Monthly Archives: December 2012

ARD501 Contextualising Design

Standard

Design Thinking

Reflective practice

THE CONSTRUCTIVISTS

Based on my Lectures from Glyndwr University I have learned that the Avant-garde (a group consisting of young people mostly in their twenties) wanted ‘nothing more than to change the world’.

What is the Avant-garde?

The Avant-Garde Movement

“‘If I cut off the leg of society, can it still stand, and will society stumble over itself just to make the effort?’ These were the questions of the avant-garde movement. By forcing society to question its morals, beliefs, and standards the movement cut off the leg on which society stands. Although, society fell at first, it picks itself up, and stands on its other leg: the leg of wealth, fame, and commercialization.

The avant-garde, which by design was one of the most controversial art movements, began in France in 1850. The term avant-garde itself means, “advanced guard,” and military role of the advanced guard, and the role of the avant-garde art movement are much of the same. The artists of this movement desired not only to challenge traditional art but also society as a whole. The movement desired to pose this challenge in the form of confusing the elite, upsetting commerce, and just plain incensing moral society. These artists aimed at tearing down the status quo.”

 http://web.presby.edu/writingcenter/newsletter/avant-garde.html

According to Adam Cooke, Lecturer of Contextualising Design, The term Construction Art was first used as a derisive term by Kazimir Malevich to describe the work of Alexander Rodchenko 1917.

Kazimir Malevich

Photo-portrait-small

Alexander Rodchenko

1920s_Rodchenko_and_Stepanova

Autonomous art was rejected and it was suggested that art for social purposes was practiced.

kazimir_malevich_black_square_19151305236365545

Malevich Black Square 1915

The Black Square of Kazimir Malevich is one of the most famous creations of Russian art in the last century. The first Black Square was painted in 1915 to become the turning point in the development of Russian avant-garde.
Black Square against white background became the symbol, the basic element in the system of the art of suprematism, the step into the new art.

http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/04/b2003/hm4_1_30.html

For me, the Black Square is the perfect definition of what the Avant-Garde Stood for. When I look at this particular piece I feel that the black square itself represents a dark, boring repressed symbol of the boundaries containing Art at its social form as it was then, and within the black square is a new world trying to break out, like cracks trying to burst out of the seams of social distopia.

So they wanted Art, Design and society itself to expand and grow….? I also Agree with the Avant-Garde, why should we confine art and create limits and boundaries? Its is human nature to expand, reform and evolve.

MANIFESTO…

So what did other people thing about this?

Filippo Tommaso Marinett

In “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism,” published on February 20, 1909 in the Parisian newspaper, Le Figaro, Marinetti defines Futurism as a radical redefinition of art, body, and spirit for a modern, technological world. He rejects bourgeois culture by destroying libraries, museums, and academies, by replacing the image of female beauty with the idealized image of the machine, and by purifying language through the removal of syntax and grammar. The Futurists were at once a joke and a threat to established powers in Italy and other parts of Europe. They caused riots, spread rumors, and disrupted public events as part of a campaign to install into Italian culture a resolute fascination with technology, power, and (above all) war. “We will glorify war–the world’s only hygiene,” Marinetti writes, “militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for women” (M 50). Flaunting intolerant rhetoric before angry, divisive audiences, the Futurists fought to gain support for Italy’s imperial invasion of Libya and its entrance into World War I. In the process, the movement foreshadowed many of the political and aesthetic developments of the twentieth century, particularly those relating to the physical and psychological effects produced by the rapid rise of modern technology.

I think that Marinnetti also desired social changes, but he wanted big changes and wasn’t prepared to wait, he wanted big changes and was willing to cause a mass disruption to do so.

Etienne Jules Marey

was a French physiologist (a scientist who studies the functions of the body), who was inspired by Muybridge’s work to think of new ways of studying movement through photography.

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Étienne-Jules Marey, Joinville Soldier Walking, 1883, chronophotograph

The above picture illustrates visually to me and proves that there are many forms of representing the human body, just as Marey was trying to show. I feel that this ties in with the Avant-Garde in respect to why should the human figure be displayed as it looks by the naked eye? why not experiment, explore and push limits? By doing what he did with this picture and many more, i think he paved a way to coincide with the Avant-Garde, it was something that was out of the norm, not only challenging a form of art, technically, but also challenging society’s vision as it was.

BAUHAUS….

The motivations behind the creation of the Bauhaus lay in the 19th century, in anxieties about the soullessness of manufacturing and its products, and in fears about art’s loss of purpose in society. Creativity and manufacturing were drifting apart, and the Bauhaus aimed to unite them once again, rejuvenating design for everyday life.

