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Emi Takahashi is a Japanese-French-Canadian artist and designer based in Tkaronto/Toronto. Her practice involves experimenting with alternative & analog forms of image-making, glyph & type design, archival projects, and multidisciplinary collaborations.
This list was last updated on October 03, 2022.
Where Grape Leaves Grow, 2022
Where Grape Leaves Grow is a book by Anna Daliza that tells the history of Maronite Catholics of Lebanon over the last two thousand years, while interweaving the story of Anna’s family, and her experience of growing up as a second generation immigrant in the white-suburbs of South Western Ontario. This narrative is told through a dialogue between two unnamed voices: the voice of a child grieving the loss of their Lebanese maternal family, and what can only be described as a familiar and soothing voice akin to the child’s Lebanese ancestry.
The design of “Where Grape Leaves Grow” honours the story’s poetic approach to dialogue through an expressive and evolving textual layout. Custom-made glyphs representing the growth cycles of a grapevine are embedded throughout the book. The book’s materiality and extended 2-panel cover are inspired by the wrapping of warak enab, Lebanese stuffed grape leaves. Together these elements culminate in a highly intimate and one-of-a-kind artist’s book.
Collaboration with Michelle Kuan
Book Photography: Mar Marriott
a journey..., 2022
Album artwork and design for Hinako Omori's debut album a journey... Therapeutic frequencies, Japanese forest bathing, binaural field recordings, and ambient electronics are thoughtfully weaved together to evoke a stream of consciousness journey through natural environments. The artwork captures a cartography of the mind, revealing subconscious acts of mind wandering and fragmented thoughts and memories. Environmental images were sourced from film photos taken in Bath, UK where the field recordings for the album were collected.
Photographs on Artwork: Katie May & Hinako Omori
Label: Houndstooth Label
Manufacturing: Optimal Media, Germany
A Journey, 2022
Music video for "A Journey" by Hinako Omori. The video is an ode to the rich, immersive and healing soundscape that blends binaural field recordings with ambient synths. Inspired and guided by nature, the collected footage captures environmental glimpses that evoke fragments of a personal memory. A risograph-printed analog treatment echoes the voice in fleeting moments.
here-there audio archive, 2022
Audio archive dedicated to collecting, sharing, and amplifying anonymous and unguided stories from the Asian Canadian diaspora
Each story is inextricably linked to the next through a “pass-it-on” structure: contributors first answer a question asked by the previous person and at the end ask a question for the following person — creating a linear chain that weaves a rich anthology of lived histories and experiences.
The archive prioritizes web accessibility and contributor agency. Each recording occupies its own “room”, where the contributor has been given the space to tell their story. The colour of these rooms has been chosen by each contributor. All audio files are transcribed; text size and visual contrast can be adjusted by visitors. The colours on the site are coded as HTML colour names alt-text, ensuring an inclusive experience for folks using screen readers. A guestbook invites visitors to share their personal thoughts and experiences.
The archive came to life through the here-there listening room at Whippersnapper Gallery, a gathering space for contemplation and conversation. It centers around nineteen unguided audio stories shared by Asian Canadians across Canada. The listening experience is supported by a typographic window installation and newspaper takeaways. A custom-made communal table features prominently in the space.
Collaboration with Michelle Kuan & Michelle Lu
Web Development: Donya Aref, Oliver Gadoury
Table Design: Matthew Lee
Poster for interdisciplinary scholar and comparatist Erin Y. Huang’s talk for the Comparative Literary Studies Program at Northwestern University, “Islanding: Ocean Media and the Aesthetics of Desertedness in the South China Sea”.
“Bringing together the methodological approaches of infrastructure and media studies and the island philosophy of Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze, this talk explored a new genealogy of island critique and examined Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, the contemporary American satellite surveillance network on Asian oceans, and the expansion of Chinese artificial islanding in the South China Sea.”
