The Human Printer challenges a digital world

A 36-hour print marathon at the Art Tank in Selfridges saw the minds behind The Human Printer create their latest large-scale artwork – by scaling back the printing process.

The idea behind The Human Printer was first conceived by Louise Naunton Morgan during her studies in visual communication at Central St Martins, as a way to challenge and comment on the “soulless homogenisation brought about by the digitalisation on the world.”

“Studying in graphic design, naturally the printing process is an integral element to the process when producing physical outcomes, therefore something that was being dealt with a lot,” Morgan comments. “Interested by the juxtaposition between the organic and inorganic, the project grew from playing with modes of representation used in graphic design finding a way to highlight this tension.”

The Human Printer was launched in 2009 when Morgan started creating prints in the same way a digital printer would, but instead by hand using marker pens.

As part of Selfridges’ State of the Arts campaign, which aims to present art in unexpected places in its stores, The Human Printer created a one-off print of a Minecraft sunset in the retailers Art Tank – located in the Duke Street corner window of the store.

The people involved take on the role of the printer and restrict themselves to only using CMYK halftones created on the computer, meaning each piece created is a complete one-off.

Morgan is now part of graphic design studio Stinsensqueeze with Stina Pariente Gromark, based between London and Paris.

“More and more our society is becoming mechanised, digitised, systemised and we move further away from the idea of the human as an animal, a unique feeling sensitive being,” says Morgan. “The project aims to highlight the need to sustain this way of being, even if found within inorganic structures — how can we express ourselves within set parameters when the constraints are becoming tighter and tighter.”

Minecraft Sunset was created using Liquitext acrylic marker pens on 5mm PVC vinyl, with each panel measuring 1226mm x 2750mm.

 

First published on Print Monthly

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