From this quote I’ve learned that the Bauhaus had their own concerns regarding ‘art’s loss of purpose in society’. The more I learn about the matter and importance of art, the more I agree with past movements and desires to change society for the sake of art.

COLD WAR….

The Soviet Era

The first few years of Soviet rule were marked by an extraordinary outburst of social and cultural change. Although the Bolsheviks had maintained complete control of the economy during the civil war, Lenin decided at its end that a partial return to a market economy would help the country recover from the destruction of the previous three years. His New Economic Policy, or NEP, brought about a period of relative prosperity, allowing the young Soviet government to consolidate its political position and rebuild the country’s infrastructure. This was also the period during which the Russian Avant-Garde reached its height, developing the radical new styles of Constructivism, Futurism, and Suprematism. Although the country still faced enormous challenges, there was a widespread sense of optimism and opportunity.

I think this area was a turning point and also more and more art circles wanted change for their own reasons and means. More so here, people were backed by Futurists, constructivists and also suprematism, mainly influential people such as Bolsheviks.

Utopia/Distopia…

The word avant-garde comes from the military lexicon. Both Russian and Italian Futurism have a military background and a military conception of cultural action; but the word avant-garde is linked to the concept of utopia, as it implies the opening and prefiguring of a possible historical future.
Neruda speaks of utopia in terms of a horizon. We walk and see the horizon, and we head in that direction. Although the horizon is shifting further and further and we can never reach it, looking at it gives meaning to our walking.
Utopia is like the horizon.
As the etymology of the word implies, Utopia can never be brought into existence, but the history of the 20th century avant-garde tells a different story. Generally utopia becomes real, although in an inverted sense. The libertarian utopias of the century have mostly given birth to terrorist totalitarian regimes.

I think proper-gander would be a good word to use here,  people, society, believed what they saw but only ever saw utopia…as at that time art was only ever used to display what they wanted to see and not the actual world as it was, is or will be.

POST MODERNISM….

Postmodernism shattered established ideas about style. It brought a radical freedom to art and design through gestures that were often funny, sometimes confrontational and occasionally absurd. Most of all, over the course of two decades, from about 1970 to 1990, postmodernism brought a new self-awareness about style itself.

Postmodernism was a drastic departure from modernism’s utopian visions, which had been based on clarity and simplicity. The modernists wanted to open a window onto a new world; postmodernism’s key principles were complexity and contradiction. If modernist objects suggested utopia, progress and machine-like perfection, then the postmodern object seemed to come from a dystopian and far-from-perfect future. Designers salvaged and distressed materials to produce an aesthetic of urban apocalypse.

Also another turning point, a time where individuality became a celebration. I think here they are trying to say that the urban life as we knew it was becoming a history, making room for the new age of art to come.

POST-STRUCTURALSIM….

Wolfgang Weingart (b. 1941)
Swiss Punk

Wolfgang Weingart is a German graphic designer credited as the progenitor of New Wave typography. According to Weingart, “I took ‘Swiss Typography’ as my starting point, but then I blew it apart, never forcing any style upon my students. I never intended to create a “style.” It just happened that the students picked up—and misinterpreted—a so called ‘Weingart style’ and spread it around.”

‘In the 1960s I saw graphic design as a noble endeavor, integral to larger planning, architectural and social issues. What I realized in the 1970s, when I was doing major corporate identity projects, is that design had become a preoccupation with what things look like rather than with what they mean. What designers were doing was creating visual identities for other people – not unlike the work of fashion stylists, political image consultants or plastic surgeons. We had become experts who suggest how other people can project a visual impression that reflects who they think they are. And we have deceived ourselves into thinking that the modernization service we supply has the same integrity as service to the public good. Modernism forfeited its claim to a moral authority when designers sold it away as corporate style.”2

Looking specifically at the quote ‘design had become a preoccupation with what things look like rather than with what they mean’ describes to me that Wolfgang had a passion with his work, he cared about changing people’s thought process rather than give them a basic picture to look at. It seems to me that he took more to the philosophical side of Art/Design.

GRAPHIC DESIGN IN A MULTICULTURAL WORLD

McCoy, Katherine, ‘Graphic Design in a Multicultural World’, How Magazine, Cincinnati, April 1995, pp.146-151.

We seem to be witnessing the end of an era of mass communications: narrow-casting instead of broad-casting, subcultures instead of mass culture, and tailored products instead of mass production. Professor Patrick Whitney of Illinois Institute of Technology calls this demassification and predicts that this is a dominant cross-category global trend.

