Press Release: Group exhibition features experimental works that exist on the margins of graphic design
SOMArts Cultural Center


Jess Young, Director of Communications

& Community Engagement

415-863-1414 x112 •


SOMArts Cultural Center Presents

All Possible Futures

Group exhibition Tuesday, January 14–Thursday, February 13, 2014 offers work by Bay Area and international artists exploring the boundaries of graphic design


December 12, 2013, San Francisco, CA—  SOMArts Cultural Center presents All Possible Futures, a group exhibition Tuesday, January 14–Thursday, February 13, 2014, curated by Jon Sueda and featuring 37 projects by Bay Area and international artists. All Possible Futures, the first of three SOMArts Commons Curatorial Residency exhibitions in 2014, explores the potential of graphic design and celebrates a questioning of boundaries regarding concepts, processes, technologies, and form. Contemporary speculative pieces take the form of both physical objects and restaged installations.


What happens when graphic designers extend the boundaries of their discipline and initiate creative explorations built on risk and uncertain ground? Exhibited conceptual proposals, critical provocations, and experimental works that exist on the margins of graphic design or in parallel to professional projects, as well as proposals that were initially rejected by a client and remain unrealized, position All Possible Futures at the intersection of design and fine art.


SOMArts Executive Director, Lex Leifheit, commented, “The Commons Curatorial Residency amplifies the voices of curators, artists and communities who challenge assumptions and test limits. All Possible Futures creates a new space for graphic design to be understood outside of its original context, which is relevant to all artists whose vision and values must co-exist with the demands of a market economy.”


All Possible Futures opens with a reception, Thursday, January 16, 2014, 6pm to 9pm, featuring a short introduction by Sueda and a performance by “Viktor” a scalable, robotic chalk-drawing machine created by Jürg Lehni. Viktor will create a new site specific drawing in response to the exhibition’s geographic location and the themes. Gallery visitors may also participate in the interactive, evolving installation “Polychrome Fungus” by MONIKER.


Ludovic Balland’s “The Day After Reading, Memory Newspaper” launches at the Parallel Universe? Artist Talk on Wednesday, January 22, 6:30–8:30pm, followed by three short visual presentations and conversation with featured designers Ludovic Balland (Switzerland), Willem Henri Lucas (Netherlands), and Jeremy Mende (San Francisco).


All Possible Futures concludes on Wednesday, February 12, 6:30–8:30pm with a reception and catalog launch event, including a conversation with Sueda, the exhibition’s curator, and writers Rachel Berger and Emily McVarish. The catalog, published by Bedford Press (Architectural Association, London), is 7.5 x 5 inches, 132 pages, 1 color with color installation images, and features texts by Rachel Berger, Max Bruinsma, Emmet Byrne, Catherine de Smet, Jon Sueda and Emily McVarish.


The exhibited work highlights different levels of visibility and public-ness within the graphic design process. Some projects were made for clients and exist in a real-life context, while others might otherwise have gone unnoticed: failed proposals, experiments, sketches, incomplete thoughts.


“PenJet” is a collaboration between graphic designers Jaan Evart, Julian Hagen and Daniël Maarleveld. The project originated from experimenting with the movement of printer heads. This result was a modified printer which records the movement of the print head using an attached pen. “PenJet” shows the handwriting of the machine, some fine and straight, others messy and fluent. The final result has both the imperfections of handwriting and the preciseness of a machine. However, no matter much control there is, the printed result remains unpredictable and every page is unique.


Self-proclaimed “Exit-Level Designer” Ed Fella will exhibit “Potential Design for Bygone Eras,” a series of collages and sketches created over the past 20 years that confronts his past and future. He describes it as a design methodology situated in the present but using or reworking bygone eras as a pretend “future.” The project itself is a total contradiction, but to Fella, that’s what gives it potential to lead to so many interesting “formal speculations and mixed-up possibilities.”


“Roller Ball,” created by ResearchCenteredDesign is a dimensional poster, which in this case includes a series of phrases and alphabets. Depending on how you roll the object it creates different compositions and sequences using the phrases and alphabets extruded on its surface, leaving the layout or composition of the imprinted message open to the viewer’s interests and decisions.


