The venue of the Chaumont Poster Festival ensured an audience of graphic designers from around Europe, creating an atmosphere where discussions of communication could be explored and argued. The year before I had visited the exhibition themed "political posters" and found a thriving community of active students and old time radicals. So we decided that the audience was open enough for work that challenged and questioned the role of design in society. There were 100 sets of the first project created - containing 16 screenprinted posters in two colours. Below are some of the texts and translations, however, some were image based and don't translate!

It could be you?
"In the early twentieth century the problem of production had been solved; after that, it was the problem of consumption that plagued society. In the 1950's and 60's consumer commodities and farm products began to pile up in towering mountains all over the western world. As much as possible was given away - but that threatened to subvert the open market. By 1980 the pro tem solution was to heap up the products and burn them - billions of dollars' worth, week after week. The Quizzes had helped, a trifle. If people couldn't afford to buy the expensive manufactured goods, they could still hope to win them. The economy was propped up for decades by elaborate give away devices that dispensed tons of glittering merchandise. But for every man who won a car and a refrigerator and a television set there were millions who didn't. Gradually, over the years, prizes in the Quizzes grew from material commodities to more realistic items: power and prestige. And at the top, the final exalted post: the dispenser of power, the Quizmaster. The disintegration of the social and economic system had been gradual. It went so deep that people lost faith in natural law itself. Nothing seemed stable or fixed; the universe was a sliding flux. Nobody could count on anything. Statistical prediction became popular; the very concept of cause and effect died out. People lost faith in the belief that they could control their own environment."
Philip K. Dick - World of Chance 1956.

Cela pourrait etre toi?
"A debut du vingtieme siecle, le probleme de la production etait resolu; apres quoi, ce fut le probleme de la consummation qui tourmenta la societe. Dans les annees 50 et 60, les produits de consommation et les produits agricoles commencerent a s'accumuler en montagnes gigantesques un peu partout dans le monde occidental. On distribuait le maximum sans compter, mais cela menacait de bouleverser le marche. A partir des annees 80, la solution - temporaire- fut d'entasser les produits et de les bruler - des millards de dollars partirent en fumee, semaine apres semaine. Le Grand Jeu-Concours a aide, un peu. Si les gens ne pouvaient s'offrir les oneereux produits manufactures, ils pouvaient toujours esperer les gagner. L'econonmie etait soutenue pour des decennies par des chaines de distribution offrant des tonnes de marchandises etincelantes. Mais pour chaque individu qui gagnait une voiture et un refrigerateur et un ensemble tele, des millions de personnes restaient sur le carreau. Progressivement, au fil des annees, les prix du Grand Jeu-Concours passerent des produits materiels a des "produits" moins palpables: le pouvoir et le prestige. Et au sommet, le poste de haut rang: le distributeur de pouvoir, le maitre du jeu La desintegration du systeme economique et social a ete progressive. Ell fut si profonde qu'elle fit pertre aux gens toute croyance a la loi naturelle elle-meme. Rien ne sembalit ni stable, ni fixe. Personne ne pouvait compter sur quoi que ce fut. Les previsions des statistiques devinrent populaires; le concept du cause a effet s'eteignit. Les gens n'oserent plus croie qu'ils pourraient controler leur environnement."
Philip K. Dick - World of Chance 1956.

