Augmented-reality exhibition explores the role of printed matter in a digital age

A total of 40 graphic designers and typographers submitted art works in response to the exhibition’s title The State of Print. PHOTO: DESIGNSINGAPORE COUNCIL
The State of Print’s black and magenta scenography is a meta intersection between print and digital. PHOTO: JOHNSTON LIM

SINGAPORE - At the National Design Centre, the vibrant black-and-pink backdrop of The State Of Print exhibition is perfect for taking Instagram photos and filming TikTok videos.

And by using a filter on Instagram specially designed for the exhibition, illustrations of typography tools such as typewriters will pop up and float around on visitors' phone screens.

This filter can be accessed only by those who are at the exhibition and is one of many interactive features designed to draw attention to paper as a medium.

The exhibition also features various stations exploring the functions and forms of print media, showcasing local and international projects.

Local design studio Fable, which designed and produced The State Of Print, collaborated with partners such as local bookstore Basheer Graphic Books and German design company Slanted Publishers to display specially curated books and independent magazines.

Local design studio Fable collaborated with design bookstores to display specially curated books and independent magazines. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

A local project, titled The Diary Of Jane, is the curation of personal works by Madam Jane Goh, co-founder of home-grown 35-year-old paper and materials company RJ Paper.

She is passionate about creating different paper textures by mixing recycled paper with interesting materials such as fennel seeds and orange pulp.

Often making notebooks and notepads with old paper, she started making handmade paper during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Another section, Hey Hey Hey, features a collaboration between local non-profit initiative Hey, You Got Mail! and various illustrators and artists. Here, visitors can write postcards which will be sent to seniors in nursing homes in a effort to lift their moods during the Covid-19 period.

"As a result of nationwide safe-distancing measures, those who live separately from their loved ones may have a difficult time. This is especially the case for seniors who live alone in Singapore," said a representative from Hey, You Got Mail! which aims to combat social isolation among the elderly.

"The handmade cards provide them with warmth and a physical reminder that they are not alone during this trying time."

A sample postcard displayed in the Hey Hey Hey section, a collaboration between Hey, You Got Mail! and multiple artists and illustrators. PHOTO: JOHNSTON LI

The State Of Print first began in 2020 as a project during the circuit breaker to spark discussion on the relevance of printed matter in a digital age.

A month into its second run, the current exhibition is on a larger scale and also showcases a curation of design books and magazines, some of which can be purchased from Basheer Graphic Books.

"(It is) important to show some of the projects here to highlight that the digital realm cannot give you that kind of (tactile) experience, something that is tangible," said Mr Jiahui Tan, 33, curator of the exhibition and founder and creative director of Fable.

He highlighted Braille books curated from the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and copper-printed plates by Kin Yiap Press as an example.

The State Of Print is free for public viewing until July 31 from 9am to 9pm daily at the National Design Centre in Middle Road.

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