Popp Culture: 04/2019
This month we’ve packed our cultural fix in to one conveniently nice evening at Nicer Tuesdays, which featured talks from Alice Tye, Ben Ditto, Yushi Li, and Dinamo. Delicious Camden beers in hand in the early evening sun, we settled in to hear from four fascinating speakers.
Alice Tye‘s beautiful oil paintings provided a gentle introduction to the evening, and beyond the obvious face value of the work, she has weaved in bigger, thought provoking themes to engage her viewers. Her work from Mono No Aware (which translates as “the pathos of things”), showcased paintings and photographs from a trip to Japan, exploring the idea that an appreciation of beautiful things can be heightened by an awareness of their transience. Cherry blossoms were an obvious start-point, but we were taken by her ability to spot the beauty in life’s “in between” moments: car parks, pedestrian crossings and the odd stops on your journey.
The charismatic Ben Ditto talked about his involvement with Dazed Beauty, and the unconventional approach to creating an identity and world that redefines “the language and communication of beauty”. The intersection between analog and digital, and the use of 3D tools in the work was truly impressive.
We were enchanted by the absolutely deadpan Yushi Li, whose images from My Tinder Boys and Your Reservation is Confirmed, were at the same time humorous and provocative – a bit like Li herself. The tension in the images between Li, the subject and the viewer really challenges perceptions about how men and women are portrayed in the media, and had us debating and discussing long into the night.
Finally, we heard from Fabian Harb from Swiss (of course) type agency, Dinamo. Their “Darkroom” is a “virtual space to test drive internally developed tools or plugins to help or confuse the modern type designer.” His demonstration of variable fonts had us debating whether this was yet another shortcut to a proliferation of ever faster (and probably not better) design, or a genuinely useful tool that will help us create work that is even more creative and original. It’s probably both.
From their typefaces, we loved the thought and baked-in flexibility that went into creating Grow, a “multi-layered typeface system” with “six basic outlines [that] can be piled up to a total of 63 individual combinations”. Truly clever and inspiring stuff.