Wednesday’s instalment was a new introduction to the typography module this year: focusing on a distinctly postmodern typographic approach. Considering the predominantly-modernist notion of typography being taught up unto this point (think Warde’s ‘crystal goblet’ analogy), suddenly turning our attention to chaos and authorship was something of a (deliberately provocative) curveball for students.
Type Roulette was enlivened this week by a soundtrack of nineties’ indie – Happy Mondays, Primal Scream, Stone Roses and friends (although, admittedly, much of the music was older than the students themselves!). And in respect of the theme of chaos, three balloons were batted around to determine, as soon as the music stopped, one student to talk through their work (aka the victim), and two others who would offer comment (aka the critics). The atmosphere was very much kid’s-party-meets-higher-education.
The mood returned to academic sobriety with Andy’s ‘Chaos’ lecture. By viewing postmodernity (and post-postmodernity) as an ever-growing jigsaw, Andy hand-picked four pieces of the puzzle that illustrate the impact the zeitgeist had (and continues to have) on typography. Namely, context (what if wine is consumed from a cup, or the bottle, rather than a crystal goblet?); technology (from manuscripts to digital type, via historical methods of typesetting); theories (media becoming the message); and deconstruction (breaking conventions and elevating process over output).
In the afternoon, students produced (by hand) their own visual, typographic interpretations of an article by Jeff Keedy, ‘Graphic Design in the Postmodern Era’, first published by Emigre in 1998. What was Keedy saying? How can it be visualised? Is there a ‘right’ solution? Fittingly, this was definitely a session where questions were more prevalent than answers.