Signature celebrates an aspect of Paul Carter’s distinguished public art practice, his unique typographical inscriptions installed in award-winning public space design projects, including Homebush Bay (Sydney 2000 Olympics), Federation Square, 180 Brisbane, State Square (Darwin), Scarborough Beach (WA), Harmony Square (Dandenong) and Yagan Square, Perth.
The inscriptions are poetic compositions arising from the creative through lines, or place-making impulses, embedded in each site’s cultural and environmental history.
By using a poetic logic able to expose convergences, coincidences and cross-overs of sense, Carter produces original place signatures. These differ from conventional dedicatory texts not only in their content but in their arrangement and distribution, which characteristically operate at a scale where reading and treading elide.
Sean Hogan, Signature’s designer and Paul Carter were drawn to this book project by the challenge of putting writing designed to be ‘outside the book’ into a physical format whose unit was the page and whose conventional organisation was linear.
As Carter writes:
Composed over twenty five years, the public inscriptions put into this book also stage a return: at the beginning is a mumbled, stumbling overhearing of the Kaurna account of colonisation, its prophecy and actualisation; at the conclusion is a child’s version of ‘Welcome to Country,’ faithfully discussed and realised in English and Nyungar.
Inside the outer arc of the rainbow, a shaman’s version of the creation comes back as the intimate staccato of a Lewin’s Rail on the Brisbane River, interpreted here as the watchful spirit of change. The curving line of Melbourne’s Nearamnew spans the entire reflexive history of a place being made: coming into shape, colonisation, renewal and governance, construction and reconstruction; but these inscriptions also bend back to a new beginning, the visitor walks in the paths of those gone before.
Signature is a unique collaboration between poetry, place and graphic design. Created at the intersection between voice and architecture, it reanimates the meaning of volume.