What is Static? This was essentially our brief for the first studio project of 3rd year. At first I found the project quite daunting as there was no direction or restrictions at all on the project and, as long as we could relate it to static, had complete creative freedom. I started looking at the obvious, static objects, statues, and of course, static caravans. After a discussion with Liz in which I showed her some of my experiments I mentioned that I had been thinking of communism and how it is a static state of leadership for so many years. From this my project was born, I started looking at all of the different leaders of the US and Britain since North Korea became a Communist state, I produced some typographic and image based experiments using overlaying to create some intriguing visuals.
Further looking into the subject I realised that North Korea gave off a certain ‘static’ in the way that they are so isolated from the rest of the world and don’t let anybody know what they are doing. Taking this into visuals I started looking at blocking out information and ways of coding. I created a way of coding that took the ascent line of the typeface Eastern Bloc and extended it up to create a type of barcode, each word had its own different pattern and created strong links with the idea of blocking out information. This code was good for patterned visuals but I wanted to create some propaganda posters using the idea of codes and blocked information, to do this I used a different code that you could decipher with the use of the information. This became the main copy in my propaganda posters, I used existing quotes from Kim Jong-Il and designed a series of posters and banners around them. The central poster was an image of all the US presidents since North Korea became communist overlayed on top of each other, this created a very haunting image, accompanying the image was the quote “lets take revenge a thousand times on the US imperialist wolves’. The quote was in the code as to emphasis the privacy of the state. The central poster was flanked by two red banners, one containing the quote ‘ the US is the axis of all evil’ and the other listing all of the US presidents but so that it made it hard to real and created a falling image.
Looking further into the project I found out that some people were executed for passing out anti government propaganda in North Korea. This was such a strong piece of information that I felt needed to be incorporated in my design. I decided to create a publication containing information from the latest amnesty international report. All of the information inside was in the code however the page was split into two halves and so to get the right information then you had to match up the ascent line code on each of the halves. The whole process of having to figure out the information and work to get it was to reflect the amount of effort that it took for the information to be extracted from North Korea. The cover was an image of a korean man printed black on black, once again to emphasis the point of hidden information. There was also a belly band that went around the mans mouth and was joined into the cover so the only way to open the book was to rip it open. This was to create the idea of taking off his gag and all of the information that he is not allowed to share is there for all to see. The design style of the book is the same of that of the pro government propaganda posters as to try and fit in with it and be camouflaged as pro government propaganda and therefore allow ease of distribution among a culture where it would be prohibited.
I enjoyed working on this project and felt that I really pushed myself in terms of creative thinking. I wanted to steer away from any cliche ideas and create a body of work that looked at the word static in a completely different way. I feel that the subject matter allowed me to do this and I was very pleased with the final outcomes.