with Silas Munro
“Abject typography” encompasses the horrors of recent typographic innovations that are linked to dark turns in culture. The aberrant, the un-, and the unfortunate all describe types of the lowliest kind. Abject typography ranges from the intentionally unattractive to the unintendedly hideous. It is patently ugly: beyond a zombie modernism and a tortured post-modernism. The abject is a pervasive aesthetic that results from the disruptive experience of living in a digital age. Type styles can be co-opted instantly, and they are. The typographic pile-up is scummy with a residue of nostalgia for early internet, pre-grid, and post-grid expressions. Psychoanalytic philosopher Julia Kristeva defines “abjection” as a breakdown in distinguishing between “self” and “other,” creating a “zone of inhabitability.” Across a wide swath of visual culture, abject typography is the kind that creates a pit in your stomach: you can’t look, and you can’t look away.
About Silas Munro
Silas Munro applies design to inspire people to better themselves and effect positive change on society. His LA-based studio, Poly-Mode, supports organizations with cultural and community impact. Collaborators include: The Baltimore Museum of Art, Mark Bradford, the Hillary Clinton campaign, The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Housing Works, MoMA, the Wynwood Arts District in Miami, FL, and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs. His self-initiated projects have been supported by grants and residencies, including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Munro’s research, design work, and writings have been published in many forms across the world. As an educator, Munro focuses on expanded design studies. He has served as a critic, lecturer, and professor at many internationally ranked Art and Design programs. Munro serves as Assistant Professor in ComArts / Grad GD at Otis College of Art and Design, and Advisor in the MFA Program in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts.