New typographic installation featuring Riviera by Swiss Typefaces has been installed aiming at enriching the public realm through celebration of Tom Raworth.
The dynamic text-based installation commemorates local writer, printer and publisher Tom Raworth (1938–2017). One of 23 locally-led projects supported by Hackney Council’s innovative Hackney Central Impact and Ideas Fund, the installation provides a platform for writing in public space, inviting passersby to engage with Raworth’s experimental writing and typesetting.
Tom Raworth was influential in bringing the style of Black Mountain, New York School and Beat poets to British writing, and first began his serious engagement with writing, printing and publishing while living on Amhurst Road in Hackney in 1960. Author of over 60 books, he founded Matrix Press in 1961 – publishing the literary/art magazine Outburst – and Goliard Press in 1965.
Responding to Raworth’s writing and his work as a printer and publisher, Polytechic’s design echoes the manual process of typesetting metal or wood type for print, with more than 700 enamel screen-printed tiles allowing for the faithful reproduction of Raworth’s work.
Inspired by Chernaik, Herbert and Benson’s Poems on the Underground and Jenny Holzer’s word art, the installation will feature new writing from Raworth’s catalogue each month, sparking surprise and curiosity in the everyday journeys of local residents and passersby.
In line with Hackney Council’s efforts to invest in local businesses and support sustainable urban development, Polytechnic assembled a local team to collaborate on the project, working closely with design studio Mitre & Mondays and screen-printers Manson’s Press.
The project was made possible with the support of the Raworth family who granted permission for the installation to share Raworth’s work with a wider audience.
Embedded within the street-frontage of Bodney Road Studios, the installation is publicly accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is located adjacent to Amhurst Road on Bodney Road, Hackney.