VINCENZO ANGILERI


The Plastic Kingdom of the Pacific Ocean

A fictional and evil micro-nation born on the island of plastic trash floating in the Pacific.
theplastickingdom.org
@theplastickingdom

The Plastic Kingdom of the Pacific Ocean is a new-born country founded by people who fled our civilization and settled to live on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Rejected by society, they decided to leave the landmass in order to sail and conquer the seventh continent, an island mainly formed of plastic trash. The Country fights for its right to pollute and continue contaminating the ocean.


You know there’s an island of plastic trash floating in the Pacific Ocean, right?
Well, now imagine a bunch of people moving there and found their own country.






The King's Speech

In his first address to the world, His Plastic Majesty King A-lex delivers a strong and emotional speech, announcing the global community the creation of “a Plastic Kingdom for all”.






The Arrival of The Queen
Loom Festival 2018

The Queen of the Plastic Kingdom announces her first visit ever on a landmass. The installation recreate the island of plastic garbage and the throne of the Queen of the floating sovereign state. During the performance people would knee in front of the Queen, and accept an homage.










The March of the Plastic Rebels
Barcelona Design Week 2018

A group of rebels from The Plastic Kingdom marches on Barcelona against the ‘revalue’ campaign and the world’s new rise of environmentalism. The protest claims the right to keep polluting and keep contaminating the Oceans.




A whole fictional universe was created, from the national passport to the official website of the micronation, a campaign against Greenpeace, the traditional plastic clothing of the Country, etc. Through such dystopian narrative, and by embodying evil, the project aimed to raise awareness on the toxic industrial system that is destroying our environment and our oceans.



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"I thought I would miss real nature then I realised I’m nature
and I have nature inside of me" Unknown Nº1



Border Patrol: Leaving the Organic World
Dream Magazine Vol.2 

As they arrive to the shores of the Plastic Kingdom. Our Border Police forces confiscate almost everything they have. As they enter our inorganic Country, they are allowed to pick only a few belonging. Finally, they are asked to leave a statement for the records. These are their selected items and their last declarations.





“I just want to live and play like the old good days” Unknown No2
“It was a dangerous journey from where I am from. I travelled across so many frontiers. I just had a bag with GPS, God, that letter mama wrote when the war has just started, and a seed, even if it would never grow.” Unknown No3


“I actually, you know, get quickly used to radical changes. But this time around I’m scared to forget how the real world looks like. I want to remember how summer smells like. I’m scared not to make love in the woods anymore. I’m scared I won’t breathe anymore. I’m scared I will hate the sea. Oh sure I will hate it. I wanted my life to be special. I don’t know where this will bring me.” Unknown No4
"Got nothing to say" Unknown No5



In our era of superficiality, emotion, and fake news, narratives can help imagine, give clues and shape people’s perspective. Our narrative suggest a parallel world, a mythology. And mythologies find their way into people’s subconscious mind, into our imagination, into our universal capacity to hear and make sense of stories. Which it is what makes us human. This is why we ask the audience to accept the fictional premise in order to learn and reflect on crucial themes of our contemporary times. Among others, these:

1.  The toxic industrial system that is destroying our environment and our oceans.
2. The weak and unprepared response of our Countries to the era of great migrations: our policies of closeness and rejection of human beings whose lives are threatened.
3.  The rise of ignorance and nationalisms that is seen across many Western Countries.



Vincenzo Angileri. Creative Direction
Vincenzo Angileri and Olga de la Iglesia.
Concept

Chapter I. The King’s Speech
Joe Fletcher. The King
Bernat Mestres. Film and production
Olga de la Iglesia. Art Direction
Stephania Yepes. Stylism

Chapter II. The Queen’s Throne
Cristina Román. The Queen
Pablo Marfá. The Servant
Marta Armengol. Set Design
Stephania Yepes. Stylism
Natalia Ramas. Art Assistant
Valerie Steenhaut. Art Assistant
Bernat Mestres. Film and production
Celine Hasenstab. Still Pictures
Chapter III. The Plastic March
Stephania Yepes. Stylism and Art Direction
Marta Armengol. Art Assistant
Marc Medina. Photography and Film
Hanna Tervonen. Dancer.

