Great Force

Great Force was group show of artists on view at Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University (ICA at VCU) confronting the impact of racism in America. Polymode designed the fully illustrated catalog that includes images and texts from the artists in the exhibition, new contributions from writers Nicholas Mirzoeff and Rebecca Walker, an essay by exhibition curator Amber Esseiva, historical reprints from Frederick Douglass, James Baldwin, and Nell Irvin Painter, and custom information design created by Polymode that informed the themes of the exhibition.

 

Poetic Research

Quoting James Baldwin

The exhibit Great Force gets its name from an essay written by James Baldwin about the force that racism has on the American psyche. The identity design remixes graphic data visualizations made by W.E.B. Du Bois and his team of Black students from Atlanta University for the World’s Fair in 1900. The exhibit Great Force gets gets its name from an essay written by James Baldwin about the force that racism has across a progression of time and its implications on the American psyche. The design for the identity is based on graphic data visualizations made by Du Bois and his team of Black students from Atlanta University for the World’s Fair in 1900. Polymode used a custom font created by Vocal Type based on stenciled lettering used in the poster series. This features a regular, bold, italic, and a back slant italic that is used to show the inordinate force of racism in America within the design. The color system of the book is based on the color palette of the diagrams referencing skin tone, colorism, pan-African colors, and a graphic abstraction used to attempt to transcend race and historic oppression. Each of the book’s sections consisted of a different colored paper; bright white, off-white, and natural white to question whiteness as a default state. The Great Force of racism and its implications on the American psyche are still with us.