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The Untitled Project
March 30, 2004 6:45 AM   Subscribe

The Untitled Project is a series of photographs of urban settings accompanied by a graphical text layout. The photographs have been digitally stripped of all traces of textual information. The text pieces show the removed text in the approximate location and font as it was found in the photograph.
posted by Ljubljana (28 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ahh, chicago, my home town....
vary cool.
posted by sodalinda at 6:48 AM on March 30, 2004


Good link! Thanks.
posted by tomplus2 at 7:04 AM on March 30, 2004


Neat idea
posted by cmicali at 7:08 AM on March 30, 2004


#5 is Toronto, and not a very pretty part neither.

The fonts don't quite match up, but it is an interesting project that shows how integral the written word is to our landscape.

Is it art? Damned if I know. But it's nifty brain food.
posted by chicobangs at 7:11 AM on March 30, 2004


[This is good]

I wish the text had been removed photographically, rather than typeset again. I suppose focus would be a problem though.
posted by armoured-ant at 7:22 AM on March 30, 2004


Very cool. Thanks for the link
posted by Outlawyr at 7:29 AM on March 30, 2004


Nice, even advertisements look pretty with text removed.
posted by fvw at 7:30 AM on March 30, 2004


[this is genius]

The photos feel vaguely similar to arriving in a foreign city where the characters on signs aren't roman and mean very little to me, simply becoming part of the landscape, their message(s) lost.
posted by shoepal at 7:36 AM on March 30, 2004


[this is good?]
posted by psychotic_venom at 7:44 AM on March 30, 2004


Fascinating link. Interesting how the adverts seem so much more obvious and overwhelming without text: I suppose your brain just gets used to filtering them out.

Next I'd like to see some urban settings with all the adverts digitally taken out.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:51 AM on March 30, 2004


To reiterate the theme we have going here, this is very good. I am particularly drawn to the text half of the project. In many cases the "random" bits and pieces of words and phrases create a quite interesting layout scheme. Very modern with hints of Dada, Constructivist, and late-90's design sensibilities.
posted by ScottUltra at 7:54 AM on March 30, 2004


Sweet link, Michael. Thanks.

The photos feel vaguely similar to arriving in a foreign city where the characters on signs aren't roman and mean very little to me, simply becoming part of the landscape, their message(s) lost.

That's one of my favorite things about travelling. You never become more aware of commonplace street signs and advertisements like you do when you have no clue what they're saying.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:55 AM on March 30, 2004


What's fascinating is that I really get a feeling of peacefulness when viewing these. In fact, the word 'silence' really comes to mind. It's like my mind wants to 'read' the words in a picture aloud, so that a picture without any words is simply quiet. It kind of makes me wonder what a world without writing would be like. Would it seem 'quieter'?
posted by PigAlien at 8:00 AM on March 30, 2004


This completely freaked me out!

I was driving in rush hour traffic about two weeks ago and stuck in one place for a few minutes. On my right was a grass berm leading up to a railway track. At street level was a folding sign advertising a self-storage place. It sat beside a street sign and a fire hydrant.

I was looking at this scene in terms of colour: green grass and street sign, blue sky, red hydrant, white signs with lettering. Then I started mentally subtracting detail -- beginning with all of the text in view. What remained was, in my mind's eye, so interesting that I decided to come back and photograph this site, and then remove the text in Photoshop.

I should probably not be so surprised that someone has already done this. The Untitled Project is very good.
posted by 327.ca at 8:01 AM on March 30, 2004


What's the point?
posted by Pericles at 8:03 AM on March 30, 2004


"What remained was, in my mind's eye, so interesting that I decided to come back and photograph this site, and then remove the text in Photoshop."

Uh-oh, here comes the lawsuit! I swear I could never tell the difference between "I want a new drug" and "Ghostbusters"!
posted by PigAlien at 8:05 AM on March 30, 2004


Wow, it really is interesting how much more relaxing the pictures without text feel. I shudder to think at all of the other urban sources sapping at our precious brainpower.
posted by callmejay at 8:20 AM on March 30, 2004


Wow, it really is interesting how much more relaxing the pictures without text feel.

