In Early 2016 Dawn Hancock of the Chicago-based Design studio Firebelly Design and Ed Marszewski of Chicago's Public Media Institute accepted (much to their disappointment) Dgenerator's proposal to curate an exhibit within their seventh edition of their annual Typeforce exhibit that intends to showcase and celebrate the work of “Typographic All-stars.”
Dgenerator invited the following designers to participate in Typefarce 1:
Dgenerator invited participants to respond to the following prompt:
Dear Friend, Dgenerator is inviting you to be a part of TYPEFARCE 1. We think you have right combination of wit and skill to make something great. Dgenerator is Curating Typefarce 1 — an exhibition within Typeforce 7 Typeforce was conceived as a way to bring the Chicago design community together to celebrate design. Now at its 7th annual iteration, Typeforce has become an institution in itself. Famous within both the Chicago design community and the national typographic landscape, Typeforce continues to broaden our understanding of the intersections of art, design, and language. With success, patterns emerge. Typeforce can be seen to exemplify many typical characteristics of design shows within an art gallery context — such as the tension between seeing, being seen, and actually engaging with the work on display, as well as the micro-celebrity culture produced as a byproduct. Typefarce is not intended as a mean-spirited mockery of one of the Chicago design community’s established traditions. Further, Typefarce does not necessarily break with any of these conventions. Instead, this exhibition-within-an-exhibition aims to be a point of self-reflexive humor, acting as an iconoclastic funhouse mirror, reflecting the conundrums of designers poised at the intersection of laborer, messenger, and content creator. Typefarce playfully invites its audience to consider the titillatingly taboo typographic subject matter at the boundaries of contemporary design practice, pushing past disciplinary concerns and career horizons. It asks: What do we gain and lose — as designers, writers, as artists — in exchange for pursuing our work? Here’s why — and how — we want you to participate Dgenerator does not have any specific image of what the objects in Typefarce should look like, but we do have a set of prompts: What, if anything, about the production of celebrity, cults of personality, and personal branding in design communities makes you uncomfortable? What might be questioned about the inherited tradition of typography, particularly the “right” approaches provided for by International Typographic (Swiss) Style, the Bauhaus, etc.? Creative parties are great! But at what point, if at all, do they cover over political tensions and harmonize the status-quo? What about the relation of autonomous art/craft produced in one’s free-time is in contradiction to, or unconsciously in support of, professional reputation, and employability? How far can the notion of “typography” be pushed before it becomes unrecognizable? Feel free to consider any, all, or none of these. Technical Specifications We do have a specific size limit due to the finite nature of our space. Please create a piece no larger than 18” x 24” and which projects no more than 2” away from the surface of the wall. Feel free to use as much or as little of this space as you wish. Typefarce will be installed in the trapezoidal “infinity room” at the back of the Co Prosperity Sphere Gallery. The wall of speakers are non-functional, and will most-likely be hidden during the exhibition (unless your project has a brilliant way to make use of them). Meta Specifications As an extension of your piece, please submit an ID photo and pseudonym to be displayed alongside your work. Please consider the above prompts when choosing these elements. Notes on Authorship We plan on prominently featuring these anti-identificatory designators as part of the show’s framing. We feel that this move, to playfully counter the normal pattern of name/image recognition is important. But we welcome conversations or questions about the ethics of giving credit for group participation vs subsuming participants identities in a crowdsourced platform. [Yes, in the initial promotional blasts, Jess, Alex, and Ben were mentioned by name. But we have every intention of only being Identified as “Dgenerator” in all our printed materials, and in all official Typeforce materials going forward as much as we can control.] We are open to displaying a small list of real names somewhere visible but out of the lime-light. Notes on Costs and Payment Dgenerator cannot compensate you for your submissions, but we are willing to assist with printing costs up to $30. Typeforce allows work displayed to be sold. They take a 40% commission. If you wish to sell your work, you are more than welcome. Dgenerator will not take a cut. We do encourage you to consider alternative prices for your work, such as 5 cans of sardines or 50 sets of jumping jacks, filmed and posted to youtube, etc. — Remember, Typeforce should be supplied with 40% of the bounty.
Some people got a kick out of the show, but mostly nobody talked about it.
Here's a page from the gallery guide: