I knew it probably wasn’t. At no point did you set out to mutate this story? No, but I had wanted to do it for quite a long time. I have mucked around with various different ways of trying to do this. Something with language and translation and when I was asked to do the film with Laure I came across a great quote which made me sound really clever. It was by a poet called Octavio Paz, he writes in Spanish but his poems have been translated into lots of different languages. Lots of poets are quite sceptical about poems being translated coherently into a different language and when he was being asked about his poetry and if it worried him that his stuff was being translated in this way he just said ‘oh no, it’s great’ and when asked what he meant he said it’s a translation anyway, the moment you start using language it translates the thing you’re talking about so already its wrong. And in a way that helped, that thing that language never does right. It makes the thing that I do believable or right for me and there is rightness to it even though traditionally it’s wrong. It does turn into something other but that wasn’t the way I thought about it. I think because

text is so bad at doing its job it’s really good as a raw material for art making. Where you can play around with that, texts that already exist become incredibly rich material for you to investigate the problematics of language The way that Laure and I ended making that film was that she really liked the text itself which she heard being recited by an actor at a live event where she was doing a performance as well and we were chatting afterwards and laughing about the possibility, eventually started taking it quite seriously and when it came to coming up with a strategy for making it work we realised that the wrongness about the way I had gone about translating was something that we could then exploit. Such as the various kinds of points which go wrong for when a film is made of a book, a famous book and everyone goes to see the film and think the books better. We wanted to make that impossible to say by exploiting all the parts that go wrong and make them go as wrong as possible. A series of frame works that will upset the accuracy of what’s happening and make things miss. We had taken that the translation has an initial wrongness to it and I then had to write the script and I had never seen a script in my life, I knew nothing about it. There were moments where Laure had misunderstood lots of stuff so her entire film was based on the fact I had only got 3 quarters of the way through the book. The translation wasn’t finished but for the film it was, we deliberately hired the lead actor he felt really right for the part but he was really crap at remembering lines and there were lots of lead actors that did screen tests that were good and could remember stuff really well but this guy was great so we exploited the fact he couldn’t remember lines and


gave him a huge chunk of dialog and told him he had to get it right first time and of course he just took it wherever he wanted. The script transformed and transformed until it becomes its own thing so you can’t turn around and say the books better because the books got nothing to do with it. It was a series of attempts to try and make the film its own thing. I like the fact that what you have translated is Metamorphosis. It turns out it is, I didn’t know that. I was vaguely aware of what Kafka had written about and when I was a kid I pretended to read it but never got round to it and I had been wanting to do a translation for a long time but assuming it might be from a language that I didn’t recognise even the alphabet. It might be Sanskrit or it might be Russian or something like that and I spent a lot of time just wandering randomly through the foreign sections of libraries just to see if a book would jump out at me and eventually this one did mostly because it was so little and because it was Kafka. I think it works both ways. Part of me is slightly disappointed in that it might be a bit obvious.

between ideas and their realisation and is usually the thing that fucks it up and I think that’s what I really like about language is that those two things seem to map directly onto each other and then we try and say it and it ends up in the wrong place. Languages do manifest in different forms, like design for example that is in a sense its own language, so when you say languages you don’t just mean speaking?

I wanted to ask; how exactly do you probe the gap between ideas and reality? It’s something I pulled off the internet.

No, but I think there are loads of different languages there, I think the thing I find particularly interesting about language in the narrow sense, in terms of words and whether they are written or spoken, is that they are particularly bad at doing their job. Whereas I think there are other languages which are much better at it. Arts much better at saying complicated things, if you say a complicated thing in language it just becomes massive and it becomes really difficult and unwieldy, very hard to get hold of whereas you can hold a very complicated idea through intuition and I guess it’s that. Using one language to talk like the other, I think that’s why so many artists are interested in using the formal idea of language it’s because they are using a different language to deal with it.

