The ninth edition theme of the international literature festival ChiassoLetteraria is the inescapable plot between collective History, individual stories of characters and authors, their narratives and accounts. How can History be told through literature? What role can be assigned to literature in dealing with elements of the past, even when they’re uncomfortable? What stories can still be told?
The Festival’s visual identity reflects the duality between the concept of history and story. A diagonal that separates, but at the same time approaches, becomes the recurring element used on logos, images, typography, exhibition design and various communication tools.
Mariapia Borgnini for the spaces of the Cantonal Art Museum of Lugano. The exhibition title “Enoisuillusione” is printed letter by letter on the pages of the japanese bound book. This allows the palindrome to be read infinitely and in both directions. The four-color printing with the addition of special inks on 9 different kinds of paper evokes the variety of media and techniques used by the artist. Graphic design in collaboration with Sidi Vanetti.
Today we speak to
Stefanie Djie, a New York based photographer from Singapore.
Yanda: Tell us what do you do?
Stefanie Djie: I am part of a photography team (Stoltze and Stefanie); edit a 400-pages glossy biannual, S Magazine as well as the content for its S online channels; and run our 2500 sq feet. photography studio on Bowery in New York City.
I am always interested to find out what does a duo really means. Profit splitting or there are actually more good to it?
The way I see it, it’s not just about the profits. Being a team means that we get to maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses.
While we work together on refining concepts and ideas, Jens (Stoltze) and I focus on different areas for all our productions; I tend to the pre-production elements – deciding on the creative team, mood-board references, initial ideas, producing the shoot while he focuses on technicalities, lighting decisions and eventually, the post-processing.
On working with clients, we play up our appeal to the different genders. Jens gets away being sauve dealing with women, and in those scenarios, I take the back seat. I like to think that we’re just being smart about it (as sexist as it sounds).
What was your background and how did you ended up as a photographer?
I have a family who, despite having no understanding of the Arts, are supportive of my decisions (As a child, you have no choice over your experiences).
I was always interested in studying pose, body-language, semiotics and group dynamics. I am a very visual person; I love to observe trends (photography movements, seasonal runway trends etc.) and subtle motivations communicated through ideas and human behavior.
Knowing that I don’t possess the patience of a painter, nor the linguistic abilities of a sociologist and coupled with the bookish nerd in me (love speed-reading manuals), I felt like I’ve always had the temperament and stamina of a photographer. Which to me means, to be constantly on the move, to enjoy a speedy progression of your work and having the natural attraction to aesthetics.
There’s a saying that a good photographer needs to be a wanderer. What are your thoughts on this?
I think being a wanderer expands minds- any artist can benefit from archiving experiences, referencing cultures, seeing different lights.
By wandering, you are able to build context to your work. And I think that’s very important in our contemporary culture.
What about your editor role at S Magazine? How did it all get started?
S Magazine was established in 2004 in Copenhagen, Denmark. We like to think that we give freedom back to the art and fashion photographers; it was started for artists to create without boundaries and seasonal trends, be published and have an international dialogue.
I slipped into the role of an editor when Jens asked for my help with curating the online content after our beloved long-time online Manager Emilia, stepped down. It then evolved to more responsibilities when I proved too efficient (…for my own good, Hello Product of Singapore!) and now work with a small team (There’s just five of us) on all creative-decisions.
Drawing NYC is the outcome of a trip to NYC in 2012. It’s a folder holding 14 spontaneous and archaic black and white drawings and their mirrored offprint. The folder was produced in a limited edition of 10 copies.
The hero’s submerging under as well as emerging out of water is a familiar phenomena in motion picture. Representative water scenes are frequently used as an instrument of dramatic visualization by filmmakers. Concerning cinematic interaction with water, immersion—in an aesthetic, but also pragmatic way—initiates flashbacks, provides a look into the inner subject just as imagination and dreams or opens the gates to dimensions beyond immanent motion picture’s reality. Based on examples of art history and selected film sequences, this liberal arts orientated master thesis combines appropriate and classic theories. The text faces significant connections between staged water immersion/emersion in film and real life water experiences.
We are presenting an elaborated and abandoned book for the output award. Often, critical editions are bulky, even confusingly patterned—our focus is on neatly arranged and typographically useful editorial design to provide a better reading experience.
60 artists from all over the world were invited to work on / and with traditional asiatic harmonica books. The project was a collaboration between the College of Fine Arts Seoul, Tokyo University of Arts and the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design
“Mobile M+: Inflation!” is the fourth pre-opening “nomadic” exhibitions curated by M+, the new museum for visual culture at the West Kowloon Cultural District.
