On the Thursday 2nd December the Type Scale exhibition will open at Camberwell Space. David Coventon invited me to submit a piece of work so I decided to make something new just for the show. This piece is going to unashamedly borrow a ideas from a couple of different sources, one of which unashamedly borrows from another source itself. My work is a series of words made by using the words Open and Closed in a grid, like so:
I took the idea of using these two words after reading about how Tom Phillips came to make his piece, C Loopseend.
The incident that led to him making this work took place in Camberwell, where he saw a broken Open/Closed sign. It’s nice to have a link to Camberwell, since that is where the show is located. I really like this strange sounding word, Cloopseend, so after I saw it I started playing around, trying to find out what words are hidden in it that give it its strange resonance. Two jump out straight away Loop and See, but there are lots in there, Oops, End, Seed, Send…
So I had already gotten as far as making all the permutations into a list when I found a similar thing by Rob Giampietro:
Perhaps I should have found this precedent off-putting, but the author rather kindly noted his source as well, the Emmet Williams poem Sweathearts, which uses the same operation, using one word to generate a series of other words. So, I am continuing with my version while acknowledging the influences. In my case I am using the combination of two shorter words, and each word is complete on its own line without following on on the next, but the principle is essentially the same.
This kind of game is taken to a further extreme by Anna Barham, but she tends to use anagrams rather than fixing the letters of the words in order, freezing only one part of each words as the rest of the letters go through cylces of word generation. For my purposes, the possibilities that come from Closed/Open are more than enough.
I toyed with the idea of drawing out the text by hand and screen printing it, but this seemed too awkward in practice. Making this kind of thing in letter press is not ideal either, as I want it to be quite big, and using so many repeated letters is not possible in each of the larger fonts available. I am changing this problem into another feature of the print by using any large wood grotesks available and letting the whole thing get a little bit random.