What’s really interesting about that quote is that it was written as a result of a discussion with Alistair Robinson, he was writing a piece about some work he was shown and what happened was that lots and lots of people copied it so it’s become this standard text which I find really fascinating. It was something that was on my mind, I guess it always is but I think that’s my interest in language, it’s the thing that sits somewhere in

I’m wondering in the same way that in trying to get rid of that thing you actually heightened it, I’m wondering if the same thing occurs with what you’re saying about graphic design being to do with clarity and that you’re really interested in muddying the war and being confusing but that confusion, if you take one step back can be the clarity with which you look at it. That it suddenly becomes quite a simple thing or it’s just confusing,

I like that. It weirdly does both at the same time. This isn’t trying to pick holes in what you do, it’s just really interesting that it can do both of those things at once. There was another project you did called ‘The Mares Nest’ could you tell me a little about that? When I did ‘The Mares Nest’ I quite liked it but there was something in me that felt wrong, or embarrassing, it wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t put my finger on it. When I did the piano piece, afterwards I was just going ‘what the fuck have I done, that was really confusing’ and it took me about a month and a half to actually just watch the film over and over and eventually see it was quite good and then to get to the point where I really liked it, and then what it did was, it made it clear to me that all the other performances I had done were crap. Especially that one, so I realised 33 what mistake I had made with that. It was to do with the conviction of delivery. It was this weird where you’re a kind of upcoming artist and suddenly the Tate offers you the chance to do something. You come up with all these ideas and they say no, they start telling you so what do to. What I ended up doing was try to negotiate a way of doing something I wanted to do but within their framework and I don’t think I pushed it far enough so I felt I had compromised myself but it was the Tate, it was exciting. Looking back on it I wish I had just been a little firmer with them or just lied to them and done what I had wanted, which I partly did but not to the extent that I wanted to. It has taken a while for me to work out what I like and what I didn’t like. I do really like the fact that they are a place with authority. They are like the equivalent of a bound


book. If you were given a bit of that authority, I just wanted to find out how far you could push stuff. What people will believe simply because you had a name tag, because it was part of what was happening in the Tate that day. I had researched quite heavily into all these various picture and come up with these alternative histories or possible alternative histories, I didn’t learn a series of lines about them I just came up with a series of possible story lines and judging by what was happening to the audience, working out how far I could push it. To back myself up I got them to change the little plaques next to the pictures so that people would be going ‘what the fuck are you talking about’ and they would look at this and be like ‘oh god, it is’ just using that to kind of convince people and it was surprising how many people were convinced. I still get emails now. I had one recently 34 from an academic in Canada saying how they were really interested in this research you have been doing about the Alsager Roteane and I had reply telling him I had made it up. I think there is lots of value in it and I’m being a bit harsh about it. I like the idea that I could use that moment to see how far I could push stuff. I’m not an academic formally. I’m not somebody who does TV lectures about paintings so I was kind of out of my depth, I felt like I wasn’t delivering convincingly whereas with the piano piece, I was because I had found a mechanism that allowed myself to be lost. I’m not convinced it came off as well as it could, but it was alright. How do you think you could have made it better? I think probably by doing something totally different, by not doing a tour. I had a few ideas that I was quite interested in trying to

do and I think I might have tried to pursue some of them. They are only very basic ideas so I don’t know quite what I had of done with them. It was a great and very scary experience and the thing that I really liked, the thing that was really odd about it is they do have about 200 guides who do these tours everyday on a voluntary basis and they are amateur historian type people who love art history who do these kind of tours for the Tate and they are inevitably posh and I had to stand up in front of all of them in a meeting and tell them of the idea, telling them it might seem like I’m taking the piss out of what they are doing but it wasn’t. I had to try and convince them. I needed them to support me. That was really challenging and interesting, some people were really offended but I managed to talk them round to at least not being too offended and other people could have really warmed to it and really liked it. I think it was that thing about history, the thing we thing were getting and that not fitting necessarily. Just because someone says it in a book, does that make it right? I want to ask about this quote: “Our process of interpretation is a constantly frustrated loop which can never attain a point of conclusion” That sounds proper doesn’t it, did I say that? I recognise the frustrated loop bit, which rings a bell. It sounds like it makes sense with what I do, I quite like that. The tone of it sounds like it’s a quote that I’d probably written rather than said and tried to sound clever with and its nearly worked I think. When I was talking about ideas and reality and this language being the thing that tries to connect it, it doesn’t touch either of them properly. It just spirals in its own little world

