“Cooking is a craft, I like to think, and a good cook is a craftsman not an artist. There’s nothing wrong with that, the great cathedrals of europe where built by craftsmen, they’re not designed by them. Practising your craft in expert fashion is noble, honourable and satisfying.”
Physicality, with its weight, smell and tactile interaction, grants a significance that bits have not (yet) achieved. The quickest way to invoke nostalgia for a time past with a photograph is to invoke the properties of the physical, which is done by mimicking the ravages of time through fading, simulated film grain and scratches as well as the addition of what appears to be photo-paper or Polaroid borders around the image.
That an old photo was taken and has survived grants it an authority that the equivalent digital photo taken today cannot achieve. In any case, that the faux-vintage photograph aspires to physicality is only part of why they have become so massively popular.
(here follows some badly written but hopefully interesting thinking spawned by this article.)
I wonder if the key is that by allowing the digital image to appear as real and specifically old, it becomes imbued with an inherent value which is associated with effort and specifically time. On the one hand this desire to obtain and own things which contain ‘time-value’ could be seen as an anchor against the fast moving and changing world we live in now. It could also be, (and this is where my pop sci-cology kicks in) that we are scared of death- time is running out and if we can somehow possess, and therefore control time, we can keep it away for that bit longer. Or perhaps, more accuratley, by getting hold of stuff with embued ‘time-value’ we can be seen to be adding gravitas to our own legacy, by extending the perception of our timescale (period we have covered with our life) we can be seen to be more successful or better remembered when we do die.
There is another aspect here- not just to do with faux-vintage, but things with a patina of age (a beautifully rusted garage door, or a worn piece of wooden type). Second hand objects in general (some more than others of course) can be seen to be carriers of ‘time-value’ but the way this value is traded is is stories and narrative. The objects acquired at a junk market have had a life of their own before I get hold of them and by purchasing them (and here real currency plays little role in time, It could have be expensive or cheap the effect is the same) I acquire their unknown story, narrative and history with it. In that way the buyer can feel like they are acquiring time.
Introduction pg 3:
“I am for messy vitality over obvious unity. I include the non-sequitur and proclaim the duality. I am for richness of meaning rather than clarity of meaning; for the implicit function as well as the explicit function. I prefer ‘both-and’ to ‘either-or’, black and white, and sometimes gray, to black or white.”
pg 67: Samson by Chris Burden is a piece of art that pushes apart the gallery it’s in as visitors enter through a turnstile.
pg 138: This is Gipsoteca Canoviana in Possagno, Italy. A building designed by Carlo Scarpa which houses the working plaster models for sculptures. The space is a very simple cube but has the corners removed and skylights/windows (Scarpa described them as ‘fragments of sky’) installed instead. I really like this deconstruction/dismantling of the gallery space.
pg 151: The Museum of Unlimited Growth was designed by Le Corbusier in 1939. It attempts to solve the problem of a museum building which has an expanding collection (as most museums do). Visitors are directed through a channel in one side and arrive in the centre of the spiral structure from where they can explore the galleries and rooms. The museum can be expanding by adding more spiral over time. I love the idea of a never ending museum- a continuing process. Or even better one which is both complete (it is a complete building) and in process at the same time (it can be added to when needed).
So an amalgamation of things has led to this post- I’m pretty much going to repost stuff that I’ve collected on my way through the web.
This is a google image of Google HQ in California.
First up is a great documentary off of the BBC- The Virtual Revolution: The cost of free. Here’s a couple of interesting parts of the film in quote form:
Look at the devolution of people’s personal presence online, from the quirky individualistic highly personalised websites of the home pages of the HTML of the mid 90s, to the now utterly conformist and rigid profiles on something like myspace and facebook. You can no longer define yourself by anything- you must define yourself by what books you buy, by what movies you like, what actresses you aspire to- whether you are single, married or looking. By things that the market understands”
I wonder whether if recommendation systems don’t defeat the point of the web. Isn’t the vast possibility that the web offers for serendipity to bring us unexpected raw ideas from accidental encounters being replaced by a process that apparently broadens our horizons but actually sells the same thing.”
This design kind of sums up everything I hate about bad design in the naughties.
1. It’s totally meaningless, devoid of any added value.
2. It’s essentially a style that’s been ripped off. Hugely derivative of something (probably from Ive) that was once good and then expanded and bastardised to death.
3. It triggers more poor imitations, and leads design buyers to say things like “I want it like they did it”.
4. Everyone blindly buys one because everyone else has bought one. No one actually stops to think, do I like this?
5. It’s so damn ugly and intrusive. Sat in the corner of your lounge looking shit.
Next is a repost from It’s Nice That’s ‘Discussion’ Feature: ‘The Blog Blackout’ by Chris Gray…
I probably spend an unhealthy amount of time on blogs, to the point where I waste hours looking at the same thing on about 200 different pages. Which did get me thinking about what I did before there was countless websites all doing the same thing yet are all equally popular. From working in a big studio environment and seeing the studio grind to a halt when the net dies to working for myself trying to be disciplined enough to not click safari every time I get a spare minute. There seems to be a total reliance on being able to surf the web as part of being a designer. Surely it can’t be a good thing that most of us are all getting the same inspiration from the same places. No wonder everyones work is starting to look the same. Every week I get e-mails from students that are carbon copies of a recent post and I wish I could reach through my monitor and give them a right old slap. Not to mention that every second advert on TV seems to be cack handed rip-off from something good found on a blog. I’m sure I’m not the only one who hasn’t forgotten the Berocca advert. So that’s me done. I’ve managed to convince myself that it would do me no harm from being offline. Well. At least until tomorrow.
