Level: Fourth Year
Faculty: Anne Bush
Duration of Project: Sixteen weeks
Senior students are assigned sites to research in the Honolulu area. These sites encompass a range of areas, including Chinatown, Manoa (a residential district), and Mapunapuna (an industrial park). Students are asked to research their sites and any typography that they find there. They then design two books (11 × 16 inches [30 × 40.5 cm]; twelve pages each—including cover) that consider the site as both a "place" and a "space" (as defined by the French literary theorist Michel de Certeau in the quotes below). The books need to work in tandem, and students are responsible for the actual content of the text as well as any images. After the books are designed, the students work together to design an exhibitionary map of the combined sites in a small student gallery. Students are asked to explore the notion of the map in its widest possible terms (conceptually and physically) as well as the unique qualities of exhibition and display. Readings on the nature of display and mapping are assigned and discussed to help students imagine possibilities. Students are responsible for the development, design, and production of the books as well as the concept, design, and implementation of the gallery installation.
"A place (lieu) is the order (of whatever kind) in accord with which elements are distributed in relationships of coexistence. It thus excludes the possibility of two things being in the same location (place). The law of the 'proper' rules in the place: the elements taken into consideration are beside one another, each situated in its own 'proper' and distinct location, a location it defines. A place is thus an instantaneous configuration of positions. It implies an indication of stability."
—Michel de Certeau
"A space exists when one takes into consideration vectors of direction, velocities, and time variables. Thus space is composed of intersections of mobile elements. It is in a sense actuated by the ensemble of movements deployed within it. Space occurs as the effect produced by the operations that orient it, situate it, temporalize it, and make it function in a polyvalent unity of conflictual programs or contractual proximities. On this view, in the relation to place, space is like the word when it is spoken, that is, when it is caught in the ambiguity of an actualization, transformed into a term dependent upon many different conventions, situated as the act of a present (or of a time), and modified by the transformations caused by successive contexts. In contradistinction to the place, it has thus none of the univocity or stability of a 'proper.'"
—Michel de Certeau
The goal of this project is multifaceted. Students learn to document, analyze, and interpret typography in the landscape, particularly as such typography signifies the unique identity of an urban site. They then explore the book as a typographic "site" in its own right, and in its relationship with the actual site. Extending the notion of site to a gallery space, students imagine an exhibition space as its own landscape—one that maps the relationships between all urban sites assigned in the projects and incorporates all the books. Students learn to see the urban environment and its texts as a dynamic dialogue—one that integrates public and private messages and readings.