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Typemotion: Type as Image in Movement at the ZKM/ Museum of Contemporary Art
Christian Weckerle, "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie“, Germany 1995. Music Clip. Videostill© Christian Weckerle.

KARLSRUHE.- Through multiple digital possibilities, type and image have become unmistakably mobile. We are contemporary witnesses to a massive transformation. Reinforced by its function in the mediation of information, type can go beyond its function in the mediation of information. Type is increasingly gaining an autonomous, aesthetic status.

The exhibition TYPEMOTION presents several hundreds of outstanding examples of 'script films', especially artistic 'script films'. Analog or digitally based films or film fragments are referred to as 'script films', whereby moving, animated, graphically designed and, above all, type set to sound play the main role.

The project TYPEMOTION represents an attempt to compile, typologize and publically present classical popular as well as lesser noticed and frequently difficult to access 'script films' from twenty countries dating from 1895 to the present. With the digitalization of 'script films', the project makes a contribution to the preservation of international cultural heritage. The presentation at the ZKM provides insights into cultural and media developments, offers retrospectives and diagnosis of the present, but also outlooks into the media future, not least in the interactive media.

Since Gutenberg moving letters have now wondered further onto the screens thereby opening up entirely new margins that were barely conceivable in book printing culture. The exhibition makes visible the materiality and mediality in type. 'Script films' make the perception of perception possible to us.

“It is not the loss of the good old type through new audiovisual images/image media which should be bemoaned. On the contrary: that which is to be presented characterizes our contemporary culture – the fascinating equivalence and simultaneity of analog AND digital communications media, script AND image.” (Bernd Scheffer)

The exhibition TYPEMOTION shows the way in which different symbolic systems interact in all perception. Stubborn prejudices asserting a strict type/image polarization can now be rectified. 'Script films' illustrate the way in which type, long presented only in a static form, has transformed itself through technical-electronic media in a dynamic, flexible, multimedia symbolic system. Script films illustrate the way in which civilization has changed to an open type and image culture. 'Script films'
point to a cultural transformation in the use of type and language, which has by no means come to a conclusion.

The exhibition TYPEMOTION leads to places in which we encounter moving type: artistic productions, but also feature films, advertising, music videos or media facades in cities. The exhibition presents numerous highlights of analog and digital 'script films' – from John Baldessari, Saul Bass, Kyle Cooper, Silvie and Chérif Defraoui, Marcel Duchamp, Thomas Alva Edison, Fluxus Heidelberg, Gary Hill, Ferdinand Kriwet, Jan Lenica, Antoni Muntadas, Dennis Oppenheim, Stephen Partridge, Dan Perri, Peter Rose, Gerhard Rühm, Eino Ruutsalo, Paul Sharits, Daniel Szczechura, Timm Ulrichs, Paul Wegener, Robert Wiene, and much more.

The exhibition enables visitors interactive access to 'script films': they can select the films and the kind of performance themselves. The exhibition is arranged as a mobile archive.

The project TYPEMOTION is a collaborative project between the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and the Experimental Media Lab (xm:lab) at the Saar Academy of Fine Arts, FACT Foundation for Art and Creative Technology Liverpool and Goethe Institutes worldwide. The project was sponsored by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes.

Curators: Prof. Dr. Bernd Scheffer, Dr. Christine Stenzer, Dr. Soenke Zehle, in collaboration with Prof. Peter Weibel (ZKM | Karlsruhe)

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