- 27th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno 2016
BB Can you tell us a bit about the background of your project? How did you come up with the idea? What brought you together?
FK & LvdH We met during our studies at the Graphic Department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and rather quickly started working together on smaller – less serious – projects, having a lot of fun. Through the years we established a strong collaborative bond which has proven very beneficial in various situations. During spring 2014 we went on a six-week educational program in Berlin where we established a growing awareness for design presented in spacious contexts. As this interest in spacious graphic design developed, our growing awareness of the lack of spaces dedicated to autonomous or non-commercial design projects increased – which was mainly an observation based on our own surroundings. After having thought about it for some time once we had the chance to do something ourselves, the whole process came very naturally to us. The department was very supportive and after browsing deserted areas of Amsterdam North, we were lucky to make contact with an organization that started supporting us with spaces. Things suddenly took shape, and after discussing 200+ names, fanfare was initiated. The platform and initiatives surrounding us quickly took shape and while still keeping a general curiosity towards our surroundings, a lot of ideas have developed and become clearer since then. We constantly observe the interesting crossovers between culturally engaged design fields such as fashion, music, art and photography, and we encourage these discoveries by establishing environments for research, knowledge sharing and exhibitions.
BB Fanfare is a space constantly on the move – in just a few years you have changed location several times. Do you see its programme in any way as site-specific?
FK & LvdH Besides the hassle of moving on short notice every now and then, it became a beneficial element for shaping the overall concept, since we had to adapt to different settings from the very beginning. Every time we moved we would dedicate an opening to the new surroundings, producing text and visual communication based on the new space. But most importantly it resulted in the design and production of our display that is also present at the Brno Biennial. The display simply had to be capable of adapting to everything from 20 square meters to 300 (based on real numbers)… Coming back to your question if we see the programme in any way as site-specific? – No and yes. In a direct way, our most site-specific concept is now our digital presence, which is represented through an archive and a changing series of digital takeovers. But in relation to the mentioning of our display system, the construction has in itself become an extension of the identity of fanfare – which next to adding our blue and white stripes to the outside – has allowed us to move into any kind of space and recreate the identity of fanfare.
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?
FK & LvdH In relation to fanfare, we started preparing our programme for the Brno Biennial as if we had to come up with something totally new – a ‘reinventing the wheel’ kind of approach. This naturally did not work. The programme that we are now presenting at the Biennial is an extension of what we normally do, while also being an introduction to larger projects on the coming fanfare agenda – this involves everything from the suits we’re wearing, to the music we’re playing and the projects we’re screening.
The different focus on each day also reflects individual focus points within each of our interests, where Lotte has a long interest in the translation of sound into visual material, Freja is the one dedicating more focus to the digital platform and the growing amount of design in a moving or digital context. In general we find it very beneficial also having different fields of attention, which allows for some diversity and contrast.
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?
FK & LvdH We started fanfare as a platform solely focusing on framing graphic design. This is still the core of our agenda, but at the same time we also notice that it doesn’t work trying to limit the field. Do we draw the line at printed matter? Communicative elements? Commercial purposes? The graphic designer of today potentially possesses the skills of both a writer, editor, researcher, cultural planner, furniture designer etc. Increasingly we observe people with a background in graphic design, producing works of art or fully entering the art scene. We find this an interesting – and maybe even a natural – development when considering how the tools of communication are used within the art scene and also progressively reflected in society more generally.
Freja Kir (1989, DK) works within graphic- and culturally engaging design. After being enrolled with Art History at the University of Copenhagen she continued her studies at the Graphic Design Department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, class of 2015. Next to her studies she studied at the honours programme in Art and Research and worked for the lecture series Lunch Bytes. Together with Lotte van de Hoef she runs the graphic platform fanfare which they initiated during their graduation year. Besides of fanfare, Freja works as a freelance graphic designer and is currently occupied with running the wandering and wondering project Chives Archives together with designer Celina Yavelow (CH/US).
Lotte van de Hoef (1990) is a dutch graphic designer living in Amsterdam. After graduating at het Grafisch Lyceum Utrecht she continued her graphic design studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie where she graduated in 2015. During her graduation year she co-founded the graphic platform fanfare together with Freja Kir, which they have been running together ever since. Besides of this she runs her own independent studio as a freelance graphic and fabric designer, working mainly in music- and cultural related fields.
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