Commentary Project is an ongoing creative endeavor between John Hannan from Manchester School of Art and design studio OWT, Dan Byrne co-founder of Spiel Magazine and Field: The Match Day Paper and John O’Shea a UK based artist working in unconventional materials and social structures. The project looks at where football meets visual culture and will consist of exhibitions, videos, essays and talks. We caught up with them to find out a bit more about the project.
Where did the idea for the project come from?
So Commentary is a wider project initiated by the National Football Museum in partnership with Manchester School of Art. It’s a place for research into football and visual culture and a way of initiating interesting projects and collaborations.
The flags are our first exhibition and it came from flags being the most obvious way of how fans engage creatively with the game. It also came out of the idea that if you look at the flags around a football ground you get sense of the club. This is our first project so are still mapping out the territory a bit. Hopefully asking designers to make flags about their relationship with football will give as a sense of how things stand.
Have you all worked together before?
We have, yeah. We did a project on Football fanzines a couple of years ago which was really fun and as we all enjoyed working together and around football it was good to go into this project together. Commentary is a lot of work but its been nice being able to treat aspects of it informally; meetings in the pub are great and kind of fitting considering it is probably where football is usually discussed.
With Commentary being an ongoing thing we are actually looking to invite people to work on projects with us.
What can people expect from the exhibition in Berlin?
People can expect to see a collection big and beautiful flags and two very tired English guys rambling on about where football meets design.
Who has created a flag for the exhibition?
We’re honoured to have some many great designers involved in the project and a real mix of nationalities and approaches to design. For example we’ve got Hort from Berlin, KesselsKramer from Amsterdam, Hey from Barcelona and Ian Anderson from The Designers Republic Sheffield. Lovely part of the world.
How did you select the designers?
Almost everyone we asked to be involved in the project said yes. Several times we went to interview someone and they said “you have to talk to this
person” and it happened organically. Football fans always want to talk about football and it’s such an easy thing to talk about, approaching people became really easy.
You are producing a series of videos and essays for the project, what will the content explore?
So the flags are a visual starting point, the videos and essays look a little bit deeper.
There is a video for every flag and these videos basically talk about the background and inspiration for the flags. They also touch on how football and design interact and what the opportunities there are for design in football.
Will you be taking the exhibition to any other cities?
It’s going to London and Manchester. It looks like Commentary will be doing something in the Netherlands this year too but we are not sure which
project we will take.
And finally, what football teams do you all support?
I’m a Liverpool fan. John supports Huddersfield and Jon is a Boro fan but he insisted on answering this question “no comment”.
Fred Aldous are pleased to help support the project and are looking forward to seeing the research and work that is produced. You can follow the project via the Commentary Project website and on Twitter by following @Commentary_Proj
1. Exhibition booklets designed by Loose Collective and Risograph printed at Fred Aldous. Image courtesy of Loose Collective
2. Hey Studio flag design. Image courtesy of Commentary Project
3. Rick Banks (Face37) and Dan Greene (Wolff Olins) flag design. Image courtesy of Commentary Project
4. Mucho flag design. Image courtesy of Commentary Project