“If surface is a kind of place, or site, the designer is its geographer. Surface is folded out in order to produce value, while it is folded in to secure it.” —Metahaven
For the 28th edition of the Insights Design Lecture Series, we’ve invited leading designers from around the world to bring their talents to the Twin Cities and leave something behind when they go. The Walker is currently in the process of reskinning itself, so we asked each designer to inhabit a different surface of the Walker, from the outside to the inside, the social to the digital. Geoff McFetridge, for example, is creating a large outdoor mural that will wrap the building site fence while we are under construction. Job Wouters will create a hand-lettered mural inside the building (and will perform a live hand-lettering demonstration during his lecture). Hort invades our virtual surface with an online intervention. And Luna Maurer of Moniker will investigate our social fabric with some experimental audience participation during her lecture. Look for documentation of these four projects soon, and in the meantime you can buy tickets here. And if you can’t make it to the Walker, you can watch the live webcast on the Walker Channel. Also, this year we are encouraging groups to host Insights viewing parties. See below for links to more information about the speakers.
LA-based designer Geoff McFetridge is a leading figure in the contemporary world of graphic culture, working fluidly between the realms of art and design and the printed page and the moving image. Featured in the film and exhibition Beautiful Losers, McFetridge’s clever and engaging art has graced nearly every kind of surface imaginable—from limited-edition Nike sneakers and his own line of silkscreened wallpapers to laser-etched illustrations on toast for a music video by OK Go. His work has been shown around the world in cities such as London, Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, and Amsterdam and he was featured in the Walker exhibition Graphic Design: Now in Production. His Insights lecture also celebrates the installation of a temporary site-specific mural he created for the Walker.
As one of Europe’s most fearless design studios, Berlin’s Hort has consistently bridged the gap between aggressively contemporary aesthetics and big name clients. From glitchy animated GIFs to elegant hand-drawn illustrations, Hort’s aesthetics run the gamut, displaying an unflinching dedication to formal and conceptual play. In fact, Hort translates as “after-school care club” in German, and this spirit inhabits the multidisciplinary studio which founder Eike König refers to as a “playground for creative people.” With an early focus on record sleeve design and illustration, Hort’s output has come to span all genres and includes work for clients such as Nike, Universal Music, the New York Times, Wallpaper, Volkswagon, IBM, and Playboy magazine. Hort was named Germany’s Visual Leader of 2011 by the Lead Academy. Recently, the studio was presented the unenviable task of rebranding the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, including the original signage on Gropius’ famous building. In addition to running Hort, König teaches graphic design and illustration at the HfG University of Arts, Offenbach, and travels the world conducting workshops and lectures. In conjunction with Insights, Hort will create a work specifically designed for the Walker website.
Job Wouters—better known as Letman—is a practitioner of the lost art of psychedelic and delirious penmanship, a letterer who’s precisely honed technique hides behind a world of unbridled alphabetic experimentation. Creating wildly unique work that nods to the past but transcends vernacular nostalgia, Wouters operates between illustration, graffiti, painting, and graphic design. The Amsterdam-based designer has worked for clients such as the New York Times Magazine, Audi, Tommy Hilfiger, Heineken, and Duvel, creating editorial illustrations, fabric prints, posters, typefaces, site-specific murals, and even body-paint designs. He is the recipient of numerous design awards and his first monograph was released by Gestalten publishing in 2012. He was recently commissioned by the Walker to create a mural. Wouters will perform his hand-lettering technique live during the Insights lecture.
According to the “Conditional Design” manifesto, Luna Maurer is interested in logic-based design as a tool to understand the ungraspable. Her work with interactive media bridges the divide between digital and analogue systems, often relying on deceptively simple rules to create complex organic artworks. Maurer is especially known for her participatory experiments in which she designs a process that requires the participants to implement—often in humble materials such as tape, markers, and sticky notes—algorithmic explorations of group thought that expose the process of making. Her work explores the relationship between people and technology, and she has created a breadth of projects—from an exhibition of 400,000 photos of the Amsterdam sky to a website designed in Microsoft Excel. Based in Amsterdam, her three-person studio Moniker balances applied commercial projects with self-initiated experiments. She is a visiting critic at Yale University School of Art and teaches interaction design at the Gerrit Reitveld Academy in Amsterdam. Maurer will present a “social experiment” with the lecture audience, unique to Insights 2013.
And you can always watch previous Insights lectures from designers such as James Goggin, Irma Boom, Project Projects, Experimental Jetset and more here.