21 November 2009

Exhibition on typography in Western and Asian cultures

KUCHING – An exhibition on typography found typically in Asian and Western cultures is currently being held at the Sarawak Museum Art Gallery from 1 to 30 November.

Exhibits such as this one, are on display. Horn (right) putting up one of the many exhibits with fellow Swinburne Sarawak design lecturer Ahmad Azuar Bin Zainuddin.

Exhibits such as this one, are on display. Horn (right) putting up one of the many exhibits with fellow Swinburne Sarawak design lecturer Ahmad Azuar Bin Zainuddin.

Themed “The words around us” the exhibition is a collaboration between Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus, the Sarawak Museum, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft (HTW), the Buchstabenmuseum (Letter Museum) Berlin and Goethe Institute, Germany’s cultural institution operating worldwide.

“The exhibition is about typography; it’s about letters in public space. It is mostly commercial signage, lighting and so forth but also street art – things you can see in the public spaces that are open to anyone. It is a comparison between Asian and Western cultures and the way their traditions and history reflects in typography,” said Christine Horn, member of the organising committee.

While the concept of typography is something we live with every day, she said, little or no thought goes to the myriads of words that surround us everywhere. “Yet, the physical body of the words used to map our environment say much about us; our material culture, our history, what influences our societies.”

Horn, a design lecturer with Swinburne Sarawak, said the exhibition aims at creating sensitivity for the fact that design and typography are a part of our culture and are everywhere around us. The appreciation for it connects us to our roots and to our rich and diverse heritage, in Europe and in Asia.

The photographic part of the exhibition consists of photographic work created collaboratively by students and lecturers of Swinburne Sarawak, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and HTW Berlin.

The images are taken within the public spaces in urban areas and reflect parts of local culture. These are exhibited with short descriptions on typographic issues such as history and types of fonts, calligraphy and type designers.

“As typography is the bearer of content, meaning in physical shape, the exhibition also includes the works of local artists to show different takes on what this could mean. Works range from projections through painting and sculpture.

“The event is aimed at creating a better understanding of the places current culture comes from, and how to apply and blend these concepts which have been established throughout history, to generate new fusions in modern design,” she said.

The exhibition is part of an ongoing series of international events and activities surrounding typography organised by Swinburne Sarawak. For more information, please refer to thewordsaroundus.wordpress.com. For more information on events organised by the Goethe Institute, take a look at www.goethe.de.

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