Wreckage or Maintenance-
The dematerialization of the art object and the rise of ecology in the 60s and 70s.
Questions we were asked in this session were:
Is wreckage more interesting than structure?
In energy and art, what is the difference between washing the floor of a gallery and directing someone to use a bulldozer to make an artwork outside of the gallery?
In art and design, is the experience more important than the object?
Here are some quotes that I think are particularly relevant to these questions:
“These processes of heavy construction have a devastating kind of primordial grandeur, and are in many ways more astonishing than the finished objects – be it a road or a building. The actual disruption of the earth’s crust is at times very compelling, and seems to confirm Heraclitus’s Fragment 124, the most beautiful world is like a heap of rubble tossed down in confusion. The tools of art have too long been confined to the studio.”- Robert Smithson, ‘A Sedimentation of the Mind, Earth Projects.’
“This movement seems motionless, yet it crushes the landscape of logic under glacial reveries. This slow flowage makes on conscious of the turbidity of thinking. Slump, debris slides, avalanches all take place within the cracking limits of the brain.”- Robert Smithson, ‘A Sedimentation of the Mind, Earth Projects.’
“This entropy of technique leaves with an empty limit, or no limit at all. All differentiated technology becomes meaningless to the artist who knows this state.”- Robert Smithson, ‘A Sedimentation of the Mind, Earth Projects.’
Another thing we learnt in this session was about, ‘A Manifesto of Consumer Rights’ in Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek-
‘Let art be created. Let the world perish!’- ‘spectacle’ versus ecology.
The artist Damien Hirst (in a 2002 interview with BBC News online) said he believed the terrorists responsible for the September 11 attacks “need congratulating” because they achieved “something which nobody would ever have thought possible” on an artistic level and changed ‘our visual language’. He later apologized. From this we were asked, if alive today, what might Filippo Marinetti and Walter Benjamin have added to this debate?
When looking at Walter Benjamin and reading from ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, I found a quote which could answer this question, “The history of every art form shows critical epochs in which a certain art form aspires to effects which could be fully obtained only with a changed technical standard, that is to say in a new art form. The extravagances and crudities of art which thus appear, particularly in the so-called decadent epochs, actually rise from the nucleus of its richest historical energies.”
I also found this quote from Filippo Marinetti, ‘The Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism’ where he says, ‘There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character.’
Order and Disorder-
Here we looked at formulating ‘the basis of a reunion between creative artists and the industrial world.’
‘We know more certainly every day that whatever appears to us harmful in the universe has some beneficent or necessary operation… But the evil is not for the same less fearful, because we have learned it to be necessary; and we easily understand the humidity or the tenderness of the spirit which would withdraw itself from the presence of destruction… That man is greater, however, who contemplates with an equal mind the alternations of terror and of beauty… But separated from both by an immeasurable distance would be the man who delighted in convulsion and disease for their own sake; who found his daily food in the disorder of nature mingled with the suffering of humanity.’ –John Ruskin, The Nature of Gothic, 1851-53.
Another quote by John Ruskin say ‘There is no wealth but life. Life, including all its powers of love, of joy, of admiration. That country is richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings.’ – Into this Last, 1862.
For this session we also had to respond to this week’s topics and recommended reading. The first one was Creative play where we had to make a visual response to the phrase ‘Art (and design) in the age of mechanical reproduction.’ Here we had to experiment with observational drawing and use of reproduction processes (such as collage, photography, photocopies, prints, casts, moulds, internet etc). What does reproduction bring to this project? Play with scale, multiples, quality of reproduction, contrast, tone, colour etc.
Here I’ve taken a photograph of a women modelling a dress and put it onto Photoshop. I have edited using brushes and different lighting techniques to create a much more interesting piece. Adding to your work digitally using many different kinds of software allows you to create something better, editing things like colour, lighting, shadow, tone etc. It’s fantastic as it allows you to have an infinite amount of possibilities, which can not be done by taking a simple photograph.
The second response we had to make was, choose at least one quote or passage from ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ (Walter Benjamin) and ‘The Theory and Organisation of the Bauhaus’ (Walter Gropius) that you think is particularly relevant to the following questions:
Does a camera more than a painting extend our comprehension of energies, forces and actions?-
“The eye perceives more swiftly than the hand can draw.”
How does a reproduction differ from a unique image or object? Does it increase a sense of the ‘universal equality of things?’-
“In photography, process reproduction can bring out those aspects of the original that are unattainable to the naked eye yet accessible to the lens, which is adjustable and chooses its angle at will.”
How did Walter Gropius suggest the Bauhaus could combat the ‘disorder’ of society in the ‘machine economy?’-
“Human achievement depends on the proper coordination of all the creative faculties. It is not enough to school one or another of them separately: they must all be trained at the same time. The character and scope of the Bauhaus teachings derive from
Following my first ‘city’ project that was done in groups within my Graphics course, we then went onto mixing with students from other areas of Art and Design. Firstly we were put into big groups of students from many different courses, such as Fine Art, Illustration, Making, Ceramics etc. We were then put into pairs where we had to talk about our previous ‘city’ project where we would then all stand in a circle, going round one by one telling the rest of the group about our pair’s project. Here we then had to decide who we wanted in our groups, based on who’s previous project interested you.
