Here’s an interview with Chimmi (Tshering) Choden, Owner/Designer of CHIMMI House of Design on what influences her craft and how her work is interpreted in other countries…
For us this month is all about Colombia. Here’s an interview with the talented multimedia artist Tania Granada, Bogota:
What kind of Art do you make?
The visual art that I do is ‘diverse’ I’d say, mainly because I use different ways to create images; drawing, painting, photography, video and sound design sometimes are all part of the creation process of a piece. I make moving images in animation and video, but I also like the idea of making still images where you can feel some kind of motion.
What influences you?
Impressionists paintings might be an influence to me in the way figures are portrayed and also how light is depicted. Figures, in these paintings, I feel have a certain ‘blurriness’ that allows them to ‘breath’ and become alive; also, the light in this style of painting I think has to do a lot with the notion of time passing. In moving images lately I am strongly influenced by Wim Wenders’ films; the way he portraits landscapes and people is compelling to me, sometimes it’s like you’re staring at a living photograph.
Does politics influence your work, if so, how?
Yes… rather than with a specific political discourse, with a position as a human being and member of the society I live in. That translates into the work with certain longings, fears and conflicts. With the current political situation in my country, where resources exploitation is done irresponsibly, I feel the need to try to preserve nature as it is today, and that has made my work revolve over the theme of natural landscape in the last few months. The Colombian landscape is diverse and complex, its richness and difficult geography are at the centre of our political issues, such as the distribution of the property of land, displacement of villages and not sustainable ways of resource’s exploitation. In that sense, there is a political background to this subject; maybe my work is not ‘political’ per se, but my way of thinking around this subject is by making it something central, something alive and of importance.
The landscape became an interesting subject to me as I started noticing how important was its role in many Colombian movies at different times. In these movies, the landscape is almost a character; so present in the psyche of the ‘actual’ characters and influent in the development of the story.
What’s the process behind your work?
Experimentation has been very important to the process, if not the process itself. In this project, I make decisions as I go and I think and plan while I make, and that has worked so far. I’m making digital and analogue paintings (watercolour and oil pastel), once finished, I combine them in the computer in Photoshop and start to experiment with motion in Premiere. Later, I make the music/sound for the images, trying to give them more texture or depth.
Please explain the concepts behind your moving image piece (above) in more detail.
In this piece, I want to explore if it’s possible to tell a story through no dialogues or human characters, but only by moving images of landscapes. Animation allows me to see and show things differently, to exalt certain aspects and to give life to things that appear to be asleep; with this technique I believe I can explore how this entity can be seen not just as a setting but as a character, with its own timing and course of actions. Furthermore, it revolves around the question of, what is landscape without a human figure to which we can measure it?
We think more often in signs and symbols rather than in text but why is it that the emoji is the fastest growing language in the UK when we can express so much more with words?
Beautiful, handcrafted Egyptian Hieroglyphs from the Greek word “sacred carving” were influenced by the Sumerian script (8000 BC). They represent trade goods and livestock on clay tablets.
Whereas ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs are traced back to 3300 BC and communicate more complex concepts in science, astronomy and medicine. They were used only on monumental inscriptions and religious texts. Everyday documents like accounts, letters, and literary texts were written using pen and hieratic on papyrus.
Hieroglyphs on a temple wall, Karnak, Egypt
Jean-François Champollion deciphered hieroglyphs in 1822 when he published a breakthrough document with the decipherment of the Rosetta stone, 196 B.C.,which was found in 1799 by French soldiers.
Jean-François Champollion’s translations
It can now be found in Room 4 of the British Museum, or you can play with a 3d scan here. Anyway, it’s a stone written in Egyptian and Greek. Three scripts were used at the time it was written in Egypt–hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek. It written by Egyptian priests and it lists the things that the Pharaoh did to benefit Egyptian society.
Hieroglyphics can be divided into three categories: phonetic glyphs, logographs, and determinatives.
Phonetic glyphs are used to represent specific speech sounds. They work much like modern alphabets.
Logographs are used to represent whole words
The Bird. (Logograph).
Determinatives string a concept together. They bring a new meaning of a word and appear after the Phonograms. For example:
The Destruction of Ancient Egypt was established in 30 BC by the Roman Empire who introduced Latin.
Egyptian Hieroglyphs Vs Emojis.
“Emoji is the fastest growing form of language ever based on its incredible adoption rate and speed of evolution. As a visual language emoji has already far eclipsed hieroglyphics, its ancient Egyptian precursor, which took centuries to develop….”
–Professor Vyv Evans, Professor of Linguistics at Bangor University
According to a survey by TalkTalk, 72% of 18-25 year olds prefer to express their feelings through emojis rather than words.
Designer Joe Hale, has translated the stories of Alice in Wonderland, Pleasureland and Neverland into 2500+ character emoji lattice posters. He describes his work as ‘a venture in experimental writing’.
Every Friday BBC’s newsbeat post the news in emojis for its audience to decipher what the story is. Are we training our children to think in cartoons rather than in writing?
The New York subway system are now using emojis to inform passengers the status of subway lines.
Whilst in London
p.s. look what happens when you type in ‘smiling face’ into the Google search bar.
Whether you see it as a good thing or bad thing for human evolution, by 2018 84% of communication is predicted to be visual. Therefore, any (good quality) visual in fitting with your brand’s ethos is helpful in terms of ROI.
Twitter and Facebook looooooove video content and animated gifs are received by them in the same way. A branded Gif not only gets your message across but if all of your business sites are connected, it will drive traffic to your website.