Occupying the site of the forthcoming park of the District next to the future building of M+, the large-scale inflatable sculptures by Cao Fei (China), Choi Jeong Hwa (South Korea), Jeremy Deller (UK), JIAKUN ARCHITECTS (China), Paul McCarthy (USA), and Tam Wai Ping (Hong Kong) presented here pose questions about the nature of public art and the ways in which audiences might engage with it.
These works, accompanied by a performance piece by Tomás Saraceno (Argentina), may evoke associations that seem familiar, jarring, or both. Together, they explore the ever-changing notions of nature and artifice, intimacy and monumentality, permanence and temporariness, as well as beauty and the grotesque in the realm of constructed landscapes.
By transforming the current site into a (con)temporary sculpture park of inflatables, “Mobile M+: Inflation!” attempts to consider how certain realities and preconceptions around art in public space can be altered, undermined and challenged in the context of an evolving and endlessly mutating cultural and urban landscape.
The focal point of the identity is a bespoke stencil typeface and a visual system of contrasting frames that evokes the relationship between the artworks and the exhibition site. Drawing on the notion of scale, contrast between the materials and the raw state of the landscape.
The Little Drom Store @ SOTA. 2014.
Today we speak to Stanley and Antoinette, founders of The Little Drom Store from Singapore.
Yanda: Please tell us what do you do?
Stanley and Antoinette: We run an art & design driven retail store, called “the little dröm store”.
We aspire to bring people from all creative walks of life, to promote and share their work with the rest of the world.
How did it all started?
As graphic designers, we would always bookmark websites and dog-ear magazines of things we like and found inspiring.
So we wanted a place where we could retail such products, and we had this little desire in wanting to shake things up a little in our creative landscape. And in our own little efforts, we wanted to provide a shopping option for alternative products in Singapore.
Has it been fulfilling so far?
What were the challenges starting out?
The main challenge definitely had to be finances, we almost emptied our savings from working full time when we started out.
It was extremely challenging, especially mentally and morally when we had literally zero sales on some days, and rental in Singapore as we know ain’t cheap at all.
Who do you think your target audience are?
They are people who appreciates tasteful and well designed products.
So it is more for the niche and not the mass market?
(this is a long reply, but its one of our best eureka moments)
We must admit that we were quite self indulgent & naive when we first started out, only wanting to sell things that were designed by obscure and independent designers or artists from overseas, and even produced in limited edition! Which brought us to realise (as hard truth), that in reality not many people cared much about such details. If a product doesn’t relate to them, they’ll simply walk away from it.
But what opened up our perspective was when we were invited to showcase our series of Mosaic Playground photos for the M1 Fringe Festival in 2011 – in conjunction with that showcase, we designed and produced a series of mosaic playground brooches, as our own efforts of keeping these playgrounds close to our hearts while the actual ones were slowly being demolished. This was our first series of self designed and produced products.
And after launching them at our shop, the reactions that came from our customers were priceless! Because of these brooches, many of them started sharing their own personal memories with us, and us with them, and word got around and more people came to buy them. These exchanges were so precious because for the first time, we felt such great satisfaction and appreciation from our customers. Our customers were really generous with their words of encouragement. This had really opened up our perspective because we realized and understood the importance of authenticity and relatability in a product.
Back then, customers would comment that our store was quirky & interesting but not many made actual purchases. And this series of playground brooches kinda turned things around.
We had learnt that for the little dröm store, is to innovate and not imitate.
To innovate by bringing out the best from what we have in Sinagpore, as Singaporeans, and not strive to want to be like shops that we admire from overseas.
So in a nutshell, we had learn that we just want to design products that are honest, tasteful and hopefully bring about some smiles. So in that sense, we believe everyone deserves products that are tasteful & well designed, and we cater to anyone who appreciates them.
What was totally unexpected?
People from overseas having heard about our store and writing in to say how they had loved what we do and to encourage us! Sometimes even mailing gifts from overseas, that was very sweet. What was even more unexpected was when some of them eventually visit Singapore and our store!
Was there actually a business plan from the start?
To be totally honest – No, we didn’t when we started out. It was out of pure and childlike faith in wanting to change Singapore’s creative landscape and make it more exciting, to create a platform for creative exchanges.
Our plan was more of an idealistic one, without much practical business wisdom, but we had learnt a great deal over the years, especially from failures and discouragements.