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Imagining Bauhaus Poetry


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Through the looking glass of bauhaus principles, observing the elements of “poetry” and how that guides new possibilities in the making of a poem.

What inspires me to explore this idea is the incredible visuals of Bauhaus Theatre.

 

  

 

More spesifically HOW the concrete, minimalistic and practical demeanours of Bauhaus (which in my mind have such an adult attitude!) created such extravagant, playful, toy-ish costumes that look like perhaps a child puked them out of their wild imagination! 

While “the bauhaus element” in these costumes is undeniably present to me, there I observe something more, almost an added element… Having read that the thinking behind the designing of these costumes is in fact by observing the performers body with a calculating attention and following its relations to the space(the stage) through its motion*, I am tempted to think this “other element” I was looking for might just be the ballet itself.

Assumption…..         The designs of these costumes are just materializations of the visuals the dance draws in the viewers mind-eye. The dance is numerous invisible lines and shapes drawn in time with the tool of the body…       Perhaps!

HypothesisSS:————————————————

Bauhaus building within an existing art form alters its outcome.

So It makes me Wonder. How would it apply to poetry? With letters and words as form and rhythm and sound as dance, the paper as the stage. I found myself wondering this more so than other mediums mainly because I haven’t seen it attempted.

Starting… Concrete, aNew.

A concrete definition: Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to evoke a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience or a specific emotional response.

Here is a new world, with its new forms and movements, sensations and images, to build a new Bauhaus in and of it. I will attempt to look at some elements of poetry and seek new possibilities in its design, looking at it through the 5 characteristics of the Bauhaus design.

1=Form Follows Function

It means that in design, a form should always be applied because of its function instead of its aesthetic appeal. “Utility came first and excessive ornamentations were avoided.” The thing is that this principle seems to shift slightly when applied to an already existing art form like dance, or poetry, as the means of actions in these are the adornments themselves. So, thinking of function for aesthetic, rhythm, imagination and emotion (and so on…) is altogether a different approach. Function in this case, I imagine, would be to ease and support the already existing or suggested communication of forms and elements -in the case of poetry, for example,——: All aspects must serve to communicate/highlight the emotion/mental picture/phoneasthetic situation. 

Letters (uppercase, capital;size;font;color;bold-italic…so on.), Words, Gaps, Marks, etc. + the plane the poem will be viewed on should be used for this, courageously.

2=True Materials

According to the teachers at Bauhaus, materials should reflect the true nature of objects and buildings.

This to me, follows up to the previous case. What are the true materials of text, literature and what are their functions? These are not meant to be hidden, but even highlighted to show their functions thus exaggerating and complementing the existing literary pleasure.

In bauhaus theatre we see the stage too, is designed in such a way that it holds hands with the costumes designed to exist with it, so the form and its space exist as one self-complimentary relation. I believe this relation is somewhat weak in the current poetry. There is perhaps much to do to enrich our poems by putting more thought on the plane (usually the regular white paper) we present it on. I would advise seeking new possibilities on this, trying to create a more powerful relation between the elements of the poem and the presentation of it.

3=Minimalistic Style

Bauhaus artists favoured linear and geometrical forms, while floral or curvilinear shapes were avoided. Only line, shape and colors mattered. Anything else was unnecessary and could therefore be reduced. Therefore we should give the reader the necessary amount of words (and preferably words that are not too difficult or esoteric) and not more, as it risks tiring the emotional and phonetical landscape. This approach also gives the poem a fresh, modern look, which is desired. It becomes open and approachable artistic experience, instead of possibly exclusionary one.

4=Gesamtkunstwerk*

Translated from German as “total work of art”,”ideal work of art”,”universal artwork”*, “synthesis of the arts”, “comprehensive artwork”, “all-embracing art form” or “total artwork”) is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so. 

The poem can draw a picture as a visual form, can be sang as a song or acted as a play and so on… all this is desired and should be attempted.

*The concept of language makes this difficult as many languages used for poetry cannot be called Universal, but I believe it is still quite possible to challenge this with the help of growing alternative languages, which I will go more in depth in the following.

5=Uniting art and technology

In 1923, Bauhaus organised an exhibition that shifted the Bauhaus ideology. This exhibition was called ‘Art & Technology: A New Unity’. From then on, there was a new emphasises on technology. The artists embraced the new possibilities of modern technologies, for example at the time, mass-producibility was keep in mind whilst designing a product. New technologies today, gave us new languages to play and build with for poetry that I do not see being benefited from enough. A prime example of this are the Emojisa small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion. It is, by definition, quite similar to the words that we use but with an advantage of their own, being capable of much more of a universal communication than any word of any language. They are being used so often in our daily texting and us new age kids have learned to communicate so much with them so easily, and with the help of an ever growing selection of emojis available to anyone with a smartphone, I am surprised why they are not being used more creatively. I believe through emojis a new, different and straightforward literary landscape is possible and I would like to attempt it.

My (currently very incomplete) draft/attempt at Bauhaus Poetry::::::::::

Side-walk in the cold regular night,

I am sedated by 

 the surrounding objects :

Moving amongst growth and shrinkage

To the pointed futurity which sits folded 

in Z00Ming horizon———. 

Moments pass themselves to remain 

over my shoulder, behind my last step 

to Reside as the Past. Behind the direction    of 

my opposing attention  

As we speak I am Approaching 

to : 

the ————. needle tip… 

Shapes emerge and grant me locality

The wind blows Regular 

and I start takinK 

The X Large stepsS 

of a clown. crawl

into an ever-descending point 

   the buzz of everything glimmers an easy happening  

   thingness of the smallest spot

                               WiNKs at me

Everywhere is filled with stars!

Except the calming darkness of the surrounding

Tree trunks 

descending...
     

 

 

The diversity of a stable object


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

     As a student of arts and design and, at the moment, about to reach the end of the first year – I found myself trying to understand my progress and development process as a student- considering all the different situations and stages I have been through this last year in relation to the school.

     Characterised by strong rhythm and diversity, the basic year forced me to be extremely versatile.

     Creativity and quick response led me to places where I had never been before and although I was very confused in the beginning, I can now understand the interconnection of all the proposals from the school and how my reaction to them should be constantly evaluated in order to keep developing as a student.

As so, confrontation becomes incredibly important to get to know myself and, under pressure, the behavior of my body had many times to overcome the speed of thought, which means, that it was necessary to act without thinking innumerable times – which resulted in a completely different way of percepting my own work. This practice, of course, has greatly influenced my method of creation and helps when it comes to try to have an overall view on the last period of my life- which I will be doing meanwhile writing this essay.

    From this very small and summarised description of the last months as a student of an art academy  I ask you to take some words that will help you to follow my thoughts throughout the essay:

  • Rhythm;
  • Diversity;
  • Versatile;
  • Creativity;
  • Interconnection;
  • Confrontation;
  • Development;
  • Behaviour of the body;
  • Method.

These words, for me, interrelate the three points I want to focus and connect: Art academies; my as a student and school furniture design. But lets start from the very beginning.

     Art as an educational practice emerged in the 16th century in Italy, and has since evolved in many directions. Artistic teaching has been constantly changing and responsible for the emergence and development of multiple movements and new artistic practices that grow from the urge of the artists and and the society. As so, methods used in art schools have been transformed side by side with the whole society and its needs. 

     Throughout all these years many academies have been important for the development of various names that have become part of world history. Thus, certainly, the school where each one of them studied, had a great impact in their own artistic practice. Aiming for the same to happen to me, when I decided to study arts, I promised myself that I would try to find a place that would truly satisfy my needs and where the thought that moves the school would meet my own way of thinking.

