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workshops, Vienna 04 2004, brainstorm

basic info

work: prelude : intermezzo : finale

Start thinking about the subject already now! Feel free to drop your ideas here, share your thoughts, and react on other people's thoughts.

16 comments so far: read comments , please do comment
Bas -- Monday, February 23 2004, 02:52 pm
Ok everybody, this is the spot to warm up for the workshop already before it starts. Think about the subject, and any input/idea is welcome. Also links to other website, etcetera etcetera. Go for it.

Sami -- Monday, March 8 2004, 03:40 pm
Some African languages (like many others) are still only spoken, they don't have a written form. Few years ago Ritva Leinonen was keeping a workshop in Mosambique, and one of the side products was a written form for the word 'a swallow' in Chuabo-language. The spoken form imitates the sharp and strained voice of the bird. So now chuabos write it: txivere! (which also visually looks sharp and strained). Just to mention.

Lucas -- Thursday, March 11 2004, 10:03 pm
'So, ... let's have a look at that sacred old cow: typography! What is it actually, typography? Typography is the most poor and crippled way of communicating, ever invented! It is communication in its most naked, stripped-to-the-bone shape. What a poor sight: black shapes on white paper. Gray boxes, with gray lines. And this is supposed to communicate our deepest thoughts and feelings? If these statements do not shock typographers, nothing ever will! And then again: compare typography with the best way of communicating: two persons standing in front of each other. Basically they use all of their senses. I will not even refer to the scientific evidence that about 80% of what we verbally communicate is transferred by our gestures, by tonality, timbre and emotion in our voices and by facial expressions –but since I'm not talking to you: I refer to it anyway...' Well, that's what I wrote about this subject some time ago. It motivated some students to search on how emotion could be added to typefaces. It even forced a student to paint characters on his face: have a look http://www.designlooksnice.com/Workshops.html , you'll find it under the dublin workshop. And talking about Vienna: a student of mine: Bart Bloemen, created about 6 years ago a typeface called :"emotion". It reacted in realtime to your voice and changed shape accordingly. Unfortunately, done in director 6 or something, it needed a plug-in that does not work anymore. It was like a multiple master font that went towards four extreme corners depending on your voice expression. Well Bart lives in Vienna now! If you stumble on him: give him my regards!

martin -- Thursday, April 1 2004, 09:51 pm
just quoting from a typo-forum: > Typography, as a vehicle of the spoken language, depicts our cultural identity. >> A doubtful idea. >>> Still, not nearly as bad as "Type is speech on paper." Come on, people. Come to think of it, the misconception that writing is a form (some even dare to think of it as a *reduction*) of speech is paralleled by the confusion that type is [hand]writing. Both are anti-progress, and a form of cozy celebration at the expence of culture.

martin -- Thursday, April 1 2004, 09:54 pm
but, ehemm, let's figure a way out...

Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer -- Friday, April 2 2004, 01:27 am
The relation between type and speech needs to be broken down to the question if there is a common basis or basic sets of rules that apply to pronunciation in the individual languages. I'm talking about general letter shape conventions here, not about font styles, obviously. I'd say there are only a handful of consonants that are pronounced the same or a similar way across the majority of Western European languages with Latin scripts. The vowels you can rule out at once, basically, since all of them are pronounced differently in each language -- plus you get differing pronunciations inside a language. But with this in mind, some interesting parallels appear when you focus on this common pronunciation base. Look at the letter shapes of b, d, p, q. I don't need to point out the similarity in terms of shapes, but I'd like to point you to the coincidence (?) that all of these represent explosive sounds (nl. plofklanken), where air is held back and then released immediately. Also, the similar m and n shapes represent continuous nasal sounds, whereas the similar s and z usually mean hissing sounds. I ask myself if these sound concept can even be seen back in the letter shapes themselves, or if I'm merely over-interpreting some weird coincidences. Just a little food for thought, Rainer Erich

martin -- Monday, April 5 2004, 11:59 am
I'd like to find a form for a font which you could use for speech that is said in an unctuous (salbungsvoll) tone (like all priests, some politicians and liars do) -- just to signalize the manipulation more obviously. we in austria suffer since centuries from a catholic block and developped peculiar neurosis concerning subservience (unterwürfigkeit), irresponsibility (unverantwörtlichkeit), weltschmerz and the need for salvation (erlösung) by anybody else but us. this font could be used to mark specific parts of text (either by replacing the font used or by adding bits to the font used).

