This past week, four members of shift-lab met in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah. We gathered to work on the [in code] project at the College Book Arts Association biennial conference at The University of Utah. Fifth shift-lab member, Sarah Bryant, who was in the UK checked-in daily via skype as we worked on the project and she simultaneously printed at her studio in Brighton.
For the [in code] project, we collected all tweets from the social media website, twitter that had particular hashtags (#letterpress, #shiftlab, #woodtype, #printedword, #cbaa) on January 2 and 3. Some were obviously intended for the incode project, while others were not. We gathered tweets in English, German, French and Russian.
On a side-note, David Wolske, who is the creative director at Red Butte Press at the University of Utah, informed us that the official name of the glyph which we have been referring to as a hashtag was actually, a octothorpe. With further research in Keith Houston's book, Shady Characters, it signifies many things including: weight (measurement,) checkmate (in the game chess,) a musical sharp symbol, insert space (proofreaders mark,) a village (cartography.) It has many other uses: "number," "pound," "hash," and has been termed "crunch," "hex," "flash," "grid," "tic-tac-toe," "pig pen," and "square." Just in case you were wondering...
With time and space limitations while printing our posters, we decided to come up with our own additional limitations. We agreed on a palette of 5 colors and would use one for the content from each hashtag. We limited our type to only woodtype along with a few drawers of metal type. David helped us with selecting their newly acquired Cloister (Morris Fuller Benton) from Dale Guild Type Foundry.
In the final hours, we managed (with the help of many fine printers from all over the country who were attending the conference,) to complete a set of nine prints all containing some element of the collected tweets from a 48 hours time period.
In late March, we look forward to repeating the project again in San Francisco at The Center for the Book over a longer time period as we expect more tweets from the larger SGC conference. Keep posted as we plan switch things up a bit next time.