studio catherine griffiths


spreads from the journal, Strips Club, 2014

typ gr ph c ........


Up until late last year, typ gr ph c ........ was a fiction, a figment, an illusion. Later, it would push on as the notion began to sniff existence, but it was still a sort of fiction. It became material only at the moment it went public. Within ten days, eight people had registered for #1.

Each workshop in the series is a fiction that steadily morphs until it completes. Then the next one begins, another fiction to materialise. These workshops are not unlike the cacophony of cicadas outside my studio window. After years underground, they emerge, mate and die within two to four weeks. Except typ gr ph c ........ doesn't die, it's recorded both as memory and ink on paper — the participants remain a part of its ongoing reality.

typ gr ph c ........ is intended as occasional and experimental, in the forest at our two studios — a weird mix of public and private, of space and spaces, metaphysical and physical.

Off the record, I remind myself that the space of typ gr ph c ........ is "experimental, avant-garde, and outside the institutions". On the record, the scene is set, and the participants perform — the evidence is in the experience, what each wanders away with — in mind and practice.

The participants at typ gr ph c ........ #1 ........ A Type of Improvisation included several practitioners in graphic design and advertising, the curator of a project and research space, an academic (Head of Design) emerging from maternity leave, and a notable contemporary music composer and university professor, who trained in graphic design in the 70s.

The day kicked off with strong coffee and Granny Smith apple doughnuts served up by photographer Bruce Connew (who'd given over his studio, and taken on the role of chef du jour) to rally everyone from the winding, narrow, tunnelling forest drive. This had everyone take a breath, meet and chat. After an introduction to the day's intentions, we headed straight onto Skype with Italian designer Leonardo Sonnoli (late evening for him), who appeared on the large screen, 1:1 scale, with his work projected onto the wall above. It was as if he were here in the studio with the group — his thought and design process compelling and inspiring.

The day was intense and full. Everything worked — the spaces and connections, the forest and isolation (cicadas still underground at this stage) — but the group worked in earnest. Organic apples, chocolate and water kept minds fresh, a lunch of bread, salmon and salad allowed other conversations to occur, and the day finished with water, good wine, beer and snacks, with the last to drive away at 8pm, before we headed, impromptu, over to the neighbours for a light dinner and conversation. I cannot debrief objectively, as you have asked, Cameron, it is my point-of-view, but emails and conversations since, have been more than enough to suggest typ gr ph c ........ is on track.

As I write, post-workshop, and in the lead-up to #2 with Paul Barnes, Masayoshi Kodaira sent a note. Right now, he is responding with a critique of the posters from typ gr ph c ........ #1 from NY attending the exhibition, Tokyo Graphic Passport in NY, in which he is represented.

Very soon, the participants from #1 will reconvene at s/f, to view the printed posters, discuss over tea the critiques from Leonardo and Masayoshi, then wander away knowing the work they made in that single day is not end game, but an improvisation, a pivotal first in what will be an ongoing collation of outcomes for typ gr ph c ........ — for the record — and, most importantly, they extended themselves, however fictional or otherwise.



Catherine Griffiths, for Strips Club, issue #1, 2014

photographs / Catherine Griffiths


04 writing & critique


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typ gr ph c

by Catherine Griffiths

Strips Club, 2014

Featured in the inaugural issue of Strips Club, a New Zealand graphic design journal, Catherine Griffiths describes what started out as a fiction ...


typ gr ph c
Strips Club journal


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