The assemblage of letters and words is fascinating. As children, we create our own mechanisms to communicate, then hone our craft and cognition skills as we age. In recent weeks, there appears to be a visual unraveling of this basic foundation for which our society functions. The results have been playful, though somewhat symbolic of confusing times. “This reminds me of when you’re tongue-tied and everything you want to say becomes sort of mush in your head. Or when you think you know what you want to say but completely forget,” says Pattern Pulp contributor Emily Gup. Marina Camargo’s falling content was recently spotlighted on Swiss Miss and presents a surreal image of lost typography. In real world time, these matching typewriter chairs are a curious window display at the high-end vintage furniture store Adelaide, in the West Village of Manhattan. In the gaming and digital corner, Morisawa of Japan has created the addictive character game, Font Park, where beautiful calligraphy can be formed by disfiguring character symbols.
In higher stake markets, scrambled letters are also catching on. Bergdorf Goodman’s March window display showcased a backdrop of mismatched letters behind highly stylized mannequins. A few blocks south at the MoMA, the just opened exhibition, Tangled Alphabets presents León Ferrari and Mira Schendel’s combined work over the later half of the 20th century. Ferrari and Schendel’s joint collection addresses language as a major visual subject matter, encompassing the body, voices, words, gestures and metaphors for naming and writing trends. Back downtown on Mott Street, I Heart NYC’s store signage is a retail reminder of Camargo’s work.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toWFvXHghDk]
Camille Utterback’s Text Rain interactive art installation from 1999 is quite mesmerizing, not to mention amazing, considering the technology was fairly rudimentary ten years ago. For an afternoon laugh, check out the Prudential game Falling Words, as it’s a marketer’s lighthearted stab at releasing negative thoughts that people rarely share.