Report by the POST team
Beckmans College of Design
As people arrive for the opening event of the Post Design Tangle, the first year Visual Communication students of Beckmans College of Design are busy hanging posters in the huge windows above the entrance of the school. In the narrow Brahegatan in central Stockholm giant letters spelling “ANNONSBLOCKERARE”, filling out the street like a highway billboard trying to sell us something we probably don’t need. But what is the message this time? Ambiguously, the word means “Ad blocker” in Swedish and is the result of a two-day student workshop facilitated by Slovenian designer, Nejc Prah.
Inside the school auditorium in Stockholm, seats are filling up fast. Before introducing the speaker of the evening, Nejc Prah, the POST team gives a little background to why and how the Post Design Festival, normally based in Copenhagen, is suddenly in Sweden.
The “Entangled Practice” event in March in Stockholm marks the beginning of the Post Design Tangle. It is also the culmination of over two years of planning that began in late 2019. Following a very successful four-day event in 2019, the voluntary festival team wanted to extend the reach of the festival without growing in size, while also partnering with various organizations to share the workload. The result: a never-before tried collaborative format they call the Post Design Tangle.
“The Tangle was the most ambitious project we could imagine — a festival that spans two years, four locations, and an online hub, tying together communities across the Nordics, and the digital world. Over the course of four events in four different countries, we’ll dive deep into the theme of “entanglement,” exploring the intersections, interconnections, and invisible strings that give shape to our visual and political surroundings,” says Amanda Li Kollberg of POST, in her opening remarks.
“The first event, or ‘chapter’, takes place in Stockholm and has the theme “Practice”. In the following chapters, the Tangle will explore “Self” in Oslo, “Community” in Copenhagen, and lastly, “Power” in Helsinki.”
On the theme of the first chapter, Siri Lee Lindskrog of POST adds:
“The workshop was actually a really great example of why we chose the theme of “Practice” for this festival. Nejc asked students to design a typeface in two days, using anything they found in their pockets as the base. So some students have created typefaces out of wire, banana peel, keys, a single thread, tobacco. It was an interesting brief, because making a typeface can feel really daunting. And the workshop, for us, shows that the practice of type design, which is often perceived as really lengthy and rule driven, can also be spontaneous, quick and dirty. This yields really interesting and expressive results and can be another method for designers to create their own toolbox and visual system.”
Read Madeleine Morley’s report from the workshop.
Later that evening, in his engaging presentation “Hotel Birokrat” (named after a seemingly uninspiring business hotel on the outskirts of Ljubljana), Nejc elaborates on how inspiration can spring from literally anywhere. Nejc shows us the importance of being willing to unlearn; to think in new ways that extend beyond our own traditions, preconceptions and biases. In the subsequent discussion, a conversation is started about so-called vernacular versus professional design culture and how the two influence each other. Check yourself in to Hotel Birokrat.
Saturday afternoon begins with a playful talk by Berlin-based type designer Elias Hanzer about his experimental approach to design and how he works with type as a generative tool to form an infinity of shapes. It is very inspirational to learn how he moves away from fixed design results, and makes room for more open-endedness in design.
The second speaker of the day is Swedish artist Matilda Tjäder. On stage, Matilda takes us deep into her imaginary worlds through sound, performance, and moving images. In her work, Matilda develops experimental environments where the familiar interfaces with the unknown, the individual with the collective, politics with fiction, and memories with the absence of sentience. Get lost in the stories she weaves.
Closing the first chapter of the Post Design Tangle is Yehwan Song, a coder and designer who comes to digital technology with a sharp, critical eye, and investigates the many knotted ways tech shapes our creative practices. It is particularly fascinating how she turns her attention to ideas of supposed neutrality and standardization, and considers how to transgress the static and templated web. Based in Seoul, Yehwan pursues multiplicity over consistency, and challenges the notion of user-friendliness and efficiency online. Dive in!
“Although the festival tries to grasp big and abstract ideas, facilitate difficult discussions, and present mind-blowing visual expressions from the fringes of technology, POST has always been about the physical meeting between people”, says Peter Folkmar of POST, and continues: “We created POST to get designers, illustrators and artists away from our screens and to interact in real life. The setup is simple: get a group of clever people into a room together and let them stay there for days, sharing experiences and discussing urgent matters”
Luckily, post-Covid, that concept still seems to be working. In Stockholm, Brahegatan 10 is teeming with conversations between the participants for the length of the first chapter. With the invaluable help from Beckmans own Jonas Johansson, POST is able to extend these conversations to a live virtual audience outside of Stockholm, moderated by Madeleine Morley and Johannes Bay of the POST team.
At the end of the evening, we leave the auditorium and move up through the building to the after party. Guided by music too loud to talk over, we find ourselves faced again with the word ANNONSBLOCKERARE, this time mirrored, looking through the letters and down onto the street, where passersby try to make out the message.
With talks and interviews now available online, POST hopes that the insights and experiences from the first chapter will build a bridge from chapter to chapter going forward. The event in Stockholm provided a lot of learning for the POST team, but also much energy and anticipation for the next chapter – which takes place in Oslo, September 23-24 2022. See you there!Back to grid