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Sympoiesis Project


Project type:

Experimental, typography

Sympoiesis Project is a series of experiments in visualizing the nature of interspecies entanglement. I co-created display typefaces with nonhuman organisms, including maple trees that I lived near (plants), wild yeast from my home (fungi), and bacteria living on my body (monera). I wanted to establish an equitable amount of generative contribution to the design of each letter – through growth and reproduction by the trees, yeast, and bacteria, along a human-determined path. This co-generative process was surprising, frustrating, and produced forms of letters that I could not have imagined. Through the process, I grappled with a variety of ethical dilemmas, such as: Was my project exploiting these other organisms? Were they exploiting me? Was the process an equal co-creation -- could the creativity/generativity be equal from both organisms? In a double-sided poster design letters from each sympoietic alphabet are used to create two words that represent the ideas of mutual exploitation/mutual creation. The words are presented equally as opposites, mirroring concepts, as this project (and our entangled interspecies lives) can be perceived as cooperative or exploitative, capitalizing or nurturing, depending on your perspective.

My poster design was selected as a winner of the inaugural Tasmeem Poster Award and exhibited in Dubai in August 2022.

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