What we love about Gifs is that we can tell any story with them and in a variety of media (paint/graphics/video). Storytelling can be very effective in a brand’s content strategy, as it builds a relationship with the audience in an authentic way and, once again, visual content and Gifs, in particular, can be a vital part of the story.
They can be playful and lighthearted or get a serious message across in just a few seconds. They have a lasting, memorable impression and can always be re-visited, revamped or re-appropriated to fit with a brand’s visual tone of voice and current trends so that your marketing is both engaging, on topic and consistent with your overall visual identity.
Throughout December, we’re offering you the chance to send a personalised and branded Christmas Gif in line with your branding. All we ask for is what kind of message you wish to convey and to supply us with your brand’s colour palettes, typography and logo. We will do this for you in under 24 hours and all for just £100. You will have the chance to sign off on the artwork and make up to three changes on the content.
We are equally pleased to come in and teach your team how to make your own Gifs, for the same one-off fee. All you need to prepare are a few images and know what message you want to communicate. Oh, and a version of Adobe Photoshop CC.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book in a Gif session.
Imagine a world without posters, adverts, screens, cameras and iphones. Imagine a place where meaningful relationships and community come first. Publishing your life through a lens is a surreal, abstract and incomprehensible idea. Welcome to Russia at the turn of the 20th century.
Industrialisation had positive and negatives effects on Russia. It created wealth, jobs, and the fast and cheap production of goods. In late 19th century the Tsar introduced policies that led to rapid industrial growth which encouraged peasants to leave their work on the land and go to work in new factories in cities such as St. Petersburg and Moscow. They left in order to try to improve their standards of living or to survive. However, it was a trap from the Tsar who made them work for more hours, with little pay (or sometimes none at all). They lived in filth, squalor, sickening food and diseases. This made them realise that it was no better than working on the land.
The ‘Russian Wedding Cake’ shows how society was formed before the 1917 revolution with the Tsars at the top.
In 1913 at a tumultuous time for the Russian elite Vladimir Tatlin, an architect, painter and sculptor planted the seeds of constructivism–an artistic and architectural philosophy which rejected the elitist idea that art is autonomous. They saw architecture, politics, society, art, technology and culture as unified and interconnected. A movement in favour of art as a practice for social purposes. Vladimir Tatlin wanted to bend art to modern purposes and to suit the goals of Russia’s communist revolution.
“In the squares and in the streets we are placing our work convinced that art must not remain a sanctuary for the idle, a consolation for the weary, and a justification for the lazy. Art should attend us everywhere that life flows and acts.”
The Russian Revolution
Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!
By 1917 the bond between the tsar and the majority of Russian people had been broken. Governmental corruption and inefficiency were rife.
Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks, who were deeply influenced by Marx, lead the October Revolution which dismantled the old system, that before this time had more power than constitutional monarchs. The revolution lead to the rise of the Soviet Union which did away with the old form of social hierarchy.
Unlike today where we have adverts everywhere, the streets of Moscow and St Petersburg were bleak from the industrial factory smoke, which also produced the ink that allowed artists such as El Lissitzky and Malevich to speak to the masses through a new visual language.
Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge. El Lizzitsky. Lithograph – Municipal Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
El Lizzitsky created this in support of the Red Army shortly after the Bolsheviks had waged their revolution in 1917. The intrusive red wedge symbolises the Bolsheviks, who are defeating their opponents, the White Movement (which included the republican-minded bourgeois liberals and the Kerenskyite social democrats). It has also been read that the anti-communist White Army symbolises America and the West.
The Red Army has pierced the defences of the White Army. These dramatic colours, shapes and unusual typographical compositions not only create confusion within the space of the painting but they contrast heavily with the bleak and dark outdoor environment; the avant-garde painting would even stand out even amongst the competition of our poster-clad environment today. This powerful visual message spoke to a mainly illiterate Russia. Here’s a video that we made in response to the poster.
Kasimir Malevich was a painter, art theoretician and originator of the Suprematist movement. Here are some of his abstract paintings; although they’re not articulating anything through realistic representations, they do communicate a new visual language and therefore concept.
Dreams were 3D too. In the same year Vladimir Tatlin created Monument to the Third International. A design for the Communist International headquarters, it was realised as a utopian model but never built. It crystallised his desire to bring about a synthesis of art and technology.
A few years later in 1929 Dziga Vertov created The Man with the Movie Camera which describes a new world through a lens through a chaotic and exciting montage with lots of cuts. It communicates a new way of seeing the world.
‘My way leads towards the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I explain in a new way, the world unknown to you’
Even though other countries developed the camera, its use in Russia helped constructivism to promote a communist ideology.
Women and the Soviet Union
The early Soviet state wanted to remake the family; the religious marriage was replaced by civil marriage, divorce was acceptable and unwed mothers received special protection. All children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, were given equal rights before the law and women were granted sexual equality under matrimonial law, according to the 1968 law “Principles of Legislation on Marriage and the Family of the USSR and the Union Republics”, parents are “to raise their children in the spirit of the Moral Code of the Builder of Communism, to attend to their physical development and their instruction in and preparation for socially useful activity.”
Alexander Rodchenko, “Give Way to Women,” 1932
Alexander Rodchenko. Women Fencers 1936
In the Soviet Union women were urged to vote and fight. Their strong faces seen against the background of the new environment in the following propaganda posters are realistic. Seeing these in stations, cafes, city walls and trains would have kept ideologies fresh in the mind of a society at all times, forming a collective consciousness. Like today’s advertising featuring people and products, it would have made it easy for society to identify with any of the given personas presented to them, reinforcing the message and building a new society.
Meanwhile in the West…