After a few minutes of going around the group independently and talking to the people we wanted to work with, we all finally decided our groups where we then had to go off and discuss our ideas for the current project. For about half an hour, we bounced ideas of one another, talking about the possible outcomes we could produce. But first we had to think about the theme we were going to work with, where as a group we all liked the idea of using hidden city. With this I came up with the idea of finding popular landmarks and areas of Cardiff to then find what was there before it existed. I also thought it could be a cool idea making something interactive, where the audience could get involved with the outcome, unfolding the hidden secrets of Cardiff. The group liked this idea so as a team we started to brainstorm, coming up with things such as a board game, looking at how we could make it interactive. We then came up with the idea of using landmarks as board pieces, where they would move in the direction of their past, which would then tell the story.
After having a tutorial with one of the tutors, we came to realise that our project should be more personal to us, where we could not only tell the story of Cardiff, but the story of ourselves. This is when we came up with the idea of using the cities we were brought up in, telling the story of that city but in the way we see it. For example, I love to surf, so when I think of Swansea and look back at what I have left behind to come to uni in Cardiff, I think of the lovely beaches and surf. I also have a huge passion for football, so I miss watching the swans play at the Liberty Stadium. From this we then figured out how we would display this, creating all of our own cities around the city that we are now in. With this we came up with having 5 pentagons fitting around another pentagon in the middle, fitting perfectly as well as being able to show all of our groups cities, as there was 5 of us.
Going back to the interactive part of the project, we came up with a really clever idea of having an object which reflects us and where you could play a board game of who gets to Cardiff first. I thought this worked really well, but I think with more time we could have made it a lot more interesting, but given the time we had, I feel the final outcome was a success.
Being able to create our own cities allowed us to show of our own skills, to then also show team work, creating the middle piece of Cardiff together, as that is where we are together in university. I loved working with other areas of art and design as it enabled me to learn a lot, stepping outside of my comfort zone on the computer and being able to make things such as a Liberty Stadium, which I never thought I would be able to do.
Here are the things I made for the city of Swansea in my eyes-
A surfboard to reflect me and my piece to move around the board to get to Cardiff a long with a billboard I designed digitally to show the Mumbles, my favourite place in Swansea.
The Liberty Stadium I created using cardboard cut out.
Here is the final outcome with each member of the groups city along with Cardiff where we all chose something that reminded us of Cardiff, mine being a silhouette cut out of all my favourite clubs in its amazing nightlife.
For our third session of this term we visited the Cardiff National Museum where we were given a tour of the Artes Mundi exhibition that had been set up. This included artists the likes of Ragner Kjartansson who came up with a great quote, saying, “Life is not ‘either/or’ never either tragic or joyful, never black or white. One lives and dies in the grey area. That is where I dwell.” Kjartansson draws on the entire arc of art in his performative practice. The histories of film, music, theatre, visual culture and literature find their way into his video installations, durational performances (sometimes lasting hours or weeks), drawing and painting. Pretending and staging become key tools in the artist’s attempt to convey sincere emotion and offer a genuine experience to the audience. Kjartansson’s playful work is full of unique moments: the dramatic and the banal come into conflict in a memorable way.
Here are some other artists who were part of the exhibition and there work-
For our second session we looked at the rise of modernism where we see entropy as increasing disorder. Here we asked the question, “What is order?” Order is ‘Arrangement, ‘Structure’ and ‘Balance.’ It is an ‘improbable arrangement of elements,’ whether ‘beautifully structured or arbitrarily deformed.’ Entropy as a figurative expression of disorder or undifferentiated. ‘Order makes it possible to focus on what is alike and what is different, what belongs together and what is segregated.’
Food Chains- movements of energy through the ecosystem (eg. grass- horse- manure- dung beetles/worms/bacteria- grass- horse etc). Some energy is lost in heat at each stage (entropy). Ecological succession- ecosystems may change through time. Stable ‘steady state’ ecosystems are often high in diversity with relatively low energy inputs.
For our second day in London we were split into groups to go on a visit to some popular agencies in the area. I chose to go to Dare where a previous CSAD student now works for.
The studio space was awesome, I loved how open it was with such a chilled vibe. It was the exact working environment I loved, where everyone was close together with a relaxed but working atmosphere. During the visit we were then given an overview of what Dare does, and all the different clients they have worked with.
After the introduction we were set a quick task where we had to think of an idea to get people to return to a cinema after watching a film. We were put into groups of three and my group came up with the idea of creating a smartphone app as phones have become such an attached item by people who seem to do everything on them. What the app would do is simply ask the person to rate the film and receive a discount coupon for a ticket on their next visit.
One thing I loved about the visit, is the talk we had on the psychological side of design. We were shown how, not only is the aesthetics of design important, but so is influencing the audience, forcing them to buy what you’re selling.
After Dare, we still had a few hours before we were heading back to Cardiff, so I decided to visit my Uncle’s agency Kin Design, where he showed me all his latest work, one being the exhibition design for the Future Cities Catapult. http://kin-design.com/exhibition-design-forthe-future-cities-catapult/
Here you can see all the amazing work him and his team have done as well as many other projects he has worked on, my favourite being the project for Nokia. http://kin-design.com/nokia-space/