Created universal language:
Esperanto Universal languages are understood as international languages. But it is questionable as to whether languages like Esperanto help to overcome the barriers of language. Esperanto is supposed to be "accessible as a second language and easy to learn for everybody": 'A grammar with rules that has no exceptions, a language with basic, root words, which consists of international known vocabulary. Esperanto is not supposed to replace a language, it helps to surmount the barriers between language so as to help people become acquainted with the culture and people of another country. It is one thing to get to know a country and its people, but to experience and to understand them is another. The universal language is able to transmit information which is based on a factual level, but it doesn't lead to a better understanding of another cultural identity and its language. On the contrary, the created universal language levels itself with a touristic attitude and makes it more difficult, instead of easier, to gain access to a different culture and does not recognise the links between language and culture. 'Esperanto as a neutral second language is neither supposed to suppress nor to replace national languages but to make sure its equality and preservation'. But how neutral is Esperanto? It is limited to the extents of some western languages and therefore bars others the access to this 'combination of languages': universal, but with heavy emphasis at specific points. The development of a universal language to exclude connotations is unrealistic. The use of a 'new' language leads to experiences which creates connotations, just as they emerge through the confrontation with a normal national language - but with one difference: language and culture develop together and in the created universal language culture has to be introduced. Universal language doesn't deliver the cultural background neccesary to give its words associations and the free space in which to develop. And isn't it this free space which facilitates the development of a culture? The connotations that come with a universal language are much more fixed and are not able to develop because they are part of a perfected language where the words are forced into regularity. Languages which are not bound to the motivations of culture are artificial languages without identity. They are not in the position to understand the reflections from a mother language because they unable to reflect anything themselves. Previous universal languages like Esperanto are reflecting the basis of other mother languages. There is a lack of links to adjoining languages which have their own cultural identity and which all influence each other. The barriers between mother languages are not at all reconcilable. The development of a language is inhibited only through isolation - and created universal languages isolate themselves. The idea of a universal language is fascinating but it cannot be based on just a few languages and the exclusion of others. The increasing mobility of human beings and the influence of global transmission of information will develop a universal language with its own cultural identity.
Une langue universelle:
L'Esperanto Par Langue universelle, on entend langue internationale. Mais il est discutable que les langes comme l'esperanto nous aident asurmonter les barrieres linguistiques. L'esperanto est cense etre accessible en tant que seconde langue et facile a apprendre pour tout le monde. Une grammaire avec des regies n'ayant pas d'exceptions, une langue avec des mots elementaires, composee de vocabulaire connu dans le monde entier. L'esperanto n'est pas cense replacer une langue, mais il aide a surmonter des barrieres linguistiques de facon a aider les gens a se familiariser avec la culture et les habitants d'un autre pays. Arriver a connaitre un pays et son peuple est une chose - mais vivre et les comprendre en est une autre. La langue universelle est en mesure de transmettre une information basee sur un fait, mais ne mene pas a une meilleure comprehension d'une autre identite culturelle et de la langue. Au contraire, la langue universelle creee rejoint une attitude touristique, et au lieu de le faciliter, rend plus difficile l'acces a une autre culture. Elle nie les liens entre langue et culture. L'esperanto, en tant que seconde langue, n'est pas supposee supprimer ni remplacer des langues nationales, mais s'assuer de son egalite et de sa preservation. Mais dans quelle mesure l'esperanto est-il neutre? Il est limite a quelques langues occidentales, et barre donc a d'autres l'acces a cette combinaison de langues: universel, oui, mais avec un fort accent mis sur des pionts specifiques. Le developpement d'une langue universelle, dans le but d'exclure des connotations, n'est pas realiste. L'utilisation d'une "nouvelle" langue mene a des experience qui, a leur tour, creent des connotations tells qu'elles emergent par la confrontation avec une langue nationale normale - mais a la difference pres que la langue et la culture se developpent ensemble, et que dans une langue universelle creee, la culture doit etre introduite. La langue universelle ne fournit pas le cadre culturel necessaire pour donner aux mots des associations, ni l'espace libre pour se developper. N'est-ce pas l'espace libre qui facilite le developpement d'une culture? Les connotations liees a une langue universelle sont beaucoup plus figees et ne peuvent pas se developper parce qu'elles font partie d'une langue parachevee, ou les mots sont contraits dans la regularite. Des langues qui ne sont pas liees aux motivations d'une culture sont des langues artificielles, sans identite. Elles ne sont pas en mesure de comprendre de reflexions venant d'une langue maternelle, puisqu'elles ne permettent pas de refleter quoi que ce soit par elles-memes. D'autres langues universelles, tout comme l'esperanto, refletent la base d'autres langues maternelles. Il y a un manque de liens avec les langues contigues qui ont leur propre identite culturelle et qui s'influencent mutuellement. Les barrieres entre langues maternelles ne sont pas toutes concilibles. Le developpement d'une langue n'est empeche que par l'isolation - et les langues universelles creees s'isolent. L'idee d'une langue universelle est fascinante, mais elle ne peut etre basee que sur quelques langues seules, a l'exclusion des autres. La mobilite croissante des etre humains et L'influence de la transmission global de l'inforation developpera une langue universelle, avec sa propre identite culturelle.

