Ramanathan was commissioned by Tara Books to design this work as a contemporary illustrated response to an English translation of German poet Christian Morgenstern’s text. The poem, written in 1905, is set in a world inhabited by punctuation marks where war is declared upon the semicolons. A story of conflict and oppression, it is an eerie foretelling of the violence that would follow in Europe over the next decades. Most English translations of Morgenstern’s work are out of print, available only in German and the poem remains mostly unknown to contemporary readers of English. There are no recent editions of Morgenstern's work and this typographically illustrated version is a unique interpretation of his work.
Drawing upon research into ‘type play’ as illustration in early twentieth-century graphics, Ramanathan’s book envisions the text as a modern, contemporary conflict with visual allusions to technology, machinery and war. The decision to illustrate the book typographically was a direct response to Morgenstern’s use of word as metaphor in describing acts of war and oppression.
While much ‘typography as illustration’ tends towards the playful, Ramanathan took a more serious approach to the subject matter.
Design development explored the challenges of employing typography as sign, mark and image. The illustration aims for a universal relevance where language, design and politics intersect through the deployment of a dual approach to translation; German to English and linguistic to typographic. The book is read in layers with recurring identifiable themes in which pages hint at landmark visual events, e.g. the typographic structure of the cover recalls the photograph of Hitler speaking to the masses against the backdrop of the Third Reich flag.
|Type of Research:||Art/Design Item|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design|
Colleges > Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
|Copyright Holders:||Tara Books, Rathna Ramanathan|
|Projects or Series:||Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)|
|Deposited By:||Dr Rathna Ramanathan|
|Deposited On:||28 Feb 2012 16:53|
|Last Modified:||01 Sep 2014 10:49|