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To what extent is the trend of hyper-positivity and enthusiasm responsible for today’s prevalent misuse of anti-anxiety medications? Researching an almost paranoiac rejection of negative emotions in our visual language and everyday life, I want to bring attention to a questionable industry that feeds off escapism and benzodiazepine abuse.
This project talks about the tyranny of modern enthusiasm, aiming to show how an over-performative work culture, self-help market, hyper-positive ideology, and prescription drugs are all pieces of the same self-medicating puzzle.
This project is my Bachelor Graduation Project for the Graphic Design department at KABK and is represented in a form of an audio-podcast and an installation with a supportive visual essay in the form of a video.
Photography by Roel Backaert
A floor-map design for the 2018 Graduation Show of the students from the Fine Arts department at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague.
This book is a printed translation of my Bachelor graduation thesis in the Graphic Design department at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague(KABK).
Today we are living in the world where fear and doubt are being condemned to the ever-lasting flight down the void. This becomes a reason for us to start denouncing other crucial parts of our lives as non-important ones or as those that are reinforcing fears and insecurities in favour of artificial shelter made of all that successful compensating and striving of today. I see such escapism as an eminently important issue that can have poor fallout for our civilisation’s present and thus - future. This is why I am interested in the topic of nocturnal culture and how dark aesthetics (especially the black image) and in general exposure to fear and dark concepts can influence our cognition and evolution. I strongly believe that such strategy can evoke higher modes of both self and general analysis and bring out the natural curiosity in humans and ability of interpretation, that are now unfortunately put into lethargic sleep.
I seek to re-invigorate a sense of wonder, uncertainty and mystery in life by implementing and emphasising the dark colors, magic, questions with no answers, and night. In order to do so, I want to look into history of how and if various parts of Nocturnal Culture were influencing human evolution. And if they had an effect on individuals or masses (both positive and negative) in order to find proving arguments for my belief and be able to present it to our society which is drowning in “positive living bullet journals” and “books of everyday gratefulness” instead of simply turning of the lights and thinking. Along with that, topics of anthropology of fear, darkness and the psychological influence of them onto our cognition will be discussed, concluding with the influence nocturnal culture and esoterism had on the creation of contemporary art and visual culture.
As a strategy I’ve chosen to go from the opposites by destroying the arguments opposing my hypothesis through attempts of defending them. Presented partly through the voice of the main text and partly in form of metaphor (through classic poetry) this paper is aiming to spark questioning of both sides and proving the absence of absolute. There can be no highest number, as there is only totality and there can be no final revolution as we exist. In such way this thesis is both: me finding artefacts of my beliefs and a manifesto to everything “Nocturnus”: of the night.
The full text and contents of the thesis are avaliable on the Thesis Webpage
This poster is a part of my graduation project in the Graphic Design department at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. The Schizophrenic Sun “has an inner night stitching it together” (Nick Land) and this poster visualises a story of a paranoid ruler, the one who uses every means to keep danger away from his person. Instead of challenging and confronting it and abiding the issue of a fight which might go against him, he seeks circumspection and cunning to block its approach to him. He creates empty space all around him which he can survey, and he observes and assesses every sign of approaching danger. It is interesting, how this delicately reflects on what our society might be facing in a not so distant future - becoming paranoid and surrounded by emptiness with no meaning.
These posters are not connected in any other way rather than my occasional thoughts or mood swings. Selected from a variety of similarly originated posters, these have been a great exercise in loosening the mind and letting aesthetic and visuals guide the following outcome. From quotes that celebrate my favourite villains to a funny memory from a study - this is an ongoing project representing the visual identity of my character in the late 2018.
1. A little bit of context here: this was a quote from our former philosophy teacher which was an example of how his classes will transform our intellectual abilities to transcend through existence of mere peasants.
2. ”I bear the dungeon within me; within me is winter, ice and despair; I have darkness in my soul;" (V. Hugo from perspective of ClaudeFrollo)
3. “Why does tragedy exist? Because you are full of rage. Why are you full of rage? Because you are full of grief." (Anne Carson)
4. “There is no highest number. There can be no final revolution. “(Y. Zamyatin)
This project is in part a spin-off of the 2015 project that was done for KABK and circled around the topic of really bad, bearded and not-funny jokes. This time with intention of pure personal fun and joy these posters are a visual game on the topic of morbid, silly and dark humour. With a sprinkle of myth and classic arts.
