Imagine That! Fun Facts About Hong Seon Jang's "Type City"

Imagine That! Fun Facts About Hong Seon Jang's Type City

Johannes Gutenberg, Public Domain Image.

Before the digital revolution there was the Print Revolution. Johannes Gutenberg’s 15th century invention of the printing press and technological advancements made by others helped information spread more rapidly and accurately. Plus it propelled the growth of a wider literate audience. In our current exhibition,Txt: art, language, media, Hong Seon Jang’s 3D freestanding sculpture Type City features movable type pieces arranged in the intricate pattern of a city landscape. We chatted with Jang and discovered why he was inspired by movable type pieces, how eBay helped make the project a reality, the Legos connection and more. Imagine that!

It all began with the Print Revolution

Hong Seon Jang, Type City, detail, 2015.

“It [Print Revolution] laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses. Type City conveys the idea of the important historical meaning of the invention of movable type printing which is the democratization of knowledge. It helps kids to learn how the invention of the printing press changed our civilization.”

Who knew eBay had so many movable type pieces

“Collecting a mass quantity of movable type pieces was the biggest challenge. I found them on eBay. It was a time-consuming process to collect them because I had to bid and win auctions in order to collect a mass quantity. It took me several months to get them all. I ended up spending a total of about $1,300. That’s amazing because these items used to be considered garbage that no one wanted to keep. But now people are interested in the object.”

Building a city was just like playing with Legos…well sort of…

Hong Seon Jang, Type City, detail, 2015.

“I was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up seeing buildings all the time. My current studio is in Manhattan next to the Port Authority Bus Terminal with a view of the city. So it made sense for me to create an abstract city landscape. The art-making process was very much like working with Lego blocks as I arranged and stacked each movable type piece. It connected me back to my childhood of playing with Legos when I was about five or six.”


Hong Seon Jang's Type City is currently on view in the Salon Gallery at the Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling.