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New Work: I Give An X

Only 65% of people voted in the last UK election, with a majority of non-voters being young people. In the run up to the General Election on 7 May 2015, Naresh Ramchandani, Marina Willer and their teams decided to combat this disengagement.

The result is I Give An X, a non-partisan, online campaign that asks people to visit the I Give An X website, pick an X to download and share as their profile picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with #igiveanx. By living in social media, I Give An X has a relevance to younger voters and, by allowing them to wear a virtual badge of pride, the campaign can influence their social circles as well.

A Pentagram Production: The Poems of Henry Ponder

Naresh Ramchandani explains how we came to make a short film about one of Britain’s most thoughtful, but lesser known, poets. 

I don’t know about you, but my life affords me barely any time to think. The amount of attention I give to my family, my work and to my other duties and pleasures – all manifest through unending calls, meetings, texts, emails and to do lists which never seem to shorten – leaves me precious little time for contemplation. It wasn’t always so.

When I was younger, I used to consider the world around me, and notice things, and think things, such as no matter when you reach a place, your nose will have got there first, or the fact that a stopped clock will tell the right time twice a day. These were not idle thoughts but simple reflections on a world which I had time to attend to, be mindful of and curious about.

That’s why it was such a pleasure last year to discover a minor poet by the name of Henry Ponder, a man tweeting very short daily poems in which he contemplated his everyday world. Henry wrote about the restorative nature of sweeping a floor, and the brusqueness of the language of warning signs, and the inner-softness and vulnerability of a pain au raisin, and more. As I followed his poems, they became mini-mediations not just in his day but mine, reminding me think beyond my immediate preoccupations; reminding me to stop and smell life’s proverbial flowers.

I decided that this unknown poet deserved to be better known. I contacted him on Twitter and arranged to meet him. In person, he was a small, shy man shy with unkempt hair and thick-rimmed glasses. When I suggested the idea of making a very short film about him, he thought for a while, and then said “That would be kind.”

An Evening of Everyday Things

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Pentagram recently hosted a private view of ‘Everyday Things’, a collection of 19 objects by artists and designers curated by Do The Green Thing and WWF-UK to promote Earth Hour 2015. During the evening, 200 people filed into Pentagram’s front room to enjoy the exhibition and hear Naresh Ramchandani – the co-founder of Do The Green Thing and Pentagram partner – speak about why it was put together.

This is the third time that Do The Green Thing has teamed up with WWF-UK to create a campaign for Earth Hour. In previous years, the campaigns have been poster-based, featuring submissions from the great and the great, including Sir Paul Smith, Sir Quentin Blake, Marion Deuchars, Neville Brody, Rankin and Pentagram partners Paula Scher, Marina Willer, Domenic Lippa, Harry Pearce, Natasha Jen, Abbott Miller and Angus Hyland.

This year, Do The Green Thing and WWF-UK wanted to do something a little different. As Naresh Ramchandani explains, “We wanted to create pieces that could be in the real world rather than on a screen; that could be physically worn, touched, held, sat on, used; that could give a better sense of what a sustainable life and would actually look and feel like.”