Geospatial materials were sourced from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative to create this poster, which used 3D rendering and layering effects to visualize the continuous expansion and surveillance of artificial islands in the region.
Collaboration with Michelle Kuan
Printed with Vide Press
KACHI-BUWA investigates how graphic representation can communicate the nuances in connotations and culture-specific contexts expressed by onomatopoeia in the Japanese language. This project exists as a body of typographic work orbiting around a conceptual variable Katakana typeface which aims at bridging sound, form and signification while being embedded in Japanese visual culture.
✷ Onomatopoeic expressions speak their meanings through both sound and form, breaking linguistic barriers and granting a strictly iconic form of communication.
Vector Festival, 2021
Vector Festival is a participatory and community-oriented platform devoted to showcasing digital and new media art practices. This year’s theme, Network Dependencies, asked what post-isolation co-existence might look like and explored new ways of being together, finding community, and sharing space through programming in both digital and physical spaces.
When approaching the design for this project, Rebecca Wilkinson and I embraced a process of making that encouraged us to connect to each other and to the outdoors after months of isolation. We began with an afternoon of plant collecting and cyanotype printing under the sun before turning to our usual design tools to create a layer of graphic connections between the analog and the digital. This identity features a flexible grid structure adapted to function across various digital and analog formats and platforms.
Collaboration with Rebecca Wilkinson
Web Development: Mouth of Tiger
Variable Axes & Superglyph, 2021
Collisions is an independent and remote summer workshop hosted by studio basic. The workshop invites future thinkers to come together and explore the digital landscape, merging the disciplines of type design, variable type design, 3D sculpting, 3D landscape design, and digital fashion. I was invited to facilitate a workshop on experimental variable type design.
Given the spatial and material constraints of the COVID-19 quarantine, designers Rebecca Wilkinson, Eric Francisco and myself wondered what it would look like to collaborate on a storytelling project from a distance during a time of social isolation. Taking inspiration from a point on John Baldessari’s 1970 CalArts assignment sheet, the project’s co-authors took turns photographing, writing, and combining the two to create new, unexpected meanings from these fragmentary pieces.
• Two-Colour Risograph
• Postcard edition of 180 copies
• Poster edition of 36 copies
• Postcards: 6” x 4.25”
• Poster: 11” x 17”
Collaboration with Rebecca Wilkinson & Eric Francisco
Vector Festival, 2020
Vector Festival is a participatory and community-oriented platform devoted to showcasing digital and new media art practices. Reformatted to take place virtually, this year’s festival explored themes of solitude, distanced interaction, digital art-making & curation as well as emerging forms of community, solidarity, and care.
Tasked with creating an identity system that expressed Jordan Shaw's concept for a site that encourages a participatory viewing experience through visitors’ real-time anonimized data visualizations, Rebecca Wilkinson and I developed a visual language that celebrates the energy generated from a collective online presence. This graphic approach is paired with an eclectic typographic treatment that honours the diversity of artistic voices featured in the festival.
Collaboration with Rebecca Wilkinson
Web Development: Jordan Shaw & Marcelo Luft
fettle Typeface, 2018
A typeface in which the design and typographic details of the letterforms are inspired by trimming and cleaning tools used in ceramics. As a display and text typeface, it is intended to complement ceramic-related photographs and content both in print and on the web. The letterforms represent the tools that are used to shape ceramic work, and concurrently, they are the tools that shape the message about that ceramic work.
• 27 Glyphs
• Bold and Regular Weight
• Type Specimen Book
• Type Specimen Posters
Seeing Lines, 2018
Seeing Lines is a small collection of photographs exploring linear details found in the city of Copenhagen. The book is divided into three sections: Below, In Between and Above. They weave into each other to evoke the feeling of wandering the streets of Copenhagen, starting from looking at the ground, then looking across from you, and finally looking up to the sky.
• 44-page booklet
• Dimensions: 4.5"x7"
• Edition: 15