XYX Lab’s HyperSext City is an immersive typographic installation, a video series and a participatory website. The project is both a representation of and repository for research pertaining to gendered harassment, violence and unsafe behaviour as it occurs in our cities, both in Australia and around the world.
The Challenge required the XYX designers to make visible the prevalence of harassment of women, girls and LGBTIQ+ communities in public spaces in a way that was visually stimulating but also a call to action. We intended to ensure the global data pertaining to harassment does not remain hidden in inaccessible reports or academic journals. Our challenge was to make this data visible and visceral, and ensure that the viewing public become aware that they are not just the recipients of information, but that they themselves are represented in the data, and encourage them to take action.
The solution involved a large, room-scaled, immersive information graphic designed to overwhelm its audience. It reimagines data usually viewed as fine-print in government reports and academic journals, as enormous and very public 'hypergraphics'. The colour and graphic rhythm of the walls draws its audience in-alerting them to the breadth of the issue-and then asks them to contribute to an online repository of data regarding gendered experiences in public space. While the exhibition is temporary, the website is in perpetuity, designed to continue gathering and distributing data to those who contribute to public spatial equality: planners, architects, policymakers, design students, etc.
With over 150+ sources (and growing) of highly credentialed research relevant to designers, urban planners, architects, grass-roots organisations and minoritized people, HyperSext city has a profound social impact. It has the capacity to ensure gendered spatial justice is considered as part of the development of all our cities, whether newly planned or retrospectively applied. The data has been designed to be impactful, accessible and comprehensible, but carefully curated to ensure its validity. The exhibition being located in the Tin Sheds Gallery of the University of Sydney influences an emerging generation of architects and planners to consider gender in every undertaking.
The typography has also been carefully considered. The HyperSext display type is influenced by Australian designer Florence Broadhurst, herself a victim of the city. The design draws its influence from her 'Turnabouts' pattern, and serves as an additional reference to the urban focus of the research. Supporting text is set in New Rail, designed by Margaret Calvert. The selection of a typeface designed by a woman was a conscious decision of the designers.
HyperSext City also deploys video as an important communication tool. 'A billion views' and 'Do you feel safe'-publicly accessible through hypersextcity.com-summarise the debilitating impact of either feeling or being unsafe in urban environments. The videos make powerful connections between the data walls' hypergraphics and repository with the lived experience of women and members of our LGBTIQ+ communities, and positions them as important consultants on urban development.
The Exhibition is supported by a catalogue design with essays by Dr Jess Berry, Professor Melissa Miles and Timothy Moore and Quianya Lim as well as a series of six, free, large-scale postcards that enable gallery visitors to recreate their own data wall. 'Gender Justice' workshops engaged visitors directly with the data and empower them as both advocates and solution finders.