Utypia: Stephen Banham’s perfect world of type at Heide

Published:  June 17, 2014

It’s not often that we come across free public discussions about typography, but to coincide with Emily Floyd’s exhibition Far Rainbow at Heide Museum of Modern Art, comes Utypia: Creating a perfect type of world through a perfect world of type — a term used to describe a whole culture of utopians employing type to express an ideal world.

To be hosted by typographer, Stephen Banham, from Melbourne-based studio, Letterbox, the discussion will explore a timeline of typographic idealism and pose questions for Emily Floyd on the fonts she has designed and used in her work. He explains, “so as typography runs alongside the unfolding of history, suggesting, reflecting or reinforcing the spirit of a time, it is perhaps during these times of pessimism and fear that an expression of optimism is needed more than ever. For sheer optimism you can’t go past the utopians – those brave individuals who, though often derided as mere dreamers, offer us their unique visions that open up new and imagined possibilities. Let us call this vision Utypia.”

Floyd’s exhibition, which borrows its title from a 1963 Soviet science-fiction story set on the imaginary planet Rainbow, is ‘anchored in the worlds of the child and learning’ and in ‘children’s perceptions of space’. Inspired by connections between art, learning and play, Floyd’s sculptures use the simple geometries and bright colours of educational wooden toys. The works on display reflect her growing interest in alternative educational theories, while also encompassing broader concerns like feminism, community and social radicalism and their contribution to modernist art and its envisioning of future worlds.

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To finish the day off by playing with more art and type, Abstract Labour is a new, permanent addition to the sculpture park at Heide that was unveiled on 20 March outside the main entrance to the museum. The fourteen painted aluminum letter-shapes, which spell out the work’s title, have been designed to house books or coloured blocks for children to play with so that the work can function as a temporary library and encourage interaction, reading and discussion among visitors to the museum.

To be held at 2pm, Sunday June 29th — admission to Utypia is free; a perfect excuse to pack a picnic basket and head to Heide, for event information click here

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