Low & Low

I curated a small exhibition at VCFA in coordination with our first semester students’ regular Documentation project in October of 2014. The exhibition was accompanied by the following explanatory text:

Low & Low: Today’s Trash, Tomorrow’s Treasure 

Our every day aesthetic is shaped often not by what we choose to consume, but by what is forced upon us. This small exhibition compares and contrasts core samples of “disposable” graphic design from 60 years ago or more and the present day—belying questions as to the “veneer” of history… What happens to direct mail, real estate advertisements, everyday flyers, et al if they are discovered in the future?

 Presented are ephemera from my everyday life in Tokyo—flyers, product promotion, a coaster from a favorite bar, as well as promotional material from the realms of the design industry and fine art. In all, the sense of contemporary vernacular Japanese graphic design comes through—it all feels quite commonplace.

 An opposing set of materials are also presented—printed promotional items from over five decades ago—some pre-world War 2 and some immediate post-War. These items were found in a used bookstore in Fukuoka Prefecture, in Osaka, and in Tokyo. Included are travel brochures, product labels, an electronics brochure, and a matchbox for a bar/cafe.

 These items are very much a documentation of national design vernaculars—of design from everyday life in Japan, just in different eras.