I think the above quote fits perfectly with what people thought back then, I think McCoy was trying to point out that individuality had a time to shine through to enable new, fresh ideas. This point was also relevent to change commerce and mass production would no longer be a fashion.

STYLE…

David Klein

David served in the army during the Second World War, where he illustrated numerous army manuals. In 1947, the U.S. Air Force received some 800 works of art from the U.S. Army and in 1953, in conjunction with the Society of Illustrators, (of which David Klein was a long-time member), the Air Force Art Program was formed. This collection features several of Mr. Klein’s works, some of which have been exhibited at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

shapeimage_2

David Klein, to me, is a perfect example of showing an art and design field that is not Utopia. An artist who worked for the advertisement industry which wouldn’t have been approved by society pre-Avant-Garde.

MARCEL BREUER

Revolutions in design are most often driven by advancements in material and technology.  The famous Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer is precisely one of these, the first ever chair to feature a bent-steel frame.  While it was first created in 1926, it marked the beginning of a new era in modern furniture with a design that maintains a progressive look even today.

The Wassily Chair was first built by Marcel Breuer at the Bauhaus institution in Dessau, Germany.  Breuer found his inspiration for the chair in the bent form of a bicycle handlebar, available for the first time in steel due to a development in technology.  The German steel manufacturer Mannesmann had developed a process to produce seamless steel tubing, the first to allow tubes to be bent without breaking at the seam.  Breuer’s Adler bicycle featured such tubing, which inspired the designer to employ this material in furniture.

Marcel Breuer Wassily Chair 1925

Marcel-Breuer-Wassily-Chair-1925

Breuer, to me, brought art into the living room. Also looking at the above poster, i feel he has united many forms of art and design into one piece, for example, there is a model, use of photography, materials, fabric, and fashion. he seems to have also combined things that wouldn’t usually have been put together and trying things that have never been tried, like putting a mask on the model, while she models a chair, fashion etc. An odd step but in the right direction?

KEN GARLAND

Since 1962 Ken Garland equipped the British movement for Nuclear Disarment with a visual message and he became a devoted adherent to the campaign, that never earned him a single penny. In 1963 he wrote and proclaimed the The First Things First manifesto »in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication« and demanded »Reversal of priorities in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication.« Garland claims for a ”society that will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesman and hidden persuaders”.

After reading the quote ‘society that will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesmen and hidden persuaders’ it provoked my thinking back to ‘Wolfgang’, shouldn’t art and design related to important things to people? not materialistic objects, or should it relate to both? or non of them?

ESSAY….

Contextualizing Design
Bonny Dingley
Design Thinking
Avant-garde (a group consisting of young people mostly in their twenties) wanted ‘nothing more than to change the world’.
After a considerable amount of research, it is clear to me that it wasn’t only the Avant-Garde that wanted to change the world. The Avant-Garde was in fact a group of people who were tired of the way Art and Design was confined by society. Malevich’s Black Square, 1915 makes a good visual description of this point to me.

In relation to the Avant-Garde I perceive the black square as a black square of confinement, almost as though there is a whole new world trapped inside trying to break out but it can’t because of the walls of society that the new world is surrounded by. This is what the Avant-Garde wa trying to prove. So they wanted Art, Design and society itself to expand and grow….?  In that respect, why should we confine art and create limits and boundaries? Its is human nature to expand, reform and evolve.In a sense, would it have been inevitable that a new world within art and design would have emerged? Or was it relevant for people such as the Avant-Garde and others to be heard to enable it to do so?
Marinnetti also desired changes; he craved enormous changes and was willing to cause mass disruption to gain his wants and needs. His idea to induce changes was to burn galleries, out with the old and in with the new, so to speak. That idea makes him sound desperate, either that or absolutely carefree with no conscience or consequence to his actions. Personally, at this point in history I do agree that boundaries needed to be broken, limits were over due to be pushed and new areas needed to have been explored but on the other hand, I also think that the idea of burning down galleries was outrageous. I think the past of art and design is very relevant to us today and would have been for artists and designers at the time of Marinnetti. My way of thinking is that It happened, look after it, cherish it and celebrate it. Preserve it in galleries and be proud that it happened, but if we were to burn away our art history, it would only ever be a memory, an old wives tale. I think we also need to explore the design thought process to enable us to progress, no matter how long ago it happened and the history of art may only have limited uses for us today, for example, but who knows what use it may have for our future?
Thinking about boundary stretching, Étienne-Jules Marey did so with a technical form of art.

