// English version

The eye in the street, identity signs.

Workshop´s organisation and management:
Enrique Longinotti / Architect.
Hernán Ordoñez / Graphic Designer.

It has been long enough since the emblems of the low culture entered in the museum galleries, and have been piled as bottle colanders or powder soap boxes, fighting for spaces and opinions with the traditional art devices. They constitute one of the most innovating and unexpected region of the 20th Century, an unknown geography for Centuries, revealed by the hosts with Duchamp connotations, preceded and followed by some other expeditions: dada and pop, futurists, surreal and so many more. Different collage strategies and the fragment, projectable archaeologists mixed with the initial and philosophic waste of what is strictly useful. The ready-made strategy is one of the fundamental principles of everything that follows and goes through this millennium abysm with good health. Pollutant or decontaminated pieces from an artificial ecosystem, post-industrial nature, inert matter not degradable of our oppressive semiosphere. To take the existent and give it new uses and senses.

This experimental workshop takes the form of a quest that is at the same time casual look, description, taxonomy and also a formal attempt to experience recycling as a method for designing a repertory of typographic signs. The city, the big city –complex, unfair and gratifying– is our database. Traversing it, a swarm of observers on the lookout for letters. The eye in the street. A purposeful eye, eager for findings, that distils visual instincts in each photograph, that puts into practice Picasso´s proposition “I do not look for, I find”. It is the dynamic of the finding, the unexpected.

An eye that collects signs, an organiser for the tribe, the typographical tribe.

Sheet metal and neon lights, spray paint and engraved stone. Day and night. Different materials and means redefine the alphabet, turn signs into things. The photographic gaze captures and distorts, retains some features and forgets others. Appropriation through the image, which becomes the visual origin of a new sign. A process of design, inverse, inductive, in which laws are derived from the facts. Classify, compare, discover compatibilities. Experiment in one´s own environment, the city. Each student attempts his own tribe. Each tribe is a narrative of increasing intuitions, of tests and errors. And also of success and distractions. Signs and images, which are also signs. Intervention. An ideographic dialogue between photography and design, between the urban gaze and urban speech. A text made of personal voices, of quotations from favourite writers, of eyes that are attentive to detail and others that are fascinated by the great stories. A test bank for testing experimental sources, for allowing oneself to write according to private canons, each author revealing his or her local language made from pieces of everything. The digital era hands us back, paradoxically, the possibility –the pleasure– to coin our own written codes, reconverting the engine of the Gutenberg galaxy, typography, into a medium for communication and individual expression, like the inimitable features of a hand, like the tone of a voice.

The logbook of an urban trip to look for new species of typography, invitation for a non obvious look, an encounter with a team of signs working, surprised in their millenary job: writing the words of men.


The identity of a place is always something to explore, most of all for those who inhabit it daily. The identity is the constant presence that lives under the perceptive and social routine that defines our habits. Going out to the street is entering a universe of signs, shapes, words, that articulate the visual language, and we are part of it. The city is a complex text, simultaneous, conflictive. The history and its monuments live with the vital present, with its informal aesthetics, with the vulgar and the marginal. The city is done and undone with its graphic landscape. Our look can only be fragmentary, as an eye that tunes in and omits according to the moment.


The workshop proposes to conceive, plan produce and register a typographic intervention in different places of the city, and insert a text program in the urban space.

The materiality of the intervention has to be solved, but it is not just a technique problem but the nature of the decision, the material date of the chosen environment and the kind of action that have to be decided (mimesis, opposition, integration, etc.). The chosen place, the hours of the day, the climate state and the integration with the pedestrians will define the project. It is not vandalism but interfering, it is not damage but re-signifying the space. The development of the project will be registered as part of the ephemeral condition but memorable at the same time. Designing with typography through the Text (text to write and text to read) enables to think about its impact in the visual communication field and the urban landscape, focusing on the urban identity signs.


The rescue of the typographic aspects of the city, investigating the communicative power of the not-designed, activating mechanisms to take a sensitive look at a specific visual environment in order to rescue its cultural values. Beyond the final productions, a relevant feature in the workshop experience appears: the final reflexion about the receiver´s behaviour towards the emission of the message. What do we write? What do we read? What do we interpret?

The problems of the resolution: to turn the difficulties, the limitations and the indefinable issues into creative potential. To solve quickly and precisely the unexpected and adapt it to the time, which is always limited. The development of projects that propose to say and give to read texts that are not dealing with advertising strategies, that seem to be nowadays the only channels of communication allowed in the public spaces. Far away from graffiti, stencils or ritual pieces, these are projects that propose to understand the material and symbolic nature of the city as the “big text”, as the text of the texts in which we are immersed and from which we speak and write, in which we are written.


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