and that’s what makes it such a fascinating subject matter, for me it doesn’t make it fascinating to use words to express myself. I like to use it as raw material to express how it doesn’t work because I find that more meaningful and what I think is really interesting to do is to sit back and go ‘ay?’ occasionally and obviously you can’t actually do that all the time or you would go mad but it’s really good to just check that stuff and realise the stuff you are dealing with is problematic, it doesn’t really work. I think there’s a real value, it’s not just an intellectual pursuit where you are pointed out that language is crap. There’s something quite heartening, quite human, quite meaningful and moving about being confronted with that, in a way it kind of makes me feel alright about constantly being accosted by words and this constant pretence of saying I understand it. What does that mean? What does that poster mean? Or what do any of the other languages that we are surrounded by mean? We make those assumptions in that actually there’s something really beautiful in just being able to except it as being wrong footed or that it’s going to fail. I was talking to you earlier about how stuff is presented and why that’s a performative act, even if you don’t perform. Even if it’s just a book, it’s a performative act. It’s a big hard back book, it’s proper and it’s got hobs on it. It’s about hobs, that doesn’t fuck around that means it. I don’t know whether it’s any good, it’s probably rubbish but it’s got ‘Beowulf’ on the back. If it’s got words like that it must be good and you just jump to conclusions because that is a performative object, it’s telling us stuff before we have read any of it. I really like the fact that you can do that with these


things, I find that really funny. A lot of people try to ignore that and I think there’s something in those moments and exposing those moments which is what those live email moments are like as well, that you expose the stupidity of what you’re doing. There’s a truth in that and everyone does that. Just those little moments where you’re putting exclamation marks to look more jolly, and then you go ‘oh fuck, that’s awful’ then you get rid of them, the act of seeing that thought process is more meaningful than the text itself. It almost answers you’re question really doesn’t it. That’s sort of where I’m at now, which is a big confusing mess of that I’ve got a few things to do and I’ve got no time to do it in, which I quite like. No I don’t like it, it’s horrible but I think that’s why the piano thing worked, was that my strategy now as an artist. I work more than full time, more hours than there are in the week and it’s just insane. Plus travelling down to London, which means I’ve got no time to really work. I’ve got a family, a house that’s falling down. I’ve got too much to do so I can’t make……. my work too labour intensive , stuff in the studio I can’t even get to the studio. So the idea of the piano playing was just a practical one. Brilliant, I thought of a bit of work where I mustn’t practice, fucking great. I can do that, I cannot practice I’m really good at not practising. You could play on that, play on the fact you have got such little time and how you’re saying about not practising and where does that apply to your work. Exactly, I think that’s what happened with this email thing, I’m thinking I’ve got loads of emails off Adam Pugh, I can just build a

fiction on top of it. How many emails must you send, I imagine you send a lot of emails? Yeah so suddenly that becomes real and also becomes fake once you make the decision to do that and get recognised. What I do is strategically, if someone asks me to do something I will just go ‘yeah’ like I did with Adam Pugh, I didn’t really think about it. Write a chapter to a book, I thought ‘I don’t have time’ so I just said yeah and now I’m thinking it’s quite soon isn’t it, it’s the end of this month I have to have that done, Fuck. Ok I’m really going to have to think of a strategy, and it’s those things that make some really interesting things. It’s just an individual way of working isn’t it really because you will submit something and what you submitted is a product of the way you work. Yeah and I think that in a way you just have to be truthful to that and that’s what you’re recognising being on this particular course, as you described earlier ‘what does it mean to do this?’ and everyone one else has just accepting the frame work and going ‘ oh yeah, that’s fine. I’m a graphic designer of some sort.’ and you’re thinking where’s that edge? Because I want to stand on that edge, that sounds much more interesting. There’s real value in that, it’s very difficult to sustain a practise off the back of that but then you get very good at managing to sustain a practise of the back of that. You become more inventive so I think you’re putting yourself in a really interesting position, and that’s working really well for you. You’re charging off and meeting Will Holder and you’re looking at a whole bunch of people. It’s taken you into a quite

a weird world which you’re clearly enjoying. That’s really exciting to see, how that happens and how you have landed yourself in this. Most people run screaming in the other direction because it’s too hard. I hate myself. I don’t know why I put myself in these situations really. I recognise that, but I think it’s to do with truth. I think it’s to do with honesty, you look at this stuff and you can’t ignore it. It’s in my head, I could pretend but that’s not what you’re really thinking. What would be the point in doing that? Some other people will be genuinely thinking that and that’s fine, that’s how they operate but that’s not how you’re brains wired or how you’re experience of the world works. So you do have to do what you’re doing. There’s no choice. It’s great that you’re doing this and I think it’s really fascinating.