Étienne-Jules Marey Joinville Soldier Walking 1883 Chronophotograph
Using the above picture as an example of boundary stretching, I think Marey could have just recorded the soldier/figure, but instead contested the normal. Exploration plays a key role here, why just have a single soldier? why not repeat it? why not repeat the form and creat new forms and imagery? and so that is what Marey did and also played an important part of history by doing so.
Many other circles within the art and design sector had similar concerns such as the Bauhaus, “The motivations behind the creation of the Bauhaus lay in the 19th century, in anxieties about the soullessness of manufacturing and its products, and in fears about art’s loss of purpose in society.” . So the Bauhaus was created initially to defend the loss of art’s purpose to society? Which I think is an amazing ‘knock on effect’ to our history today. What I am trying to establish is that the Bauhaus  was created for a purpose, yet became its own purpose in its own right, especially for creating new artists and designers which again created further history for myself today and those in the future and also begining a new knock on effect and so on.
The Soviet Era came along and at this point more and more people wanted nothing more but to change the world or Society so to speak and so these views were backed by Constructivists, Futurists and Suprematism. It seems to me that a good sized portion of society were thinking along the same lines, but there were still alot of challenges to entail, but was there? was there challenges to entail or were they actually already taking place? Or, was relevent people not born yet? Had they not come forward yet? Or was the revelution happening regardless without anybody realising?
Maybe this is the point where i can reflect on Utopia or Distopia, with this point, maybe the change was there the whole time but society refused to see it? Or possibly afraid to see it? If society was afraid of change then I supose they would go to great lengths to defend normal and prevent people who would challenge it, people such as Avant-Garde, Bauhaus and Marey and in that case, were prevented from seing it.
Marcel Breuer was an inspiring peice of research for me, or or his picture as below;

The inspirations for me lie within his Design thinking for this imagery, It is almost exciting that Breuer has not only challenged what Design should look like but actually made a huge impact by reflecting the idea of putting everything unimaginable into one peice to create something imaginable. This is something I proudly agree with, why not put lots of things together that ‘shouldnt’ go together? I would like to think of the picture in a way that lots of materialistic things are being advertised instead of one, and also that there are unseeable messages to be read, and therefor there are so many inspirations, signals, messages and designs in one place, one picture. I also like the actual fact that an arguement of what design should look like has been portrayed in this way, it is almost like Marcel has said to the world “look! look what we can do, what we are capeable of..and it didnt hurt to try it”.
Ken Garland, Writer of The First Things First manifesto, desired a ”society that will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesman and hidden persuaders”. My perception of his desire is that he wanted art and design to represent important things from life, not gadgets or materialistic things. From that conception, i would have to agree, why should we use our talent, time and effort on materialsitic things when we have a world of real life that we could use to work with? Real, natural objects, science, situations…the list is endless. Or, looking back at Marcel Breuer, why not put materialistic with non-materialistic, mix them together and create something out of the ordianary, something new, unheard of.
Wolfgang Weingart is another example of somebody who believed in meanings and reason to art and design. Wolfgang Weingart is a German graphic designer credited as the progenitor of New Wave typography.
Weingart claimed “In the 1960s I saw graphic design as a noble endeavor, integral to larger planning, architectural and social issues. What I realized in the 1970s, when I was doing major corporate identity projects, is that design had become a preoccupation with what things look like rather than with what they mean. What designers were doing was creating visual identities for other people – not unlike the work of fashion stylists, political image consultants or plastic surgeons. We had become experts who suggest how other people can project a visual impression that reflects who they think they are. And we have deceived ourselves into thinking that the modernization service we supply has the same integrity as service to the public good. Modernism forfeited its claim to a moral authority when designers sold it away as corporate style.”
Looking specifically at the quote ‘design had become a preoccupation with what things look like rather than with what they mean’ describes to me that Wolfgang had a passion with his work, he cared about changing people’s thought process rather than give them a basic picture to look at. It seems to me that he took more to the philosophical side of Art/Design.
So what do I think overall? Well If you had of asked me that question before i made my research my answer would have been minimal, but now I do have strong views on the matter. In my opinion, I think the changes to be made were crucial. I feel excitement from the idea of bringing together everything we have ever known, and shaking it all up like a snow globe to see what the result would be when all the snow settled. If Galleries and amazing works of art and design were to be burnt, right now, I would feel devistated almost as though all of it is a part of me. As an artist/Designer I would feel that a part of my own history would have been distructed.
I also feel that the revolution was inevitable, it would have happened regardless as the world evolves effortlessly in my view; but I think that people such as the Avant-Garde felt pressure, felt the need to do somethig drastic. These are just my opinions, there is a whole society full of smaller societies within it and smaller socities within them that hold millions and billions of views and opinions.

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