Stela Tasheva, Sasha Lozanova
The Sixth International Conference on Typography & Visual Communication (ICTVC) themed Discussing Priorities / Developing a Field was held in July 2016, in Thessaloniki, by the Institute for the Study of Typography & Visual Communication. The event was organised in collaboration with the Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art and the Graphic Communication programme of the Department of Design & Multimedia, University of Nicosia. We, Assoc. Prof. Arch. Stela Tasheva, PhD; Assoc. Prof. Sasha Lozanova, DSc participated in the conference delivering a co-authored paper on the Inscriptions in architectural exteriors in the 20th century; style, image, semantics, functions and symbolic features.
Each academic get-together has its own, one of a kind ambiance of quest, sharing and trail-blazing ideas, impossible to be boiled down to just a few words. The event held in Thessaloniki offered a highly topical work programme in the fields of design and typography running the whole gamut of exhibitions, screenings and workshops. Here, we’d dwell upon the three most striking presentations.
The closing speech was delivered by Neville Brody, Dean of the School of Communication, Royal College of Art, UK and one of the most celebrated contemporary graphic designers. (More on him, see in the two-volume monograph The Graphic Language of Neville Brody, accompanied by an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.) His speech demonstrated elegant, unconventional projects focusing on the feeling of the right to err and the need to meet challenges especially in what is now believed to be ‘success’ and ‘successfulness’ as a value orientation. I was most deeply impressed with his story about the mounting of the Anti Design Festival, held in London. The 2,500 participants in the festival in various venues, used dismantling and restructuring of existing objects, elements and materials, to create new products, not necessarily subject to the utilitarian or the commercial. Brody believes that the society has been expecting for quite a while now from researchers and thinkers to be strictly specialised in making money, and artists are expected mainly to provide entertainment. Now, however, it’s time to get back to thinking that art and design should no longer be only boiled down to making money, but just be out there doing great job and making their best for the development of our world.
No less impressive, though of quite a different nature, was David Hunter’s Data Walking project. Roughly speaking, this is a pilot study on gathering, analysis and presentation, of complex, and to a certain extent unconventional in terms of comparison, ephemeral data of our environment. The gathered information takes the forms of 3D objects and other artworks. The cylinder on the figure has been made via 3D printing and maps out a route of a walk through London. It combines precise cartographic information; degrees of noise emissions; values of the composition and the humidity of the air as well as regular shots of the views surrounding the ‘walk’. The data of the environment in the process of motion are gathered using an Arduino UNO prototyping board, portable cameras, a GPS module and sensors. Thus, the different variations of the recording, the prevailing colours and accretions same as the used forms and degrees of coding and deciphering, give a certain look to the final 3D product.
The third presentation I’d like to broach here, was the exhibition by Stergios Delialis: Designer, 1960–2015 | 55 Years Graphics, Spaces, Objects, and a Design Museum, which opened with a documentary by Konstantinos Kambouroglou, How to Steal a Chair. The retrospective traced the career of over five decades of one of Greece’s most significant designers, showing his sketches, drafts, drawings and graphic design commissions.
Stergios Delialis’s career path had a lot of varied specifics, still a key idea he devoted himself to, was his collection of furniture, furnishing and design environment as well as the foundation of the Thessaloniki State Museum of Industrial Design. Ironically, his retrospective was mounted in the initial venue, once proposed by the government to host this museum. His rich museum collection went a long way over the decades to be eventually packed up and stored until, hopefully, better days. The audience was thrilled to see Mr. Delialis attending the screening of the documentary about the museum and his unstinting devotion to the cause.
The conference was full of life, positive emotions, active student participation and discussions. Some diversities and discrepancies between the quests and the interests of the artists and researchers from the Balkans (widely represented by Greek and Cypriot colleagues) and the topics treated by the Western participants in the event were discernible. Our impressions were shared in the closing words by the organizer, Prof. Klimis Mastoridis from the University of Nicosia. He underscored the need of bridging the gaps between the regional cultural differences so that to be able to create a high-quality and human-oriented environment.