L'Automàtica IN RESiDENCE at the School Poeta Maragall


The first session of the residency served to introduce the group and the work they are engaged in. As eleven members of L'Automàtica group are absent from this session, Ric and Linda (the two members who do attend the session) present the rest of the group through their calling cards, enabling the pupils see the importance of graphic design when it comes to communicating. The pupils are requested to produce their own cards for the next session, focusing on design, typography, word choice and composition.


The next sessions centred on the importance of choosing words. The group thinks about the value of words and how they are represented, how the technique and context used to display them affect and condition their meaning. The pupils are asked to find a word or short phrase that can be printed on a 210 x 100 mm card at L'Automàtica's print shop.


This is the first visit to L'Automàtica, organised so that the pupils can learn about the site, the machinery, the procedures and so on, and print their first work. Part of the session is devoted to deciding the word that will be printed so as, subsequently, to compose it in lead typography, choose the ink, the support for the card, etc. The word chosen is selfie, and a run of cards is printed. This session also gives rise to the idea of working on a critical glossary so that each pupil can appropriate one of the words in it.

L'Automàtica's old printing press is a powerful unifying element throughout the entire process. A process that has involved different members of the group at different moments in the process, as well as the sites using over the course of the residency, before and after the press was moved.


Through experimentation with different printed techniques, the group also works on the relationship between technique, form and message. One of the proposals is to work with linoleum and print on fabric. Phrases are generated to be printed on bags, interacting with the context and acquiring new meanings. The pupils work with different typefaces in order to choose the most appropriate for each different case.


The group makes a second visit to L'Automàtica to print a poster with a powerful phrase or slogan that can be attached to the school walls. The phrase selected is “Levántate y grita” [Get Up and Shout]. The phrase is composed in large letters to make a DIN A3-size poster. One the text has been composed and the poster designed, it is printed in the colour selected as being the most suitable for the text. The posters are then attached to the walls in the school corridors in a session devoted to this activity. The posters stay on the walls at the school throughout the academic year.


In order to discover a museum centre near the school and learn about the programme of activities there, a visit is organised to the exhibition Interval. Accions sonores [Interval. Sound Actions] at the Antoni Tàpies Foundation. The group is taken on a guided tour and then talks to the exhibition's curator, Lluís Nacenta, and the sound artist Roc Jiménez de Cisneros.


Music is ever present during the work sessions at L'Automàtica. The group decides to create a playlist of songs for the residency, recording the songs on CD and designing a cover for it. The pupils work on the die stamping technique to make the box to contain the CD, as well as designing the cover.


The purpose of the critical glossary is to encourage a meditation on the words that have emerged during the process, so that each pupil can appropriate one and explain it to the rest of the group. The ways of explaining these words can vary greatly, as can the typefaces and examples used. The aim is to learn new vocabulary and become more aware about the meaning of certain concepts, such as hegemony, awareness, paradigm, utopia, canon, globalisation and so on.


Just before the group get down to designing the publication and taking decisions about its format, a visit is organised to the MACBA Documentation Centre. The visit, especially designed in cooperation with the managers at the centre, enables the group to discover at first hand artist's books from different periods and movements, and new possibilities for designing their own.

The group discovers artists like Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer, whose work they take as references for the design of their own publication.


The final publication is defined as a series of stickers bound into a folder. The stickers will be printed with phrases that can be attached to different places. Work begins by deciding the phrase that each person will include in the final publication, as this work is designed to include the contributions of all the pupils. The themes of the phrases revolve around the concerns or interests of each member of the group.


All the work of preparing the publication takes place at L'Automàtica's new headquarters. The pupils witnessed the entire process of moving the press to new premises (including the micro-sponsorship campaign that the group launched), so the return to the workspace was an important moment for everyone. Accordingly, the pupils carry out all the tasks related to typesetting, printing and cutting, sorting the pages, folding and finally binding the publication, often outside school hours and even at weekends, adapting to the time required to do the job.

Once the phrases have been written, several work sessions are devoted to typography: all the slogans are prepared for printing in lead letters. This work involves taking decisions about design and composition. All the pages of the publication are also placed inside the envelope with the design agreed.


The final presentation of both the publication and all the other materials generated during the course is made at L'Automàtica's headquarters, attended by teachers, family members and friends. Together with the artists, the pupils explain the creative process. Before the presentation begins, the group performs the small action or performance of attaching the stickers with their slogans in various places nearby.