Finalist 2020


Sean Hogan, Trampoline / Paul Carter, Material Thinking

Eight literary site-specific art works integrated into the urban fabric of public spaces

Signature is the published collection of eight literary site-specific art works composed by writer and artist Paul Carter, that are integrated into the urban fabric of public spaces across Australia. From Federation Square in Melbourne, to Yagan Square, Perth, and across to Homebush Bay, Sydney, these artworks are etched into steps, pavements, into stelae and walls.

Designed by Sean Hogan, Signature transitions these poetic inscriptions from their spatial environment of Australia’s major urban public spaces, onto the printed page.

Design Excellence

Public space across Australia are important nexus points where culture and community coalesce, and the Australian identity is publicly celebrated for visitors, both local and international. The different subjects of Carter\’s artworks are drawn from the sites they’re embedded in, reflections of Australia’s environment and history. Due to the sculptural nature of these works in situ, it is doubtful whether these inscriptions are read in full. In Signature, these artworks are reimagined in a poetic format. Employing exquisite typographic art, each poem is uniquely treated, evoking a visual reflection of meaning and a connection to place.

Design Impact

The location of these public artworks span the breadth of Australia, each arising from a place-making impulse embedded in their site’s cultural and environmental history. By collecting them in this volume, we see for the first time the overarching civic vision that unites the works into a sustained call to reconcile with our environment and our past.The concluding poem is a child’s version of ‘Welcome to Country,’ faithfully discussed and realised in English and Nyungar. These words, radiating circles of kinship, connection and reciprocity, are an opportunity for us to learn, and grow a deeper connection to place.

Design Transformation

Signature is a book which defies definition. It is a poetry book but also a catalogue which documents site specific public art through reinvention. It sets a new benchmark in book design, drawing upon the history of typography to reimagine contemporary expressions of culture from Australia’s public realm. Signature is a unique collaboration between poetry, place and graphic design.

Design Innovation

Using a colour palette derived from the Australian landscape and drawing inspiration from illuminated manuscripts, scriptio continua and concrete poetry, an individual typographic approach was designed for each poem to visually enhance and conceptually connect the multi-layered writings. A musical system of markings was created that respected the unusual mingling of quantitative phrasing and stress-based rhythmic arrangement. This design recontextualises art from the urban environment into a published form. The book is not a picture atlas of public art projects, it is an artwork unto itself, whilst remaining a catalogue of art from our public realm.

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