     The academies have become places where learning is fundamental but, over time, the way the disciplines are thought to the students is in constant transformation- what results in a huge variation of methods used in artistic teaching.

Therefore, my task of finding the place where I wanted to develop my practice as a potential artist had to be even more cautious and I had to get to know as much as I could about the schools to which I could apply without studying there.

     After much research, I ended up leaving my home country, Portugal, in search of something that seemed appropriate to me and I ended up enrolling in the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in search of a more adapted teaching to my ideas and to my way of producing.

Surrounded by different ways of thinking and materialising ideas, I was immediately enthusiastic about the reality that surrounded me. The contemporaneity and versatility of the teaching of each one of the teachers has proven the ideas that I brought with me from Portugal. It is very important to have the school as a safe space where all ideas are respected; Where the concept is valued and experimentation has no limits. The unlimited access to the workshops gives creativity to the students and the consideration of the creation process by the teachers and colleagues makes me believe in several methodologies that open up a huge range of possibilities to each project that I develop.

     While considering all this I realised how similar the school I was studying was to one of the most important schools in the art and design history which I always had as a great exemple of education techniques: the Bauhaus.So there has grown an even greater interest for this fascinating school. And, now, living even closer to where everything happened geographically, I have managed to get more and more acquainted with its history.

After some research, I have come to understand that the way the Bauhaus grew up and made its students grow is more than a teaching method. It is perhaps a method of production and creation that is directly related to one’s own method of living.

     Honestly, I find it striking how schools like the one I attend and the Bauhaus consider the curriculum of the degrees, and as time goes on we have more and more evidences of the positive influence of this way of teaching has- somewhat minimal, where “less” is believed to enable a much interesting creation.

I would like you to take into account the last sentence- “Less is believed to enable a very interesting creation”

     While researching about the schools of art education and my perception of them. I began to notice a very important element: school furniture. That both the Bauhaus and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie plays a very important role – maybe because of its relationship with design practices.

     Considering the academies as a space where an incredible relationship develops daily: between the building and its interior; the objects; and  the people that share this space of discovery and experimentation.

The interaction turns out to be very relevant in the day-to-day of those who frequent this place. The distribution / organisation of space among all those who occupy it is extremely relevant and certainly influences all activities that take place in the school environment, from pedagogical to playful.

     Historically, there are several objects that are part of the artistic school environment and that, thanks to its constant presence, a certain language between human being and object is developed. As I wandered through the corridors of my school, I realised that each student has its own body language, just like every person and that we all physically get involved with what surrounds us.

Cafeteria after lunch, Bauhaus, Dessau 1930-2, printed later Iwao Yamawaki 1898-1987 Purchased with funds provided by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2010 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P79894

 

 

     The same happens in relation to pieces of furniture. Without realising it, the chairs where we sit become part of our position while we are seated, or an easel can become part of our body while we paint – its triangular shape where the frame is supported, often serves as support for the painter. I myself have noticed that many times I paint I find moving in different angles thanks to the support given by the easel. And, together (me and the easel), support the fluid movements of my arm that moves the brush.

     Due to the introduction of this new theme – school furniture design. It is impossible not to go back to the bauhaus, a school where numerous pieces of furniture were developed and included in the school itself. When I went to the exhibition “netherlands bauhaus – pioneers of a new world” at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, I found several photographs with many of the most famous pieces by Bauhaus students, such as Marcel Breuer’s stool but, and I realised how furniture captures my attention by the way it is designed and it interacts with the space. But, throughout the exhibition, there was one piece that captured my attention, the Ulm stool by Max Bill.

“Function means the relation of one thing to another. (…) When we speak about fulfilling a function, we are talking about producing something to fulfil a need. “;

“By function I therefore understand a relation, for example the relation between material and form.” – Said Max Biil.

     Having the designer’s words as a starting point I would like to take advantage of the functionality of his piece – which fascinates me – and directly compare it to my relationship with the school that I attend because, incredibly, while appreciating the stool in the museum Boijmans Van Beuningen I felt that, somehow, its structure was very close to mine, as a student of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

     Physical characteristics of the piece:

– The stool is made up of 4 pieces that when fitted create a volume of varied functionality. The joint of the different parts is extremely well design;

– The simplicity of the geometry allows the interconnection of all parts and a joint strong enough to handle a weight;

– The stool has 3 almost identical parts that form the seat and a tube that allows support and transport.

 

 

     In a metaphorical way, I associate this description with my goals as a student. Every day I try to find solutions for my assignments through maximum simplicity; I try to be as organised as possible so I do not get lost in my own thoughts and, to ensure that each of these thoughts results in something material. In order to develop my production process. In each of the projects that I do in school I seek the interconnection with the others projects- always trying to notice the small things where they might be similar and, therefore, I have discovered many personal characteristics – mainly in relation to the way I work and how I shape my thinking. By considering and evaluating my own works I manage to find myself a little bit more every day.

 

     Functionality of the piece:

  • One of the strongest features of the Ulm stool is its versatility in functionality.

The joining of four simple pieces results in a simple object that can be used as a bench, as a desk and as a shelf and can still be transported very easily.

 

 

     In relation to my own experience this versatility can be found in a lot of aspects. The Gerrit Rietveld Academie is a place where its diversity promotes an open space where a lot is possible. Even if the departments work in separate ways there are links in between that make the school work as one and everyone is free to participate and to take the best out of everything that the school offers, from people to workshops.

From such freedom I experienced a lot of different results from each student, including myself.  It is this versatility that I try to find in my posture as a student because I believe that it will certainly result in a practicality and ability to solve any problem that I will increase my creativity and for sure be one of the most important learnings I will take with me from my years as an art student.

 

     At this point, where I can relate the characteristics of a design piece with my own performance as a student. I consider my research finished.

After all and by becoming better acquainted with the reality of art academies and their direct relationship with what is produced in them. I believe that writing this essay resulted in a very personal development – It led me to conclusions about how I interact with the space around me and how this influences my results and it also made me pay more attention to the results themselves so that, later, perhaps, I might be able to assume that I know myself.

 

Ana Resende, April 2019

Bauhaus and Communism?


Monday, April 22, 2019

Let us therefore create a new guild of craftsmen without the class-distinctions that raise an arrogant barrier between craftsmen and artist! Let us together desire, conceive and create the new building of the future, which will combine everything – architecture and sculpture and painting – in a single form which will one day rise towards the heavens from the hands of a million workers as the crystalline symbol of a new and coming faith. 

In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.

The ending paragraph from the Bauhaus Manifesto written by Walter Gropius and a quote from the Communist Manifesto.

