20 YEARS FORWARD & BACK is available globally from the Semi Permanent Shop and at Semi Permanent festivals taking place in Singapore (April), Sydney (May) and Wellington (October).
The first major published work from the recently-founded Semi Permanent Brand Studio, 20 YEARS FORWARD & BACK is presented as a non-linear time capsule exploring two decades of creativity forwards and backwards — charting, reflecting and refracting a broad spectrum of excellence across multiple disciplines. Designed in-house as a reflection of 20 years of the Semi Permanent creative platform (spanning major live festivals, and now a creative studio), the book archives significant projects from the past as well as significant ideas that will guide us into the future — including new contributions from filmmaker Roman Coppola, industrial designer Sabine Marcelis, architect Bjarke Ingels, and artist CJ Hendry.
Each body of work featured in the 200+ page publication presents a unique approach to creative process. In some instances, this project provides a moment of pause and reflection: fashion designer Bünyamin Aydin, for instance, took the opportunity to look back through his personal photography, an archive rarely seen and certainly never published, as a means to make sense of his daily practice as a fashion designer, to draw a line between what his eye sees on his travels and how it manifests in his seasonal collections.
In other cases, it serves to demonstrate the power of creativity, to showcase its ability to affect change, and we are honoured to publish an extensive conversation that dives into an important project – ‘New Spaces of Justice’ – initiated by the late creative director and entrepreneur, Virgil Abloh, Policy and Design Lead at Stanford Legal Design Lab, Nóra Al Haider, and architect Oana Stănescu. In contrast to other sections in the publication, there are no images on these pages, because creativity isn’t always visual, or at the least, it doesn’t always start that way, but rather as a spark of an idea, a willingness to collaborate, and a desire to reshape our future. What’s more is that it proves that creativity isn’t linear; one might be an architect, or a fashion designer, but the limitless nature of our thinking is applicable to an infinite number of challenges that face our world today.
"These case studies, peeks into others' portfolios, unearthed archival prints, and freshly-published artworks are by no means a singular representation of creative practice in the 21st century," concedes Murray Bell, the Founder and Executive Creative Director of Semi Permanent. "We hope you find it inspiring, sure, but that you ingest it not in a passive manner and see it instead as an invitation. What will you do today that's meaningful in twenty years' time? We are all semi permanent, but creative expression lives forever."
20 YEARS FORWARD & BACK was conceived to celebrate 20 years of Semi Permanent past and to mark a new chapter for the platform as it further launches Semi Permanent Brand Studio to the world. Self-tasked with a brief to “always be more generous”, the book is, according to Bell, a new iteration of Semi Permanent fostering creativity in all its disciplines at a global scale, following large-scale projects for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Tourism Portugal, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture, Google, Dropbox, Gucci, Nike, and more.
As an object, the book design is “teched-out” and playful in the conventions of bookmaking: employing a semi-reflective cover, a full front-cover index, custom fonts, and flush pages edges that create a hefty box-like feel. An architectural approach to content presents information in increasing granularity, starting with contributions from monumental creative forces (presented in similarly monumental font size) and moving into a fully catalogued archive of Semi Permanent works. This book-as-object approach is its own time-capsule, a future-proofed resource, and thus exists within its purpose.
"Semi Permanent was founded with the thinking that, as the world moved increasingly online, real, tangible experiences would become even more special,” adds Bell. “The energy, serendipity and interaction that fills the atmosphere when we’re grouped together in a room can’t be equated – even as 20 years of digital innovation have passed. But while a talks program was, and still is, core to the Semi Permanent festival, it’s only ever been half of the story, and from the very first (unintentionally) guerrilla exhibition with Banksy back in 2002, our desire has always been to create a platform for creativity. More than a conference, we hoped to create experiences that would spur conversation and incite curiosity. This book forms an important part of that journey.”