1. Why are priests called father? Because it’s too suspicious to call them daddy.
2. They laughed at my crayon drawings. I laughed at their chalk outline
3. I just read a joke about Oedipus and Midas. It was motherfucking gold.
4. So a guy is walking with a young boy into the woods.
Boy: “Hey mister its getting dark out and I’m scared”.
Man: “How do you think I feel, I have to walk back alone”.
Design for the "lectures and activities" programme of the Fine Arts Department of the Royal Academy of Arts in the Hague (KABK) on the 26th of January of 2019.
Created in collaboration with Yeon Sung, this project is a series of posters produced for and announcing the Archive Fever exhibition of the 3rd year Graphic Design students of KABK at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. The exhibition was a display of publications created out of and inspired by the archive material, celebrating its’ richness and diversity. And these posters were attempting to capture the fullness and flexibility of the analogue textures of the archive and its’ contents.
Publication design of the Alea Iacta Est - a work written by Giovanni Palmieri as a part of his graduation year in the Photography Department at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.
““Alea Iacta Est” comes from my discomfort and questions within the structure of capitalism reflected in the relations among individuals, behaviour and institutions. The guiding question of my research is how success can objectively be defined, regardless of norms or ideals constructed through the emergence and establishment of the market society and its consequences on the conduction of life. The answer I set is that success is to be found within the attempt to reach ‘Truth’, a term that here stands as the essence of being, being instead of having.
This writing guides the reader in an examining journey through the different planes involved in the discourse upon the market society. “
Photos by Giovanni Palmieri
This project serves as a play with peculiar combinations of mediums. Starting by combining words "Print" and "Triplicity" the question became - which aspects of both are going to be my topic?
Triplicity is the core of our existence which interested me since early childhood. It infiltrates our reality so much that puting it all into this project is impossible, thus my specific interest for the purpose of this work became - Moirai - Three fates of Ancient Greek Mythology.
At the same time the physical connection of triplicity with printed matter became translated in three interconnected objects that together form the whole message - two posters and a book.
Pages in this book are purposefully shuffled and in order to read the text one would need to decipher the page order through the incrypted message in two posters.
Fate, Greek /Moira/, plural /Moirai/, Latin /Parca/, plural /Parcae/, in Greek and Roman mythology, they were any of three goddesses who determined human destinies, and in particular the span of a person’s life and his allotment of misery and suffering. Homer speaks of Fate (moira) in the singular as an impersonal power and sometimes makes its functions interchangeable with those of the Olympian gods. From the time of the poet Hesiod (8th century BC) on, however, the Fates were personified as three very old women who spin the threads of human destiny. Their names were Clotho (Spinner), Lachesis (Allotter), and Atropos (Inflexible). Clotho spun the “thread” of human fate, Lachesis dispensed it, and Atropos cut the thread (thus determining the individual’s moment of death). (Encyclopedia Britannica)
However if one would take a much more abstracted look at them, a new understanding would be discovered hidden in the concept of 3 fates. That being the change of the linear understanding of their functions into an endless, circular one. Atropos is not the End, death is life and she is the Beeing, the incomprehensible, untouchable and unmolding without the help of Clotho and Lachesis who serve as perspectives and metaphorical translations of human segregative way of perceiving the world. Thus, this book is separated into 3 narratives running through it, representing the idea of Fates and it’s close connection to Parmenides’s theory of Beeing.
The cause of the project is the celebration of 50th anniversary of Amnesty Netherlands, for which 3d year students of The Royal Academy of Art were asked to select one of 12 unresolved cases of Amnesty International. The task was to research them and propose new ways of communicating/dealing with them which will be presented in a separate exhibition during celebration held in Amsterdam on April 2018.
Working together - me, Yeon Sung and Dominika Fojtikova, chose to work on Raif Badawi’s case that is well known not only in Saudi Arabia but all around the world. Raif Badawi, who founded an online forum for political and social debate, called “Saudi Arabian Liberals”, was arrested on 17 June 2012 and has been detained since then in a prison in Briman, in the Saudi Arabian coastal city of Jeddah. He was charged with violating Saudi Arabia’s information technology law and insulting Islamic religious figures by creating and managing an online forum. And for us, as artists and designers, the question of freedom of expression is very important. But after all these years of appealing to humanity and seeing no result, what could we come up with to raise awareness and propagate change?
