This is one of those things that we met during our research for the pending book Urban Maps, but it never made the cut.
Sourced from the early web based graf site n-igma by Dek. He didn’t know then and we don’t know now; who and why?
All that can be said here is that type characters and the space between is/was a distinct counterpoint to graf that conventionally is about fills and coverage. Obviously type and fonts have a history in graf, as Steve Powers states, ‘The first time I saw somebody paint their name as a font, it was SANE, and it was a complete shock’ (interview Jan 2010)
Most of all… we like it.
The C20 art and social theory concerning ‘the everyday’ precedes and overtly informs the architectural fascination with space now defined as ‘interstitial’ or ‘residual’. Lefebvre, Lyotard, Ruscha, Smithson and Baldessari all played their part in exposing the mundane and banal and subsequently the specifics of the spatial orders of capitalism.
Niche space, leftover space and blurred territory are all by-products of urban policy and processes; motorway junctions are particularly explicit providers of well defined residue, space without programme. Below is a copy of an article from CTRL_ALT_DELETE, a small fanzine out of Sheffield, by the author of Autotoxicity. The piece, M1 – part one (Hostile Environments) is about living in the space carved out by the motorway junction where the A1(M) meets the M18.
Business, science and office parks at the periphery have their own brand of broad delineating fields of thorny soft landscape gently interspersed by mesh fencing, vast tracts of this boundary condition consume our edge cities as a mediator between security and greenspace policy.
Recently, Gordon Matta-Clark’s Fake Estates project has been brought to the authors’ attention from a host of different sources. He bought up 15 plots that were remnants of land deals, the carving up of larger sites or slicing through sites with pieces of municipal infrastructure. These were usually pieces of land that would be considered useless in development terms, but clearly the process of their creation fascinated Matta-Clark. The City of New York auctioned them for apporximately $35.00 each. GM-C only had the opportunity to document the sites through assembly of the title deeds and a physical and photogrpahic survey, before moving on to alternative projects. This is said to be symptomatic of the man who lived out his art, acting as quickly as he was thinking and sometimes thinking and acting before he had concluded his thoughts! The work was uncovered by GM-C’s wife after his death and caused something of a stir amongst those who had already selectively categorised and packaged the artist as “the chap who cuts holes in buildings”. This work challenges the notion of the grid as organising device, indeed almost celebrates its ambivalence, it usurps the architectural ideal of the grid as a rationalisation of space and presents its irrationality upon its confluence with policy. Pamela Lee discusses this work, with others, in Chapter 2 of Object to be Destroyed. The work was re-investigated in 2003 by the Odd Lots project shown at the Queens Museum of Art and White Colmuns.
Video stills from a 1975 video by Jaime Davidovick with Gordon Matta-Clark shot on site during the project.