- 27th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno 2016
BB Can you tell us a bit about the background of your opera? How did you come up with the idea? What brought you together?
DDG & N Design Displacement Group featuring Noviki: It is said that there was a time when it was easy to distinguish design from art. But something has been happening to design in recent years – something significant – similar to the moment we could observe in the field of art when people realized that they are no longer dealing with something they could name or define. In the art field this moment was recognized and commented by many theorists, one of them was Jerzy Ludwiński* who in his text ‘Art in the Post-artistic Age’ described (45 years ago) the blurring of the distinction between roles of an artist, curator and theorist as the indication of this shift. This shift is present in the design field today. Eight years ago, Nick Currie** described it as the ‘Duchamp Moment’ in honor of the presentation of a urinal to the New York Society of Independent Artists in 1917 by Marcel Duchamp. Despite the fact that it has been almost 100 years since this action we continue to wonder‚ what are the consequences of this change? Has this shift been properly recognized? How can we set the borderlines between responsibilities (of the artist or designer) if they have already dissolved? All of these questions remain open for us and our practice. We would like to present this opera to you as a testimony of our current reflection during our Design Displacement Group practice. Let’s explore the Duchamp moment one more time!
BB Can you briefly lead us into the discourse being born within your project?
DDG & N The Death of Graphic Design, an Opera is a result of rekindling that recurrently surfacing spirit – the sense of possibilities offered once tired design methodologies are done away with. We discover new (design) territories with the format of the opera by re-approriating its formats.
BB How does the project you have prepared for the Off Programme fit into the larger context of your practice? Are you working on something related?
DDG & N This project is delivered by ‘Design Displacement Group, featuring Noviki’. The group consists of sixteen members collaborating in shifting constellations across a range of projects that take form (in real time) through commissioned client projects, self-initiated works and open-form workshops. All individual designers have their own studio practice and choose to discover territories with these practices.
BB This edition of the Brno Biennial responds to the metamorphoses and the state of contemporary graphic design; its multitude, variety, vagueness and apparent superficiality. Can you identify some of the basic parameters, current themes or motivations of contemporary graphic design?
DDG & N DDG practices a working method that should be read as collective and post-signature; a mechanism to reflect, refract and speculate upon alternative frameworks for ‘productive’ engagement and exchange. We work in different collaborative frameworks in several combinations of authors, which delivers the kaleidoscopic post-signature that is so characteristic of our work.
* Jerzy Ludwiński was a Polish art theorist. His text ‘Art in the Post-Artistic Age’ proclaims that the art world might have missed the moment in which art became something that we could no longer name or define.
** A text by Nick Currie, Frieze blog, 2008, source link: blog.frieze.com/archive/author/nick-currie
Design Displacement Group (DDG) was founded after a discussion with a group of designers and a social scientist from various disciplines, levels, cultures and nationalities in July 2014. Design Displacement Group is a collective exploring the future of design, both in practice and in thought. Collaborating on different, often self-initiated projects in changing compositions, DDG claims imaginative fictional design territory in order to open up the fields of design thinking and doing. RÉCALling The Artist Placement Group lead by John Latham and Barbara Steveni, in the 60’s, DDG finds their notion of ‘placement’ to reposition the role of the artist within a wider social context. DDG shares an interest in this approach, but instead considers the idea of ‘dis’-placement. They exploit the axes of time, space and location to critically reflect back on the practices of (graphic) design today. Design Displacement Group is interested in design’s collective thinking and in developing new ways and methods of working collaboratively and simultaneously, mainly while working online. This process leaves behind the ‘autograph’ of the graphic designer to a collective kaleidoscopic junction. DDG constantly lets things go and accepts failure by doing so. This gives an enormous amount of freedom which is difficult to find in an individual practice. DDG uses graphic design as a tool for communication but more importantly as a playtool, with which they try to challenge an own discourse. Humour is a sort of subversive strategy in the visual language of DDG. Design Displacement Group is an elastic formation, the amount of people contributing and the ways of working and attacking a project of assignment, is always changing.
Short interviews with collaborators of the 27th Brno Biennial, authors of its exhibitions, jury members and Biennial Talks speakers.
Interviews and graphic design: Radim Peško Radim Peško (1976) is a graphic designer based in London. He works in the field of type design, editorial and exhibition projects. In 2010 he has established his RP Digital Type Foundry that specializes on typefaces that are both formally and conceptually distinctive. His work includes identity for Secession Vienna, typefaces for identities of Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Aspen Art Museum, Fridericianum, Berlin Biennale 8, various work for the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Bedford Press London or a long-term collaboration with artist Kateřina Šedá. He has lectured at many schools including Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam, ÉCAL Lausanne, HFK Bremen, KISD Cologne, École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon, Sint-Lucas Ghent, University of Seoul. Since 2011 he is part of the curatorial board of the International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno., Tomáš Celizna Tomáš Celizna (1977) is interested in graphic design in connection with new technologies. He is a founding partner of design studio dgú in Prague (2001 to 2005), recipient of J. W. Fulbright Scholarship (2006), and holds MFA in graphic design from Yale University School of Art (2008). He currently lives and works independently in Amsterdam. Collaborations include, among others, OASE Journal for Architecture, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Since 2011 he is a lecturer in graphic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, and a member of the curatorial team of the International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno., Adam Macháček Adam Macháček (1980) is a graphic designer. Following studies at the AAAD in Prague, Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and ÉCAL in Lausanne, he co-founded in 2004 studio Welcometo.as in Lausanne and is a member of 201∞ Designers collective. His work includes publications, exhibition catalogues, illustrations and identities. Collaborations include, among others, the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Théâtre de Vevey (seasons 2003–2012), Galerie Rudolfinum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Chronicle Books, Editions Pyramyd, Museum of Czech Literature, Brno House of Arts, California College of the Arts, Airbnb. For Brno Biennial he initiated and organized exhibitions Work from Switzerland (2004) and From Mars (2006, together with Radim Peško). Since 2011 he is a member of the curatorial team of the International Biennial of Graphic Design in Brno. He lives and works in Berkeley.
Translation and copy editing: Alena Benešová, Kateřina Tlachová
Production: Miroslava Pluháčková
Printed by: Tiskárna Helbich s. r. o.
Print run: 2000
Published by the Moravian Gallery in Brno, 2016