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Appendix B Will Holder Interview transcription, 20|01|14 at his Pied-à-terre in Hackney Ryan: You are described as a typographer, designer, editor and writer. How do you define your practice? Will: I’d call it typography. Mainly because I’ve tried to be quite explicit about the fact that its design. All my work is design or should be defined as design. Do you feel like you have to be quite explicit because you’re saying writing is design? Writing as typography more I think, because typography’s a subset of design which predominantly deals with language so I prefer to call it typography rather than design because I think the general public thinks of graphic design and images and that’s not really 36 where my interest lies, I’m more interested in the production of reading and writing and especially that it’s something that we all do; that we’re all designing our lives in a sense that we’re all designing our work. We’re more preoccupied with representing ourselves and our works than we are with much else I’d say, and a lot of that involves a lot of writing. Another consideration in that sense is that a lot of that writing isn’t considered as production. It’s not really something you’d ask to get paid for if you were commissioned. Like all the emails you write and all the phone calls you have are not really what is considered production even though everyone’s doing it all of the time. There’s constantly this idea to especially not call it art and not call it performance, the readings I do I’d also call typography or type-setting and I noticed that I have to be quite explicit about

defining it as such and not simply throwing it on a pile that’s called art because I think it’s more interesting for people in general, these books are concerned with this idea and what graphic notation was set up for in the first place, quite a large part of it is that it produces a reading. Anyone can come to that score and produce music and it’s a very democratic form or it’s proposed as that. It’s also failed in a lot of senses in most terms but it’s tried to reinvent itself as a more democratic, idealistic or utopian form of production. I equate that with reading and writing as well, that anyone can read. For about 120 years now, everyone is able to be educated and can learn to read and write and it’s something we all have in common but I feel that it’s something that’s underwhelmed, undervalued and under exploited as a communicative form in favour of the graphic or the visual. Speech is favoured over the visual but people don’t consider that design. That’s something that we do every day. We speak, write, read and listen but no one would understand that as design and I think that’s why I started to call myself a Typographer. In the sense that it’s from the point of view of graphic design or from the point of view of design the best way of looking at these factors, looking at reading and writing – I’m not a sociologist, I’m not an ethnographer, I’m not a linguist and I have been educated in Graphic design so I come at this from graphic design and I’d like that to be clear. The production of writing can be classified as a larger technology for reproducing language, which is typography, a huge machine that everyone works with every day. Whether you’re speaking or writing. I would rather see it from that point of view.

If you take a photo and put it online a text will have to be produced in addition to that image so there’s always a production of language which situates images. I’m more interested in that language. I’m not disinterested in images at all, I’m very interested in images but I do acknowledge that they always need context and that context is predominantly oral or linguistic which is why I prefer to get to the root of that, the production of context and production of readings and writings, how images are written by a way of secondary production. Writing the page and your relationship with that page is quite circular. You could produce a similar relationship with the reader that they are in a similar self-reflexive relationship with the page as you are. That they are as aware of being producers of that work as you are a producer of that work, they are aware of being co-authors. This is Derrida, and this is not Saussure. Saussure would say there’s one author he puts down on the page and what he wants the reader to understand is absolutely clear and unambiguous Derrida would say every reader who comes to this page, depending on their context and their history and what they’ve read before, what they’ll read afterwards is a new producer of that work, a co-producer of that work. It seems to me that that’s why design is so interesting. That we’re making tools for other people to use and co-produce. I would also say that’s what art does nowadays as well. That art is so instrumentalised in an industry of culture and there’s a lot more people who are producing art in the way that we’ve produced design, that it definitely does have an outcome and that outcome can


be defined, that use can be defined, its reading can be defined or at least broken down in the way that you’d break things down. Taking FR David as an example, it’s a similar situation. I’m reading a lot more than what’s on those pages. I am trying to reproduce a reading that we have in common. Which is somewhere between Saussure and Derrida, but it is like taking Derrida into consideration but how can you get back to something that is closer to Saussure. So what FR David is trying to produce is a copy of that reading that I’ve gone through in the hope that it might be read in the same way as me, by someone else or someone else or someone else. At the same time that reading is so fragmented, so broken up, so dispersed and in danger being side tracked at any moment because that’s the nature of it. That’s also the nature of our own production nowadays I think. We produce a similar situation on the page, of a reader in the same condition of production that I was in. If you read this, what does it produce? What does it produce in your mind? There is a sense of the universal in that, a lot of FR David is reproducing things that we all have in common, we all understand. Sometimes it’s more explicit, but its acknowledging that instead of being individuals provoked to produce individual productions, also in relation to what you’re saying, a lot of that individuality is quite self-reflective. Neo-liberal economies are happy to produce this as a product. Its definitely about acknowledging the reader, if you talk about functionality or pragmatics I think that’s always assuming someone else’s conditions or someone else’s use of that in their life or use for that within a certain set of