We decided to dig a bit deeper in search of similar cases on a span of last 10-11 years. This gave us a variety of material to cling to and also a bigger outlook on the issues of self-censorship specifically in Saudi Arabia. Other than that we looked into the events of the Arab Spring which, we believe, had a huge influence on freedom of expression in the internet in Gulf countries. Thus, our main research questions arose : What disturbs SA’s government more than critical online activism? Which field of Saudi Arabian interest could potentially become a tool of change for Saudi society? As a result we came to conclusion that one of the most probable ways to help this situation was - attracting international attention to problematics of Freedom of Expression in Saudi Arabia by exposing international companies having business relationship with SA. If you can not appeal to someone's humanity - you can always appeal to their wallet. The main idea became to expose this paradox and make a strong connection between the selected cases of Freedom of Speech violation and the western companies that are gaining profit from business with Saudi Arabia in the same time, while promoting their care for human rights. This could potentially be the most effective way of influencing SA, since those companies, caring about their image, could stop partnerships with the Kingdom.
The goal of the project is to make people realise the connection between these two disconnected topics and to highlight the paradox of two contrasting fields influencing each other. By involving people in the act of physically moving information and by creation of a big-scale monumental installation we want to create a material body for the so-called “crimes” that online activists in Saudi committed. Physical is always more relatable for human than virtual.
The portrayal of Stephen Dedalus's Dublin childhood and youth, his quest for identity through art and his gradual emancipation from the claims of family,
religion and Ireland itself, is also an oblique self-portrait of the young James Joyce and a universal testament to the artist's 'eternal imagination'.
Both an insight into Joyce's life and childhood, and a unique work of modernist fiction, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel of sexual awakening,
religious rebellion and the essential search for voice and meaning that every nascent artist must face in order to fully come into themselves. (Goodreads)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - is part of the Classics Revival project that I am conducting and that is a republishing process of books, stories, novels and other classic literary pieces that are dear to my heart. In this edition I have used Godfrey Roman and Godfrey Italic fonts, designed by me earlier this year.
Godfrey is a textbook san serif font that was originally inspired and derives it's name from a character of an American TV Series “Hemlock Grove” - Roman Godfrey. As the original source of inspiration, this font family is also surrounded by the mysterious atmosphere. Based on a pointed-nib pen writing, this is achieved through giving it pointy corners and serifs, as well as merging in a slight angle in all the letters that would refer to a slightly gothic feel of it. At the moment, Godfrey Roman has a full set of glyphs, and Godfrey Italic is still in production, leaving out the numeric system.
What is darkness? It’s this vibrant and noisy silence, the raw texture of air’s flesh, the uncertain and questionable outlines in the further. This is darkness - honesty in its pure form, in its animalistic sensibility towards sounds, smells, shapes and most fertilising and important of all - guessing and questioning. These two elements are crucial for the development of human nature, night, darkness, absence of light - whatever you call it - gives a person warm, safe space to second-guess, to feel himself as a being, to feel comfort of uncertainty and entrust himself into the embrace of the night. Praise the moon, that doesn’t make you responsible for anything, praise the nightly clouds that overlook you and warm you up, praise the silence and emptiness, undefined space around you that gives you comfort, whilst nothing else clutters your life with unreasonable, useless chatter and painfully ridiculous rituals.
The D.O.P.E Project, that stands for the "Details of Printed Essence" is a collaboration of five students of the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague (Netherlands), aiming at reconsidering the usual way of cataloguing books of the "Best Book Design" competition. In order to do so, we all brought in more that 50 books with a desire to create our own Top 10 Best Books and display them in a catalogue. As a result of our analysis we've created several nominations (chapters) which we found essential for this selection and in each of them - used scans of books as representations. Using scans, especially high-contrast scans - was a conscious decision in order to grasp the essence of the book, it's grid and content, this concept was also supported by the printing technique of Full-Color Risoprinting and use of different papers (the main one being highly-absorbent paper) - which resulted in ink sinking into pages, thus sealing the essence we wanted to show on the pages of our catalogue.
Produced by: Kin Mun, Verena Hahn, Megin Hayden, Frank Hemmekam, Mariam Darchiashvili (Komnen)
In the world of reason for us as artists it’s important to approach art with an intuitive manner, trying to achieve a blank state of mind with no preconceptions when it comes to the action of creating. Becoming once again a child. Playing with humorous absurdity we approach mundane objects and actions, enriching the ordinary with intuition and spontaneity. This lead us to the process of discovering new meanings, as well as previously unseen layers of information coming from these objects or actions. The translation from our ordinary routine becomes then (metaphorically) a fertilizer of these impotent gardens; that are us humans.
Collaboration work with Giovanni Palmieri.
