Walthamstow is …

As an easy exercise, that is not really to do with typography, I want to ask people of Walthamstow to complete the following sentence (in one word)…

“Walthamstow is …”

I think that as it is a neutral question, it would elicit some interesting responses

After the riots throughout London, an art project in Peckham , asked people to write love letters to their area.

“Dr Martin Farr, a contemporary historian at Newcastle university, says it is not the first time Post-it notes have been used in this way, pointing to their use after 9/11 and the 2004 tsunami.

“New media seemed to facilitate or characterise the rioting, what struck me is writing notes is very old media, it’s as if it’s a restatement of community identity.

“It’s also an old-fashioned, a human way of seeing handwriting – with smileys and exclamation marks – so is different to new media which is technically consistent. Post-it notes are also very photogenic, they are appealing – from a distance they are almost like an impressionist painting of a garden – so they are an engaging way of communicating,” he says.”

In a similar vein, I am asking the people of Walthamstow to reflect on the area. Slightly differently, I don’t want everything to be positive. Maybe people feel like the area is becoming too gentrified, or too unfriendly. By restricting it to one word (and knowing that some people might write more) it asks people to consider their word rather than writing a letter.

Be encouraging people to write them, they are engaging with a pen and paper, something we as a society we are doing less of, especially over the last year. The participants will be making shapes with their pens to imbue meaning in their lines.

The activity will become a tapestry on the wall of the exhibition to create a fluttering canvas and something from which I can reflect on what people have written and what it says about Walthamstow.

At the end of the exhibition, I will collect all the post it notes and scan them in (a labour of love) to create a new artwork. The words can be extracted and analysed, and the notes shown on the website.

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