August 24, 2011

Fleeting...and yet so indelible: Delhi Typerventions project

Sometime ago, I had written about the Hand Painted Type project: every day, we encounter varying visual presentations of multiple type-faces and yet, as we have become so accustomed to their presence, we don't see them anymore, let alone acknowledge the diversity of the types.

I recently chanced upon the Delhi Typerventions project at Indian graphic designer, Kriti Monga's blog here and learnt in more detail about it on its Facebook page. Quoting from the Facebook group page, the project invites "people who love combining relevant words with the spirit of urban typography to create beauty and meaning in the city's public spaces." I found the process of conceiving, creating, and eventually implementing the installation fascinating. I initially happened to read about the journey behind the Hauz Khaz Typervention (which happens to be the third one); apart from Kriti's blog, you can also read about it over here.

I thought it is such an extraordinarily unique way of both interacting with and participating within the city that one inhabits: indeed, celebrating it. It is an example of a public art display which derives inspiration from the city and in turn, draws the city and its inhabitants into its fold. Apart from the visual drama of the different typefaces used, typervention also significantly makes use of local material to abstract the words which makes the process further organic and home-grown, so to speak. For example, in the second Typervention, the participants used flame of the forest (gulmohar in Hindi), bougainvillea, and laburnum blossoms to spell out 'Flame of the Forest' in one of Delhi's famous garden spaces, Lodhi Gardens in a bid to celebrate the bursts of color that summer blossoms provide during Delhi summers.

As a Muscat resident, it made me wonder as to where and how I would perform such a typervention in the city? What materials would I use? What would be an iconic location? I could only come up with sea-worn pebbles and shells spelling out Shatti al Qurum at the Shatti al Qurum beach. The more I think about it, the more I am compelled to consider the city location, the nature of its environment, and all that constituting that particular environment into question (ie what could be the source material for the typervention?). The mere process of visualising the intervention leads me to engage with the city that I have inhabited for so long in a fashion quite unlike any other, marking a departure from surface contemplation and admiration, even, of it.

How would you 'write' your city?

Pictures courtesy Kriti Monga and Kassia Karr

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