Dissecting the Conglomerate

Images and overview of the installation.

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). It is a true pleasure to share these images of my solo-show at the Kiehle Gallery. The image above is to the right of the gallery entrance and the order of presentation follows a counter-clockwise direction. This wall faces South. The work you see here is a mix of both the experimental and the applied, all involved in my interest in conglomerate identity. This is an orientation toward identity that is inspired by geologic terminology, not corporate associations.

I was born on a snowy morning in Missoula, Montana. My early childhood was spent in Cameroon and Malawi, then moving to Germany where I entered elementary school. My first languages were French, Swahili, and German, with a smattering of heavily accented English. My family then moved to Cairo, Egypt where I finished high-school with an international student body.

As a consequence, I have never had a national identity, but instead identify very strongly with this concept of a conglomerate. The large disk (6.5x.6.5 feet) is a tiled billboard print of lint data disks that I collected from an old dryer. I identified very strongly with these object as self-portraits, reconstituted detritus from my life then.

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). Continuing into the gallery and facing West, a clustering of nine lint data disks (each 12×12 in.) is accompanied by the Flashbelt poster (18×24 in., offset), and the first in a series of five Ficciones Typografika (24×26 in., screenprint). These were based on much smaller Letraset experiments I began in 2001, where I attempted to estrange the letterforms from themselves (more on Typografika here).

This way of making has also found it’s way into my teaching, and I have enjoyed introducing this process to introductory typography students all over the world.

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). Two more Ficciones Typografika (24×26 in., screenprint) and two more lint data disks (12×12 in.). There are sixteen of these altogether.

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). Here, a clustering involving the commemorative poster for Chile (70×100 cm, scaled from A0).

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). Moving further to the left are the posters, A Living Picture of Meeting House Square and Like Tears in Rainbows (70×100 cm). The Living Picture poster was commissioned by the camera obscura artist Richard Torchia for his show in Dublin, Ireland. The text was intentionally inverted and upside down. The Like Tears in Rainbows was originally commissioned by CRACK Magazine (UK) for a centerfold in Issue 15. This combines a favorite quote from the film, Blade Runner, and a favorite album from Radiohead.

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). Further to the left is a poster for the 2011 Eyeo Festival (24×36 in., offset) and to the left of that is a mass of all five Ficciones Typografika printed over one another. A lovely little monstratio.

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). Facing North and East. A second large lint data disk accompanied by Tempus, Lux, Spatium, a five part investigation of light phenomena seen on a corner of my old studio in graduate school. The color was applied on an oversize photocopy print by hand with Pantone markers. More on that series here and here. This work forms a cornerstone for my thinking about visual communication.

While still in graduate school, I became fascinated by the intricacy and perfection of fish scales, and how they formed an image. I was struck by the unconscious nature of this communication, which has formed over millennia. I became interested in the RGB units of old Trinitron television sets as a similar phenomenon, where the light variation of the units created the perfect illusions of time, light, and space (Tempus, Lux, Spatium). More here and here.

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). The gallery has 4×4 ft. column that was interesting to make use of. Here is the series of Kodak collages I created on a bet from students who were complaining about the high cost of production. I bet them that I could make something beautiful from the trash can in the room.

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). The column facing Northwest, with my inspiring wife, the poet Elisabeth Workman. To the right of the Kodak collages is the Zirkel System print (24×36 in, screenprint), based on a poster and experimental font I designed in 1998 as part of a larger identity system project for VCU. Quote is by your hero and mine, Piet Zwart.

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). More detail of Tempus, Lux, Spatium and two pedestals where I included both of the original lint data disks seen in the large scale prints.

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). Facing North are two more Ficciones Typografika plus an A0 poster for VCU’s recent Chair search and a collaboration with Elisabeth Workman, Enter the Dragon (70×100 cm).

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). Facing East again.

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). Facing South reveals the column where a monitor is playing my short film, Urbi et Orbi (4:36 min., 20010). This film premiered at the Big Spring Film Festival 2004 in Bellefonte, PA. From the Latin: To the city and to the world. An attempt to address both personal trials and the events of 9/11. Split into two monologues, and shot over six months (had to wait for snow), I tried to make sense of the ultimate calamity that was this great clash of cultures, and offer a humble and alternative world view that attempts to solve the meaning of life. To the right is the Fukuda print (26×36.5 in, screenprint).

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). Facing East from the gallery entrance.

Please feel free to contact me with more questions or inquiries regarding the show. I am grateful to the St. Cloud State Faculty for their kind invitation to show, with special thanks to Professors Keith Christensen and Alexa Horochowski for their kindness and support. A thousand thanks to the invaluable help and assistance of Jasio Stefanski and Lauren Thorson. I’d also like to thank Steve Listwon, David Bradberry, and Mohamud Mumin. Below, Urbi et Orbi (2001).

Above: Erik Brandt, Conglomerate Identity (2012). Urbi et Orbi (4:36 min., 2001).

6 Responses to “Dissecting the Conglomerate”

BIG BIG LIKE:), I wish I could be there.

Omid Hamooni added these words on Oct 11 12 at 11:46 AM

RT @geotypografika: Dissecting the Conglomerate: Images and overview from my recent show. http://t.co/bSfmzZg6 #design #typography

UtpalPande added these words on Oct 11 12 at 12:21 PM

Many thanks, Omid, wish you could too.

Erik Brandt added these words on Oct 11 12 at 12:59 PM

Dissecting the Conglomerate http://t.co/CmfYJ1cd

MelindaKiba added these words on Oct 11 12 at 1:47 PM

Congratulations Erik! Looks like a wonderful exhibition, well done Conejo.

P.S.: I was going to protest about the absence of the Ch’alla poster, but then I saw it the last couple of pictures.

Marina Córdova added these words on Oct 11 12 at 4:00 PM

Many thanks, Marina! :-)

Erik Brandt added these words on Oct 15 12 at 9:49 AM

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