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Blog

Ferguson Voices: Disrupting the Frame installation

Willhemina Wahlin

It has been a little while since I have updated this blog with information on the FVDTF exhibition, but this little video, taken by the University of Dayton staff, is well worth adding.

The fabrication and print management was done by Kate Hixon, at Hixon Design Consultants, and working with her on this made my job of doing the graphics easy (easier?).

Also, working with Joel and Leora on this project was fantastic. It was challenging to come up with a visual representation that was suitable for the organisations behind the project (PROOF: Media for Social Justice and the University of Dayton's Human Rights Center), as well as the community of Ferguson.

I hope that this exhibition has an impact in terms of expanding people's knowledge of what happened in Ferguson and creates a more personal approach to the stories of those who stood up for justice for Michael Brown and the community.

In terms of research, this exhibition allowed me to delve deeper into the CHaSSMM Model of analysis, and how important it is to be aware of the cultural, political and social context of a project, which corresponds to the ideological framework that it sits within.


This design of this project was documented on this blog as part of Willhemina Wahlin's doctoral research into the design of difficult knowledge exhibitions at the School of Communications and Creative Industries, Faculty of Arts & Education, Charles Sturt University, Australia.

Ferguson Voices

Willhemina Wahlin

This week has been a little on and off with getting the design brief finished, but actually, it has been useful to have a few intense days of research, followed by a couple of days when I've had to get on with other things. What has been useful is having time away from the research to think about it, and one aspect of Ferguson - and in particular the idea of Ferguson voices - keeps coming back to me...

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Getting to know you...

Willhemina Wahlin

Sitting here this morning, another beautiful, hot and peaceful day begins where I live (OK, maybe a little too hot already, but I know if it gets too much, the beach is not far away). I know that I have a job to go to. I can estimate that my drive to work in a short while will not include the stress of being targeted by police - in fact by multiple police forces in one city.

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Rescuers @ the ArtWalk

Willhemina Wahlin

As the design for PROOF's exhibition, The Rescuers, at the ArtWalk in Port Macquarie gets underway, so too does the testing of the CHaSSMM Method of analysis that aims to support the interpretive practice of designers when working on difficult exhibitions.

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Unearthed Typography: main body text

Willhemina Wahlin

Logo version 1: top graphic

Logo version 2: bottom graphic

Logo version 2: bottom graphic

I've started looking a bit closer at the type for the main body of text in each section. I started with just some rough placeholder text a few days ago that I wasn't going to keep, but would like to leave a record of it here, because I think it's interesting to note how sans serifs can also have a lot of communicative power. In this case, the typeface was too angular.

The next stage was to look at the visual interaction between the Hindi and English. Coming back to the idea of making the visual communication of the exhibition centre on the experiences of the survivors, I began to search for humanist sans serifs (because this will be cut and weeded vinyl, I'm steering clear of serifs).

The first one, Lato, has a large family of weights and postures to choose from, and from past experience this has been a very important consideration when choosing a typeface for an exhibition. However, I couldn't pass up Artifika - although it only has one weight - medium - it's a beautifully flowing, dynamic and humanist typeface. The single posture/weight does concern me though.

Unearthed Typography: Heading

Willhemina Wahlin

Textual analysis can play an important role in interpretive design. I begin with a look at key words taken from the design brief document, and then explain where the focus will be when the typographic decisions will be made,  and provide some preliminary examples.

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Production Planning: Unearthed

Willhemina Wahlin

As the production planning gets underway, the design brief has become such a useful document. I've included all information on local partners, the aims of the project, background of the issue and the testimonies of all survivors and upstanders. Also to be added is all of the text on the 'places' section, which is currently being translated into Hindi as well.

What's been great about having all of that content in one place is that, firstly, when reading through it, it's possible to pick out key words.

The main thing I've been working on today, though, is the planning for the panels within the space. We need to move on this quite quickly, because we need to make sure we have enough of a budget - so, we need to work out what we need, on what substrate, in order to get a quote so we can find out if we have enough money to realise our plan. And so the circle goes. It's a bit difficult getting info out of the production people at this stage, but they're been working on another project, so hopefully this will change (very soon!).

The planning began with the measurements of the walls, which were all in inches. I converted all sizes, then added the images the production people sent of the space and drawings of the walls.

I then drew up new plans from this (it was handy to be able to scribble on the design brief!), and now we have a pretty clear idea of where everything will be installed. I still have a lot of questions about the materials, but it has been narrowed down to flex board (for images) and vinyl (either panels or laser cut and weeded type) for text.

Going through this process also allowed me to see where some content was missing and query it (there will be accompanying text in the 'places' section, which will be added to the design brief when it's finalised). There are also logos to add, but the versions of these that have been sent so far are for online use only, not for print. Again, having this central document has meant that these things are being checked (and hopefully fixed) before design begins.

"Broken?" opened at the United Nations International School

Willhemina Wahlin

Here are a few photos of "Broken?" up at UNIS, taken today. Hopefully there will be some more images coming up soon.

It was a good move to have the poles at each end instead of eyelets - they hang quite well this way. It's also great that they've been hung so that the text is at eye height. Hopefully I'll get to see the panels when I'm in NY in December, even if the exhibition is no long up.

"Broken?" at UNIS, November 2015. Photo courtesy of PROOF: Media for Social Justice and UNIS.

"Broken?" at UNIS, November 2015. Photo courtesy of PROOF: Media for Social Justice and UNIS.

Installation of the "Broken?" exhibition at UNIS, November 2015. Photo courtesy of PROOF: Media for Social Justice and UNIS.

Installation of the "Broken?" exhibition at UNIS, November 2015. Photo courtesy of PROOF: Media for Social Justice and UNIS.

Design Brief: Unearthed 2015

Willhemina Wahlin

The design brief for Unearthed is almost done, and although it has taken a little bit more time than I'd planned (because work keeps popping up), it has been a very rewarding thing to pull together. One thing that is still missing from this brief is the section. This was discussed in a meeting with my PhD Supervisor yesterday (Margaret Woodward), who suggested that the binary system I'm developing use key words from the text that is being collected, so that it's more project specific. An excellent idea, and actually goes a long way to helping me resolve the issue of what should be in the list. I was hoping to get this new list completed yesterday, but grading and a bunch of other issues came up. So, off to a meeting this morning, and then the list will be top of my list!

The Binary system for typographic identification

A part of the the development of the CHaSSM (Critical Hermeneutic and Social Semiotic Multimodality) Method of analysis, the binary list is being developed as a possible means of drawing tacit knowledge from all team members of a project. It will be printed out and filled out by hand, to allow for a more free flow of thought, allow for extra notes, and allow for a quick turn around.

If team members such as curatorial, local partner stakeholders and the designer all complete the form, cross referencing can be done to draw on the most common key words that people associate with the project. These words can then assist in the interpretive stages of design, particularly when choosing typefaces to represent people's testimonies.

Individual binary sheets can also be used for projects that will treat testimonies individually. This is more feasible in projects that only have one language.

PJ 2015: the wrap up

Willhemina Wahlin

In this post-design examination of some of the processes behind the design of Broken? Picture Justice 2015, the importance of the design brief and having time for the interpretive design practice is revealed.

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