David Peñuela. Website
Special thanks to Sergi, Silvia, Edo, Romy, Ola, David, Ale, Pablo, Nicole, Gastón, Carlos, and all those who got involved so far.

Mark


The Last Supper

A site-specific performance by Odiseo for Gucci

Love is the purpose of all things. A contemporary Judas is begging for Forgiveness, explaining the reasons of her actions and claiming back her betrayal as the ultimate act of Love for Jesus. In a surreal and abstract last supper, Jesus is alone at the table, her eyes are absent, her mind empty, her body is floating along the far memories of the last moments before the kiss of Judas, which will finally end up her Silence.






WHAT IF JUDAS’ BETRAYING WAS AN ACT OF LOVE?
WHAT IT JUDAS HAD NOT DONE WHAT HE DID?







“I never loved Jesus as she would have liked. But I loved her. I loved her! That’s the only truth. The one truth nobody wants to know about. They make you believe in heaven and hell, light and shadow, flower and poison, black and white. But everything in life is tinted by a shade of grey, intangible and infinite.”









THE LAST SUPPER 
A performance by ODISEO
for GUCCI

Directed by VINCENZO ANGILERI
Art Direction EMMY KOSKI
Judas GIULIA PERELLI
Jesus SUSANNA IHEME
Script LETICIA SALA
Styling VERONICA PANATI
Make Up MARILÚ ROSSI
Production ARCHIVIO PERSONALE for GUCCI

Filmed and edited by FURIO GANZ
Photography by MARTA OLIVA. Folch
Curated by SAUL MARCADENT and MARIA LUISA FRISA IUAV University of Venice

The site-specific performance was developed by Odiseo in the framework of PUBLISHING TRAFFIC, a series of events curated by SAUL MERCADENT for GUCCI. ODISEO is a brand by FOLCH @folchstudio

Special thanks to Camilla Orlandi, the newly found amazing brother Cristiano Brizzi, and to everyone involved in making this special thing happen.
FIRENZE ITA 2019

FIME

Mark


THE THIRD MAN:
THE STORY OF MICHAEL COLLINS

Creative Writing for Odiseo 


Michael Collins was the third astronaut in the mission Apollo 11. And the only one who wasn’t allowed to set foot on the moon. This piece is about the meaning of reaching one own goals and the irony of life.






Michael Collins is the only human, alive or dead, past or present, that is not within in the frame of this picture. Collins was the third astronaut on spaceflight Apollo 11, the closest a man had ever got to the moon, without ever stepping foot on it.

He stayed alone in command module Columbia, waving farewell to his colleagues Armstrong and Aldrin as they left in the Eagle to enjoy a summer walk on Earth’s greatest satellite. These are his words.


“You’re not alone. You’re not lost. A bit lonely maybe. You’re fine. Why wouldn’t I be fine? I’m part of this. I’m part of what’s going to happen just a few hundred metres away. A historic moment. It isn’t exactly how I imagined this would be though. And I would be a liar and a fool if I said that I have the best of the three Apollo 11 seats. You’re essential to this mission. You’re a part of it.

“IT ISN’T EXACTLY HOW I IMAGINED THIS WOULD BE THOUGH. AND I WOULD BE A LIAR AND A FOOL IF I SAID THAT I HAVE THE BEST OF THE THREE APOLLO 11 SEATS”


Neil and Buzz have left the command module. I can see them floating through the infinite void towards the cratered satellite. The lunar module approaches its destination. I feel a huge weight crushing me. Any moment now, the Eagle will touch the surface. Neil and Buzz seem to be drifting away into empty space as the command module rotates. And then I see Her —the Moon, closer than any man has ever seen her before. And now behind her, I see Earth.