Abuse of power
Cultural artifacts act as recognitions of a shared social space; a safety zone of comforting similarity and resistance to change" What happens when the change is enforced by imperialism, and those safety networks are denied? The designs I have appropriated from the South Pacific are from "Tapa Mats". They hold great cultural and sacred significance amongst the Polynesians, used in weddings, burials and ceremonial occasions. They are also given as gifts to visiting dignitaries. I have exposed through the redesign of the "Tapa Mat" the issue of the potential destruction of the peaceful South Pacific islands by current nuclear testing activities. The cultural artifact here becomes abused by the process of cultural imperialism, ie. the political and physical threat to these vulnerable colonies by the calculated intentions of those powerful Western nations. The piece of work represents through symbolism, the unfortunate irony of a once welcomed artifact now a vehicle for impending disaster.
Sorry; French Translation not available.

Traditionalismus kontra Kultur
Kultur 1 die Gesamtheit der geistigen und kuenstlerischen Lebensaeusserungen einer Gemeinschaft, eines Volkes A Politische Kultur; aus der Gemeinschaft hervorgehende Bestrebungen und Aeusserungsformen, die sich auf die politische und oder soziale Gestaltung des taeglichen Lebens beziehen wie Buergerinitiativen, alternatives Leben, Umweltschutz, kommunale Mitbestimmung, das In-Frage-Stellen von ueblichen Lebensformen und Lebenseinstellungen B zweite Kultur; Wertvorstellungen im Hinblick auf Kulturelles, die im Gegensatz zu den alten Wertvorstellungen (z. B. gegenueber den Klassikern) stehen 2 feine Lebensart, Erziehung und Bildung 3 Zucht von Bakterien und anderen Lebewesen auf Naehrboden 4 Nutzung, Pflege und Bebauung von Ackerboden 5 junger Bestand von Forstpflanzen 6 das Kultivieren Tradition 1 A Ueberlieferung, Herkommen B Brauch, Gewohnheit, Gepflogen- heit C das Tradieren, Weitergabe (an spaetere Generationen) 2 ausserbiblische, von der katholischen Kirche als verbindlich anerkannte Ueberlieferung von Glaubenslehren seit der Apostelzeit Traditionalismus 1 geistige Haltung, die bewusst an der Tradition fest- haelt, sich ihrer verbunden fuehlt und skeptisch allem Neuen gegenuebersteht 2 philosophisch-theologische Richtung des fruehen 19. Jahrhunderts in Frankreich, die alle religioesen und ethischen Begriffe auf die Ueberlieferung einer Uroffenbarung Gottes zurueckfuehrte und der Vernunft Erkenntnisvermoegen absprach Duden - Deutsches Fremdwoerterbuch This text shows how two different countries define culture, through their established dictionaries. The lines on the poster highlight the contradictions.
Sorry; Fr/Eng Translation not available.