To me it is striking how both of these quotes talk about equalness, breaking away from classes – in society and in a working context, and how these changes will affect everybody. Yet, both ideologies, Bauhaus as a school and Communism as a form of society practiced around the world, has very prominent leading figures, who in one way or the other, has the power to rule over the students/citizens. For example, when Mies van der Rohe took over the leadership of the Bauhaus school (at this point it was located in Dessau) he had interviews with each student, to determine if they would follow the rules, else they would get kicked out. This can be linked to the arbitrary imprisonments in Cuba, happening both under Fidel Castro and now, as a higher power determining what you can and cannot do, in a society/school that claims freedom and equality as their main goals. The scale of these decisions are of course tremendously different, one is an entire nation and the other an art school in Germany, but still I find the similarities of the Bauhaus and Communism as ideologies and then as practiced in real life quite fascinating. To look further into this, I have chosen to read Animal Farm by George Orwell and compare the degeneration of their originale motive, to the Bauhaus and the Rietveld Academy as schools that are, at least to some extent, based on the same ideas of teaching. This, I guess, is very clearly seen in the Basicyear – Vorkurs in Bauhaus – which was created by Bauhaus teacher Johannes Itten

Animal Farm starts of with the animals dreaming of a better life, in which they are all equal and not treated as the means to an end, but like living beings with rights no different from the humans, who rule over them. When the opportunity for their dreams rises, they seize it and try to create a life and society where they all work and receive equally. The story is never specified as communist within the book, but Orwell has stated that it is an allegory to Russia, before and after the revolution in 1917 that then led them into the Stalinist era. This new society first flourishes and is enjoyed by most until one of the pigs, Napoleon, sees a chance to gain more power. He does so by constantly telling the other animals that this is actually what they want, that he is choosing to do and so in their service. Finally *spoiler alert* it comes to a point when the other animals cannot tell a human being from a pig, their “chosen” leader has become what they tried to escape and it seems like an inevitability that this should happen.

To me, at least, this bears a lot of similarities to how the Rietveld Academy functions. A way of showing and telling one thing, but then not fully living it. This can be seen in the departments, how openness and inclusivity is advocated, while in reality interfluidness can be quite hard to achieve as a student. With classes only for ones own department (as in TxT), extremely long waiting lists for facilities (as in Glass) and very limited opening hours (as in Ceramics). Of course complete freedom and total sharing is very hard to obtain, if not impossible, but should you then, as a school, really claim these traits? On the other hand, you could claim that TxT, Glass and Ceramics are some of the departments that actually live up to the heritage of the Bauhaus as they are somewhat material and technique based.

In this context I feel it is interesting to bring up the subject of the Fine Arts department, as this goes against all the teachings in the Bauhaus. Creating just for creating, separating art from everyday life, from the craftspeople, from the non-artist. The fact that this is now one of the biggest departments at the Rietveld, can be seen as a sign that the Rietveld is becoming what the Bauhaus set out not to be. It was an animal, that turned out to be a pig and is now indistinguishable from a human. Or almost, at least.

Finally, let us look at how the Bauhaus aimed to integrate art and life, to live with art, to build a gesamtkunstwerk, which is also very much apparent in their inclusion in arts and crafts – creating things that are not art for art’s sake, but are actually usable and meant to be used in real life. When paired with the exhibition netherlands ? bauhaus – pioneers of a new world, at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, it can be eye opening to see that something that was initially meant for use and created in a sense of togetherness is now showed in vitrines, where you cannot touch, feel, or try to use the work for its purpose. Is this exactly the opposite of what the Bauhaus was trying to do?

Everything is One: Building


Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Bauhaus manifesto published in 1919 outlines basic traits of the school. Headed with the Lyonel Feininger Cathedral (Kathedrale), the reader faces three stars shining above the turrets of the fictional basilica.

Lionel Feininger, Kathedrale, 1919, Cover of the Bauhaus Manifesto. Programme of the Bauhaus.

The three stars are said to represent the main three elements of painting, architecture and sculpture. All of which fall under the main concept of ‘building’. The Bauhaus was dreamt up upon a basis of creatives coming together, in alliance. To build work in an evolving space, a cathedral of mucky boldness, master among student, declaring craftsmanship and building as the basis of all learning.

Bauhaus itself is a blend of the word ‘to build’ and ‘house’. It takes semantic place as a ‘building house’. Now we can see the offspring of the school stretching from Berlin to Budapest, Pittsburgh and the Netherlands. Amsterdam is home to the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, which too was birthed from the wave of Bauhausian teachers and students left itching to scatter and inform after the original disbanded.

The school, mostly founded on modernist design still has it’s reverberations. Is it just names that live on? Is the branding of Gerrit Rietveld, the only thing that links us to it’s educational model origins? Or is there still a cry of modernist education professing ‘building and making’ over all students?

It occurs that in the postmodern world, the act of ‘building’ is seemingly scattered. Questioned theoretically. Few are painters, sculptors or architects now. Monogamous artists are perhaps becoming a thing of the past, steadily becoming toast along with craft in art. Perhaps we aren’t building physical practices anymore – emerging in the form of degree courses like ‘Autonomous Sculpture’ surfacing at the Rietveld, a subject so loose – almost transient. The focus here is on concept, as opposed to physicality.

The original Bauhaus manifesto is not something that presents a package of transience, but one of definitive action – “Architects, sculptors, painters—we must all turn to the crafts. … The artist is an exalted artisan.” The stress is on doing. Less on thinking.

The question I would like to pose is ‘what really happened during this rework?’ In the move from modernity to postmodernity, the focus has changed. Does this mean compromise? The change has happened in many forms, yet using the policy and attitudes towards ‘building’ in the two schools, we can evaluate them on a level playing field.

In my personal day to day experiences of the school, I have never been encouraged to ‘build something’. However, I have been encouraged to think reflectively, as if constructing something from thought. Within Itten’s original preliminary base course structure, the idea of elementarization of basic artistic means plays a large part. I question wether this is still relevant with postmodernity. Elementarization was a method of finding the core of things. That could be related to shape, colour, and formal elements much better than thoughts, concept or theories. Deconstruction of colour, according to Itten’s book ‘The Elements of Colour’, allows you to provide “general rules and laws of colour, yet also relate it to subjective opinion”. Elementarization is a bid to find the root of something, the truth in which the experience lies. However, within a postmodern (Rietveld) structure, ‘truth’ itself is something shied away from. Instead of trying to find ‘the truth about colour (or making)’, we are left trying to find ‘the truth about thinking’, left ‘thinking about thinking’.

It is important to mention that even just through the existence of the Basic Year, and the formation of classes, teachers and subjects, it is apparent that the Rietveld does honour the idea of a ‘good education’, over a ‘bad one’. They have, after all  applied this structure to the course based on reason and pedagogy study (or so I would assume). Thus, the structure must be based on certain means that deem it useful or good to us as students. This leads me to believe that there is indeed a right and a wrong way to educate young artists. In other words, there is a true art education to be obtained. In the Gropius manifesto of 1919, ‘What is Architecture’, this truth lies in “architecture, painting and sculpture”. But the world today demands a wider spectrum of conversation.

I can see both sides of the story in so much that The Rietveld has to keep up to date with the process’ of the current art world, but coming from a somewhat dated model. When beginning this essay, I was under the impression that the school was undergoing some kind of identity crisis. Attempting to link themselves to their withering ancestral roots in Bauhaus. I would argue that the link is indeed withering. That can be seen in their policies on ‘making’. It is perhaps more of a historical connection now. In truth, If I wanted to become a master woodworker, I could. But it wouldn’t line up with the philosophy of the school. I have personally received criticism for dedicating myself towards attempting to become a kind of master in one material.

In conclusion, Gropius himself would suggest that the Rietveld needs a re-work if we are to base our education on a Bauhausian model. I think he would suggest that there are no ‘master craftspeople’ being raised up.

The Rietveld Academie has not explicitly chosen to follow the Bauhaus manifesto like some kind of Bible, so, from the perspective of a student studying here now, the school is allowed to deviate from the original blueprints due to societal changes. I personally think it’s great that we aren’t all sold into unpaid labour making zig-zag chairs. Yet, the school should probably analyse its withering links to the past. Just like inevitably a grandson will probably have different interests to his Grandfather. The Rietveld is not in an identity crisis, but slowly developing the ability to keep proud the family name, yet not live in the shadow of it’s ancestry. There will probably be a time, when the Rietveld’s education model will bear no similarity at all with that of the Bauhaus.