Shining, fragile, blue. Everything I know is right in front of my eyes. Right there. Yet so far away. Every story, every life, every death, past and future, every person I’ve known and loved, even those I’ve only heard about, the people who fucked me over, my parents, my friends; they’re all right there, in front of me. And I’m up here. It’s kind of ironic. Behind me, there’s just darkness. A blue dot. Earth. A tiny fucking dot, floating there, in the middle of nothing. I’m lonely.


Radio contact doesn't really comfort me. I hear the instructions and carry out the tasks I set out to do. I know them by heart: for years, I have replayed every second of this day in my head. Maybe a billion times. I can sense the nerves of the people in the control room. The whole team is counting on us. They are waiting for this historic landing. Everything’s under control.

Now we just wait. It’s so quiet. The first man on the moon. My god, I’m shaking. The Eagle’s doors are opening. Neil will be the first man to ever set foot on the moon. Fuck. The silence is deafening. Suddenly I hear screams and shouts of joy from the control room. From every corner of the world, I guess. The eyes of humanity pointed at my two buddies, my partners. Shit, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this lonely. I dreamed of this moment for a very long time. It was us who got selected, I deserved this too. It’s an honor, god damn it. It was always us three.

“EVERYBODY WILL REMEMBER MY NAME.
DAD. HOW PROUD HE WOULD BE RIGHT NOW.”


It’s an honor to be part of this expedition. An honor to be able to be here, to have come here, to be so close. I’m so close. I’m so fucking close to everything I’ve ever dreamed of. Everybody will remember me. This is it. We’re making history. Oh, Lord. Neil’s foot touches the ground — EVERYBODY WILL REMEMBER ME. The hero who went to the moon but never set foot on it. Put LUCKY on my tombstone.”



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THE THIRD MAN: MICHAEL COLLINS Short story for Odiseo Vol.13 
Fake Monologue

Text by VINCENZO ANGILERI
Photography MICHAEL COLLINS

Published on ODISEO VOL.13
Edited by FOLCH
Thanks to Emmy Koski and Bis Turnor

odiseomagazine.com
folchstudio.com


Mark


OLGA DE LA IGLESIA

Awarded with Silver ADG Laus Awards 2017



olgadelaiglesia.net

An interactive and animated portfolio, designed and edited for photographer and artist Olga de la Iglesia, aiming at bringing to life that pursuit of colour and shapes inhabiting both her personal and commercial work.




Outpacing the division between commissioned and personal work, the portfolio visually explores 11 concepts, which give name to the sets.

Design and editing cast light on the patterns underlying the artist’s work. Hidden colors, overlapping shapes, video glimpses, evoking words and poems, all contribute to exalting the visual research. Instagram video is elevated to the status of art.


Refusing any decoration, all elements convey a narrative. The sense of wonder evoked by photography is translated in the gratification of discovery (hovers reveal colours and sounds): gamification makes visible to user what is seen by the artist.



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OLGA DE LA IGLESIA
Website design
olgadelaiglesia.net

Concept, Design and Editing. VINCENZO ANGILERI
Photography. OLGA DE LA IGLESIA
Words. LETICIA SALA
Coded by. LLOS&CO


Echoes of Type

An exploration of the relationship between letters, sounds and meaning 


A research in the slippery territory of Sound Symbolism: language and visual thought, the origin of the alphabet, and the evolution of typefaces. Commissioned by Pentagram's Circular #19: The Editors’ Issue (2016)



Why do the letterforms that we see everyday look as they do? Is there any link with the sound they produce? Why could the word Humpty Dumpty resemble an egg-like character, while the word Kiki maybe wouldn’t? Knowing that the first and most archetypal letter of the alphabet used by 2.6 billion people across the globe derives from a cow head; how could this help a designer’s work?

To rid us from the obligation of finding certain answers, we explore the fascinating and mysterious relationship between typography, sounds, words and their meaning.