conditions that govern their life. You can’t control that, you have no understanding of 100 people, if you gave them all the same page you would have no understanding at all of what they might read, what they might do or what might be the outcome. You can as a designer, be quite guiding or steering in that, through something that is universal. We know what certain words do, we know what certain forms of typography do, what the effect or outcome is. We can predict that, it’s quite quantifiable, quite predictable in terms of what things produce, but it’s always acknowledging that despite everything being chance based, despite every 1 of those 100 people being quite unpredictable on the other hand is a lot that you can predict and that’s kind of the scoring directed functional nature of design and music and making scores and Art does that to an equal extent. Art is a commodity, in as much as art follows the rules of the market. It’s not really as free, as liberated as most people understand it to be. It was just labelled that 100 years ago but it’s just a commodity really, it works in under the conditions of our work and I’m more interested in those conditions. I suppose that’s why I always work with art more musicality or musical productions as a way of talking about this, the relationship between design and art or typography and art, the production of language around artworks. What came first design or literature? It’s really hard to say, I think it was that there was always a lot of art and design and architecture in my family so I was brought up with it. I had a vague understanding of how things worked. I do remember stupid things like making a birthday

card for my grandmother and hand drawn letters or constructing them with the use of compasses when I was like 8, being aware of that as piece of design but I guess that’s because of what I was brought up in. It didn’t make me a typographer obviously but it gave me sense of ability to possibilities. I went to school in Folkston on the south coast until I was 17 and then moved to Holland and went to an international school, the quality of education was really shockingly different. In Holland it was so much better but that was because there was money involved, it was paid for. I remember living in Folkston and studying English Lit or having to read Shakespeare and being totally bored because my teacher was uninspired and could not find a way of making me read any differently than I had already read the whole of my life. Then I went to Holland, I got a new 37 English teacher and he taught me to read like you said, between the lines. He taught me that there’s five levels of meaning in every single word that Shakespeare chooses and that blew me away, I was astounded. Why didn’t my other teacher, why couldn’t he make me see that? I think he was trying to but it just didn’t work. I think that was really important for me in terms of understanding myself as a reader. If I read that word it’s not what does Shakespeare or someone else want me to read but what is it that I’m reading? What is it that I’d get out of it? I think it all talks about that a lot, there’s obviously a class status and status of education. Every single reader, depending on their background will find something else in every word that you put on the page. Then I went to art school and then I think I started looking


at typography and started seeing things like concrete poetry. I knew it existed but I hadn’t imagined it was a science or specifically defined in terms of its effect, the effect of what it is that you put on the page is quite measurable, quite predictable even though it’s a completely untraditional way of type setting. It’s not random, it’s absolutely not random, it’s not chance based. You’d think that anyone that looked at it would probably think that it was just a bunch of words thrown on the page but things are actually quite measured. The more you look into to it the more you realise that it’s actually trying to engage with the reader instead of assuming the reader reads syntactically from one word to the next and therefore produces meaning, there’s a different way of producing meaning on the page and I remember that as something at the first year of art school. That I came into contact 38 with that whilst starting to develop an understanding of that, I realised that maybe I was at art school and I therefore should be interested in that. I knew from that Shakespeare story, I knew that everything I wanted to do could be found in language and how it was put on the page. I can say that now because I know that’s what I’d do and what I have gone through to justify my work so often that it becomes a bit of a mantra or you understand yourself a lot better after 20 years of working. I don’t think it was much different in 1992 than it is today, that’s when I was starting to study typography. There’s really not much difference. I didn’t think I was being taught very well so I sat in the library and that magazine Emigre taught me everything, taught me much much more than my teacher could and then that started becoming questioned by people like Robin

