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Conference “A machine for communicating. Around the avant _garde Idea of new typography”

The conference accompanies the exhibition Changing the Field of View. Modern Printing and the Avant-garde
Concept behind the conference: Daniel Muzyczuk, Paulina Kurc-Maj
Conference participants: Jeremy Aynsley (GB), Elena Barkhatova (RUS), Richard Hollis (GB), Roxane Jubert(FR), Szymon Piotr Kubiak (PL), Paulina Kurc-Maj (PL), Agnieszka Rejniak-Majewska (PL), Piotr Rypson (PL), Beata Śniecikowska (PL), Jindřich Toman (CZ/USA), Nader Vossoughian (USA)

The subject of the conference is modern graphic design created in the circles of the inter-war avant-garde. In Poland, the reflection of modernizing design was most fully reflected in Władysław Strzemiński’s idea of functional print. In Germany, a similar project called New Typography was described most importantly by Jan Tschichold. Alongside him there were other artists who expressed interest in the field: László Moholy-Nagy and Kurt Schwitters. The radicalism of those ideas was also reflected outside the circles of the avant-garde and is today perceived as a turning point not only in the history of graphic design but also in the history of avant-garde art.

The idea of modernising graphic design proposed by the avant-garde was, on the one hand, an attempt to establish a universal language of visual communication based on image signs going beyond the level of textual communication. On the other hand, despite the consistency and the seemingly homogeneous character of the project, it was a Chance of creating a functional „machine for communication”. The idea was subject to individual and local influences revealing inspirations from geographically and ideologically distant centres. The concepts of New Typography and functional print were simultaneously suspended between popular and avant-garde culture.

The objective of the conference is an attempt to find answers to the questions about the sources of those phenomena and about the mechanisms that led to including them into avant-garde artistic activities and about the consequences of those activities.

The following are among the important topics to be discussed at the conference:
- the sources of avant-garde artists’ interest in graphic design;
- The context of the interests in reference to various fields of artistic expression (literature, architecture, etc.);
- modernising potential of new projects and their ideological causes;
- relationships between the widely understood idea of new typography and ‘vernacular’ graphic art”;
- ways of realising a project of modernising graphic design and visual communication in the light of different cultural traditions and in the context of giving it universal potential;
- morphology and consequences of new language of visual communication.
Friday, 10 October 2014
10.30 am Welcome. Introduction: Jarosław Suchan, Paulina Kurc-Maj i Daniel Muzyczuk
10.50 am Richard Hollis (London), Image and Idea: The European Avant-Garde 1890-1940
11.30 am Roxane Jubert (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris), Changing the Viewpoint – A Visual Turning Point
12.10 pm Beata Śniecikowska (The Institute of Literary Reasearch of the Polish Academy of Sciences), Visual Field = Sound Field? Avant-garde Sound Poetry in the Light of Visual Arts
12.50 pm Discussion
3.00 pm  Szymon Piotr Kubiak (National Museum in Szczecin), Walter Riezler and the Form Without Ornament
3.40 pm Agnieszka Rejniak-Majewska (University of Lodz), Education of Senses in Time of Technology – László Moholy-Nagy i György Kepes
4.20 pm Paulina Kurc-Maj (Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi), New Vision – Language of the New Typography in Interwar Poland
5.00 pm Discussion

Saturday, 11 October 2014
10.30 am  Piotr Rypson (National Museum in Warsaw), New Typography and Changes of the Visual Communication in Interwar Poland
11.10 am  Jindřich Toman (University of Michigan), New Typography outside Prague: Networks of Modernist Design in Interwar Czechoslovakia
11.50 am Elena Barkhatova (National Library of Russia in Sankt Petersburg), Photomontage in Polygraphy of Russian Constructivist Artists
12.30 pm Discussion
3.00 pm Jeremy Aynsley (University of Brighton), The New Typography as Commercial Sign
3.40 pm Nader Vossoughian (New York Institute of Technology), The Standardization of Standardization: Architecture, Typography, and “the Neufert”
4.20 pm Discussion

Bilingual Polish-English symposium (simultaneous translation).