This publication is inspired by and symbolically represents ideas of Post-Structuralism. Post-structuralism is associated with the works of a series of mid-20th-century French and continental philosophers and critical theorists who came to international prominence in the 1960s and 1970s. The term comes from its opposing relationship to the Structuralism, a European intellectual movement of early to mid-century that argued that human culture may be understood through applying and understanding of Structural Linguistics. Post-structuralist authors all present different critiques of structuralism, but common themes include the rejection of the self-sufficiency of the structures that Structuralism posits and an interrogation of the binary oppositions that constitute those structures. Writers whose work is often characterised as post-structuralist include Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Judith Butler and Jean Baudrillard , although most of them rejected such labelling.
A lot of Post-Structuralist ideas are based on the phenomenological idea that knowledge could be centred on the human knower and that is rejected by Structuralism. In phenomenology, this foundation is experience itself. “By contrast, Post-structuralism argues that founding knowledge either on pure experience (phenomenology) or systematic structures (Structuralism) is impossible. This impossibility was not meant as a failure or loss, but rather as a cause for "celebration and liberation."” (Wiki). Based on these findings and ideas, I decided to create a representation of them by combination of 2 texts and a 3d narrative being implemented in the publication. The combination of Plato’s Phaedo and an essay by Didier Debaise “What is relational thinking?” stands for the binary opposites in the literary style and a way of conveying a story. On top of that, the text of Phaedo is being edited in way that takes out the narrator from the story, as in the Post-structuralism it was argued that the reader replaces the author as the primary subject of inquiry. And the third story became a visual essay where each following image is an association to the previous one, which this way makes all of the images connected to each other, through those small, intimate interconnections they have.
The exhibition "Balance By Struggle” explores the relationship between two of the most famous personas of De Stijl, Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondriaan, by getting to the core of their disagreement: formality vs informality. A primary struggle for all artists, times and movements.
The exhibition “Balance by Struggle“ was on view on September 16 and 17 at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. The exhibition suggested a new outlook on the conflicts and mentality of De Stijl from new perspectives, retrospecting them through various artists of today and 20th century and bringing public’s experience of De Stijl from purely visual to a new - more conscious level. Aiming to oppose the danger of overusing and flattening of De Stijl heritage. Visitors were invited to take a look at the works representing famous artists from a perspective of their connection to transmissive mentality of Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg; they were able to search for answers through documented materials, audio and video installations, experience the virtual reality of being a canvas standing in front of Jackson Pollock and get a personal artwork from Jeff Koons.
The opening event was held on Saturday 16th, 11:30-12:30
Jeff Koons Performance: Saturday & Sunday: 10:30-13:00, 14:00-16:30
Exhibition curation: Yeon Sung, Mariam Komnen, Dominika Fojtikova
Project mentors: Niels Schrader, Els Kuijpers, Bas van Beek, Adriaan Mellegers
The exhibition "Balance by Struggle" was a collaboration between the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague.
Photo credits: Daniela Roșca, Katarina Juričić
This project is a visual translation of “The Electro-Library” manifesto, written by El Lissitzky in 1923 and was a part of the exhibition in the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague.
The sentence being: "The printed surface transcends space and time”,
an idea of the solar clock has been taken as a reference. In the original installation, from which an image of the poster came - the main point was in the aspect of the reader being able to see the text only from the top of the “space/clock” and when the shadow of the clock itself was leaving behind letters written on the surface. As an end result, this poster has been silkscreened as a translation of the spatial typography into the printed matter.
A publication containing an interview with Gert Dumbar, founder of Studio Dumbar, about humour, absurdity and pataphysics in Graphic Design field and his own application of it in his past career, today and his teachings at the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague.
How design is being overrated.
Designers take themselves too serious.
Can we save the world?
“Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) created both paintings and writings that embodied the spirit of modernism. Mondrian saw himself as an arch-Modernist with uncompromisingly strong ideas about what art was to be about in the next century. He viewed abstraction as the ideal artistic and spiritual direction, and argued this cause in his most important text, "Natural Reality and Abstract Reality."
Mondrian's Trialogue carefully presents the artist's ideas through the voices of A Layman, A Naturalist Painter, and An Abstract-Real Painter. Abstraction contains, Mondrian proposes, the essence of what art of all the ages sought to express - relationship, harmony, repose, life force, the universal. In the Trialogue, Mondrian demonstrates the basis of his new art form in visible reality.” (Goodreads)
This publication is a modern reprint of Mondrian’s work that followed an installation with a performance and a poster (see video below), all created in collaboration with Yeon Sung and Dominika Fojtikova. The project served as a metaphorical time machine that would allow the performer to ask questions to Mondrian from Trialogue (being the Abstract-Real painter) and the Layman. This book represents ideas of the New Man through combining two contrasting media - online digital platform with traditional printing techniques such as mono-printing.
