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HAPPENINGText: Lotje Sodderland

PLACE” is a creative investigation project produced and curated by Vasava, in collaboration with 34 graphic studios around the world, to explore the influence of cultural and social norms on creativity, via the medium of graphic design.

For 18 months a suitcase containing a blank (not for long) sketch-book, a DV camera and plain white t-shirts yearning to be customized, travelled 170 000 km around the globe from Copenhagen to Caracas, from Moscow to Montreal, from Durban to Dakar, from Malin to Medellin, from… ok, I’ll hold it there. Suffice to say, the Place ‘case left no corner of the earth untouched.

Landing on the doorsteps of Vasava-selected studios the world over, an overview of diverse visual languages was developing, each artist using only the tools provided in the suitcase to describe the world around him.

Over the months, the globe-trotting suitcase collected a series of objects and images which represented the personal interpretations of “Place” expressed by each participant. 35 sets of artworks, customized t-shirts, sketches, and films were then meticulously curated into a superbly-presented exhibition at Barcelona’s high-art hot-spot, the CCCB.

On entering the exhibition, visitors were faced with a wall covered entirely in selected images from the Place picture book, blown up, cut out and pasted together to form a giant collage showing some of the book’s highlights. 35 classically-framed graphic images defining each “Place” visited during the project, decorated the remaining wall-space.

Not a pixel in sight, all participants had been asked to submit only analogue work. This brought a raw, simplistic element to the exhibition, a refreshing change from the digital dominance in graphic design today. The illustrations under-pinned the artistic value of graphic design showing the basic creativity designers possess, when stripped of their modern tools.

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