Lucas -- Monday, April 5 2004, 03:10 pm
WHY do we speak and write? To communicate, not? Speech and text do not compete, they are just used as a medium. Typefaces were not invented to compete with speech, but rather to communicate in a (partly) more efficient way. This does not prove they were invented right! Nor complete. If you want to say "SH**" or "F***", it just comes out as a sound, and you all know you can say it in various ways. Like "SH********T". (see how i have to visually treat text to communicate?) Putting the word shit in Zapf Chancery (just an example) might look shitty but probably does not help you communicate just that! The thing we are talking(?) about are 2 different senses. Look up the word synesthesia!

titus -- Wednesday, April 7 2004, 02:06 pm
sitting at my jugendzentrum (youth center) i just thought about a type for turkish 3rd generation german slang. would be a funny thing in opentype.. some words will be substituted by a space, others by the wrong words. there is no der/die/das (his/her) - only the female form is being used. and every now and then an "oida" (can't translate that), "ich schwöre" (i swear), or "du missgeburt" (you freak) will be inserted. :)

martin -- Wednesday, April 7 2004, 10:44 pm
letters are signs for sounds. (eric gill, an essay on typography, 1931)

Bas -- Thursday, April 8 2004, 06:03 pm
But if letters are signs for sound, how come it's sometimes damn hard to visually make a difference between a sentence which can be pronounced in different ways (polite, angry, surprised, etc.)?

simon -- Friday, April 9 2004, 10:02 pm
I have been driving a little bit around in europe and in the us in the last month and did a little bit typo-research (exactly now in the Netherlands!) and I came to the result that speech is not really main issue in our typography. to what degree it is a influence I still don't know, but I think that this would be a historical research too; I gonna try to find out about that.