  1. Johannes Itten, The Elements of Color, John Wiley and Sons Inc, Hoboken, 1970
  2. Bauhaus-imaginista.org. (2019). The Bauhaus Manifesto – Articles – bauhaus imaginista. [online] Available at: http://www.bauhaus-imaginista.org/articles/1771/bauhaus-manifesto-re-cap [Accessed 21 Apr. 2019]
  3. Danchev, D., 2011. 100 Artists’ Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists. (s.n.). p159-p161 (M33 Walter Gropius – What is Architecture? 1919)
Nick van Pelt

Bauhuas ‘Vorkurs(preliminary)’ and Rietveld ‘Basic year’


Sunday, April 21, 2019

When I first heard “Bauhaus,” my first impression of it was just “big movement that is important in the history of European art” Because I didn’t have much interest and think it was not really related to me.
But Boijmans Museum’s exhibition of Bauhaus, where I went without any expectations, influenced me more than I expected.
The systematic learning of basic things, such as materials and colors, seemed boring at first glance, but were the most dynamic and interesting things. Exploring the properties of materials, understanding the various and contrary things, geometric shapes and colors are the most essential elements for art, but I had missed them.
Through the writings of Johannes Itten, founder of Bauhaus vorkurs (preliminary course), I could understand exactly why Bauhaus put so much effort into these things.

     Let’s take a look at the works that I saw at the exhibition and the writings of Johannes Itten together.

          

   Two of the most distinct elements of Bauhaus : Geometric form and primitive colors

“ The clear geometric form is the one most easily comprehended and its basic elements are the circle, the square and the triangle. Every possible form lies dormant in these formal elements. They are visible to him who sees, invisible to him who does not. Form is also colour. Without colour there is no form. Form and colour are one…Geometric forms and the colours of the spectrum are the simplest, most sensitive forms and colours and therefore the most precise means of expression in a work of art.” 1

 

It was like playful work of children. It made me think differently about the concepts and the properties of materials that I had been knowing.

 

Forms and colours were discussed and presented in any number of polar contrasts. These contrasts can be presented as intellectual concepts…The students had to present these carious contrasts, separately and in combinations, in a manner that allowed our senses to perceive them convincingly.” “All artistic effects are based on the creation of contrasts. We not only studied their contrasts – smooth-rough, hard-soft, light-heavy—visually but also explored them with our fingertips…To deepen and control the experience, students had to contemplate, touch, and raw these textures until they knew them by heart and could reproduce them out of their inner perception, without the natural model.” 2

Among the many exhibits, the drawings that caught my eye turned out to be from vorkurs works.

I was fascinated by these rhythmical lines and colors 

“ The teacher’s most difficult problem is the liberation and deepening of the inner spiritual sense of perception. To conduct exercises in that area one needs a very pliable, labile material which reacts immediately to the slightest motion of the hand. I used india ink brushes and soft charcoal” “The success of these studies wholly depends on the student’s ability to overcome his intellect and the function of his senses and give himself totally to spontaneous feeling. An inner automatism quite naturally gives a convincing outer form to his feelings.” 3

 

Johannes Itten’s ideals of education were very impressive and as a Gerrit Rietveld student, I related to that.
Itten found it difficult to judge students because they all have different talents and characters.
So the vorkurs was built, and students were able to have time to think fully about their interests and aptitudes as they went through this course. I think it is the same reason why Rietveld Academie persists in the basic year while many other schools have given it up already.
Students at Bauhaus had to explore and enlighten themselves without relying on the knowledge from the outside. Itten emphasized inner growth and self-examination, so he went back to the quest for more basic things and helped discover students’ interests and talents through them.

I felt lost when I came to the Rietveld Academie at first. I was used to Korean cramming education, that was why it was difficult and awkward for me to think about myself and being on one’s own. Of course, I’m used to them now, and this new way of education has given me a chance to think deeply about myself.
Drawing and painting, theory, design, mixed media and sculpture, learning these five subjects, and using various workshops, I could see what I liked and disliked, or what I didn’t do well.
The fairly free atmosphere of discussion and feedback also helped me broaden my horizons.

Pictures of Rietveld Academie basic year class

 

pictures of Bauhaus vorkurs

   Interestingly, you can find quite similar things. Both educations seem to be exploring materials.

They have a lot in common, but the reason Bauhaus’ education seemed more interesting to me is probably because of the physical exercise. Itten gave the class exercises in relation, breathing, and concentration to achieve a spiritual state and physical readiness during instruction period.4
He thought the training the body as an instrument of the spirit is essential to an artist’s creativity. That is why, before attempting class, the students were asked to limber up their bodies and minds by physical jerks, controlled breathing, and meditation.5 I agree with his opinion as a yoga and meditation lover.
I believe that the body and mind are connected and the brain also moves more actively when the body is ready and activated.

Imagine, wouldn’t it be more fun and energetic if we did yoga together at school or if we did weird exercises before we painted?

 

Maybe ‘Basic year’ is the most important time as an artist. This is because it is an opportunity to experience many challenges and failures without constraint. So far, I have been busy just completing my assignment. After learning of Bauhaus’ educational philosophy, I began to reflect on my attitude and to think about how to deal with my work in the future. I will bear in mind the philosophy of Bauhaus, which is attentive to the sounds of body and mind, faithful to the basics and always exploring.

 

 

1)Frank whit ford, Bauhaus, Thames and hudson, 1984, London, page 106
2)Gyorgy kepes, Education of vision, Studio vista, 1965, Newyork, page 105,106
3)Gyorgy kepes, Education of vision, Studio vista, 1965, Newyork, page115
4)Gyorgy kepes, Education of vision, Studio vista, 1965, Newyork, page105
5)Frank whit ford, Bauhaus, Thames and hudson, 1984, London, page 55

Design in Collaboration


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

 

The following text is based on an interview I had with designer Adriaan Mellegers and the artist Emmeline de Mooij about the book "Art in Therapy", design, art and the relationship between those two fields.

 

Adriaan Mellegers

Emmeline de Mooij

Yelske Luit

 

So how did you start making this book? I assume Centraal Museum Utrecht wanted a book after Emmeline’s work?

They wanted a book because I did a series of performances commissioned by them, and of course nothing physical remained after this piece. So we really wanted a good record of this work.

Was it immediately clear that Adriaan was going to design it?

Yes, I think I immediately proposed that. I could decide everything myself; who made the book, who filmed etc.

     Edwin Jacobs, the former director of the museum, really trusted us with this project, it was like a warm bath.

  But I think that’s one of the positive sides of working for yourself or with friends. When you have a client, they can sometimes differ in their vision or ideas.

That can be interesting, but it can also go badly.

So where do you start, when you have this open slate?

   The project had a quite clear structure, and it was quickly clear that we wanted to have the text from the five performances in two languages [Dutch and English]. So it was a lot of text.

         We also had some film stills and portraits from the performance.

     So those are your “ingredients”, your content, and then you start thinking about what kind of book you want. That process is partly conceptual and partly intuitive.

I thought it would be cool if it had a monumental size, quite big, because it would refer to a patient dossier.

I chose to represent the text very clear. The two languages have a different font, but they come from the same font family, Trivia.

I made the letters bigger, to convey some intimacy.