I. SOUND SYMBOLISM or DO THE SOUND OF WORDS HIDE ECHOES OF THEIR MEANING?

In Through the Looking-glass, Lewis Carroll’s Alice stumbles upon an enormous egg-shaped figure celebrating his un-birthday. She tries to introduce herself: “It’s a stupid name enough!” Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently. “What does it mean?”“Must a name mean something?” Alice asked doubtfully. “Of course it must,” Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: “My name means the shape I am – and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.”

Until recently, according to the conception universally-agreed between most linguists that words are a mere collection of sounds, unrelated to any actual meaning, what Lewis Carroll’s egg-like character said to Alice was pure nonsense. The idea that names —and thus every vocal sound—carry meaning in and of themselves has always been there, mysterious and fascinating. Pulling the camera back a bit, exactly in 1595, Shakespeare included in Romeo and Juliet the lines “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet”, giving somehow his personal take on the issue.

And we can go even further back than this. In Plato’s Cratylus, Socrates sees the creation of a word as art: as the artist who outlines his subject on a canvas using color and tints, the creator of words picks sounds and phonemes to generate meaningful semantic units. Socrates is asked by two men, Hermogenes and Cratylus, whether names are natural or conventional, the first arguing that the words we use are just a convention; while Cratylus, in the same manner as Humpty Dumpty, believed that language is not arbitrary and that within words reside echoes of their meaning, in virtue of the sounds they are made of. So far, linguists mostly agree on the assumption that words are nothing more than a conventional set of letterforms: modern linguistics suggests that the sign is arbitrary, that “boy” could mean “girl” and vice versa. But —maybe— this doesn’t mean it is true.


Look at the two figures above. Have you ever seen them? One seems a spiky sharp-angled star and the other looks like a sinuous bubble. Then you are asked: “Which of the two is bouba? And which is kiki?” You probably already know the answer.

The fact of the matter is, that it’s not just you that paired the jagged shape with ‘kiki’ and the rounded shape with ‘bouba.’ You are in good company.

According to an article in Scientific American an astonishing 98% of people chose the same pairings. The smooth lines of the round shaped figure metaphorically mimic the fluid and gentle sound of ‘bouba’, while the sharp phonemic inflections of kiki matched perfectly to visually represent a jagged shape.

The experiment suggests that the human brain is somehow able to extract abstract properties from the shapes and sounds. These situations are usually referred to as synesthesia, in other words when one sensory stimulus is mixed with another. 

Following their investigations on synaesthesia and its role in language, neuroscientists Vilayunur Ramachandran and Edward Hubbard demonstrated that we all experience in some way this connection between sounds, shapes and their meaning. The echo generated by these studies led to a renaissance of the assumption of Sound symbolism, a process by which characteristics of words are correlated systematically to specific articulatory or acoustic properties of sounds, both on imitative and synesthetic level.

Here is a rough classification:


Onomatopeia    This is the least significant type of symbolism. It is simply imitative of sounds or suggests something that makes a sound. It is fascinating to observe that the English term onomatopoeia comes clearly from the Greek language and it means the imitation of a sound, the compound word onomatopoeia (ονοματοποιία) means originally ‘making or creating names.’



Highness and lowness    In many cases, vowels somehow show a systematic correlation with the concept of size. Briefly, there is cross-species recognition and exploitation of the frequency code: the association of high acoustic frequency with smallness and low acoustic frequency with largeness. An example is chico and gordo (Spanish for ‘small’ and ‘big’): just a little example that amazingly finds correspondence in many languages — Greek’s μικρός (mikrós) and μακρός (makrós); French’s petit and grand; Italian’s piccolo and grande; Japanese’s 小さい (Chīsai) and 大きい (ōki), among others.



Clustering    This is the most, let’s say, audacious kind of sound symbolism. The main statement is that words that share a sound sometimes have something in common, because some sets of sounds turn up a lot (but not always) in words with similar meanings or associations. For example if a word begins with a particular phoneme, then there is likely to be a number of other words starting with that single phoneme somehow refers to the same semantic area. A good example is the initial consonant cluster /gl/, which often begins words associated with light e.g. ‘gleam’, ‘glint’, ‘glitter’, ‘glisten’.