Pericles, that's the point. (For me, anyway.)
posted by 327.ca at 8:22 AM on March 30, 2004


chicobangs, I think you're mistaken: #5 appears to be the inbound Edens Expressway on Chicago's northwest side, where Montrose Avenue bridges over the freeway...
posted by JollyWanker at 8:27 AM on March 30, 2004


>>Wow, it really is interesting how much more relaxing the pictures without text feel.

>Pericles, that's the point. (For me, anyway.)

I think that's a valid point, and one I endorse in essence, however, I'm not sure the project entirely achieves this in practice.
That may be a failing in me; the make-up stand (?) with all the text removed made me think this could have something important to say - there was an awful lot of text stripped out - but most of the other images, that I perused, failed to really demonstrate such a "point" with any great success.

Maybe I'm too adept at screening out all the advertising billboards and flyers and signs and stuff in real life. Maybe there just wasn't that much "text-pollution" in most of the pictures for me to think anything of it.

I was surprised how little text there was, if anything!

I'm afraid the project didn't make much of an impression on me.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:57 AM on March 30, 2004


i really liked it. thanks ljubljana.

you might like: this is an outlet another project from you are beautiful
posted by specialk420 at 9:22 AM on March 30, 2004


There is a music video by Dirty Vegas ("Ghost") where every sign, logo, street marker, everything is barren of written information. It was very spooky and effective, but these images I like for their simplicity and stark colors. Terrific find.
posted by moonbird at 9:31 AM on March 30, 2004


"#5 is Toronto, and not a very pretty part neither."

Nope. Definitely Chicago.
posted by cardboard at 9:38 AM on March 30, 2004


That first shot is right outside my front door! Spooky!
posted by ao4047 at 9:44 AM on March 30, 2004


i think changing font and orientation for the text is deliberate. it wouldn't be difficult to have it be exact.

i'm not sure why the artist chose to do that. perhaps you would need to see the same diptychs with text exactly as in the original image to understand.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:09 AM on March 30, 2004


I just got this interesting comment from M. Layera via e-mail:

"Sorry if this is bad form (contacting a member directly), I wanted to share this and was unable to post a comment as new membership at Metafilter is currently closed. There is a well known artist (Robin Collyer) out of Toronto, Canada that did a series of photographs; cityscapes sans text (digitally removed) about a decade ago. I'm sure that the artist responsible for The Untitled Project is unaware as the tone of the project statement is decidedly 'breaking new ground'. As someone with an artist/historian/academic (see his Bio) background I'm surprised that he did not do his homework. I forwarded The Untitled Project link to Mr. Collyer, I'm sure he will be amused. I'm a family acquaintance of his and have some art schooling myself; I can safely say that no artist expects to be the exclusive wellspring that taps into the universal consciousness. All great ideas whether they are scientific inventions, innovations of morality, fashion trends etc. are born of zeitgeist, logical progression or (as in this case) are ignorantly treading where others have already been before.

Anyway, here's a link to an example from the series."
posted by Ljubljana at 11:15 AM on March 30, 2004


So that's Chicago, then. Alright. I stand corrected, again, as usual. It looked eerily like the Wilson Ave. underpass out near the airport, is all.

I don't live there anymore. Hmf.

The Robin Collyer pieces are interesting too, and I don't really see why one has to have dibs over the other. This was an idea that became doable fairly recently, and I'd bet these two aren't the only ones who've tried it and thought it original. (Collyer's work looks pretty cool, too. I'm glad to have seen both.)
posted by chicobangs at 1:13 PM on March 30, 2004


I like this. One of the things that drives me a little wonky in Korean urban environments is the assault of text, screaming from every vertical surface. I may have a go at doing this for some Korean pics....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:47 AM on March 31, 2004


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