Visual Communication.

Visual communication, its history and impact on life as we know it, is a big part of our module.

I have just purchased a beautiful Imperial Typewriter which was made in 1950s in Leicester U.K. This had a few appeals ;

  • It was made locally, and as it happens, my parents live in Leicester 🙂
  • Visual communication, historically made massive leaps into the amazing technological world we live in today, very shortly after this piece was made, in the space of the next 30-40 years typewriters progressively got ditched for newer, faster, easier technology that did the work for you, or was at least, easier to correct!
  • It was in full working order!
  • Had been looked after since its purchase by the same, careful, loving owner, with a keen interest in Art 🙂
  • I actually saw this, oddly though it may appear to you, as a piece of art in itself. Its simplicity in doing its job and the innocence it resonated, really struck me.

Now I say innocence there,and here’s why. When this wonderful piece was made – there was no internet? LOL theres a crazy thought, and actually, being a last minute 70’s baby seeing just 3 months of my life here before the 80’s jumped in, I saw technology grow into what it is today. Yes I remember, nostalgically, having 4 channels on TV, ( For that matter having only 1 tv!). The programmes stopped and you got a fuzzy screen like this :


LOL! Yes TVS avtually looked like this, and this was probably a better model , I remember getting very excited at about 12 yrs old because we were getting a 5th channel! Then shortly after came ‘Cable’ wow like 60 channels! My father used to tell people “The day I’m too lazy to get my children to turn the TV over, that is the day I will get a TV with a remote!” As it happened, one came with the ‘Cable’ box, then he learned the true joys and upgraded the TV lol.

Technology leaped so fast, I feel I was lucky to have seen it happen. I was in the car with my parents on road trips, watching them use CBs to communicate with my uncle in his car en route! I saw computers in the beginning, I had a Commodore 64 that I programmed to say “Hello” and change screen colours as it booted up, that was exciting! Later on I listened to AOL booting up with fax machine noises and waited excitedly to see an AOL chat room list on the screen, the internet born.

As technology rampaged through our lives so smoothly, it is now, as a parent, that I see its downside, the world is so enthralled in bigger and better, so completely intertwined with technology that its merely a matter of time before we are so dependant on it as a society that its collapse would see us all bereft.

We are in a world where you can live in a single room all your life, you would never have to utter a word verbally if you chose not to. You can sit and use the PC, even a mobile now, to order in, arrange collections for things you wish to send, you can socialise, learn, teach – all without ever having to leave that room??  We have indeed become entrapped in the ‘Virtual Insanity’ that Jamiroqaui sang of. ( Go here if you do not get this! and here if you just wanna rock to the tune, like I did, haha )

For me, I am teaching my children to sew, by hand, and with a machine,  operated either by hand or electric foot pedal , with the help of another cast out remnant of another time, my beloved Singer sewing machine from 1960! I am also teaching them to crochet and knit, and how to reuse things that would otherwise be ditched in favour of the latest trends. I believe this is as important as breath – to show the value of creating, or recreating, something, not only for the feeling of satisfaction at its completion, but for the individuality and self sufficiency you acquire.

So, after all that blah blah, I say simply that “I looked at this for what it was”- a cast out remnant of what was left of visual communication from the last century, an antique, vintage item that has been looked after for 60 years, It served someone well in its life, fulfilling a duty and was lost in the progress. I felt I had to own it, to flaunt it and say – Without its help we may never have got where we are today. Maybe this is why I will spend as much time in the Museum as I would in an Art gallery? I understand now why they are usually together!

Imperial Typewriter
In working order! Text reads: Visual Communication, inspiration, imagination, investigation, innovation, revolution

This gave me an idea so, using Paint shop pro, I opened a photograph I had taken of Longbridge , showing the Bournville College Campus, I edited the photo and added an effect or two and then words;


New Horizons

Evolution; Communication; Invention;

Education; Inspiration; Imagination; Innovation;                                                                                                                                                      Revolution.

I used fonts such as Webdings to show that language started with symbols and progressively amended the fonts to convey deeper meaning, Revolution being spelled out in maths so as to show, maths is the universal truth that no-one can deny, the language that everyone understands and relies on, for me this denotes the ultimate evolutionary language. I really feel the added emphasis of the college image in the background is communicative of the speech, it speaks volumes.

Overall I enjoyed the idea of this piece, but was just not at ease with the thought of using a ‘readymade’ like Duchamp, I am far too Matisse like for this! I will however be the proud owner of this beautiful typewriter for many years to come I hope , mind you, it weighs a tonne and may yet find itself given to the history department on campus rather than me tryng to lug it home!.


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