And while he thinks of all this stuff, how much have you [Emmeline] been involved? Do you give feedback after the decision is made, or do you make it together?

I left it up to him, but he showed it a lot during the progress. I was very happy you could think of those things, like that the photos should be on a different paper.

But we still talked about it a lot. There was hardly anything that I didn’t like.

Did it ever happen that you saw a design for your work and you felt like it didn’t look right, or didn’t represent your work? Or does it almost become a work in itself?

Yes it does happen, but it’s usually something small.

I think you’re quite flexible.

I think it’s important to let go when you involve someone else. That you don’t control the other person, give them freedom.

So you also give some autonomy to the designer?

Yes. But it still has to communicate what you initially wanted. It can’t suddenly go in a different direction, so I have to be clear about what the story is.

So that is the risk you take by doing that. You can give them freedom, but you can’t just let it happen. 

I can imagine it’s very different with a client.

Very much so. When it’s an institutional client, they have a more clear vision or policy of how they want to communicate. You always have to get in a discussion if your idea or vision could happen.

It’s also often a lot more political, because there are other interests and parties involved.

So you could say that in the relationship between art and design, when you work for an artist the story is up to the artist, but how it is communicated is more up to the designer. However when you work with a client, this how is also controlled by the client?

It’s possible in both options, it has a lot to do with how you work as a designer. I want people to work with me because they think I make good works, not just because I provide a service.

When you work with an institutional client, you want them to have the same attitude. But there are a lot of interests at play, so sometimes the collaboration goes smoothly, and other times it doesn’t. That’s part of it. 

It can both be fun though, and I wouldn’t want to only work for artist, because those processes can last a very long time.

And I like the challenge of working for an institution, and that the end product is seen by a lot of people.

So working with both, the variety is pleasant.

 

 

Emmeline de Mooij: Art in Therapy. design by Adriaan Mellegers, Rietveld library number: 708.4 the 1

An Ocher Sheet


Thursday, February 7, 2019

« The library is unlimited and periodic. If there were an eternal traveler crossing it in any direction, the centuries would eventually teach him that the same volumes are always repeated in the same disorder». These thoughts from Borges’s Fictions often influence my mind when I’m searching for a book, where it seems that your choice will always be part of a gigantic spiderweb.

“>The title « A sheet of paper » and the name of the artist, Remy Zaugg, appear centered, in a Times New Roman font. The book, in a rectangular format (23×29.5), has a hard cover with a plain pale ocher background, accompanied by a gray square in the center that hosts the title. At first glance, A sheet of paper does not appear to sollicitate any attention, without breaking away from a very classic aesthetic regarding exhibitions books.

I thought I should reconsider my choice, even if it attracted me, for some other book, with a more modern, singular or attractive design. However, this book then seemed too willingly simple, hidden, to be just let on the side. 

By offering another look at it, I could then notice singular formal protocols that unravel, through visual variations and repetitions, the boundaries between the so-called informative and artistic content. In fact, A sheet of paper has been designed by the artist and his wife, and can be considered as another piece, or a prolongation of his works : on the second page, we can see written « This book as well as the reproduced paintings were produced in collaboration with Michèle Zaugg », exhibition photographs are made by Hans Biezen.

While opening the book, I could discover that the large ocher pale square from the cover multiplies itself in various ways : in the artworks presented, as in the architectural plans of the exhibition that are presented above the photographs, and many other forms.

 


In fact, Remy Zaugg’s artworks are large pale ocher canvases, and we see the m spread in different forms in the book. They appear sometimes photographed singularly : one big square taking a whole page, existing only in the space of the printed page with the white backgroung. Or, they also appear in an exhibition context (from Zaugg’s solo exhibition held at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, from August 31 to October 7, 1984.) Finally, they appear in their more abstract form with the different architectural plans that repeat as well the square structure. Thus, these artworks are existing in various forms on context (scans, photographs in exhibition, modeled), creating an effect of echoes, transmission, of this simple ocher square. You cannot discern a proper delimitation or annotation that intervene to say ‘this is the artwork’ and ‘this is the research’. The design seems to be confusing on purpose, to delete the boundaries of the classical artbook and offer something closer to experiment. Then, we can notice that the whole book is designed through an iterative process regarding this pale ocher square, that disseminate itself in every element presented.

The same visual phenomenon is present with the textual content : the text takes place under the same fonts in the artworks as in the information shown. Even if it’s still pretty classical (most of the text content is centered, justified, in a times font), the fact that it appears through different layers contributes to this repetitive visual process that ponctuates the whole book. The title « A sheet of paper » appear different times in the book, in different sizes and font.

These variations of patterns and games between the information and the artistic production creates confusion but then but at the same time they offer the possibility to approach as closely as possible Zaugg’s work. Indeed, all of his work is a reflexion on the absence, the disparition through the « banal » in art. The book A sheet of paper appeared to me entirely trivial at first sight, offering no necessarily different aspect. Yet, it is not the peculiarity of the elements presented that makes it a singular object, but the work accorded to visual rhythm, repetition, variation. It is the relationship between the elements that becomes interesting, where the repetition of extremely banal things suddenly creates a particular set. A contraction between the particular and the general. All of my research focuses on the possibilities and appearances of different forms of rhythm. The choice of this book makes me feel even more at the heart of this spider’s web, ponctuating and creating echoes between every choice.

Remy Zaugg: A Sheet Of Paper. design by the artist, Rietveld library number: zau 1

Who Is Rick Myers In A World Of Broken Music?


Tuesday, February 5, 2019


When I was in the library I noticed a pile of newly books stacked on a table. They looked completely fresh and untouched. I could look around the newly acquired books and quite quickly I came upon 2 books about music and art. 1: Records by artists & 2: Broken music. The first book on the left first pulled my attention cause I was interested in the topic. Which great artists also made music and how would it sound? But then i was drawn to the second cover by the misshapen LP and when I looked inside the second book I was immediately drawn in by the nice design. The design was quite straightforward in rows with alot of black and white but I liked that.

The cover of the book has no title on the cover which is something I still don’t really like. I don’t know if this is because I am used to books with the title on the front cover or that I just don’t like it and think that the book is laying with the wrong side on the table… Apart from the title, the cover has a nice image which is intriguing and brings questions. There is a little LP on the inside’s first pages which has some broken string music composed by Milan Knizak and played by the Arditti string quartet for the book (quite nice). The content of broken music has to do with music and artists. It’s a combination of records created by artists or covers designed by artists, books and publications containing music by artists and sound made by artists. In the design of the book the text is mostly normally arranged.

The way of using negative space and placing of larger objects is sometimes nicely done throughout the book.

This edition of Broken Music (2018) is a renewed edition of 1989. When I went through the book to find out what the designer Rick Myers changed I actually almost couldn’t find anything. On the second page the new edition 2018 said:

Sadly enough I couldn’t find out anything about Luzzi, who she was or how she was acquainted to anyone in the bookmaking process. This Luzzi was probably known to the designer Rick Myers but nothing can be sure and he also doesn’t respond to my emails.

 


When looking at the colour of the pictures there was a very small difference in the thickness and colour of the inside of the cover. The older edition had a sturdier cover and is 2 to 3 times thicker and had a yellow tint on the inside. The LP was missing but that was not because it wasn’t included in the original edition of 1989.

For the rest there was sometimes this slight difference in the colour of pictures inside.


The black white pictures were just a bit darker in the newer edition but the coloured pictures sometimes had a difference in colour which was quite noticeable.

