Commissioned as part of Plymouth's Mayflower 400 commemorations, 'Speedwell' by artist collective Still Moving (Laura Hopes, Martin Hampton and Léonie Hampton) is a site-specific installation that uses the simple language of illuminated signage to question the historic idea that there was ever a 'New World'.
Still Moving asked Intercity to create a bespoke typeface for the installation, as well as a wider identity system including the design of various signage and printed elements. 'Speedwell' was illuminated 24hrs a day on the Mount Batten breakwater through September, October and November 2020; reflecting the duration of the Mayflower's voyage.
By using three words (NO, NEW, WORLDS) the installation invites viewers to ask complex questions about themselves, the planet and the legacy of the pivotal journeys made by the Mayflower and the Speedwell. It uses modular, recyclable technology that has the capacity to be re-written in the future and its real-time, randomly generated sequence of iterations enables the sculpture to embody an intuitive voice of its own.
In 1620 the people on board the Mayflower went to settle in what they called the 'New World', which was in fact a world where indigenous people already lived. The Speedwell, a ship intended to sail alongside the Mayflower, was unable to make the journey and so some of those who returned to England had to find ways to make peace with the place they sought to escape from.
It was an inspiration to work with Intercity to bring Speedwell to life. The design was elegantly executed and Intercity were always ready to go with the flow of our ever shifting sands - to improvise with us and to bring their design skills as a means to best communicate our ideas to the public. We’re always looking for opportunities to work together again.
The main installation used clusters of 17 LED lights for every dot of the typeface. To continue the project beyond this initial installation, we were commissioned to create a smaller version of the typeface that could be quickly built of individual lights on metal grids, to create statements of protest quickly and on location. The first use of this system was protesting the G7 summit in Cornwall.
The 'grid' version of ICS No New Worlds follows the same stylistic approach, but in a much more regimented manner. We put together a printable guide for each character to allow anyone to recreate the typeface on a 1 inch metal grid.
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