Typojanchi 2013
Seoul International Typography Biennale

August 30–October 11
10:00 am– 7:00 pm
Closed every Monday
Free admission

Culture Station Seoul 284
1 Tongil-ro, Jung-gu
Seoul 100-162, Korea
T. 82-2-3407-3500
F. 82-2-3407-3510


Hosted by
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

Organized by
Korea Craft & Design Foundation
Korean Society of Typography


Typojanchi 2013
Administration Office
Korea Craft & Design Foundation
5F, 53 Yulgok-no, Jongno-gu
Seoul 110-240, Korea
T. 82-2-398-7945
F. 82-2-398-7999
E. typojanchi@kcdf.kr

Typojanchi 2011

Single-channel video
Created for screening at the Seoul Square Media Canvas

Oh Eun
Born in 1982, Korea

Chris Ro
Born in 1976, Korea

Oh Eun’s work pushes the aesthetics of wordplay—largely neglected in Korean poetry—to its extreme. His rhetorics are cheerful yet poignant and agile. His poems feature various language-speakers and relentlessly provoke and expand the reader’s consciousness. But his poems do not end up as mere wordplays: rather, they further complicate the meanings and relations of words and create new verbal situations, asking questions on our social conditions and values shaped by our language. He studied sociology at Seoul National University, and earned a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Culture Technology, KAIST. He debuted in 2002, and has published two collections of poems and an anthology of essays on art.

Chris Ro is a second-generation Korean-American designer, living and working in Korea since 2010. He has organized with his students a research project devoted to the Korean visual culture, Ondol Project, and has published three issues so far. With his studio Better Days Institute, he has been involved in extensive researches on design writing, graphic design and typography. As a practitioner, he works across various media including book design, branding, advertising and motion graphics. He studied architecture at the University of California in Berkeley, and earned his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Currently he is professor at Hongik University, and a board member of the Korean Society of Typography.

Chris Ro interprets Oh Eun’s “” as a tribute to creative processes, and discovers hands as a common element in the creation of text as well as imagery. In this motion poetry, the hands compose, break and modify words, playing a crucial role in realizing different meanings.

The fundamental thread that links both text, type and form throughout this project is process. It is an examination and expression of how we, both as creators, go about creating something from nothing. As I began to decipher the text of the artist, Oh Eun, I began to interpret it as a rather playful tribute to his own processes and idiosyncrasies while generating text. So I began to think what might be apropos in such contexts. And after much deliberation, it occurred to me that perhaps I could also reflect on some of my own processes and means for creation. It then occurred to me that perhaps the one thing we did share was the enabling of our hands to put thought to form or thought to content. So process was the overarching theme and our hands became the instigator or catalyst, that which enabled process. Our hands are the vehicles by which we both express ourselves. Chris works with his eyes. Oh Eun works with his ears. We both tell our stories with our hands. Marks to paper.

The other sub-theme that we were experimenting with was the completion of meaning. With some of these instances of we were curious how the hands could add or subtract meaning through these interactions. So in several cases during the animation, the hands are adjusting, changing or bringing in different completions of .

The project was difficult to say the least. As a semi-Korean or almost-Korean, I have my issues with everyday functioning text. But to take this expressive text and interpret and really catch the nuances was extremely difficult. It was written in a manner that was not too difficult to at least understand the basic underlying meaning but again, it is the nuances that I could not pick up on. At least not right away. But I think this is the challenge of the graphic designer. It is how we interpret and re-interpret in a visual way that other people can experience. And in so doing, others can also see in some ways, the way I see Oh Eun’s text. But again, it was not easy. I think physically this was quite challenging too. Animation is never an easy process. And the sheer amount of time this project took was challenging as well. But it was very rewarding. It was a different way for me to think and challenge how and what I see animation as. I think to date, this is one of the more or most challenging projects I’ve worked on and it is challenging both from a language and making point of view. But I think it was also just as rewarding as it was another opportunity for me to challenge my relationship with Korean language, text and meaning and also for me to work with a very blessed artist. So for that, I am as always, quite thankful.

The software used for this was all primarily the Adobe creative suite. Adobe After Effects was used for putting everything together and in motion. Adobe illustrator and photoshop were used to create all the pieces to move. I shot a lot of film for the hand sequences. My wonderful wife, Yunim Kim, was kind enough to be a gracious model. So it is her hands you see that are actually interacting with the type. A lot of work. But a lot of fun.

[Chris Ro]


Courtesy: the artist


Courtesy: the artist


Courtesy: the artist


Courtesy: the artist


Courtesy: the artist


Courtesy: the artist


Courtesy: the artist


Courtesy: the artist


Courtesy: the artist


Courtesy: the artist


Courtesy: the artist


Courtesy: the artist

Photography by Baik Won-gi. Video streaming by Ustream

© Typojanchi 2013