Ornaments act as stabilising elements in society, symbolic recognitions of a shared experience. The adult equivalent of the child's comfort blanket or teddy bear, they are a safe, miniature caricature of a world within a world where animals are always friendly and life harks back to a simpler, often pastoral, place where faded childhood memories meet rose-tinted mythical dreamscapes. Farm animals remind us of a simple, natural past where the countryside was an endless sea of lush green pasture, and animals cavorted happily in grassy meadows, long before the invasion of the tarmac roads and concrete cities of today. Scaled down familiar household objects - kettles, teapots, jugs and cups (invariably alluding to some form of Olde Worlde antiquity) remind us of an idealised social environment of domesticity and ritual. And, of course, the wild animals portrayed as ornament are never really wild. With big, doe eyes and expressive (almost human) faces, they elicit joy, empathy or sympathy, but never the fear or loathing afforded their living equivalent. These animals are clean, sterile, tame, and unassumingly good natured - fit for the domestic environment.

Les objects decoratifs font figures d'elements stabilisateurs dans la societe, de reconnaisances symboliques d'une experience partagee. Equivalents adultes de la reconfortante couverture d'enfant, ou de son ours en peluche, ils sont la caricature miniature et inoffensive d'un monde au sein univers ou les animaux sont toujours amicaux, et la vie revient a un environnement plus simple, souvent champetre, ou les souvenirs de jeunesse defraichis recontrent des reveries mythiques a l'eau de rose. Les animaux de ferme nous rappellent un passe simple, naturel, ou la campagne etait une mer de verts et luxuriants p‰turages, et ou les animaux cabriollaient joyeusement dans l'herbe grasse des pres, bien avant l'invasion du macadam et des cites betonnees d'aujourd'hui. Des objects domestiques, familiers - bouilloires, pots a the, cruches et tasses (faisant invariablement reference au passe d'un vieux monde) nous nrappellent un environnement social idealise de domesticite et de coutumes. Et, bien sur, les animaux sauvages representes sur ces objets decoratifs ne sont jamais reellement sauvages. Avec de grands yeux doux et des tetes si expressives (presque humaines), ils font naitre la joie, l'empathie ou la sympathie, mais jamais la peur ou l'horreur de leurs equuivalents vivants. Ces animaux sont propres, steriles, apprivoises, et bons de nature - tailles pour notre environnement domestique.


We live in a society conditioned and developed by the media, where our perceptions, desires and thoughts have been suitably trained. Events, culture and news only exist whilst the media decides it worthy of coverage, discouraging any notion of relevance. We are born into it, work and relax in it; even when we rebel, the rebellion is often defined by it.


The media is governed by the consumer ethic of continuous renewal, repackaging old and safe ideas, ensuring the unexpected and contentious is removed There is always a new film to see, a new magazine to read and a new product to buy; each requiring our time, conversation and cash. A continuous reproduction of the image but never the dream.


We come to a point where our social life is so completely immersed into the process of consumption through entertainment and instant culture , we feel unable to imagine any other existence. Increasingly, the situation has become self-fulfiling. The media has an ability to cover it's own tracks, conceal it's progress familiarise it's control as if it had always been there.


The frenzied distribution of entertainment continues apace, feeding the media circus, fewer and fewer options are offered. At this point, solutions are not found in alternative lifestyles, as these only serve as an additions to an already saturated market. By seizing the media, questioning the various forms it uses, a platform can be created for serious challenge.



Nous vivons dans une societe conditionnee par les medias, ou nos perceptions, desirs, et pensees ont ete convenablement faconnes. Les evenements, la culture et les informations existent dans la mesure ou les medias decident qu'ils meritent d'etre couverts, abandonnant toute notion de pertinence. Conditionnes, nous avons grandi; conditionnes, nous travaillons; conditionnes, nous nous resosons. Meme lorsque nous nous rebellons, cette rebellions est souvent, elleaussi, conditionnee.


Les medias sont regis par une ethique de consommation, celle du renouvelement constant, du recyclage des idees vieilles et sures, garantie contre l'inattendu et la contestation. Il y a toujours un nouveau film a voir, un nouveau magazine a lire et un nouveau bien a acheter; chacun reclamant notre temps, notre conversation, notre argent. Une reproduction continue de l'image mais jamais du reve


Nous arrivons a un point ou notre vie sociale est completement immergee dans le processus de consummation a travers le spectacle et la culture immediate, nous nous sentons incapables d'imaginer une autre existence. De plus en plus, la situation est devenue autarcique. Les medias ont une certaine habilete a couvrir leurs propres traces, en dissimulant tout proges et en habituant les gens a son controle comme s'il avait toujours existe.