Iconism    Iconism is universal across languages and refers to the property of a particular phoneme to be given synesthetic characteristics. For example, according to Margaret Magnus, author of the book Gods of the Word, “one way is to look at a group of words that all refer to the same thing, and that differ only in their sound, like 'stamp', stomp', 'tamp', 'tromp', 'tramp', 'step'. An /m/ before the /p/ makes the action more forceful - compare 'stamp' with 'step' or 'tamp'. The /r/ sets the word in motion, especially after a /t/ so a 'tamp' is in one place, but a 'tramp' goes for a walk.”

Typograph    “Writing is the solid form of language” Robert Bringhurst

Typography is the symbolic representation of language, a graphic convention representing oral speech. And among all the different elements of graphic design, typography is the very soul of the discipline. Letterforms have the power to reproduce almost universally meaningful sounds units or ideas through a limited number of conventional marks, which on the other side allow infinite possibilities of diverse styling and combinations.

Sound symbolism & communication    If synaesthesia and phonesthesia are universally perceivable on different levels of sensibility, then it is not difficult to imagine all the possible repercussions this has on visual communication, from art to graphic design. Experiments and uses of cross-modal perception can be found in the work of painters, artists, marketers and designers.

Sound symbolism takes a crucial role in design work: choosing a typeface for a movie-title, laying out the elements for a poster, making the white balance work in a poetry book, are acts that convert sounds into shape, oral speech into type. It may seem that, once the typeface is chosen, the power of expression decreases. Wrong; there are still plenty of possibilities —from size/scale to colour to linewidth and sense breaks— for a designer to change the perception of the content. And to make a ‘kiki’ word look more ‘bouba’, or vice versa.


II. FROM IMAGES TO LETTERS OR HOW OUR WRITING SYSTEM WAS BORN

“Words are grounded in oral speech, writing tyrannically locks them into a visual field forever” Walter Ong



The almost universal set of signs for representing oral speech we call ‘alphabet’ is perhaps the most important technology that humanity had ever developed. Many writing systems have been invented throughout history and some of those —ideographic, syllabic, phonetic— still exist and are used by millions of people. Our alphabet, where each letter represents roughly a phoneme of a spoken language, is the most economic, efficient and widespread, being used by more than 2.5 billion people across the globe.

The Roman alphabet was a major factor leading to a massive categorisation and diffusion of knowledge and the creation of scholarship. It rose across millennia as the main tool of communication between people, cultures and nations. As a broadly employed system, it embraced many languages, dialects and cultures with fewer than 30 glyphs. The complex alphabet we use everyday has integrated with the phonemes of many different spoken sounds from many different languages, losing completely the univocal correspondence sound–sign. Just think of the English language: the copious and continuous influences from other languages across history shaped a language filled with spelling irregularities, complexities and exceptions, and the same combination of letterforms can change its sound depending on the word.

Oriental sublimenes    Sticking to the title of this essay, as it reads in our ‘curious exploration of the relationship between shapes and sounds’ it is necessary to mention what has been described by British linguist Geoffrey Samson as “one of the great intellectual achievements of humankind”: the Korean alphabet, Hangul. Its origins go back to the 1400s, when during the Joseon Dynasty a team of scholars were entrusted to develop a phonetic writing system for Korean language, which at that time was written using a complex system of Chinese characters.

The letters of Hangul are designed following to articulatory phonetics and to the principles of the complementary opposites of yin and yang. Their shape is related to the sound they represent and moreover their form conveys physical features or symbolic meanings itself. Consonants are constructed taking inspiration from the position of the tongue pronouncing a specific sound, while vowels are characterised as ‘bright’ or ‘dark’ depending whether they are high or low.

