Counter Points

Celebrating progressive published objects, from music to magazines, Future Artefacts is on a mission to shape the future of media. Discover how and win an exclusive tour of the show...

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Future Artefacts email invites by OK-RM

Grafik caught up with Ben Freeman of Ditto Press, who has co-curated Future Artefacts along with Deano Jo, and Rory McGrath of OK-RM, which is responsible for the exhibition's graphic identity.

Ben, please talk us through the origins of the Future Artefacts project… what inspired you to embark on it?
About two years ago, we were talking about the parallels between the record label and art publishing worlds, both of which have undergone a massive transformation due to technology and the economy. Our take was that these worlds were being brought together, in a sense, by appreciation of the physical object itself; a new market was emerging that couldn’t previously have existed.

Books, magazines and records played an massive part in our formative years and the content has migrated to other platforms, but space has opened up in the world for different types of media consumption: fast and slow, digital and physical.

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Close Your Eyes by Gareth Mcconnell, Self Publish Be Happy

Rory, how did you get involved? What was the brief from Ben and Deano?
RM: We were approached by Ben and Deano several months ago at an extremely early stage of the project to collaborate with the team to build an approach from the ground up. It was important for us to fully need to understand what the team had in mind and to help decipher its ideology. The process started with workshops in where collectively we analysed the organisation, taking into account: What is on the outside: surroundings/context/outlook and what is on the inside: legacy/beliefs/people/activities. The result of this research and thinking forms the basis for and sets the parameters of the visual identity.

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Future Artefacts flyers by OK-RM

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Future Artefacts posters by OK-RM

The show has some admirably ambitious aims – 'to provoke and influence the future of media, beyond what already exists' – what would you hope to see happening in wake of this show?
BF: We want Future Artefacts to encourage the industry to produce less and produce better. If media exists in physical form, it needs to justify its existence in a way that was never previously in question. In a way, consumption drives production, but in another way we can showcase how beautiful and special these things can be, and encourage more discernment in consumers. And this doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money: there are beautiful artefacts available for fivers and tenners, right up to thousands of pounds.

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Incitation by Olga Bell, One Little Indian

Rory, how did you approach the design of the identity, as an entity that would be applied over both print, digital and 3D media?
RM: We believe that visual identity is not just about aesthetics or externality. It should operate as a tool that filters input to result in clear and communicative output. It is an instrument that encourages efficiency, stimulates activity and gives opportunity for surprising results. A good visual identity should enable an ongoing conversation and needs to be able to live dynamically across various media and contexts.

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Future Artefacts typeface by OK-RM and by Nicolas Eigenheer

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Future Artefacts logo by OK-RM: typefaceby Nicolas Eigenheer

Ben, you have a great roster of exhibitors – could you pick out some personal highlights we can look out for in the show?
BF: We personally selected the entire show, and we believe in every label and publisher that we’re featuring. For example:

—Bjork’s pioneering work with M/M Paris.
—AMC Books; showing how edit and production can filter an incredible archive through to concise and thoughtful artefacts.
—Reify producing 3D printed totems of music, which interact with an app to produce augmented reality experiences.
—Studio Operative’s work with Samara Scott, and their focussed and experimental approach to print production.
—Diagonal Records marriage of immaculate design and world-class techno.
—In Other Words, the new imprint from our design agency, OK-RM who along with showcasing their FOS book, created our beautiful visual identity.

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Hester, Diagonal Records

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Mould Map, Landfill Editions

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Tabula Rasa by John Stezaker, Riding House Press

The event this month is just the start of a bigger endeavour. What can we look forward to next?
BF: The fair is the focus this year, and an established format that will reach a large audience to communicate our ethos. Beyond that, we will work on product collaborations and commissions, and act as curators in a broader sense. Everything in Future Artefacts has been filtered through our tastes, and there is so much scope to do more with the new community that we’re creating. Most importantly, we want to provoke the development of the media object, and create experiences for a new generation like the experiences of our own youths.

The excellent people behind Future Artefacts are offering Grafik readers a free and exclusive curator-led tour of the exhibition 11am, Saturday 24 October.

— For a chance to join the tour, email with the subject line "SWEET FA" before midday Friday 23 October. 

The first 50 people to email will be offered a place on the tour. 

Future Artefacts is at Shoreditch Studios, 37 Batemans Row,
London EC2A 3HH
23–25 October 2015