Onomatopee 41: Research Project THE FORM AND THE FRAME

On opinion media as a window to reality: a case study in editorial design

9 Apr 2010
30 May 2010

Opening #1 of 2
Friday April 9th, 20:00
Exhibition open until May 30
Thursday to Sunday's, 13:00-17:00 and by appointment

Each medium has its own group as the target of its communication. In everyday use each medium both has its core readership and incidental consumers. These groups are addressed by an idiosyncratic use of language and image, of visual and textual rhetoric. An editorial board chooses a specific approach and in doing so applies a specific form. That is what editorial design is. Editorial design gives colour and takes positions. Editorial design is politics.
But which position is actually taken and in what sense is this position coloured? At this moment, there are many discussions about what our media landscape is offering. Public broadcasting would no longer disseminate rightist opinion, and every opinion magazine is set aside as leftist by populist commentators. A lack of clarity seems to have emerged concerning the identity of the media and our identification with the media. What is left, what is right, and what is pure reporting? What do we want to engage with?
‘the Form and the Frame' engages in the construction of media. Onomatopee has assembled editorial boards to investigate the editorial design of specific opinion magazines; to approach their typical usage of text and image. The investigations will include formal aspects such as the relation between image and text, the normative content of the headlines and so on: hard facts. ‘the Form and the Frame' ignores actual subjects as described in actual news, it does not touch upon actual issues. Through its formal approach it places the normative framework on the agenda.

Research and imagination
The editorial boards comprise visually and textually capable persons with a knowledge of editorial design. The editorial boards will design an article, both visually and textually, formally addressing the values concerned. The article will be widely made accessible. The current lack of clarity in the media landscape will be made tangible and provided with a better insight.

Of course the resulting articles, brought about to the public, will also be featured in the Onomatopee project space. Additionally, Onomatopee shows the registrations of the editorial board meetings, thus revealing their considerations and choices to the audience. These meeting will be presented through film recordings and minutes of the meetings, among others. In order to provide this project and the current tension with a historical context - this problem is of all ages - there will be film screenings that consider these tensions in the past.
Through this project, Onomatopee intends to place the communication of our opinion on the agenda. ‘the Form and the Frame' both triggers our opinion and engage the professional community, especially in the area of communication, politics, graphic design, and media.
The visitors will very much be encouraged to pick up the pen, to take the editorial opportunity to actively edit the framework of this formalist play.

Knowledge development and responsibility
At the end of the project, reflection and additional content will be collected at a public encounter with experts and condensed into a publication. As is common to all Onomatopee publications, this publication will make the render the additional layers of meaning transparent.

Editorial Board 1:
Eric de Haas, graphic designer
Bart Groenendaal, artist, writer
Merijn Oudenampsen, citic, researcher, writer


Onomatopee 41 - Freek Lomme