The Quick Fox & The Lazy Dog
For this project we dived into BALTIC’s archive to unbox printed ephemera revealing the origins of the BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art's original branding. We selected material to remix and represent, using a set of 10 specially-written creative games as a framework. The outcomes from the project were presented as a poster installation in BALTIC library and also as a newspaper.
This newsletter compiles a selection of creative responses to these games made by students from University of Sunderland’s Foundation Art & Design programme and also students from MA(RCA)/MSc Innovation Design Engineering, The Royal College of Art/Imperial College London: Georgie Donkin, Raegan Robson, Libby Afsahi, Alise Aldersone, Maddy Bays, Laura Clark, Josh Crulley, Kimia Daneshi, Frances Fletcher, Shannon Millen, Chloe Nesbitt, Jing Liau, Ori Blich, Chris Chen, Nirmal Thomas, Grace Louise Duan, Linxi Cao, Barna Soma Biro, Selene Sarı, Hunaid Nagaria, Chloe So, Bingqin Yang, Priyanshu Mukhopadhyay, William Eliot, Elizabeth Lee, Fergus Laidlaw, Jasper Mallinson, Valeria Martinelli, Tunmise Otegbayo, Orestis Neokleous, Irene jia, Sebastian Tam, Sachin Mehra, Lyla Xing, Daniel Hale, Chris Chen, James Williams, Bingqin Yang, Elizabeth Lee, Felix Chen, Hunaid Nagaria, Summer Chen, Linxi Cao, Otegbaayo Tunmise David, Juan Ignacio Rion, Rui Ma, Selene Sari, Eden Harrison, William Eliot, Lyla Xing, Benjamin Williams, Zihao Guo, Mona Daud, Yanan Guo. Additional contributions were added by Alexandra Hughes, Matthew Stalker, Christo Wallers, Arlo Fleming, Oscar Fleming and Ilana Mitchell.
Foundation Press would like to thank all the participants who contributed creative work to this project. We are also grateful for the support of Sarah Bouttell, Henrik Nygren & Greger Ulf Nilson. Commissioned by BALTIC.
1. B is for BALTIC: Using collage or marker pen; design an alternative B which would propose a different feeling identity for BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Plan this letter first and then finalise it at scale, within the A3 page template provided. Discuss how the letter feels before adding this letter to our archive of expressive B’s.
2. Feel 400% Better: Cut together images taken from the BALTIC newsletters. You can only include these images in your design once they have been enlarged 400% on the photocopier (the maximum magnification available on most copiers). Naturally this will move you into more abstract and textural territories; what new landscapes can you create from these fragments of an archive?
3. Capital City: Build a simple architectural structure, using collage, placed within an A3 page. You may use a maximum of 3x printed copies of 1x letter from the BALTIC Affisch typeface only. Your structure might be very sturdy or prone to collapse.
4. Finally the recognition you deserve: Using existing BALTIC brand templates visualise the invite for a big solo show of your artwork held on Level 5. Add your name (or chosen pseudonymn) in 112pt BALTIC Affisch at the top and the name for your exhibition underneath in 18pt Akzidenz Grotesk. Use cut-up or collage if struggling to create an original title. Select an image or colour background for your invite.
5. HALL0 H&G: Early BALTIC branding, including the typeface BALTIC Affisch, was designed by Art directors Henrik Nygren and Greger Ulf Nilson, in dialogue with BALTIC’s founding director Sune Nordgren. Preserved within the BALTIC Print Archive are a series of typewriter-written notes, from Nygren and Ulf Nilson, critiquing the institution’s initial print ephemera. Using social media or email get in touch with the designers and interview them about this particular commission.
6. White Cubes: In Brian O’Doherty’s art school classic Inside the White Cube, the writer notes, ‘We have reached a point now where we see not the art but the space first.’ The BALTIC Newsletters (which totalled 16 broadsheet-sized issues, running from 1998 until the opening of the building in 2002) used print as a temporary gallery space; filling the pages with artist’s work alongside discussion of what BALTIC could/should/would be. Select images extracted from the newsletter series, place one (or more) image on top of another image. Create exhibitions of collaged images.
7. Taxonomicals: Pick a page from any BALTIC Newsletter and photocopy it. Cut up all the words from the photocopied page and categorise them. How would you like to categorise them? Grammatically, by nouns, adjectives? By feeling; positive, emphatic, boring? Display your categorised words on an A3 page in a manner of your choosing. If you so desire, read them aloud as a piece of performance poetry.
8. Sliding Doors: Imagine BALTIC had been put somewhere else entirely. Imagine that a different line of thought and conversation at the time of BALTIC’s conception meant that the Baltic Flour Mill was not the location of the Contemporary Art gallery. Using copies of images of the gallery within the newsletters can you draw on top what else might be here now? Has nature taken over? Is it something else entirely? Draw these parallel universes.
9. Forbidden Fruit: The guidelines for how to use BALTIC’s logo state, ‘Distortion of the logo either horizontally or vertically is forbidden.’ In Bruno Munari’s Design as Art (1966), he explores, ‘exercises in altering and deforming a well-known brand name until it reaches the limits of legibility’. Following Munari’s inspiration, distort BALTIC’s logo horizontally, vertically or in anyway you can imagine, to see when it reaches its limits of legibility.
10. Our Truisms: In October 2000, a number of Jenny Holzer’s Truisms were projected onto landmarks along the quayside of NewcastleGateshead as part of the exhibition B.HOLZER. Offering starting points for debate rather than expressions of the artist’s own beliefs, the Truisms presented included LACK OF CHARISMA CAN BE FATAL and YOUR ACTIONS ARE POINTLESS IF NO ONE NOTICES. Holzer’s art was further distributed via a number of beer coasters, which could be found mopping up spilt drinks in the city’s pubs and bars. Can you attempt to write your own truisms for 2022? Short provocations which might resonate with the wider world today. Broadcast a selection of these Truisms publicly; ideally by printing the best of these text artworks on beer coasters and placing them in a local pub or cafe.