 

When I digged in a bit deeper, I found out that he actually made a facsimile of the book ”Broken Music”. This completely explains why there almost are no differences to be found. He tried to make an exact copy of the older book. This was probably due to the great amount of request for the book still and it wasn’t being made anymore. He spent a pretty obscene number of hours on this project with absurd activities such as assessing the tonal values of Bernard Heidsieck’s trousers, checking the density of the shadow cast by Rose Sélavy’s hat or looking for clues in measurements concealed for 30 years prior, delving further into guillotine mis-cuts made in 1989 for the facsimile to sit quietly alongside the original.

So in this case Rick Myers role was to design this new book to be completely the same as the original. In the actual content and design of the layout he didn’t contribute anything (except for Luzzi maybe).

The designer Rick Myers is an designer as artist born in Manchester and working on text, video, installation, drawing and books and editions. He is the founder of Muta which is a publisher of artist books and poetry. Only when you go to their site it’s not that interesting. It seems that Muta is not really that active anymore. On their website you can see the work of 3 artists and that’s all. When you go to their Instagram you see their last post was in 2017.
Also, you can really see that the design of the website of Muta is corresponding to the design of Rick Myers own website. Very straight and everything in the middle but still it’s not really easy to navigate on his website.
In Amsterdam in the shop Boekie Woekie you can also find some books of him that he completely made himself. So apart from remaking the book broken music, he also makes alot of works himself and produces books with recollections of his own works.

One of his works ”Before and after Death” Has an interesting idea in which he collected light bulbs made before 1908 that were over 100 years old and thereby contained a vacuum of a century.


He then made a print of these light bulbs by stamping them and made it into a book as seen in the picture. I’m curious to see if the whole book only has 1 image because on his website you see 3 times the same print next to each other. Everything here is black and white, he does that a lot but not always.

Another work from Rick Myers is An Excavation / A Reading (Before the Statue of Endymion). He used a technique in which a text is first readable and slowly over time is not readable anymore while an audio fragment is playing and reciting the text. There is a short video fragment of the work on his website.  Check it out, it’s definitely worth it!

Ursula Block & Michael Glasmeer: Broken Music, artists' recordworks. designed by Rick Meyers, Rietveld library number: 708.4 rec 1

blank spaces


Thursday, December 6, 2018

At first, I wanted to find something by using the catalogue, but It wasn’t very long until I realized that it wasn’t relevant knowing that the tags were only subjective,

How could it work without generating something too literal?

At least, this process of research wasn’t the right one with the tags that I chose.

For this book, it took me less than one hour to pick it, as each time I wasn’t able to select a piece without already having a specific idea of what I wanted in my mind.

But still, I felt frustrated

Frustrated by the impossibility, or more precisely the struggle of being opened,

Being able to see, to take the time to observe the books that were surrounding me.

There were so many information and possibilities around that I wasn’t able to decide or to think about what I wanted or at least to consider those things.

I think that, in a way, that book happened to me because of this frustration.

I see this choice as the translation of my state of mind at this precise moment.

Fortunately, this book might have been what I was searching for, I just saw this thin white line between all those imposing and colorful editions.

I needed something simple, purified, that’s precisely, in my view, what I found.

 

All those blank spaces, accentuated by those vibrant black lines

Those micro architectures, in the form of sketches.

I was struck by a drawing when I opened this book, it is a drawing of the sun.

That reminds me of le Corbusier’s sketches concerning the housing units of Marseille and the principle of the sunshade.

I like this simplicity and this clarity

I also see those lines which I like a lot, thin, imperfect, instinctive.

Naked Dog


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thursday, November 22, 2018
Last week we had to look for a book for our design project. I had to look for a book related to design, but here was the catch. I was not allowed to look at the information in the book just its exterior, i had to find a book that attracted ore displeased me only on subjective grounds.

While I was walking through the brand-new library of the Rietveld academy I was primarily buzzy with looking at the library itself. The nice plants they put to the sides and how well put and nice the place looked. In my head a school library is supposed to look old fashioned and dusty not a nice looking clean place like this. Then again, I did not have that much experience with library’s. This was not because I do not enjoy reading. On the contrary I enjoy it to much, so much so that every book I end up liking I want to have as my one. This is why you will not find me in a library but more in a bookstore.

While my head was wandering about like that my eyes fell upon a rather shabby looking book in compere’s ant to all the other rather fancy looking books in the shelfs, the book did not have a title and instead had a cover of what seemed a group of friends siting tighter naked with a dog. The picture did not shook me or anything instead it made me instantly curios what it could be about. For me (someone who is very new to the concept of design) this seemed like a very odd picture to put on the front of a design book. But then again, my idea of design is much more of that of a very clean and tight looking piece than what I was holding. Halve confused and curios I went to the man behind the desk who was the head of the library and asked if this book was also part of the design departed ant and to my surprise it was. This book that seemed to be hand bind with the group of naked friends on the cover of witch in my eyes it looked more like a fine arts project was an actual design book, well…. That made it clear I had made a decision
book 779 -won- 1

A Research about research


Friday, October 26, 2018

Taking the Work “Relief Rug” from Dutch Artist Kitty van der Mijll Dekker, made in 1934 as a leading example, the following text will try to surround and highlight analogies as well as differences in researching online or in printed matter.
The following articles give additional information about the Artwork itself, the Artist as well as the Bauhaus.
Designblog Rietveld Academie

Stedelijk Amsterdam, Relief Rug by Kitty van der Mijll Dekker

History of Bauhaus in Dessau

 


1st Inscription; "Relief Rug" by Kitty van der Mijll Dekker

 


2nd Inscription; "Bauhaus" Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

 

Starting with the inscription next to the piece as the first information the audience can get (which definitely is printed information as well), the text doesn’t say anything but the basic information we expect from such source. Juxtaposed with other objects, artworks and artifacts from the same period and art-movement, another inscription announces some facts about the Bauhaus, the educational institute van der Mijll Dekker attended. Therefore the very first appearance of printed information just adds little more as what a viewer could be expected to have as background knowledge.

Printed documentation from and about Bauhaus highlight the emphasis Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, put on the concern of equality between women and men inside the institution. The Bauhaus was one of the few institutions, where not only men but also women were allowed to attend. What seams ahead of time, quickly turned out as not very long lasting and supportive to the persons concerned. Here, the most significant gaps from printed matter to online material can be pointed out. While printed matter talks about a topic and somehow provides information, online publications and writings mostly start with questioning facts which are already researched and published. Some of them come with an outspoken opinion as well as a contemporary context and  as a reaction to other publications.

The disconnection from general information about the Bauhaus to the issue that female artists and their part of the Bauhaus legacy are barely mentioned in publications, that can be traced back to the difference of “providing information” with printed matter and “reacting on information” in online publication.

Frieze; Women in Bauhaus

Emma; Women in Bauhaus

Artsy; Women in Bauhaus

If assumed, a book or documentary publication is preserving information about its content, and not too much voicing an opinion, unless it is a critique, the reader gets broader information which needs to be classified afterwards by the reader itself. Going through the listened publications underneath, the attempt to sum up or conclude seams to be more present than putting forward a subjective perception or even including a critical position.

 


“The Worlds Greatest Art – Bauhaus“ by Andrew Kennedy, 2006 • “Das Bauhaus“ by Hans M. Wingler, 1962

 


“Bauhaus“ by Magdalena Droste, 1990 • “Human – Space – Machine. Stage Experiments at the Bauhaus“ Eds.: Torsten Blume, Christian Hiller, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, 2014

 

Simply spoken, these books come with a quality of objectivity that allows the reader to bring further a general knowledge. It builds up kind of a base where more specific ideas or concerns start to unfold.

