Slavic and Eurasian Studies

“European Avant-Garde in Print” Students Create their Own Avant-Garde Materials

Thu, December 15, 2016
“European Avant-Garde in Print” Students Create their Own Avant-Garde Materials
A page from the European Avant-Garde in Print class zine

Students in Dr. Meghan Forbes’ “European Avant-Garde in Print”
created their own avant-garde materials this semester —

A manifesto, a ‘zine, and a mapping project aimed at the future!
See the 'zine
See the manifesto
See the mapping project



In the upper-level course “European Avant-Garde in Print” (REE 325, Fall 2016), taught by Lecturer Meghan Forbes, students were introduced to Czech, German, Polish, Hungarian, and Serbo-Croatian avant-garde magazines created between the two world wars. Through their innovative use of photography, international typographic conventions, and translation, these magazines contributed to international discussions about what a new, post-war Europe should be, in a moment of intensive artistic and intellectual exchange.

A few times throughout the semester, students were able to put their new knowledge to practice. In September, they constructed their own group manifesto out of those that they had read for class, hand set the type, and letterpress printed the result in a bold, revolutionary red. More recently, on the last day of class, students applied the design and rhetorical principles they’d observed in the interwar publications to make their own magazine, with the title “aimed at the future,” a quote from the founding manifesto of the Bauhaus in Weimar, written in 1919.

Students engaged with the historical avant-garde not only through material production, but also with the use of digital tools, and collaboratively created their own mapping project using the platforms of Kumu (a data visualization platform that helps organize complex information into interactive relationship maps) and Scalar (a digital humanities platform that hosts information), to show just how networked the avant-garde was!

See the amazing Scalar project (put together on Scalar by UT REES and Digital Projects Librarian Ian Goodale).


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