New Project: Babylon – Searching for a New Visual Language

Oded Ezer re-imagines a Middle Eastern visual language that fuses Jewish, Muslim and ancient Babylonian elements into a groundbreaking contemporary look. By nurturing new visual contexts, leaning on Hebrew contexts and visual awareness of the eastern historical field, Ezer asks to establish an innovative dialogue by breaking cultural, lingual, territorial and political boundaries.

Ezer wishes to base his work on historic visual treasures of the Middle East and it’s overlapping cultures. His goal was to restore, update, rephrase and create this graphic and typographic imagery while borrowing from rich Jewish-Muslim artistic territories.

20th century visual communication field in Israel, Ezer’s native ground, draws constant inspiration from the modernist and postmodernist European imagery and remains undistinguished. A tremendous potential is yet to be defined within Semitic cultures and geographically near space. Can a new Israeli design language be formulated, based on Middle East symbols? This question led Ezer to create a series of projects, ranging from print to digital, from type to images.

 

Mediterranean Goodbye

Oded Ezer, Mediterranean Goodbye

Oded Ezer, Mediterranean Goodbye, 70×100

 

In this poster, Ezer aimed to create a modern arabesque, inspired by Zaha Hadid’s work. The use of Ezer’s Kadim typeface, interlaced with itself, demonstrates an organic expression of flexibility and flow. The Middle Eastern search continues, looking for a visual message which is both traditional and contemporary.

The poster doubles as a homage to the Israeli play writer Hanoch Levin, using fragments of dialogues from his play. The lyrics, talking about a woman leaving Israel for London, are connected and resemble flight routes.

 

Ode to the Middle East

Oded Ezer, Ode to the Middle East

Oded Ezer and Shany Dvora, Ode to the Middle East, 70×100

 

The movable dialogue simulates a mysterious dance between the two figures, is inspired by ancient Egyptian recognized images. To support the concept, Ezer chose to use a poem by Joseph Ozer, discussing boundaries established by the west. The text is set in Ezer’s Yemenite styled Kadim typeface, and the forms relate to protective incantation bowls from Syria. Every aspect of the poster calls for a new alternative, which is appealing and intriguing.

The poster, revolving around repetition is an endless, rounded discussion, thoughtfully crafted by Ezer, between the rich sources of inspirations from the Middle East. Designed in collaboration with Shany Dvora, the poster was displayed in ‘Overview’ exhibition at the Design Museum Holon, Israel.

 

On the way to Babylon

Oded Ezer, On the way to Babylon

Oded Ezer, On the way to Babylon, 70×100

 

On the way to Babylon is an animated poster with a printed version reacting to an invented story of space travel in which all the planets are the known earth. An alternative reality in a tapestry layout, where Middle Eastern awareness blurs concepts of center and margins.Ezer created a parallel existence: A Middle Eastern, non-European space of cultural hubs rather than a nation based centers.

In this futuristic narrative, multiple earths are contributing to the existence of dialogue through repetition. Ezer chooses to gaze out from his window and fly to Babylon, where history leans towards the multicultural and Spatial rather than hierarchical.

 

Kadim and Lilith typefaces

Oded Ezer, Kadim typeface

Oded Ezer, Kadim typeface

 

Kadim typeface is the outcome of a dialogue between Oded Ezer and the great century Yemenite Jewish writer and scholar Saadia al-Adani. His exquisite handwriting from 1222 was taken as a starting point to the typeface.

Design features include emphasizing the horizontal strokes, rounded arches, and extended letter width. The skeletal letterforms, typical of the style were preserved, such as the unique horizontal Alef.

 

Oded Ezer, Lilith typeface

Oded Ezer, Lilith typeface

 

Lilith typeface is named after Lilith, a demon, woman figure in the Jewish mythology, appearing in the Babylonian Talmud. The typeface is based on handwriting from 1380, with playful and sophisticated details.

Both typefaces, designed especially for this project and are not available for retail, relay on traditional models, yet allowing contemporary influences to inform the final result.

 

OdedEzer_Babylonian

A tremendous potential is yet to be defined within Semitic cultures and geographically near space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can a new Israeli design language be formulated, based on Middle East symbols?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The poster, revolving around repetition is an endless, rounded discussion, between the rich sources of inspirations from the Middle East

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An alternative reality in a tapestry layout, where Middle Eastern awareness blurs concepts of center and margins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The skeletal letterforms, typical of the style were preserved, such as the unique horizontal Alef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The typeface is based on handwriting from 1380, with playful and sophisticated details

 

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