Kinross and his quite blatant assertion that we’re taking a lot of liberties with post structuralism, we’re reading it too loosely as designers, reading it to our own advantage so we can give ourselves a lot more freedom. To simply be expressive or individual, that it doesn’t really have anything to do with meaning or syntax. I really like the typography in F.R. David. Where did you learn about Typography? The only teacher I did get a lot out of at art school was my Typography teacher. He was a really great teacher but he taught like that in terms of constrains, he would say ‘something wasn’t right, go back and do it again’ with not much explanation, but you would figure it out. I would almost say that working with Stuart Bailey was pretty important for me in terms of calming down, trying to rewrite a text a hundred times until it’s something that’s precise and controlled, I think I was a lot more expressive typographically before I met Stuart. There’s no one moment that I can say that’s when I learnt Typography. It’s learning it as you go along. The typeface used in FR David has something quite traditional about it, there’s something that resonates with traditional book design except that it is typeset a lot larger than most books would be. It’s just aesthetic as well, all of a sudden you come across a typeface and you think it’s the closest to what you imagined being necessary for this bookish, straightforward book typography. The italic version of that typeface is a different italic, once you settle on a couple of constraints it feels like it’s pretty infinite. I think there are four or five, maybe six rules that I have for FR David that I stick to. It seems to regenerate itself quite often and quite pleasantly.

How did Stuart Bailey help? We were asked to make a proposal to design a Dutch art magazine and he could just do it effortlessly, something that would take me three weeks he would probably put on the page in three hours. I learnt a lot more from that I suppose, from that efficiency but also in response to pragmatics and being quite clearly defined. What was graphic about what we were doing wasn’t found in making it graphic but it was found in understanding that a certain approach to writing or editorial will in turn produce its own form, graphic form. You needn’t over emphasise the graphic because if you didn’t over emphasise the graphic you might find the graphics already there and finding it determining and forming itself. I think that’s what I understood through working with Stuart. It’s something I already knew but had a different way of approaching it and his is just a lot less impulsive, a knee jerk as a designer. Really trying to resist that urge to find the next crazy typeface or think of the next “thing” that is as much in service of graphic design as it is in service of the content. I think I just stopped being aware of myself as a graphic designer, it’s very different working in Holland in that sense. The culture of design is so much more present, formative, influential and self-sufficient. It’s quite independent in Holland as opposed to Britain, in Britain it’s just a part of a culture industry or industry in general. You’re just a small cog but in Holland there’s a greater sense of independency there, more of an impulse to make things that are more overtly designed and graphic than are perhaps necessary.


I was part of that; I suppose I could say confidently that I was part of quite a big watershed in Graphic design in Holland. We were the first generation that could handle computers and as a result had a lot more freedom and flexibility and were very eager and enthusiastic. That changed a lot, older people were just pushed aside, I was part of that. Then after a few years when people like Stuart came along who had a bit more of a pragmatic or English, traditional sense of design. He was educated in Redding so it was the opposite to Dutch design, it’s still extremely classical and tradition and it’s also University degree so like you, it has to quantified and analysed, Presented as an academic discipline and not as a piece of art. It’s almost the opposite. I think Stuart came at the right time and also made me realise where my much older preferences lay in terms of being English and having looked around me all my life at typography and what was going on and being a lot more influenced by that and my Englishness than I was in a Dutch culture. A lot of information doesn’t want to sit on the page. Although I design book’s and a lot of my work sits on the page, I think a lot of my work tries to deal with the fact that the page isn’t the only place where meaning can be stored or exchanged, or defined, talking about it in terms of Saussure in terms of definition and specific semantics and specific forms of definitions. I’ve always tried to use the page to acknowledge the fact that so much meaning is produced off the page, outside of the page, in conversation, in everyday life, in email exchange, all kinds of different forms of communication and how they

relate to something as fixed as the page. Something that’s still in our traditional sense of understanding books, still accepted to be the most fixed for information; the printed page. I started Typography in 92’ but graduated in 94’. More or less when the internet started so the production of knowledge and the understanding of how we produce knowledge together or how knowledge is co-produced and isn’t fixed has become even less fixed because of the internet and speed and acceleration of production. These are all things that I’m constantly putting back onto this fixed, very old, very outdated form of information. A lot of that has to do with the voice, of speech or conversation as a form of exchange or using conversation as a model in that you can be having conversation with someone and at one point one person’s in charge or leading / steering the conversation by way of what you’re talking about and then the roles conflict. Like you’re having a conversation with five people, then there are five people who are supposedly taking it in turns to be in control of that collective production, it’s a bit like making music. I think I’m just more interested in those forms of production that aren’t as defined as, let’s say graphic design production. Where there’s an author, photographer, editor. The publisher gets them together and this is kind of a chain of events. The graphic designer is the last guy in the chain before the printer, but wait, then there’s the distributer, then the reader, the shopkeeper. A very linier production, I suppose what I’m trying to do is to say what if this guy was there or what if that guy was there or if we know what this guy’s needs are why don’t we

take that into consideration here. So what I’m constantly trying to do is reassign those, redefine or be a bit more aware, self-conscious, and self-reflective on the page in terms of those relationships. You’re taking the distributor into account, taking the reader in account and it’s not just saying, there are five of us here and wouldn’t it be great if we did this thing together. As long as we make it and it gets out there we don’t care, you can understand what the distributor does and you can allow him to have an influence to what’s on the page. This in relation to your self-reflectivity is what I’m constantly trying to set up.

