Few things are as difficult to define as the contemporary fringe. How to fix an identity on something that is in constant flux?
Faced with the problem of visualizing the edge, I focused on dynamic fixtures of identity, such as language. I found ciphers consistent with the often coded nature of contemporary art, which demands a particular literacy of the viewer in order to be understood.
Text set in this graphic language lends itself to infinite unique configurations of textures.
Seen here applied to Peter Cameron's Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You
“I wish the whole day were like breakfast, when people are still connected to their dreams, focused inward, and not yet ready to engage with the world around them. I realized this is how I am all day; for me, unlike other people, there doesn't come a moment after a cup of coffee or a shower or whatever when I suddenly feel alive and awake and connected to the world. If it were always breakfast, I would be fine.”
To stay true to the emphasis on process in contemporary art, I decided to treat the project as an exploration. I produced a series of studies with the intent of seeing how much can be done with a humble starting point.
I began by looking at the illusional potential of the edge, the way that it appears as a line at a distance—an assumption that is subverted by crossing the edge and discovering that the perceived line is in reality a plane attached to another plane, comprising a 3D unit.
Inspired this oscillation between flatness and dimensionality, I drew lines spanning from a two-dimensional square to represent every possible edge that might transform the shape to a dimensional object. I then set the letters CA (a basic representation of Contemporary Art) to the diagonal edge of the square.
All studies are derived from this basic structure: the simplistic letterforms and the shapes created where the lines dissect them.
Using this process of exploration, I created two variants of a coded visual language which could be applied to a variety of media.
The studies were gathered and presented in an interactive PDF that served to walk the viewer through the investigation.
Application of the language to a thank you card for MoMA's design studio