Research in literature may appear more challenging, since the linking to connected subjects is not provided and has to be done by the researcher. Google (or any kind of search engine) supports with its algorithm and referring proposals. Although this two faced matter, the advantage of high rated recommendations is considerable. It enables the user to quickly collect a lot of information from many different sources, processing the subject in different contexts. Whereas, as mentioned above, research based on printed matter asks the user itself to fulfill the role of Google’s algorithm. To later on distinguish the quality of information or confirming sources stays an important part of putting research forward to a conclusion. At the same time the internet’s bottomless quality leads to many dead-ends, what creates an alarming but ironical analogy with the lack of importance that was payed to refer female artists to the Bauhaus history.

Heading to a provisional end, the following experience works as an example of applied research.

“Looking for work about v.d. Mijll Dekker I first went to the library of the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. But I was not able to find any literature dealing with her or her work. But knowing that the artist was a part of the Bauhaus Dessau, I started looking through the English and German literature the library had to offer about the whole Bauhaus movement. Unfortunately, even looking through the register of them all, I wasn’t able to find anything about her specifically. So I tried finding out more about the women who were part of the Bauhaus. I started researching information about different influential women who were part of the movement. That turned out as quite a challenge. After this I went to the library of the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam. But also there I could only find few new information on Mijll Dekker and her work.“ progress report, field researcher L.P., Amsterdam October 2018

 

Text by Luca Putz & Jonas Morgenthaler, GRA 2018

HERMANN EBBINGHAUS’ COLOUR SYSTEM


Friday, March 23, 2018


Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) was a German psychologist who pioneered the experimental psychology of memory. He is mostly known for his discovery of the forgetting curve (describes how the ability of the brain to retain information decreases in time), the learning curve (graphical representation of the rate at which you make progress learning new information) and the spacing effect (phenomenon whereby information is learned and retained more easily and effectively when its studying is spread out over time).

 

However, Hermann Ebbinghaus has also been known thanks to its colour system. Indeed, the concept of the double pyramid gained in popularity thanks to the latter.


 

In 1902, he proposed a new version of Hofler’s double pyramid. Ebbinghaus constructed a colour system rest on this system of double pyramid but made few modifications: he put rounded corners and an inclined central plane.


He rounds off the corners of the solid as he considered the transition between colours as fluid and not sharply defined. The Hering-type fundamental opponent colours are located at the six corners (black, green, red, blue, yellow, white).
The resulting chromatic body, from the four primary colours, links Leonardo da Vinci’s idea that colours vary in brightness and can thus be differentiated. The idea was to separate and so distinguish those four colours due to the variation of brightness.
The base-square of the double solid is tilted in such a way that the best yellow hues, which are relatively bright, are nearer to white, and the best blue tones, which are relatively dark, are nearer to black. His system does not predict the mixtures of colours and the complementary pairs are not arranged opposite one another.


In 1893, Ebbinghaus published a «Theory of Colour Vision» in the Zeitschrift für Psychology (Journal of Psychology), in which he mentioned that humans perceive colours through higher mental processes. As a psychologist, he knew about the perception of the four elementary colour (yellow, red, green, blue) and thanks to physiologists knew there were only three photo-sensitive substances in the eye’s retina (rods, cones, photosensitive retinal ganglion cells) thanks to which the phenomenon of coloured vision and its anomalies could be explained.


 

In addition, Ebbinghaus has discovered that two white hues produced by spinning either red and green or blue and yellow, appeared to be the same at certain levels of brightness, but appeared different when the illumination was reduced or the speed was reduced.

Design and Pattern


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Pattern, cell of design

Blog_MarcelWanders_Knotted

Living creatures have evolved as a result of adaptation to daily environment surrounding them. Creators are often inspired by those forms of nature, which is not only aesthetic but also functionally appropriate. So some design objects get to resemble living things. Looking into them deep, we can perhaps find that they both have a powerful element which does not appear on the outside at first glance but still has its influence on the overall appearances.

It is the cell that constitutes the whole body, which also can be called the pattern in design. The knotted chair of Marcel Wanders, made in 1995, shows good example of 3D pattern design. One unit that makes up the chair could have been no more than a twisted line, but it acquired more durability when several units are gathered and patterned under the certain and repetitive rule. (Of course, there was a process of hardening with thermosetting resin.)

It is also noteworthy that a cord, which is not very expected material for furniture, was used to make a chair which can withstand loads over 100 kg. Could this be possible if there wasn’t composed unit with consistent rule? Apart from this, how Teo Jansen could achieve to make kinetic sculpture that shows flexible movement with hard wood? I think a patterned design allow creator to be able to explore the materials and thereby can have its own texture. I would like to mention ‘knotted chair’ as one of the designs that can provide us with vision and tactile sense simultaneously on the basis of its pattern.

To continue with the research on connection between ‘design’ and ‘pattern’, I come to ask first,

“What is pattern?”

Then, look up the dictionary definition of the word-
Pattern is a particular way in which something is done, is organized, or happens; is any regularly repeated arrangement, especially a design made from repeated lines, shapes, or colors on a surface;

The word ‘pattern’ can be regarded as the particular way something is generated or as the regular arrangement that include continuous rules inside. What I can find from those selected meaning of the word is that; whatever we call as pattern has to have regular and repetitive factors, which makes it predictable, organized, and look stable.

So, what does pattern mean to art and design?

It could be one of the foundations that construct the way we see the image as well as deliver it. To explain this, let’s look at a few principles of design. The formative elements such as dot, line, surface, shape, matter can be said to be materials that is used to create image or object. Here, the ways we arranged those material- principles of design- are involving. Some of them are unity, repetition, harmony, rhythm, symmetry, balance, proportion and so on. Each of them, at some point, is related to allowing materials to look similar and coherent. We intentionally or intuitively use those principles for organizing a clear image to deliver our message efficiently. At the same time, our eyes receive those similarity, without even noticing it, and store it as groups in our mind. Therefore, we can realize that discovering the coherent image and patterning it is the basic method how we perceive visual information.

Pattern on 3-dimension

My research have had more focused on pattern in 3D design object than any other kinds of art pattern. It is not only because that the starting point was the knotted chair by Marcel Wanders, but also dealing the pattern in terms of its relation with object’s shape and texture are worth to watch. With the development of technology, more than any other times before, designer can now easily explore the new materials and create their very own way to use it.

Marcel Wander’s various way of using pattern are illustrated well with Knotted chair, Crochet chair, Flower chair, Cybrog chair and Cinderella broke A Leg bed.

821be91a43c3d0dc3e0ea27b8822ffdcefb3e95d-dbc1-4cbd-9a72-788286daacb1
Modern-Black-Bed-480x410Black-Beds

Earlier, Alessandro Mendini used his fabric pattern on the baroque style chair, Magis Proust. By seeing the pattern as ornament, he was marked as the one of those leading the postmodernism. In this case, ‘pattern’ became the mean to deliver the designer’s concept.

