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Poetry on the Road 13
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Poetry 2013

Medium: Print
Year: 2013
Client: Poetry on the Road
Team: Friederike Lambers, Boris Müller, Florian Pfeffer, Studio NAND
p13_plakat_1_s p13_plakat_2_s
Poetry on the Road

Poetry on the Road is an international literature festival which is held every year in Bremen, Germany. Since 2002 I am commisioned to design a visual theme for the festival. While the theme itself is changing, the underlying idea for the visuals is always the same: All graphics are generated by a computer program that turns texts into images. So every image is the direct representation of a specific text. The design and the development process are a collaboration with the design agency one/one.

In 2013, I teamed up with Studio NAND in Berlin who have a great experience in creating challenging concepts and generative visuals. I think the result speaks for this approach!

The conceptual starting point in 2013 was to place the words of each poem on a map. For this, we treated every word as a location and used a geographical database that would return the longitude / latitude coordinates for the specified place. If the word would not exist a location, the database would suggest a similar name. For the german word »und« (»and«), you would get the coordinates 47° 56' N, 92° 2' W as UND is recognized as the University of North Dakota.

»Niemand« returns the Jan Niemand Park in South Africa, »Die« returns »Diou« in France, »Ungewisse« returns the city of Uniejowice in Poland - just to give you a few examples.

Here are a few more results:

binnen
kratzen
nahe
tafeln
schnalzen
schleppend
vertiefen
Stätte
verraten
See
Gang
triefend
feeling
bedecken
werfend
Binnen, Germany, Binnen, Germany
Hrady, Czech Republic
Nahe, Germany, Nahe, Germany
Tuvaluan, Tuvalu, Tuvalu
Stadtteil Schnelsen, Stadtkreis Hamburg, Germany
Chalbanda, Anand Nagar 783133, India
Vrtovin, Slovenia, Dobravlje, Slovenia
Beaubears Island, Miramichi, Canada
Vedbr├Ąten, Norway, Bruvoll, Norway
Gillespie Field Airport, El Cajon, CA 92020, USA
Gang, MO 65466, USA, Eminence, USA
Trufant, MI, USA, Trufant, USA
FREELING, SA, AUSTRALIA, Freeling, Australia
Bedkani, Siddapur 581328, India, Siddapur, India
Irvendi, Chintriyala 507153, India, Chintriyala, India
52,618
48,791
53,797
-8,196
53,636
26,238
45,898
46,979
60,459
32,823
37,206
43,313
-34,45
14,329
17,746
9,1338
14,784
10,141
177,97
9,9152
90,152
13,813
-65,55
11,486
-116,9
-91,23
-85,35
138,81
74,842
80,875

We then placed the points on a map - and soon realized that the standard Mercator projection would be very unsatisfying for this method. So we choose the Dymaxion projection that was developed by Buckminster Fuller.

This projection method allowed us to create a visually much more interesting distribution of locations. The resulting visual is a heat map of the distribution of locations.

p13_detail p13_world dymaxion_world

2013 was the last year that I worked on visuals for Poetry on the Road.

Poetry on the Road is one of my favorite projects and I did it for 12 years. For me personally it was really important and I still believe it is a unique generative design project. In the beginning I never thought that the organizers would stick to the same concept and the same person year after year.

However - I decided that it is time to pass on the baton. I have never been a great programmer - but in the last few years, Poetry was the only coding project I did. I created a couple of influential graphics over the years - but without constant practice in programming it has become difficult to say something new.

Finally, I want to thank Regina Dyck from Poetry on the Road who is a great client! And I would like to thank Florian and Friederike Pfeffer who are a pleasure to work with.

{The world in Dymaxion projection by Buckminster Fuller}


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