Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bullets For Your Brain

‘Bullets For Your Brain’ Publication

PH Typeface

The ‘08/‘09 ISTD Student Assessment Scheme briefs included a music-based project which asked the student to select two songs from two decades of the twentieth century and produce a typographic interpretation of both in on-screen or published form. Alan Casey, whose work is shown above, went one further and also designed a typeface to fully accentuate his concept - his rationale behind the project is fully reproduced below. Alan achieved a pass for his efforts.

Bullets For Your Brain
Given that everything was to stem from the lyrics of two songs selected from different decades of the twentieth century, it was vital that they harbour a depth of meaning that led far beyond themselves. The song If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next (1998 - Manic Street Preachers) shares the inner struggles of an individual who answered the call to confront Fascism in the Spanish Civil War. An exhortation to oppose evil and involve oneself with life, it succinctly exposes the fear and disillusionment that accompany, and all too often are all that remains of, ideology and courage. In complete opposition, Tomorrow Never Knows (1966 - The Beatles) expresses the belief that life and all its pains are illusory and that by involving oneself in it one is merely reinforcing the illusion and prolonging the torment. John Lennon apparently wrote the song having taken LSD and read The Psychedelic Experience.

This contemporary reworking of The Tibetan Book of The Dead (from which it freely quoted), claimed that the ego-death experienced under the influence of LSD and other psychedelic drugs is essentially the same as the Tibetan forty day process of death and therefore requires similar guidance.

I decided that the lyrics to both songs would act as a beginning or jumping off point from which concepts, quotations and possibly imagery would radiate. Thus the final design would emerge from, but be far more than, an interpretation of lyrical content. Wishing to steer clear of mockpropaganda, Buddhist mandalas or overt psychedelia the idea of texts balancing/neutralizing/reinforcing one another came to dominate my thinking.

The juxtaposition of seemingly incompatible truths if handled sensitively and with restraint might capture in print a measure of the uneasy equilibrium these apparent contradictions possess.

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