Getting ready for Booksfromthefuture Summer School
InterviewBy Thomas Dahm,
The first in this series Booksfromthefuture Summer School, a platform for experimental learning and publishing founded by Yvan Martinez and Joshua Trees. Booksfromthefuture is a ten-day summer school in London that will investigate relationships between style, graphic design and contemporary culture. School starts July 4th. Participants are invited to apply until midnight on the 1st of June 2016.
Why are you organizing Booksfromthefuture?
We started dreaming of an experimental school where students, graduates and practitioners get together to share knowledge, conduct practice-based research and make the results public. In 2012 we gave it a go, and five years later, Booksfromthefuture’s main objective continues to be learning through publishing.
Each summer we explore a different genre of publishing. So far there’ve been five: artist monograph, textbook, novel, documentary fiction and type specimen. This time we will explore performative publishing by way of a play. We are keen to test the book as a scripted space for performing ideas and information.
How did you create the theme / research questions for this edition? Why style?
Style is something that we study nonstop. Teaching at several colleges and blogging about book design has taught us that style is a gnarly subject with ever-changing issues to consider. We were also inspired by observant practitioners who have either expressed or implied important questions about style in recent texts, interviews and social media, such as Linda van Deursen, Stuart Bailey, Anther Kiley, Mr. Keedy, Pablo Leon de la Barra, Eric Hu, Kevin Yuen Kit Lo and Travis Stearns. Participants of the workshop will be asked to formulate and investigate their own research questions about style in relation to such.
Can you give a sense of what a typical summer school day is like?
The structure of the workshop is always custom-built to the project at hand. In past workshops, a typical day starts with a conversation prompted by a guest speaker, participant or text, followed by lab work (hands-on activities that blend thinking and making) supported by a range of feedback techniques. This year’s activities will revolve around the development of individual and collaborative methods of artistic research through prototyping and testing both physical and conceptual ways of performing content.
What do I have to do to get accepted?
During the selection process we will be looking for applicants who are interested in the relationship between style, graphic design and contemporary culture and who are keen to expand their ways of communicating, learning and working. Experience with designing at least one multi-page document is essential. We welcome students and graduates of any level of higher education (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate).
What do you want your students to take home after they participate in Booksfromthefuture Summer School?
The ultimate take away is the accelerated learning and confidence that happens when participating in constant peer dialogue and continuous production every day for two weeks. The experience is intensive and transformative, so we take great care in designing a programme that responds to the dynamics of the moment to ensure the necessary risk and rigour for advancing new methodologies and vocabularies.
What are you most proud of or excited about if you look at the 2016 program?
What excites us most is that Booksfromthefuture has resonated with graphic design communities and wider publics. We attribute this to the cultivation of a programme that produces publications with original content rather than just documenting processes that only matter to their participants.
What is the most memorable moment or unexpected surprise that can be linked to the summer school?
We could never have anticipated how much support and generosity of spirit we’ve gotten from our participants, collaborators and readers. Most recently our books have been part of Bookness: 14 Observations, International Design Congress, Design Week and the Graphic Design Educators Network.
Neon Moire is really curious about how students are going to deal with the questions about style and how they translate this in a new form of contemporary publication.
Must read articles about style as mentioned above by designers
- Linda van Deursen — Mevis & Van Deursen with Moritz Küng
- Stuart Bailey — Work in progress: Form as a way of thinking
- Mr. Keedy & Anther Kiley — The Global Style, Revisited
- Pablo Leon de la Barra — To be political it has to look nice
- Eric Hu — Hope I dont regret this tomorrow
- Kevin Yuen Kit Lo — The Propaganda of Pantone: Colour and Subcultural Sublimation
- Travis Stearns — Banquet blog