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Appendix C – Data Collection (book) Appendix D – Controlled Exploration (book) Appendix E – Controlled Exploration into My Graphic Communication (DVD) The above three Appendices are featured in the physical submission. List of Illustrations Figure 1. Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra, [illustration], At: http://www.granger.com/ results.asp?inline=true&image=0096497&wwwflag=4&itemx=1 (Accessed 16th November 2013) Figure 2. Long, R. (2014) Controlled Exploration space, In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 3. Long, R. (2013) Participant in Exploration space, In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 4. Long, R. (2014) Sony Cassette-corder TCM-818 002, In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 5. Fellow Readers: Notes on Multiplied Language (1994), [Photograph], At: https://hyphenpress.co.uk/journal/article/the_cover_of_fellow_readers

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Figure 6. Lupton, E. (1996) Design, Writing, Research: writing on graphic design, Kiosk: New York.[Photograph]In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 7. Long, R. (2014) Verbal Scripts, In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 8. Long, R. (2013 )A Controlled Exploration into Graphic Deconstruction: Part 1.In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 9. The Hyde Park Picture House, [Photograph], At: http://www.elfm.co.uk/ wp-content/uploads/2013/04/hpph.jpg Figure 10. The Wanderer By Franz Kafka (translated by Rory Macbeth), [Photograph], At: http://transcreation.wordpress.com/#jp-carousel-99 Figure 11. Long, R. (2013 )Exploration Space, In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 12. The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds [Photograph] At: http://leeds-list.com/ wp-content/uploads/2013/08/henry_moore_external.jpg Figure 13. Asphalt Lump by Robert Smithson, (1969), At: http://www. aestheticamagazine.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/asphalt-lump-highrez--550x723.jpg Figure 14. Félix González-Torres ‘“Untitled” (Placebo)’ (1991), At: http://www.aestheticamagazine. com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Gonzalez-Torres-550x367.jpg Figure 15. Jade bi disks (3400-2250BC), At: http://www.henry-moore.org/images/ installationshot2_0.jpg Figure 16. Fig-16. - Eoliths, At: http://ancientworldsmanchester.wordpress. com/2012/03/08/is-it-a-bird-is-it-a-plane-no-its-super-eolith/


Figure 17. Hans Haacke Grass Cube (1967), At: http://www.corridor8.co.uk/wp-content/ uploads/2013/08/Grass-Cube-1967_Exhibition-Howard-Wise-Gallery-New-York1968-2-474x640.jpg Figure 18. Silver Clouds by Andy Warhol (1966), At: http://moussemagazine.it/blog/ wp-content/uploads/M2.jpg Figure 19. Silver Clouds by Andy Warhol (1966). At: http://moussemagazine.it/blog/ wp-content/uploads/M2.jpg Figure 20. Will Holder performing, [Photograph], At: http://www.chelseaspace.org/ images/december/december1952_11.jpg Figure 21. Long, R. (2013) FR DAVID [Photograph] In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 22. Derrida, J. (1976) Of Grammatology, translated by Spivak, C. G. Johns Hopkins University Press: Maryland. [Photograph] In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 23. Zang Tumb Tumb by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, At: http://newhavenprato.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/tumblr_ mb36udnenK1rw38cjo1_500.jpg Figure 24. parole in libertรก, http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_HMs2TW8UMqo/TQP_7J13bI/AAAAAAAAApg/KghkLuWGitg/s1600/Marinetti-Parole_Liberta_1915. jpg Figure 25.Dada typesetting, At: http://i1.cpcache.com/product_zoom/544468334/ dada_day_type_apron.jpg?color=White&height=460&width=460&padToSquare=true Figure 26. Emigre, At: http://www.emigre.com/ImagesLG/E11LG.JPG Figure 27. Long, R. (2014) Answer Sheets, [Photograph] In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 28. Long, R. (2014) Data Collection Book, [Photograph] In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 29. Katherine McCoy - the graduate program in design (1989), At: http://classconnection.s3.amazonaws.com/14/flashcards/4063014/png/ cranbrook1354604450811-13ef30e37a137e79046-142E8FBFCA62F6D544D.png Figure 30. Long, R. (2013) A Controlled Exploration into Graphic Communication poster, In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 31.Long, R. (2014) A Controlled Exploration into Graphic Deconstruction poster, In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 32. Computer-esque code, At: http://www.timvets.net/software/pd_ autocutup.php?page=software Figure 33. Long, R. (2014) Interjection of Verbal Deconstruction poster, In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 34. Long, R. (2013) Red light bulb, [Photograph], In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 35. Long, R. (2014)A Controlled Exploration into My Graphic Communication [Photograph], In possession of: The author: Leeds Figure 36. Long, R. (2014) Controlled Exploration submission [Photograph], In possession of: The author: Leeds

