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Wednesday, 19 November 2014 23:05

Review: Type Motion at FACT Liverpool

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It has taken twelve years to get this exhibition up and running at FACT. Originally it started out as a lecture in Germany in the late 90's at Munich University and now it has evolved into an exhibition first shown, in a reduced capacity,  in Germany in 2000. There is also a 460 page book, only in German currently, with 900 illustrations where 20 experts contextualise the phenomemon and a 25 hour running time DVD Box set. 

It is a serious interactive archive project, continually expanding, of over 600 films from 20 countries and has over 120 years of film from 1895 to the digital present. It's German name is 'Schriftfilme'.

There is animation, video art, graphic design, commercial advertising, avant garde and more. It is about making the invisible visible and showing the importance of writing. The curators also want to get people offline and into galleries as an educational mission. There are also opportunities to get consumers to become producers with the interactive elements.

So far one and a half million pounds has been spent on copyright for these films. In Gallery One the entire area has been covered in mirrored walls..thick silver plastic held up with industrial glue. It doesn't have the seamless perfection of a Hollywood type blockbuster, it's a bit more like the Wizard of Oz where you can see into the workings like when you see the wizard. The mirrors give the impression of infinity, an open world bigger than your experience.

There are 7 big screens hanging in this darkened space and there's a bombardment of film and sound visible from the front and back of each suspended screen. Each film is on a 12 minute loop and all have text running through them. There's 'the peacock and the fish' a visually stunning animation where creatures are made of  constantly moving arabic lettering. Another screen looks like a Warhol pop art movie where there's a speeded up stream of black and white signs from New York City, occult symbols, car logos, war scenes, adverts and more. It's all so fast it looks almost subliminal.

In Gallery Two there is a machine called 'Leap Motion'. It is operated by a gesture interface where you move your hand in the air to navigate a virtual'll hear the blades whirring. It works best if you hold your hand about 8 inches above and very subtly tilt it left or right. If you aim for the KINO signs (that means cinema in German) in this virtual urban environment you will activate a film. I got an Alex Gopher music video and a film by H5 a French advertising company of an animated entire city made of logos 'Logorama'. A superbranded world from the early 2000's.

There is also an 'Archive Interface'  a beautiful piece which has a large surface like a coffee table operated by multi touch. This custom built software is simple to operate and visitors can get hands on with the archive and create playlists which will appear on 2 screens. You start by clicking on the type of film you want then choosing one from a muti coloured 'wheel'. It is also a research tool so you can compare and contrast different films at the same time.  There's also a small cinema in Gallery Two where playlists are running and changing all the time.

Throughout the exhibition are workshops and talks for if you want to experience more of these textual worlds. A particularly interesting workshop is the 'Urban Alphabets' where you create your own found alphabet using fonts from all over the city. Workshops are free but booking is essential. All details are on FACT's website. 

Tracey Dunn

Type Motion - 13 November - 8 February 2015


Read 1104 times Last modified on Thursday, 20 November 2014 08:28


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