Creative Soccer Culture

'Commentary Project' Presents: UdK Berlin Exhibition

Celebrating the visual impact flags have on the game with a unique exhibition in Berlin.

If you've never heard of 'Commentary' then straight from the horses mouth, it "is a National Football Museum project which links the museum to Manchester School of Art to produce work and exhibitions looking at the how football interacts with visual culture."

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A true celebration of the creative side of the game, sees the organisation bring together creatives for their first exhibition. Held in Berlin and just in time for the Champions League final its primary focus is on flags and the visual impact they bring to football, we caught up with Dan Byrne one of the leading figures behind the project, to find out a little more.

Berlin is a creative mecca - that combined with the Champions League final, you couldn't have picked a better time / place to have this exhibition...

Berlin is a really vibrant cultural centre but perhaps it doesn’t have the same sort of footballing pedigree; the Champions League Final gives us a chance to link football and design in the city which is probably the hub of European art and design.

Can you feel a shift in football culture, has the creative side of the game ever been this strong?

I think there has always been an element of creativity to football culture but it seems that football is becoming more and more of a ‘proper topic’ for art and design. Creativity linked to football has started to be taken more seriously over the last few years and I think that is increasing the amount and quality of the visuals in football culture.

I’m a massive football fanzine geek and I think that some of the history of visual creativity around football is strong but that the current trend for well-thought-out football design projects is really exciting. There seem to be good football magazines popping up all over the place with a broader take on the game, established mags like Colours and It’s Nice That have done some really nice football projects and then you have people like Soho Warriors FC making great work and uniting creatives around a football team.

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What are the future aspirations for Commentary?

The flags exhibition is going to a few more places; London for the start of the Premier League season followed Manchester and Holland. There are some more flags to add to these exhibitions too so it is going to be a nice evolving thing.

There a few on-going projects which are shortly to start being represented on the Commentary website. We also have another thing coming up later this year which looks at the football and computer gaming; this is another really visually rich and interesting area of football fandom and it links to a large exhibition at the National Football Museum.

Football visuals are everywhere; they range from the work of top studios shaping design trends through commercial work to homemade efforts by fans. Eventually, the aim is to have the Commentary channel as a home for works and projects which think about this; we aim to open it up to more collaborations and to add some more voices to the project.

The commentary exhibition in Berlin is a partnership between the National Football Museum, Out of Play, Manchester School of Art and Universität der Künste Berlin with further support by Fred Aldous and GF Smith Papers. The exhibition kicks off from 4th June and you can find out more here.


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