“Bizarre, yet quite common and familiar to all of us, is the relief we feel, and the sudden influx of energy, and courage, when after a long time of uneasiness, anxiety, dark premonitions, days full of apprehension and sleepless nights, we finally confront the real danger: a menace we can see and touch” Zigmunt Bauman, Liquid Fear
For our third prompt we had to choose a reading and then interpret it as something that embodies the ideas behind the text. I started looking for something that generates interest in me. Although the readings that we have done throughout the term, in the design research and contemporary dialogues classes, has brought me a lot of interest, and actually they became the starting point of many reflections, I wanted to took a different route for this project. I wanted to do both a review of an academic-formal reading, but also a very personal exploration. That’s why I chose a book named Liquid Fear written by Zigmunt Bauman, a sociologist and philosopher that broadly explores the live in modern and post-modern societies. In one of his most famous books: Liquid modernity he describes the modern society (and probably more the pos-modernity) as an age of constant change. This is reflected in vast range of aspects including relationships, identities, economies, mobilities, entertainment, etc. This also touches topics as fears, which he explores deeply in a subsequence book: Liquid Fear.
This book opens with a statement, which became the basis of my prompt, that says that the “fear is at is fearsome when it is diffuse”. This unshaped form is the essence of the uncertainty, a feeling where we don’t know what to do or how to face the thread. I initially worked with this idea, the aim of the project was to “shape” in some way your own fears so these were more “physical” and less blurry. The more shaped the less terrifying. This could be understood as an strategy to manage those fears: if we know what they are, we probably know what to do, and if not at least we know where to explore.
When I started this project, I was trying to define what material I was going to select. This process also came with a reflection of what can be consider as a material. I began working with some pictures I was taking of some common materials: earth, wood, concrete, etc. I connected these pictures with some typographic exploration, in a way I was trying to translate the notion of materials, to the written language. After this first approach, I talked with Cameron, and he suggested me to keep working on the typographic exploration. I also realized that simplifying the work could be a good way to get deeper and more freely in the exploration. After all I needed to keep this as a daily practice, so I stopped taking photos and centered my attention to the letters.
I soon discovered that the graphic expression of the language had become the material of my project. I did this as a daily practice. Every day I took a word and play with the letters, with its details, its expression. I detached the world to its rigid structure to use the material in a different way. This, I thought, could evidence the material in a purer form. I also took some of the ideas around the Concrete Poetry. In particular, it brought me curiosity the definition that Jasia Reichardt wrote about concrete poetry: “language is used as a material more than as a means of personal emotive expression”.
However, my exploration became personal and emotive. I was not trying to suppress all the meaning of a world, I was trying to observe it in a different way, more playful. How far could I go separating the word from its original form but no so far that it just transformed in an abstract graphic? I was thinking that playing around with the shapes and the details that builds our drawing language.
The exploration also took another route more related to the process itself. I noticed that this daily practice was intended to be a meditative exercise, that’s why the way I approach to the process of making those exploration was also meaningful. I realized that repletion was a great mechanism to achieve this, so I keep using it as a guideline. After I realized this rhythm, I began to call them mantras. Probably this word put so much sense of what I was doing.