Monday, January 24, 2011

Graffiti als Typographie?

First off, an answer to Herr Dr. Prof. Shahan's question about objectivity: no. As Spiekermann would tell you, even typeface can't be objective. Even those designers that attempt to achieve objectivity lose that goal in the process of trying to achieve it. But, a lot of people say that the best typeface is one you don't notice. Maybe that is the achievement of objectivity in visual representation? I still take issue with that because then you have to define "noticing." What do we notice without knowing we're noticing it? We read things graphically, so we must be noticing the typeface on some level.

Today I went down to look at the East Side Gallery. I liked it, but I sort of think that the art is predictably peace-loving and almost cheery in its post-unification-ness. It made me wish there were large sections of the wall still preserved with the original graffiti.

Which got me to thinking. I took a few pictures of graffiti in my little photo study of Alexanderplatz, because it seemed natural to include it. But, there isn't much talk of graffiti in the big books on Typographic eras, styles, and methods that I've been skimming through. This is mostly because graffiti artists aren't designers--at least in the traditional sense--who create images to sell products. But, graffiti is presumably trying to achieve something, whatever it may be, and it uses words--Schrift--to depict that whatever message. Typography doesn't seem like the right word because it implies the use of print, but in any case, graffiti is a definite form of Schrift with definite implications. I'm not sure what, yet, but I might start by taking more pictures, and reading this book:

Im Vorbeigehen: Graffiti, Tattoo, Tragetaschen: En-Passant-Medien von Jakob Dittmar.

I went back to Die Dame today as well, and found that the switch away from Fraktur happened in 1921, whereas for BIZ it never happened. Both were from the Ullstein publishing company. Clearly, design choices had to do with the audience (Berliner illustrierte Zeitung=everybody's magazine aka traditional German, Die Dame=high culture for the New Woman aka Modern, although still not in sans serif).

Tomorrow I think I'll go to the Museum for Film und Fernsehen, for fun, and read the Dittmar. Hopefully the sun comes out at some point!

1 comment:

  1. re: graffiti, I have two words for you: Mauer Park. I did a project on graffiti there this summer, I'll send you the results, or some of them, in an email. Ramsey and Donata got an earful about history as palimpsest when we had lunch while they were in Berlin. I wonder what they remember.

    Graffiti artists don't create images to sell products?

    Or go on your own Banksy hunt:

    You might want to stay away from tattoos, bringing the body into your research might me too much, for now. (Is there something there? If you wanted to connect the image of Weimar women with discourses on body-images? "From Images of Bodies to Body-Images"?)

    If Die Dame = high culture, how do you explain the angst (Angst) over (bzw. vor) Fräulein Mia? Isn't Wagner high culture? Goethe? Why did BIZ feel it necessary to bash Mia? Especially in 1927, when Mia, the New Woman, was really not that new?