Throughout its history the formal evolution of written language has been driven by the technology used to render that language, from cuneiform to stone-carved roman capitals, and up to letterpress and pixels. In the last century, this phenomenon has accelerated rapidly with typography adapting to new display possibilities, such as segmented LED displays in early electronics to more contemporary storage and rendering standards such as postscript. The locality of these innovations have been primarily situated in the west where the Latin typographic script is the predominant form of written language. The opportunities presented by these technologies generated significant pressure for alternative scripts, such as written Arabic, to conform to the formal constraints of these Latin-based technologies, which in some cases have undermined the traditional formal structures of the scripts. In this 10-week class, we will begin with an introduction to typography, before exploring the relationship between technology and language by inverting the inherited constraints of western-centric technologies, and re-examining the evolutionary paths non-Latin scripts, like Arabic, could have taken to create new structures and machines that center these languages. We will imagine new forms and artifacts by speculating on alternative typographic histories, and adapting the technology to the language, giving space for the diverse and rich forms of these connected scripts to emerge. At the end of the session, we will have a collection of work that presents alternate frameworks to interact and re-interpret technological structures as moldable systems, and a collective archive of historic typographic technologies of alternative scripts.
The class is structured around lectures, in-class exercises, and shared collective research, and one main project for the last 4-5 weeks of class, after the end of the course, we will compile the research and final project outcomes into a zine.
We expect participants to come in with a curiosity and an interest to engage with the subjects discussed and explored in class, to participate in class discussions, and contribute positively to the classroom culture.
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Hind Al Saad is a computational artist and teacher, based in Doha. She is interested in creating emergent graphical forms, both physical and digital, using procedural and analog systems, and exploring the endless ways finite rules can create infinite results.
she/her · website · twitter · instagram
Born in a cabin without electricity in the remote mountains of northern California, Levi Hammett developed a deep interest in geographic space together with the concept and process of location. Raised in a blue collar family he worked as a sign painter and carpenter before pursuing a formal education in design focusing on coding and automation. This background developed into a creative practice that uses computational processes to inform the creation of handmade design objects rooted in traditions of craft. The resulting products use ambiguity and open interpretation to critically engage users with unconventional views of spatial-cultural phenomena. His design work includes a series of hand-made Islamic carpets that explore the urban culture of the Arabian Peninsula, a kinetic installation using 40 printers suspended from the ceiling outputting procedurally generated visual content, and an interactive audio/visual installation for the World War II Normandy Visitors Center in France. His work has been acquired by a number of individuals and institutions, published in print and online collections, distributed as digital applications, and exhibited in Asia, Europe, the Middle-East, South America, and the United States. Levi Hammett received his MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006.
he/him · website · instagram
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