La distribution frenetique des spectacles se poursuit rapidement, nourrissant le cirque des medias. De moins en moins de choix sont offerts. A L'heure actuelle, les modes de vie alternatifs n'offrent aucune solution, dans la mesure ou ils se heurtent a un marche deja sature. En s'emparant des medias, en remettant en question leurs formules, nous pouvons creer une tribune et lancer un serieux debat.



Blood Money
A recent MORI poll stated that 80% of Americans and 74% of the British favoured the death penalty. Every modern society witnesses a conflict between a perceived necessity of punishment and an uneasiness with its practice. Debate over capital punishment will always continue passionately unresolved, but this is not the issue I am dealing with. I wish to focus on Execution as Entertainment... Now it seems the last degrading moments of the condemned has been turned into a consumer product to be bought and sold for profit. A video to be watched and re-played, freeze framed, rewound, savoured; the spectacle of death. I refer specifically to a video titled "Executions" which went on sale in England last year, a disturbing new trend of voyeuristic entertainment, so popular it sold out before it could be banned. When you see it categorised as 'special interest' on the shelves at HMV along with soft porn, Police Stop, and the OJ Simpson car chase, you realise the market it is aimed at. It is not as the producers say "making an important statement about the horrors of capital punishment" or that " it is a serious document based on academic research." The video is of 21 real life executions, and being 55 minutes of lingering footage of people being shot, beheaded and gassed. And if that was not enough, they now plan to profit from a sequel of hangings. The company says "in 55 minutes we aim to dispel the myth of humane executions" How many executions do you have to witness before you are persuaded executions are inhumane? The placing of the video in the field of entertainment seems confusing. The format of a video suggests the marketing phrases such as "yours to own, to enjoy in your home, to watch again and again at your leisure". It is a format which has to be actively bought for hard cash (£13.99) or rented from your friendly neighbourhood video store (50p overnight rental) as a little light entertainment for the weekend. It seems to me then, that the only ones to gain from the condemned are the companies profiting or the voyeurs who get their kicks from the last minutes of others final degradation.
Sorry; French Translation not available.

Real life drama has become a major source of entertainment, particularly within the medium of television - a passive audience can find comfort in their personal relationship to the "ordinary", and an affinity with the cultural recognitions offered as reassurance of a shared social universe within which we all act a part. The audience becomes the subject in a continual loop of spectacular feedback, and an inherently conservative peer group pressure maintains the stability (read ' banality') of the status quo. The nature of lived experience does not change, because the agenda within which it operates is presented as a permanent fixture. Ideological codes are disseminated and reinforced, and a set of cultural boundaries is put into place - imposing its own limitations on the way an individual should act and determining the actions available to them. Opposition to a dominant ideology is forced to act within this realm of possibilities - it is a product of that which it sets out to oppose. Resistance is not futile, but it must be targeted at the level of mediation of cultural codes, rather than at the superficial products of the codes themselves. "What is termed culture reflects, but also prefigures the possibilities of organisation of life in society.
Sorry; French Translation not available.


Virtual reality's ultimate goal is to mimic reality to the point where it is indistinguishable from reality. It then becomes reality itself and ceases to be virtual, denying itself. Virtual reality tries to describe its own visual culture, but it feeds off the potent images of science fiction already present in culture at large. It cannot exist as something separate.
Sorry; French Translation not available.


Imposition / Construction
Raises the issue of the imposition of culture through trans-national advertising and the construction of gender and age specific cultures that demand consumption
Sorry; French Translation not available.

