PEN International Congress

PEN International
August 22th, 2020

Pen Centenary Congress

Today, PEN is recognised as the world’s foremost association of writers and as a leading expert on freedom of expression. With a professional staff working from its London base, a network of 140 autonomous centers spread across 100 countries in more than 100 languages, and approximately 40,000 members (all of whom are writers), PEN defends – and often provides essential support to – those who are persecuted for their writing. Defying the old stereotype of writers – that they are reclusive, antisocial, focused solely on the text before them – PEN engages energetically with the
world, not just grappling with history but making it: writing it. PEN has tackled almost every imaginable threat to freedom of expression, including fascism, Stalinist repression, apostasy, criminal defamation, the abuse of anti-terrorism laws, censorship, legislation restricting LGBTQI expression and digital surveillance. PEN’s influence is felt by individual governments, its expertise recognised by the United Nations.

Reading the PEN Charter I highlighted for myself few words, which, I believe, are important in context of PEN history, those are literature, works of art, members of PEN, mutual respect, freedom of expression, and this long period - the principle of unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations. So I was thinking about PEN as the organization which was tested by the rise of Nazism in Germany, but also PEN is the best example of the grassroots initiative, which is based on interpersonal connections. Those 100 Years of friendship are transformed into action. Actually, in context of PEN activity I was thinking about Ukrainian writer Vasyl Stus, about other imprisoned artists, and how they feel being imprisoned, and what they feel being released, or rescued. We know about the unpublished poetry book written by Vasyl Stus, which was destroyed in prison... those were words transformed into ash in a few seconds... PEN on other hand is transforming the emptiness into the eternity of light. Light is something emotional, what people see first, being liberated from prison, also poetry or spoken word is enlightening our path.

The Dot - The Globe - The Letter - Α i Ω - Biger parts are created with the smallest one.

For this Identity we used an so called PEN globe, which is an constant part of PEN International identity and consists with different letters - so the context of diversity emerges. We deconstructed that Globe to letters itself, and used it in contemporary street art context. So the interconnection between times emerged. The globe was built from different alphabets, which existed hundreds of years ago, and the globe itself is a visual representation of our planet, but from a wider perspective our planet is a small Dot, Dot is the end of the sentence, but every end is also the start. Story goes in circles. Those circles are visually represented as layers, here comes the logo itself, 100 layers or circles creating the history of PEN International. So small, so big, so transparent.