Andreja Brulc's Blog

World Book Day 2012

Posted in Books, Craft, Projects by andrejabrulc on 01/03/2012

Today is World Book Day in the UK. I contributed a postcard to the Random Project to mark this occasion. The words related to the theme were: Words, Dream, World, and Imagine. The postcard below is a response to the Words.

The hand-made letters were initially created for a public art installation – France Prešeren’s New Outfit – dressing the Slovene Romantic poet in a huge cloak, whose monument stands in the main square of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The project was created for the Festival Fabula 2010, run by a literary book publisher Študentska založba, as the central event of Ljubljana’s time as UNESCO World Book Capital 2010. I have created over 200 book covers for the publisher since 2007, hence my naughty play on the usual phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

World Book Day – also known as World Book and Copyright Day, or International Day of the Book – is an annual event organised by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. It is a celebration of authors, illustrators, and books. According to the UK World Book Day, the main aim of today in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children of all ages to come together to explore the pleasure of books and reading by providing them with a £1 token against the purchase of a book from the list. The organisation will send these tokens to schools that participate in the World Book Day.

According to Wikimedia, the World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995. The connection between this date and books was first made in 1923 by Spanish booksellers, at the initiative of the Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés, to honour the death of the author Miguel de Cervantes in the Catalonian festival of St George. In Catalonia, St George’s Day (Diada de Sant Jordi), the Saint Patron of this historical region, has been commemorated since 1436, and it involves the exchange of gifts between loved ones and respected people. St George’s Day in Catalonia is celebrated with giving loved ones Books and Roses, and is an opportunity for Catalans to honour their patron saint and show their love of culture.

In 1995 UNESCO decided that the World Book Day would be celebrated on that day, as, an addition to the anniversary of the death of Cervantes, the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, as well as, of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pia, and the birth of Maurice Druon, Vladimir Nabokov, Manuel Mejíla Vallejo, and Halldór Laxness.

The date for the World Book Day, however, differs from country to country. In the UK and the Republic of Ireland is held annually on the first Thursday in March as the established international 23 April would clash with Easter school holidays and as the 23 April is also the National Saint’s day of England, St George’s Day.

The World Book Day is not funded by the British government. The funding for activities mainly comes from the major sponsor, National Book Tokens, and the UK book trade (publishers and booksellers).

Random Project 2012: Happy Anniversary Queen Liz

Posted in Projects by andrejabrulc on 06/02/2012

It’s 60 years today since The Queen ascended to the throne and the Random Project created some postcards to commemorate this event – the words picked were “Queen”, “Jubilee” and “Diamond” (the postcard below is a response to the word “Queen”).

The Random Project shows a growing collection of postcards. The postcards were originally first shown in an exhibition of typographically led work held as part of the London Design Festival in 2006. The exhibition showed experimental projects based on randomly selected words from Time Out. My word in the Random show, beautiful, is pivotal in the novel A Day in Spring (1953) by Slovene writer Ciril Kosmač (1910-1980). The author, who spent many years in exile, suffuses his prose with nostalgia and a sense of longing for his native landscape. The postcard Drink from the original show was then further exhibited as part of the Great British Design? conference at St Bride’s Library in London (2007).

A large number of creatives worldwide have since contributed their postcards to the project including Alan Kitching, Alan Rickman, Ed Fella and Stefan Sagmeister to name but a few.

The 2012 Project celebrates the spirit of London during the year in which the city is hosting the Olympic Games 2012. Each postcard is thus designed in response to a randomly picked word relating to either 2012, London or the Olympics.

The project is open to everyone of all ages, creatives or non-creatives. If you are interested in joining in and create a postcard, please click here to find out how to participate.

Have fun!

Typographic Project: Random Project / London Design Festival 2006

Posted in Projects by andrejabrulc on 17/04/2009

As one of the twelve original members of the Random project, I created this project entitled Beautiful, a five-piece work exhibited in a pioneering and revolutionary experimental typography show as part of London Design Festival 2006. An international collective of designers and artists (who had all studied the Experimental Typography course at LCC led by Sarah Hyndman, the Creative Director of With Relish) were gathered to produce site-specific typography-led work created in response to random words. While many of the original participants, British and other nationalities, were then based in London, others lived Brazil and India, giving an international perspective to this collaborative show.

Each participant of the collective picked a number between 1 and 100, which corresponded to an unseen word cut out of an issue of Time Out, a weekly London magazine of cultural events. This randomly selected word then became the basis for our self-initiated project. Why Time Out? Because it’s a magazine that reflects London – from the everyday reality of living and travelling in the city to the eclectic and cultural flotsam it offers. This emanates through every level of the publication; if individual words are taken out of context, they still combine to form a lexicon that is peculiarly representative of London. The choice for the text used in this piece, referring to the word ‘beautiful’, was intentional, and though living in London as my own choice of preference, it reflects how I felt at the time after 15 years of emigration. It is taken from the novel A Day in Spring (1953) written by the Slovene writer Ciril Kosmač. The story is set in the author’s native landscape along the Idrijca River. The author, who spent many years living in exile before WWII (including some time in London, as that part of Slovenia was then under Mussolini’s occupation), suffuses his prose with nostalgia and a sense of longing for his native environment.

The project, therefore, explores the word ‘beautiful’ in the context of the experience of one’s native landscape. This was drawn on my regular visits back to my native Slovenia and my subsequent understanding of the vital role that such environments play in creating a sense of belonging. This sense of regional identity is both reflected in and reinforced through the writings about the region – the author symbolically refers to broader cultural phenomena of Slovenia as a nation, who, through centuries of foreign rule, have always identified themselves through a romantic vision of their own native landscape, nature and its symbols. This concept is still alive as it is explicitly seen as a political symbol in the national flag. For whatever reasons our lives might be disrupted at some point in our globalised world, migration can always be a traumatic personal experience. No matter how the other place may be a temporary relief to us, there is always a close tension between the native and the adapted worlds. The fragmentation of one’s identity and the displacement are contrasted with the sense of belonging, as the feeling of longing for something lost is relieved through the symbolic reconnection with the nature of one’s native place.

The tension between beauty (nature) and the feeling of displacement due to personal choice is reflected in the use of methods, techniques and materials in this piece. The text is fragmented into five separate pieces, where some, on the one hand, have a perfectly flat surface and rendered forms, while others, on the other hand, have paint, spray and ink added in irregular ways to form uneven or even disrupted surfaces and textures. At a distance, the letters in black acrylic look perfect in form, but on close examination, they look rather exposed to decay and the passage of time due to irregular bubbling (acrylic was applied by a brush through a template in various quantitates to achieve this effect). The use of silver acrylic and spray as well as that of a silver foil is because the river was once exploited for silver production. The interplay of natural forms, narration and emotion, therefore, form the basis for the typographical journey represented in the final piece.

In addition to the main project, the show also featured a postcard project on the same principle, but it was open to everybody who wanted to join in the making of the show. My postcard Drink from the original show was then further exhibited as part of the Great British Design? conference at St Bride’s Library in London (2007). A large number of people worldwide have since contributed their postcards to the project, including Alan Kitching, Alan Rickman, Ed Fella and Stefan Sagmeister to name but a few. The Random Project has had a revival this year, and celebrates the spirit of London during the year in which the city is hosting the Olympic Games 2012.

For more photos, see Flickr.

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