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

I Am Still Alive, no. 24:
Same, You Left the Door Ajar

Offset lithography
140 x 225 cm, 16 pp
Photography by Na Seung and Na Jhin, featuring Kim Hyunkyung and Kim Hyunjin
Published as part of Typojanchi 2013 exhibition catalog

Founded in 2000, London:
Patrick Lacey, b. 1973, UK
Benjamin Reichen, b. 1975, France
Kajsa Ståhl, b. 1974, Sweden
Maki Suzuki, b. 1972, France


Since 2001, Åbäke has been publishing the “parasite” magazine I Am Still Alive, which takes place on the pages of other publications. Depending on the donated spaces, it embodies the collaborative nature of Åbäke’s own practice, while challenging the conventional notion of authorship and publishing that largely relies on the independency and integrity of published artifacts.

The 24th issue of I Am Still Alive, published in the catalog of Typojanchi 2013, takes the form of a fictional interview with two twin sisters who write a novel about two twin sisters who are building a twin city. The story is set in twin typefaces, Didot/Bodoni and Helvetica/Arial, and presented with (twin) pictures of two twin sisters and their twin photographers. Along the way, it contemplates on the notions of identity, doubling, difference and repetition, and how all these are conveyed by and embedded in typography.

The first time Francesco Spampinato heard the word Åbäke dates back to 2002, associated with electronic music label Kitsuné, which is also a quintessential parisienne fashion brand. In fact Kitsuné is just one galaxy—collateral and not even representative—of the Åbäke universe, a London-based design studio behind which lurk Patrick Lacey, Benjamin Reichen, Kajsa Ståhl and Maki Suzuki. Active since 2000, the Royal College of Art alumni count clients like the British Council and the Serpentine Gallery, and collaborations with fashion designers such as Hussein Chalayan and Maison Martin Margiela, artists such as Ryan Gander, Johanna Billing and Martino Gamper, and bands such as Air and Daft Punk.

As the term Åbäke suggests, however, the Swedish word for a large and cumbersome object, Francesco suspects that the group supports the burden of design on commission only to learn rules and conventions that it is happy to deconstruct at other times. Åbäke, indeed, is also responsible for meta-design projects, independent, transdisciplinary, strictly collective and often participatory: the dialogical digital platform for architecture Sexymachinery (2000–2008), the relational culinary events of Trattoria (2003), the publishing project Dent-De-Leone (2009), the propaganda for the imaginary Victoria & Alferd Museum (2010), and the spy agency Åffice Suzuki (2010).

For Åbäke constantly attracts the attention of the art world: most of its projects do not certainly meet criteria of functionality, but raise questions about how design conveys the forms of transmission of culture. Publications, curatorship, talks and workshops, indeed, are integral parts of their activities. So when Spampinato invites the group to be part of his book on art collectives, Åbäke agrees to contribute if Francesco writes in exchange this biography, inserting himself, “so it isn’t authorless,” in third person, putting thereby in crisis the role of the critic and the conditions under which he normally associates intellectual values to cultural phenomena.

[Francesco Spampinato]

I Am Still Alive 24

Courtesy: the artist

I Am Still Alive 24

Courtesy: the artist

I Am Still Alive 24

Courtesy: the artist

I Am Still Alive 24

Courtesy: the artist

© Typojanchi 2013