In the spirit of the show’s title, the exhibition itself shifts and evolves over the course of the visitor’s experience. Some works are traces of pieces. Others adapt. Still others must be manipulated or engaged in order to become fully apparent. All Possible Futures also looks at how graphic designers have expanded the parameters of the field by consciously taking a transdisciplinary approach, and by considering physical interaction within an art-gallery context.


MONIKER’s “Polychrome Fungus” is a generative participatory installation that should be executed by a large group of people. Participants affix provided stickers on the exhibition floor according to a simple set of rules, working to form an image as a collective during gallery hours and public events. Participants receive instant visual feedback and, with a simple intervention, they change the shape and, potentially, the course of the developing installation.


“Untitled (Narcissus 2),” by Jeremy Mende and Bill Hsu, is an installation that uses a wireless sensor to capture a viewer's pulse. The viewer hears their own heartbeat and watches that same rhythm drive a series of typographic animations. The animations are representations of an organism— a simple group of cells or, perhaps, an entire community.



Appetite Engineers
Bob Aufuldish
Ludovic Balland
Rachel Berger
Peter Bil’ak
Dexter Sinister
Daniel Eatock
Jaan Evart, Julian Hagen and Daniël Maarleveld
Experimental Jetset
Ed Fella
General Working Group
Hansje van Halem
David Karwan
Mr. Keedy
Na Kim
Jürg Lehni
Willem Henri Lucas
MacFadden and Thorpe
Karel Martens
Jeremy Mende and Bill Hsu
Mevis & van Deursen
Lesley Moore
Karl Nawrot & Walter Warton
Radim Peško
Project Projects
Joel Stillman
Sulki and Min
Volume Inc.
Zak Group


All Possible Futures

Tuesday, January 14–Thursday, February 13, 2014.  Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–7pm & Saturday, 12–5pm.


Exhibition & related events take place at SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St. at 8th St., San Francisco, CA and are free to attend.



 All Possible Futures Opening Reception & Performance

Thursday, January 16, 6–9pm

Features an introduction by curator Jon Sueda and a performance by “Viktor” a scalable, robotic chalk-drawing machine


Parallel Universe? Artist Talk

Wednesday, January 22, 6:30–8:30pm

Visual presentations & conversation with exhibiting artists Ludovic Balland (Switzerland), Willem Henri Lucas (Netherlands), and Jeremy Mende (San Francisco)


All Possible Futures Closing & Catalog Launch

Wednesday, February 12, 6:30–8:30pm

Features a conversation with curator Jon Sueda and writers Rachel Berger and Emily McVarish



SOMArts (South of Market Arts, Resources, Technology, and Services) was founded in 1979 and operates the South of Market Cultural Center, one of four city-owned cultural facilities in San Francisco. SOMArts supports exhibitions, performances, classes and other collaborations that serve its mission: to promote and nurture art on the community level and foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures.


SOMArts is located at 934 Brannan Street—between 8th and 9th—within 2 blocks of 101, I-80, Muni lines and bike paths. For public information call 415-863-1414 or visit Stay connected by following us on Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.



SOMArts’ exhibition programs are generously supported by the Community Arts and Education Program of the San Francisco Arts Commission, The San Francisco Foundation and individual donors. For more information about upcoming events, space rentals and technical services, visit or call 415-863-1414.

All Possible Futures received generous support from swissnex San Francisco and is supported, in part, by public funds from the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York. The exhibition and accompanying publication were created with the help of a California College of the Arts faculty development grant. Other partners who have been integral to the success of the project are Bedford Press, Facebook Analog Research Lab, Martin Sign Company, Nonin Medical, Oscar Printing, Pacific Paper Tube, San Francisco State University, and Team Print Shop.

Exhibition patrons: Denise Gonzales Crisp, Draw Down Books, Thomas Ingalls, Willem Henri Lucas, Ellen Lupton, Megan Lynch, and Angie Wang and Mark Fox / Design is Play

Exhibition supporters: Lindsey Westbrook and Davey Whitcraft


SOMArts Cultural Center
934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th)
San Francisco, CA 94103

(415) 863-1414
Roller Ball Poster, 2004
Click here to download a high-res version
Polychrome Fungus, 2014
Sticker sheet and generative installation
Click here to download a high-res version
Jeremy Mende and Bill Hsu
Untitled (Narcissus 2), 2014
Digital projection, heart rate monitor, and petroleum
Click here to download a high-res version
Copyright © 2013 SOMArts Cultural Center, All rights reserved.