ictvc 2022: Beyond the Obvious

The 8th ICTVC international conference focused on the theme ‘Beyond the obvious. Typography and Visual Communication in times of disruption’. It took place at the ‘Ioannis Vellidis’ Congress Centre, Thessaloniki, Greece, from 7 to 9 July 2022. I presented my paper ‘Fake Novelties? Product Labels and Other Curiosities‘.

The paper addressed the theme of the conference (“Beyond the obvious”) by delving into the world of “fake” artefacts: things that appear to be something different from what they really are. More specifically, the presentation dealt portable clocks and watches of the 18th and 19th century and their labels, engraved or printed on the object. Such labels were meant to indicate various types of information, including for example the object’s maker, place of origin, production year, serial number, and so on. Careful examination of such objects from museum collections reveals many irregularities and surprises: the objects are not necessarily what their labelling claims. Meticulous investigation of these objects and cross-referencing with various written sources is necessary in order to acquire a more reliable understanding of the objects’ properties. Is there a wider lesson here to be learnt? The paper explored this question by presenting and analysing rich visual material.