So fill in the gaps yourself, and rant over. Go watch that documentary though- here.
The Sea is just a wetter version of the sky / Regina Spektor
They were shadows, little bundles of grey noise / Silent Witness, S 13, E 2,
You’re not an artist Peggy- you solve problems / Madmen, S 3, E 2
So I went out of London for this one: a Beatles and McCartney collector. She collected everything from the records (all- including bootlegs, and weird covers of Beatles and McCartney stuff) to books to memorabilia (talcum powder, dolls, and postcards) to gigs (nearly all front row centre) to face to face meetings. Karen seemed to use the high fiscal value of her collection as a validating tool- she didn’t acquire items because they were expensive but used their value to explain to others why she had collected them. It seems also a bit of a thing with collectors for their collections to take them to other places- it was trainspotting holidays for Tim, Indian tin hunting for Tony and McCartney Road trips for Karen. She spoke about her and her friends (another common thing is this culture of like minded collectors- i guess that’s just like friends though right.) would go and follow Paul’s tour around the states- only sitting in front row centre seats (AAA) which seemed pretty hardcore. She spoke about how the memorabilia she collected now had to be authentic i.e. from the 60′s / 70′s as crap knock offs weren’t good as people were making too much money off them – although she did say “if it was Paul then I’d get it- I’d just have to.” When asked why Paul McCartney? she responded-”Why do some people support Manchester United? I just do” She also spoke about enjoying others incrdulity at the amount of stuff she had- “I can honestly say anyone who’s ever some to my house had been wide eyed and open mouthed- it’s like… awh!” I guess Beatles items lend themselves to sets as there were 4 of them but even in the McCartney stuff she would have a set of 5 or 6 of the same vinyl which was different countries releases- the promos and the original re-releases. Interestingly whilst she described herself as untidy, her collection contrasted by being centrally located in one room at the heart of the house- it was alphabetically ordered, and organised by subject and medium, whilst not being archived, or listed in any formal way she said she knew what items she had and where every item was, in her head. She also had a McCartney tattoo which i forgot to take a photo of! One if the best quotes was: “I’m a loyal collector, when I collect something, I really collect it. It’s why I’ve never watched shows like x-files etc.”
In terms of pulling out conclusions, this one seems quite hard, but i’d have to focus on- the breadth of the collection: from experience to record (directly influenced by the artist) to memorabilia (indirectly influenced by the artist). The duplication and tiny variations which create the need to possess multiple and (to the untrained eye) identical copies. The symbolism attached to the subject matter- Paul McCartney. The purhasing owning, possessing of the items being the ‘thing’ as the records (whilst played) seemed to be thouroughly abstracted from the function. The competitive streak to be the No. 1 fan- in terms of quantity of records and number of gigs attended (I just had to buy it).
Not sure about this- I think the video doesn’t show what this thing is about- I haven’t got my thoughts clear enough about it for it to really make sense- but i’ve done it now so i’ll post the video.
Conveyor Shelf 1 from Luke Thompson on Vimeo.
I’m going to blog my two tutorials this week from the dynamic duo of Matt and Luara. Matts tutorial on Monday put me in a good mood as he said he liked my drawing about the projectors and sequential which mixed my trianspotting interview with my conveyor belts. It sprung me into looking for more collectors to talk to to help ground my project. But he also saw the potential in doing perhaps a series of outcomes (something i’m well into) which could be an illustration (loosely, I’m not going to get too prescriptive about it) of the collection process, i.e. acquisition, display and storage, or something like that.
My tutorial with Laura went really well. She talked about my process, and the transitions between drawing/idea and model/physical and from that to outcome/presentation. She said that I might not need to create the things I’m drawing if the outcome wasnt actually a set of conveyor shelves (for example). I could present the outcome and design the process, which is kind of a lot of what my work is about anyway. Laura said I’ve really got to figure out what the point of whatever it was i was going to design was, even if it just so that I can display/ present it in the right way.
I’m now going to print out all the interviews, good drawings and good models and start to merge them slightly into groups to design around. I’ve also got some more focused making and stuff towards a finished ‘thing’. I guess it’s also encouraging that Luara was asking me what kind of outcome it was that I wanted to produce (a video, an object, graphics), and it made me happy to think that i didn’t care; whatever is relevant to the project. I like that I might actually be this Goldsmiths designer and that I use only graphics as a convinient tool.