CONFERENCE: Affective Graphic Design – Day 1 of 2

Live and Online

AFFECTIVE GRAPHIC DESIGN is an international conference centering on the dialogues between visual arts and graphic design. Organized by Kunstinstituut Melly in Rotterdam and co-presented with Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, the program includes two online events and four live programs and involves more than 20 speakers from The Netherlands and abroad. Whether live or online, all events will be held in English on CEST at Kunstinstituut Melly and will be live-streamed by this institution and its partner, Jan van Eyck. Here is the program for the first of two days of this international conference; please note that there is a 30-minute coffee break between each session.

2:00 – 3:00 PM

KEYNOTE: Circling Black Square: Discovery Against Invention
Online lecture by Irene V. Small

This talk attempts to think through three discoveries: the Russian artist Kazimir Malevich’s arrival at Black Square, the so-called “zero of the form” in 1915; the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark’s nomination and narration of a line of space in her 1954 painting Discovery of the Organic Line, which cites Black Square; and the 2015 revelation that the earlier painting contains an inscription, “Battle of Negroes…”, which suggests that aesthetic and racial ontologies of blackness were linked from the start. In constellating these events, I hope to suggest how the multi-temporal and real-time tenses of the contemporary might allow us to recover, discover, a paradigm of discovery against invention, thereby rearticulating the stakes of the modernist inheritance for the present.

3:30 – 4:30 PM

KEYNOTE: Designing an Era: Vicente Rojo’s Role in Mexican Culture
Online lecture by Cuauhtémoc Medina

During the mid-twentieth century, many of those active in the art field were likely to have found a common element in the identity of posters, book covers, and cultural supplements, and magazines they consumed. Most of these were likely to have been designed by the same hand, the painter, designer, and editor Vicente Rojo (1932-2021). A Catalan emigré that moved to Mexico in 1949 escaping from Franco's dictatorship in Spain, Vicente Rojo conceived graphic design as a form of cultural service. Few times in history has a single person been so influential in creating the visual culture of an era, as Rojo was for Mexican culture. This talk will examine Vicente Rojo's leading role as the provider of an aesthetic semblance for dominant Mexican modern culture, the distant dialogue between his painting and design, with particular emphasis in his artist books collaborations with writers such as Octavio Paz, José Emilio Pacheco, or José Miguel Ullán.

Cuauhtémoc Medina connects online from MUAC in Mexico City, Mexico. You can re-watch the keynote from anywhere here.

5 – 6 PM

PANEL: Synergy and Collaboration
IRL Panel Discussion

Moderated by Yin Yin Wong, this panel gathers a group of active visual artists and graphic designers to discuss synergy and collaboration while making artist books. Participants include Katja Mater, Elisabeth Klement, Aglaia Konrad, and Linda van Deursen (Mevis en van Deursen).

Re-watch the program from anywhere here.

6:30 – 7:30 PM

BOOKS: The Book Lovers
IRL conversation with Mark von Schlegell and The Book Lovers

In recent years, there has been a turn in the visual arts towards narrative literature. A growing interest in experimental forms of creative criticism is producing a hybrid textual space where theory and practice, fiction and research, merge. During a public conversation, The Book Lovers (David Maroto and Joanna Zielińska) and Mark von Schlegell will discuss issues related to the exhaustion of conventional models of critical art writing, and the possibilities opened by alternative writing practices, such as the curator’s novel and the introduction of devices usually ascribed to creative writing into art criticism.

This live program will be introduced by Vivian Ziherl. Re-watch the program from anywhere here.

8 – 9 PM

BOOKS: El Plastico, the Sun that lives inside the Rock
IRL book launch by Laumes, with light-fare and wine reception

Created by Laumes (Goda Budvytytė and Viktorija Rybakova), the book El Plástico, the Sun that lives inside the Rock is an observation on the evolution of material plasticity; it is a story about plastic whose native land is Mesoamerica. It explores the past, present, and future of plastic through encounters with various people — a weaver from Oaxaca, a taxi driver, a sociologist working on trash collection in Mexico City, and the owner of a small family-run plastic factory. The book contains a polymorphous project resulting from several years of research by artist Viktorija Rybakova and designer Goda Budvytytė. It includes a conversation between philosophers Kristupas Sabolius and Catherine Malabou, as well as essays by Post Brothers and Chris Fitzpatrick.

This book launch includes a presentation by Laumes, introduced by Jeroen Lavèn. Re-watch the program from anywhere here.


Bios of all PARTICIPANTS are included here, below, just click on their names for details.

Admission is free to all events of the AFFECTIVE GRAPHIC DESIGN conference, however, seating reservation and/or online registration is required. Attending a live program requires a valid corona admission certificate (a vaccination certificate, negative test certificate, or proof of recovery). For more information, please visit this website.

AFFECTIVE GRAPHIC DESIGN is organized by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy and Pilar Mata Dupont, and developed together with Yin Yin Wong. It is presented on the occasion of Kunstinstituut Melly’s website launch and new graphic identity designed by Emily Turner, Callum Dean, Yan Zhihan, Wooseok Jang, and Nina Schouten through a Collective Learning in Practice program by the institution in collaboration with Werkplaats Typografie Arnhem and Wkshps Berlin/New York.




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