Alessandro Segalini -- Saturday, April 10 2004, 02:12 pm
These two things -- Type & Talk -- are based on different circles, like the time of the clock and the time of the emotions. The present IS the only thing, yes, but the present of the past IS the memory, the present of the present IS the vision, and the present of the future is the wait. It is interesting to note that the actual Greek root of the word “problem,” namely, “probalein,” means “to throw” or “to thrust forward.” Problems are the very means by which God drives us forward. Without problems, there would be no growth. When a color is warm we made a short circuit, yes mr Lucas Nijs, “synesthesia” is a great word -- from Greek, syn = together + aisthesis = to perceive; sensation produced at a point other than, or remote from the point of stimulation, as of a color from hearing a certain sound (http://tinyurl.com/2prcf) -- another cranky one is “code”. Typography is different from calligraphy & inscription, althought the first breathes by “the spirit of the hand”, by the “ductus” and the proportions. Typography is other than the PostScript code. Type design, as well as good typography, is made real by the design of the white, as well as good calligraphy is a dance, not an ink. When the inner wealth, most of all, the creative wealth, goes together with an adeguate way of expression, there comes the harmony between the ideas and their happening. The STYLE typify/distinguish/delineates the attitudes of a person through the aesthetic expression, and it creates the identity. Lettering is a precise art and strictly subject to tradition. The "New Art" notion that you can make letters whatever shapes you like, is as foolish as the notion, if anyone has such a notion, that you can make houses any shapes you like. You can`t, unless you live all by yourself on a desert island. Otto Neurath`s work [ISOTYPE] is a great historical part in visualizing information in a typographical way (http://tinyurl.com/2p2mu). LoCoS -- “Lover's Communication System” -- project by japanese designer Ota Yukio (about 1964) is a quite interesting approach, check out, http://tinyurl.com/ywnqv (enter LOCOS + password yuki00ta, two zeros). Mr Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer, your lines about pronunciation & physical generation of letter sounds are friggin` interesting, I`d like to go further on that theme in the future. I have this following book in Italian -- the original work is in English -- I read it and I found it stunning, the opposite of corny; the title is “Sign & Design, The Psychogenetic Source of The Alphabet” Alfred Kallir, London, 1961. The Polish “danke” is “gincuie” in my mind -- because that is the sound to my italian ear -- but it is written “dziekuje” in Polish. § Quoting Jan Tschichold: « Both nature and technology teach us that "form" is not indipendent, but grows out of function (purpose), out of materials used (organic or technical), and out of how they are used. The essence of typography is communication. » Quoting El Lissitsky: « typographical design should perform optically what the speaker creates through voice and gesture of his thoughts. » Quoting Herbert Spencer: « Typography is not an independent Art: it is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It must always be sub-servient to the text which is its ‘raison d'etre’... » Quoting Jean-Baptiste Piggin: « The distinction between micro- and macro-typography was popularized by the book designer Jost Hochuli and is now a commonplace in the German-speaking countries. Whereas micro-typography involves lettering— designing, choosing and mixing fonts, spacing letters and punctuating words— macro-typography is the business of laying out bodies of text in logical and pleasing patterns: distributing blank space, choosing colours and conveying meaning by proper arrangement. » Quoting Anne Conneen: « Visual design is important in reaching ethnic audiences, especially those for whom English is a second language," Lipton says. "In the first seconds that a person views a message--before even reading a word, no matter what the language--it's the images that hold the power to connect. It's the images that make a viewer decide even whether to read a word. » William Burroughs wrote: « We must find out what words are and how they function. They become images when written down, but images of words repeated in the mind and not of the image of the thing itself. » Emily Dickinson wrote: « A word is dead / When it is said / Some say. I say it just / Begin to live / That day. » § Recently I ended up in the following links: * Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics, http://tinyurl.com/354jz * Writing in Inuktitut, http://tinyurl.com/2jtq5 * Inuktitut fonts, http://tinyurl.com/yu3hu, http://tinyurl.com/3xj4n This other link is also amazing, for the amount of work and for the hystoric & cultural importance. A bit after Gutemberg dude, in Venice, typographer Aldus Manutius starts the spread of renaissance culture through beautiful books; The “Hynerotomachia Pholiphili” is one of those: The Electronic HYPNEROTOMACHIA POLIPHILI, http://tinyurl.com/2lf8j. § Ernest Hemingway, ending his acceptance speech (335 words) for the Nobel Prize for Literature (recorded by Havana, Cuba radio station in 1954, the Nobel Prize celebration happened in Sweden), said: « I have spoken too long for a writer. A writer should write what he has to say and not speak it. Again I thank you. » To end with German my contribute in your brainstorming, I`d like to quote Beethoven: » Wenn die Wort aufhoert, faengt die Musik an. « Regards, Alessandro Segalini www.as8.it

Jean François Porchez -- Tuesday, April 20 2004, 06:04 pm
I know a guy who have done research into these area, Pierre di Sciullo. His typeface Quantange (who mean "what i heard") http://www.quiresiste.com/a_quant_1.html use specific forms related to pronunciation (obviously related to a specific language). There is more here too on related subjects http://www.quiresiste.com/a_exp.html Check alos some of his small QT movies around.

Hrant -- Wednesday, April 28 2004, 08:53 pm
It would be interesting to study writing systems that are based on shapes emanating directly from speech, for example the sound wave shapes or the shape of the vocal chords for that sound. Such efforts are actually not rare (Graham Bell and Frederic Goudy for example were both invovled in such schemes), but only one has caught on: Hangul, the Korean script. You can't [easily] tell, but the alphabetic elements (which form the syllables) are actually based on mouth/tongue/lips configurations! BTW, Martin's quote of April 1 was me (starting from "Still, not nearly..."). hhp

Hrant -- Wednesday, April 28 2004, 08:55 pm
One more thing: check out the work of Avital Ronnel - the best example of "audible" typography I know of. BTW, you guys are worried about aural fidelity?! Then please find a way to show paragraph breaks in this section! :-) hhp

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