Without delving further into the complexity of other writing systems, Hangul serves as a rational, scientific and sound-rooted writing system that since the time of Renaissance has inspired many Western linguistics, typographic reformers and designers.

The alphabet across millennia    Inventors, type designers, alphabetic innovators, bishops, educators: many figures gave their contribution to the possible developments of our alphabet across the centuries. In the ’30s, the celebrated type designer Eric Gill suggested the adoption of a phonetic writing system, replacing Latin letters with shorthand for the sake of beauty and efficiency. Kurt Schwitters, with his ‘Systemschrift’, proposed a version of the Latin alphabet with the glyphs modified in order to relate to their sounds. Another important voice who joined the conversation is the playwright George Bernard Shaw, who offered a reward for anyone who might design a simple phonetic alphabet for the English language. Ronald Kingsley Read responded to the contest with the Shavian alphabet, a highly systematic writing system that consists of tall, deep and short letters and tries to eliminate the difficulties of conventional spelling.

Variations on form    The debate of the alphabetic reform didn’t stick only to the relationship with phonemes. The twentieth century opened with strong praise for modernism and the idea of a universal typeface for a universal alphabet grew, mostly in art and design schools. Typographers and artists from the Bauhaus —amongst whom it is necessary to mention giants like Herbert Bayer and Jan Tschichold— had been working on the ‘universal alphabet’, trying to break away from the ancient norms and to develop new typefaces based on the simplest geometrical shapes. Across the ’50s, Max Bill, teacher at the Hochschule fűr Gestaltung in Ulm, designed two posters that are outstanding for the absence of type. Bill designed the essential letters by drawing with his ruling-pen the minimum signs for each glyph, as part of the war against the Carolingian tradition he was fighting with the other Mitteleuropean schools of design. On the same road towards achieving the graphic minimum, in 1966 Wim Crouwel designed —for purely innovation’s sake— a new alphabet producing the lettershapes by using just vertical and horizontal elements. Like Bill’s typeface, the design is austere and beautiful. Many people have attempted to change the traditional and familiar form of our alphabet. But it didn’t always look as we see it today.


Our letter A was a cow head    How alphabets are born? Our writing system evolved across millennia, passing from different stages of evolution that shaped the letterforms we use today: since the beginning of time, our writing system went from the shape of a cow to the complexity of alphabets, passing from a pictographic representation to the complete abstraction of forms. The history is long and fascinating.

Shapes for Sounds (Mark Batty Publisher, 2008) is a wonderful treatise on the relationship between sight and sound and the history of our writing system, brought to us by Timothy Donaldson, British letterworker, typographer, graphic designer and teacher. The tome is fascinating as it delves into the story of the alphabet we use everyday, digging deep into how letters were crystallised from sounds, words formed, scripts invented. The beauty of his investigation lies in his multidisciplinary research and the apparent ease with which he brings together information on topics like type design, organs of speech, hieroglyphics, maritime signal flags, and history of language itself. Donaldson explains to us why we should be so grateful to those guys who scribbled some signs on the wall of a cave somewhere in between the Egyptian cities of Thebes and Abydos in 1800BCE: believed to be the earliest occurrence of alphabetic writing.

A few centuries later, a more developed collection of frequently repeated symbols can be found in the Sinai script, one more step toward Phoenician alphabet. In this script, we can track the origins of a character destined to become our A that by then was a picture of a cow head, named Aleph. In the Greek alphabet, the shape of the head was gradually simplified to a triangle, while the horns rotated and turned into the crossbar: it was then renamed Alpha and eventually became the first letter of a writing system used by one-third of the planet.



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ECHOES OF TYPE: An exploration of the fascinating relationship between letters, sounds and meaning
Essay

Text by VINCENZO ANGILERI
Illustrations by POL MONTSERRAT

Published on CIRCULAR #18
Edited by PENTAGRAM
Thanks to ELDORADO and FOLCH

typocircle.com
folchstudio.com
pentagram.com

Mark