‘One swallow does not make a summer; neither does one day. Similarly neither can one day, or a brief space of time, make a man blessed and happy’
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle sets out to examine the nature of happiness. He argues that happiness consists in ‘activity of the soul in accordance with virtue’, for example with moral virtues, such as courage, generosity and justice, and intellectual virtues, such as knowledge, wisdom and insight. The Ethics also discusses the nature of practical reasoning, the value and the objects of pleasure, the different forms of friendship, and the relationship between individual virtue, society and the State. Aristotle’s work has had a profound and lasting influence on all subsequent Western thought about ethical matters.(Goodreads)
Nicomachean Ethics - is part of the Classics Revival project, that first started as an assignment at the KABK and I am now conducting and that is a republishing process of books, stories, novels and other classic literary pieces that are dear to my heart. In this edition the main focus for me was on thorough study of micro-typography and coping with a complex index system of the book
These is a series of black and white collages called "S.L.M." which stands for "Sick Like Me". The project serves as a way of visualising my personal world and it's meaning through form and layers of found online inspiration. The main aesthetic is inspired by the concept of night and darkness which I find deeply rooted in most of my work. Finding comfort in the absence of light or its little presence is what is intriguing in our overly-positive world, I believe.
This book is a documentation of a bigger project "Ad Audiendas Confessiones" that consist of 5 projects with an underlying topic of spirituality and its translation in our life. Works, including installations, sculpture, paintings and print have been serving as a visual and theoretical research into the concepts of child spirituality, personal outlooks on the problems of Christianity, illustration of fundamental discussions in religion and separation of light and dark.
This work is a part of a bigger project "Ad Audiendas Confessiones" that consists of 5 projects with an underlying topic of spirituality and its translation in our life. This video-installation is driving attention to the Gods and Heros of our childhood and their contrast with our everyday lives, just as main religions have this wide gap between the preachers and the prayerers.
A child can not live without his heros, the heros that go on adventures that are unreachable to the little ones, but inspire. They dance and smile at them, saying: "There is nothing you can not do, if only you really want it!".
A child can not live without his toys. The toys that cost more than his clothes, that represent his heros and cary his respect. A toy becomes now a Toy. A Toy becomes an always-needed Hero.
Stereo Typo is a project that was done at The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague in 2016 and that shows stereotypes in visual typography that shape daily life. It is a project that tells you to fit into. Or not. Each student developed their personal stereotypes in typography and researched it.
Monday mornings are familiar beasts to all of us, that no sward can slay unless it's hallowed with a decent amount of coffee. And it was the same old Monday morning with a sunshine screaming "Go back to your bed." To fight this thoughts I entered a nearest cafe and as I was paying for my coffee I couldn't help but suddenly noticed all the receipts I had in my wallet. I was sad and grumpy and it stroke me - why are they all so identical? With all the printing technics, with the immense variety of typefaces? You design your logo, you design your interior, but you leave out the bill? And it`s not just the most legible writing on them. Is all the information needed there and why does it all disappear so soon? Is there any trick in the way they sound when you touch them? With all this questions and some fresh coffee I left the place and started my visual research.
For the full text and the visual research visit:
This is a poster that followed an installation and research based on this topic.
This poster was silkscreened after and inspired by the Georgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennial of 2015. The work presented at the festival was called the "Crawling Border". "The main concept is a narrative of events structured as a DNA chain analogy, which exists in its usual environment and often remains unnoticed before it is impacted by provoking external factors." - as well as refering to this quote, this poster is designed with the concept of a an individual in a nation, and his personal tragedy being left behind within the chase of borders and their sketchy overwritings.
"/Crawling Border/ is the reality, which Georgia and other post-Soviet countries are confronted with and which owes its existence to the country’s geopolitical position." PDG Arte Communications
A series of posters inspired by and dedicated to bad and noir jokes. Each poster is based on different "How-to create a perfect poster" manual, written by students of the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague, with the opportunity to alter and twist the rules. The topic of the series could be chosen by designer himself, but the restrictions, such as "use only pink" or "you have to have a big picture of Kanye West in the centre" were written and given by our group-mates and had to be followed, although no one was denied the opportunity to find a smart way around them.
This project is originally made as an exploration of how typography from various sources has capabilities to come together and become a single visual language.
There is no topic, neither context that they share, apart from their origin - printed matter. Scanning and collaging techniques can become an archaic way of of its own
for typography and words/text to be resurrected with no meaning, as blank pages, ready to be interpreted.