Max Kisman Diary Documents: FUSE 95, Berlin

Fuse '95.
Berlin, November 17th-19th.
Fuse, the interactive typography magazine.

When I was invited to be a speaker at the FUSE conference in Berlin, the first thought I had was: Gee, this is Woodstock, man! And yes, when you look at the list of the invited speakers (see bottom of page) , you realize that typography and graphic design is a cult of its own. That type design isn't much different from songwriting and composing. A good typeface design can be a hit and score on the charts as a pop song does. The list of famous speakers and an audience of about a thousand heads at this three day conference seemed as much as a pop festival to me.

So you want to be a rock and roll star... I packed my genuine Rickenbacker 330 (John Lennon's sixties style of guitar), my small travelling Vox amp and took off.
Arriving at the hall I first checked the arranged equipment. It seemed to be allright, but I only could have a serious check the next day. One, two, testing...

The speakers had their own room, back stage in the building. They were hanging around, sipping on champagne, a beer or a coffee. Some had to recover from jet-lag and were lying on the sofa. The 'next' speaker was nervously checking if all slides were correctly placed in the carroussels. It just felt like the old band circuit dressing room.

As far as I am concerned Fuse '95 was a good conference and a great concert. If anyone believed that typograhy was at its end this meeting would have changed their mind. The discipline of typography is very much alive, and well because of new technological developments and changing ways of communications. What I especially noticed is that all speakers, without exception, from youngest to older, from serious to playful, were all aware of the big changes in their profession. They had all anticipated the shift from static 2d to dynamic 3d in their work somehow. All the presentations showed how attractive and inviting good graphic design and typography can be in interactive and digital environments.

So you want to be a rock and roll star... I plugged in, tuned up and played (Check my stage set up...) : A, B, C, D, E, F G and A, B, C, D, E, F , G and one more time A, B, C, D, E, F and G. The first seven characters of the alphabet are musical chords. You can play them loud or soft, gentle or rough, fast, slowly, minor, major, strong or weak, simple or complex. Only music offers such an unlimited range of expression, just with seven letters.

Max Kisman.

Day 1 - Friday 17th November 1995
Gunter Gerhard Lange: Tradition and Experimentation
Erik Spiekermann: Visible vs. Visual
David Crow: Language is Local
Luc(as) de Groot: Form Follows Function
Teal Triggs (WD+RU): Form Follows Motive
Jeff Keedy: Everything has Changed, Nothing is Different
Branczek/Nagel (Xplicit): Underground Sound & Design 1

Day 2 - Saturday 18th November 1995
Gerard Unger: 26 Variations on a Theme
Lo Breier: The Colour of Information 1
David Elliman: Language is a Sensation
Ian Swift: Underground Sound & Design 2
Max Kisman: Moving Type 2
Neville Brody: Fuse ?
Jon Wozencroft: The Language Addict
Tobias Frere-Jones: Type Design and the Avant-Garde
Matthew Butterick: Is Interaction Interactive?

Day 3 - Sunday 19th November 1995
Ian Anderson (DR): Confounding Context
Pierre di Sciullo: Propaganda is Pollution
David Berlow: Type for Screenagers
Rick Valicenti: There's a World Out There!
David Carson: The End of Print
van Blokland/van Rossum: Type and Anti-Type

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©1995 TYP/Typografisch Papier and the author