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Books Ambrose, G. & Harris, P. (2011) Basics Design 02: Layout, AVA Publishing: Switzerland. Antoine, F & Hanegraaff, W, J (1995) Western Esotericism and the Science of Religion, Peeter: Leuven. Berger, J. (2008) Ways of Seeing, Penguin: London. Blauvelt, A. & Lupton, E. (2011) Graphic Design: Now in Production, Walker Art Center: Minneapolis. Davis, M. (2012) Graphic Design Theory, Thames and Hudson: London. Derrida, J. (1976) Of Grammatology, translated by Spivak, C. G. Johns Hopkins University Press: Maryland. Marinetti, T. F. (1914) Zang Tumb Tumb, Edizioni Futuriste di “Poesia”: Milan. Godwin, W. (1876) Lives of the Necromancers, [Online] F. J. Mason: London. Available from: https://archive.org/details/ livesnecromance04godwgoog Gossling, W. (1970) A Time Chart of Social History, Lutterworth Press: London. Lefebvre, H. (1991) The Production of Space, translated by Nicholson-Smith, D. Blackwell Publishers: Oxford. Lissitzky-Kuppers, S. (1967) El Lissitzky, Veb Verlag der Kunst: Dresden. Lupton, E. (1996) Design, Writing, Research: writing on graphic design, Kiosk: New York. Newark, Q. (2007) What is Graphic Design?, RotoVision: Switzerland. Nunoo-Quarcoo, F. (1998) Bruno Monguzzi: A Designers Perspective, Distributed Art Publishers: New York. Saussure, F. de (1916) Cours de Linguistique générale, translated by Harris, R. Open Court Publishing: Illinois. Thirlwell, A. (2012) Kapow, Visual Editions: London.

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Articles / Essays Frej, D. & McCoy, K. ‘Typography as Discourse’, ID Magazine, New York, March / April 1988, pp.34 – 37. Holder, W. ‘Spin Cycle’, FR DAVID, Summer 2011, Issue 8 (Accessed 3rd November 2013). Kinross, R. (1994) Fellow Readers: Notes on Multiplied Language, Hyphen Press: London. Available from: http:// jackhenriefisher.com/readings/kinross_fellowReaders.pdf Lupton, E. (1998) ‘The Designer as Producer’, in: Blauvelt, A. & Lupton, E. ed: Graphic Design: Now in Production, 2011, Walker Art Center: Minneapolis. Lupton, E. (2011) ‘Reading and Writing’, in: Blauvelt, A. & Lupton, E. ed: Graphic Design: Now in Production, 2011, Walker Art Center: Minneapolis. Rock, M. (2009) ‘Fuck Content’, in: Blauvelt, A. & Lupton, E. ed: Graphic Design: Now in Production, 2011, Walker Art Center: Minneapolis. Warde, B. (1955) The Crystal Goblet, or Typography should be Invisible, Sylvan Press: London. Available from: http://www. arts.ucsb.edu/faculty/reese/classes/artistsbooks/Beatrice%20Warde,%20The%20Crystal%20Goblet.pdf

Exhibitions Indifferent Matter: From Object to Sculpture: 25th July – 20th October 2013, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds.

Film / Television Ways of Seeing, 1979, dir. John Berger & Mike Dibb. Available from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pDE4VX_9Kk [Accessed 4th November 2013]. The Wanderer, 2013, dir. Laure Prouvost, 04 February 2014, Hyde Park Picture House, Leeds.



Critical Study