Canned ballots
Consumer power is meant to instill us with a sense of control over our everyday lives. It is projected as a new form of democracy, where people can decide what is manufactured and sold. Consumer choice does not fulfil a public demand, but products are developed, and marketed through the media to create false needs. Multi-nationals span borders and cultures, they have no need or desire to think about peoples rights, while individual states are politically unwilling to challenge their domination in the global market. When a multi-national decides to heed a consumer demand, it only pays attention to the affluent minority that can flex its financial muscle. Any notion of democracy is reduced in a consumer culture from a voice for all to a voice to those who can afford it.
Sorry; French Translation not available.

Beyond the allure of the technology and the violence, the chance to become a samouri warrior or a space amazon, and the challenge of publically signing your name at the top of a champion's score board, the arcade video game promises the miracle of resurrection for every fifty pence. Choose to become one of ten deadly new characters. Insert coin and ascend Who's to say you've not come back many times before? press 'fire' to reincarnate.

Au-dela de l'attirance pour la technologie et la violence, de l'occasion de devenir un guerrier samoura• ou une amazone de l'espace, et du defi consistant a mettre ton nom au top des meilleurs scores, le jeu video d'arcade promet le miracle.

In attempting to criticise "culture", we occupy a dubious position. Our discontent is due, at least in part, to that culture we seek to criticise. Attempts at "cultural intervention" are meaningless without an understanding of the nature of cultural production and the transference of ideological codes from a dominant hierarchy to a received social "reality".

Reality is a social construction, passed on as existent fact; to deny reality is to deny our existence as physical entities in a social space - for we have no other means by which to understand ourselves.

Language guides the way that we think our words are not an expression of abstract thoughts, but a part of a logical construction as a means to expression; in using existing codes and conventions of language, the writer reproduces the existing ideological codes inherent to that language.

Culture is created by man - social organisation, history, politics, ideological codes, common values and understanding are all passed on from generation to generation as factual information, and structure thought processes accordingly; man is created by culture.

Conformity and rebellion are borne of the same cultural tradition, that system which allows us to act; we cannot somehow liberate ourselves from these social structures, for their existence enables any and all activity on our part.

The producer of cultural artifacts has some degree of control over the methods and nature of those recognitions he produces, and acts as a mediator in the communication of ideological codes; as such, he can effect change by intervention in the act of communication.
Carrion Culture: June 1996

En entprenant de critiquer la "culture", nous occupons une position equivoque. Notre malaise est du, en partie du moins, a cette culture que nous cherchons a critiquer. Les tentatives d'"intervention culturelle" sont denuees de sens sans une comprehension de la production culturelle et le transfert des cones ideologiques depuis une hierarchie dominante vers une "realite" sociale recue.

La realite est une construction sociale, transmise comme un fait existant. Nier la realite c'est nier notre existence en tant qu'entiites physiques dans un espace social - car n'avons aucun autre moyen de nous comprendre nous-memes.

Le language guide notre facon de penser - nos mots sont pas l'expression de pens«es abstraites, mais le roulage d'une construction logique permettant l'expression; en utilisant les codes et conventions existants du language, l'ecrivain reproduit les cod es ideologiques existants inherents a ce language.

La culture est cree par l'homme. L'homme est cree par la culture - l'organisation sociale, l'histoire, la politique, les codes ideologiques, les valeurs communes et la comprehension sont tous transmis de generation en generation comme une information factuelle, et il en va de memes pour les processus de structure de la pensee.

Conformite et rebellion sont portes par la meme tradition culturelle, ce systeme qui nous permet d'agir; nous ne pouvons nous liberer en aucune facon de ces structures sociales, car leur existence nous permet toute activite, quelle qu'elle soit.

Le producteur de fabrications culturelles a un certain degre de controle sur les methodes et la nature de ces reconnaissances qu'il produit, et il agit comme mediateur dans la communication de codes ideologiques; en taut que tel, il peut effectuer un changement a travers une intervention dans l'acte de communication. Carrion Culture: June 1996

Five issues were exhibited between 1996 & 2000:
Spectacular entertainment
Local / Global
Politics of time
Modes of engagement