An Underscore collaboration with Typographer Gemma O’Brien for ‘Stereotyped’ exhibition at The Object Gallery 2010.
ABOUT THE COLLABORATION
The collaboration between Gemma and Jared centred around finding the points of intersections between typography, sound, rhythm and pattern in their context of their respective practices. They pursued an interest in the way that a designer or musician can take the core elements -letterforms or raw sound bites- and manipulate these to create a visual or auditory composition. The basic uppercase alphabet was drawn by Gemma (with a variety of mark-making devices on diverse surfaces) and recorded in Jared’s studio. The fundamental strokes of each letter created the basis of the sound which was then edited, processed and arranged into a musical piece. The techniques of manipulation used by Jared became the basis for visual manipulation, exaggeration and flourish of the letterforms as they were then re-drawn by Gemma. The final composition and letterforms emerge from an interest in taking the basic look and sound of the Latin alphabet and exploring the parallels in our distinct forms of creative manipulation.
Jared edited and chopped up audio clips of different letters, auditioning and choosing the most interesting and rhythmic sounds. From an hour’s worth of sound recording the selection was then limited to S,T,E,R,O,Y,P, and D. He edited the audio clips in a way that created a rhythmic theme or groove, without the addition of instrumental or melodic elements. The process was akin to creating an arrangement of music for a percussion ensemble using only the sounds of these particular letterforms as the starting point. Although the audio of Gemma pronouncing each letter aloud before drawing it was intended to be edited out, Jared found that the phonetics of each letter became an appropriate linking device between the drawn letter and its associated sound. This was reinforced with Apple talk speech pronouncing each letter alongside the sound of its marked creation.
In a parallel process to the audio collage creation, Gemma’s letterforms were directly influenced by the forms of sound editing and manipulation employed by Jared. These techniques included: time stretching and compression; bit crunching (lowering quality); reverse, equalization for frequencies; panning(position of the sound in the stereo field); volume balancing; swing; reverb and delay. These techniques were translated into the practice of custom letterform creation and set the conditions for a series of material and visual experiments. Sound editing was translated into illustrative embellishment, visual distortion, perspective manipulation, and experimentation with texture, pattern and form. Find out more about Gemma’s work at-