TXT Island Creates Magic With Pegboard Letters

With the posts I’ve got lined up, it looks like this week will be FontStruct Week on The FontFeed. This means the TYPO Berlin reports will take kind of a breather. Yet I will continue posting them because I still want to say a couple of things about the presentations and the conference in general. Be a little patient and I’m quite confident I’ll manage to finish them within a reasonable time frame.

Before I start with the first FontStruct related post I’d like to quickly show you something really neat. The slightly fantastic Gustavo Ferreira came over to FontShop BeNeLux last Friday for a meeting – more about him soon –, and I have been e-mailing back and forth with him over the weekend and today. The last e-mail he sent me pointed me to TXT Island, a beguiling piece of stop motion typography directed by Tandem FilmsChris Gavin.

Take a few months, combine a few hundred spare pegboard letters, a digital camera and one of Tandem’s most ingenious directors. The result is Chris Gavin’s miniature epic entitled TXT Island.

Chris’ experimental film pushes pegboard signage to its limits. Painstakingly hand-crafted, Chris used sackfuls of plastic letters to create textual landscapes that would shame any fast-food outlet. The film follows the endeavours of a squad of letters, as they delve deep into the jungle of a mysterious island. What is their mission? And will they succeed?

A still of the plastic alphabet used to make the film.
Part motion graphics, part ASCII art, TXT Island serves as social commentary, an unforgiving look at rampant commercialism through animated characters. The stop motion typography is very inventive, and takes the medium of pegboard typography to whole new levels and into uncharted territory. For example human body movement is simulated by successions of I, Y, F, X, and V in varying order. Using different colours and sizes of pegboard letters Chris Gavin manages to create intricate and detailed worlds full of activity. Some great sound design by Russell Pay at Shrooty provides the perfect auditive backdrop. And it may seem a little self-indulgent for a film that’s only three and a half minutes long anyway – the mini movie comes with an even more mini trailer.

TXT Island has been selected for the 2009 Rushes Soho Shorts Festival. This year Rushes is celebrating its 11th consecutive year. Renowned for its not-for-profit status and its championing of emerging talent, the festival has grown dramatically each year and is recognised as a leading showcase of the short film genre both nationally and internationally. Productions entered consistently feature a host of recognisable names and faces alongside gifted “unknowns” giving everyone the opportunity to see – unmistakably – the British aptitude for filmmaking. I wish Chris the best of luck.

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  1. Awesome.

    Posted by Giacomo Cesana on Jun. 9, 2009
  2. Brilliant

    Posted by Vince Poiesz on Jun. 10, 2009
  3. The dedication and attention to detail in this mini movie simply is mind-blowing. Plus, you know, it’s keenly observed and funny at the same time.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Jun. 11, 2009
  4. The best stop motion video I’ve seen in my life

    Posted by Andy on Jun. 11, 2009
  5. totally . awesome

    Posted by Yorkali on Jun. 15, 2009

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