Walker Art Center Fellowship Poster 2004–2005
Design by Emmet Byrne and Silas Munro
In 1980, the Walker Art Center's Design Department offered it's first graphic design intern/fellowship program. Among many projects, fellows design a poster to announce their soon-to-be-vacant job to a pool of competitive candidates. The archive of fellowship posters tells a rich history of graphic design imprinted with the story of its makers. Two preceding designs by Daniel Eatock and Alex DeArmond with Alex Quinto offer holistic approaches representing their times with intense collections of photographs and charts, respectively.
Feeling the pressure between present and past, we looked to the Walker buildings for solstice. On the 1971, Edward Larrabee Barnes, brick facade is a sculpture by conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner. Famous for text-based work, his 1991 piece renders in huge, bold, white, all-caps, san-serif, anodized aluminum letters: "BITS & PIECES PUT TOGETHER TO PRESENT A SEMBLANCE OF A WHOLE." This seemed particularly comforting juxtaposed with the frenetic construction site of the 2005 wing by architects Herzog & de Meuron.
We took Weiner's phrase and applied it playfully to create something specific to our fellowship experience. What seems to be a single mass of color is actually "bits and pieces" of graphic and typographic elements. We copy and pasted a strata of form generated for various projects we had completed during our fellowship. To make room for descriptions of the program we "excavated" zones of gradient planes/plains. The poster serves as a game, with 6 case studies (bits)—one from each department at the Walker—turned into players in a game of hide-and-seek darting in and among the rhizomatic semblance of a whole.