Cappellini-Proust-Geometrica-Armchair

Then, Zaha Hadid presented her colorful patterned furniture, Tide, at 2011 Milan Design Week. This work obviously shows the great promise of using pattern in design. The symmetric shelving module that one can create different compositions through rotations on itself allows individuals to build and rebuild the module to fit the space around them.

tide02

Last but not least, I would like to refer that 3D pattern is also opening the door from craft to industrial design. 2D pattern design can be easily processed and completed on the screen while 3D pattern still needs to be experimented by hands at the first stage, especially if it is for the furniture or architecture that should ensure the stability. For example, the Knotted chair of Marcel Wanders is actually known as a result of handwork knot. Creator, as a human, they also make mistakes, sometimes do fail but later approach the point where they can create the most safety and aesthetic cells. This process is happening with hands. So I can see that link between handwork and industrial design is generated if the design happens under the conditions that need to be experimented and proved before it is systematized to be a mass production.

So far I looked through the definition of pattern and the how important it is on the art and design field, especially with the context of design objects. Also I found that how differently each designer handle the concept of pattern. Some of them would use it as their identity, other see it as a way to express their design philosophy, and another can develop it to interact with users.

At the beginning of the post, I made a connection between ‘cell’ and ‘pattern’. Just as the cell breath, nourish and endure the living body, pattern also function as indispensable part of whole (design object). It can be always developing and has endless possibilities, because there are still numerous ways to make a new rules and compositions out of it.

Protected: A commentary on the Lower Level Gallery display design for the STEDELIJK BASE


Monday, February 19, 2018

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It’s all about context


Thursday, February 15, 2018

 

Although being already more then few times now at the Stedeljk museum, it’s always pleasant be here,  environment, the architecture itself and the natural light that create a charming atmosphere all around.We moving towards the so called BASE 1 to see the new permanent installation of iconic works from the collection of the Stedelijk Museum. It occupies the entire new wing of the museum and features a selection of around 700 pieces grouped around historic movements, social themes, and influential artists.

After I’ve made aware about that what I am going to see is going to be like this for the next 10 years, I approached my visiting focusing my attention mostly on the division of the space and the solution founded to display the artworks.

 

rem-koolhaas-AMO-stedelijk-museum-amsterdam-base-exhibition-space-OMA-designboom-07 700-3

700-1 700-2

 

The space allow visitors to experience the collection through an open-ended route.The chronology can be followed on the perimeter, while freestanding walls in the middle create separate sectors highlighting groups of artworks that represent a specific theme or aspect of the collection.

I have this constantly feelings of jumping between a sort of labyrinth in which I can keep choosing different directions but as soon as I taken one, those vertical high walls create a dynamic and cozy environment, almost like little galleries inside a enormous place.

 

The layout display  the collection as a network of relations rather than a presentation of individual artworks. All the artworks do not loose their independence even tough, there are chairs and carpets hanging at the walls, and the displaying of some works are not as we are used to see.

 

I am  wondering about how they bring inside here this massive standing steel walls? And how they organized  works in different areas of the collection…

 

I’ll try figure all this out a little bit more

stay tuned…

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Is there anything to rely on?


Thursday, November 30, 2017

 It is quite common to notice that we have been focusing on automatizing, and motorising any of our work related physical efforts. As for example, the number of workers in a factory has nothing to do with what it was 30 years ago, and also nothing to do with what it was 100 years ago, and it hasn’t increased for sure. As a paradoxical consequence (that can have also other different causes), it is also amusing to observe that in order to stay healthy, more and more people start to work out, going at the gym. The gym has even become a social environment, where people share their tips and advice, and help one another reaching his goal of physical performance.

 This is what Melle Smets points out in his project: the human power plant. The thing is that according to this “gym” trend, the energy that we produce with our physical efforts nowadays is completely wasted, as we only see it as muscle training; we don’t run on the treadmill to make cold water hot but to get a nice ass. It seems unnecessary to develop how a nice butt is useful to sustain life.  Anyway, all of these machines that are handling so much effort could actually stock the energy to use it afterwards. The human power plant project is a proposal of the use of human physical effort to create the energy that we require in our daily life. In their first case study, they planned a conversion of one building of the Utrecht University into a 100% human-powered student house. On the other hand, in its concrete realisation, the project is still quite utopic or futuristic, as the prototypes are for the moment only to charge a phone or a laptop, and the latest to heat a Jacuzzi…

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 Going back to human attitude towards effort optimisation, we can also to a certain point qualify this quest for automatizing and motorising any work related effort, as the natural egocentric human condition of wanting to do what we want, and not being a machine, or not being a clone. It can also be directly linked with artistic activity, in a way that it commonly comes from us wanting to get something out of what we think is our singular identity or thoughts. Or the link could also be that art is commonly/traditionally seen as completely useless, when artists are the most passionate about their job. Wouldn’t it mean that we just want to make ourselves useless? We could argue in this way to conclude that we obviously live to die. But then, why not act as a mere gear in this gigantic mechanic world? We can observe to confirm what was said before a relentless research to motorise the perpetual motion we live in, with very contrasted fields of research like Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, or more recently Theo Jansen. Of course, their views on this topic are all very different, and even how they consider or see this topic varies. For example, Theo Jansen’s approach absolutely didn’t think of the “perpetual motion motor” side of his creation, he just wanted to create life. And even if the approach has to be understood sometimes in a metaphorical way so it doesn’t become contradictory, these enormous solitary creatures wandering on the beach are tightly close to have the possibility of being independent and to continue living eating wind to make their hundred legs move. So here we see that the difference is about what could be qualified as the artistic approach, that the function of the energy is not necessarily to use for us humans but just to contemplate. In a way, the only energy a perpetual motion motor/generator distributes is to itself, and we can only watch the wheel turn.

 Switching back to Melle Smets, the goal here is not to make a wheel turn on its own. The social and cultural context is privileged, and the aim is to make people self-sufficient in what they require concerning energy; we are the perpetual motion machines. It’s interesting to see, that most of the creators, to find a solution to how to produce energy, will try to find or invent something that is not there or that is not known. And they often argue that the world is your oyster, there are so many things outside that we can take advantage from. What is interesting and funny is to see that after thousands of years of trying to widen the distance between our own self and energy production, there is an actual proposal of an alternative where it is ourselves that we can the most directly take advantage from.

The concept is not even this innovative, in a way that we have always been producing energy with our efforts. Actually we don’t even have a choice not to and it is all we will be doing our whole life. Following this alternative perspective’s idea is tending to not only make us self-sufficient but also self-reliable and as a consequence disciplined. Just like a child to who we don’t learn to become autonomous by providing anything that he would need or want to not think about how he could do it himself. We can notice that nowadays, energy like electricity is so much a part of our daily life norm that having lamps in any room of a house is completely natural whereas a house without any would be linked to a spooky fictional movie. We don’t show to the children what electricity is and can do, we just tell them to not put their fingers in the plug. The point is that what we have to do to start, is to make ourselves reconnect to what we essentially do need in our life. Where does it come from, and how can we get it, (energy wise of course, I wasn’t talking about love).

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Social Design and Relational Art


Thursday, November 30, 2017

 

“L’art est un état de rencontre” “Art is a meeting state” – Nicolas Bourriaud

When visiting the exhibition « Change the system » in the Booijmans, I wondered how art and design were differently defined when they both answer the one and only same question. At the very end of the show, I discovered the work of Manon van Hoeckel called ‘the laundry’. Manon is a designer, a social and critical one; she « designs context ». That was the very first time that I saw this term used , regarding a design work that had as a result a social cohabitation and that was human-centered in this way. Wasn’t it an art experience, such as Tino Seghal’s work or Marina Abramovitch’s one? How do design and art meet in social/relational situations to create a better understanding of our modern and future world?

 

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In the last decades, through many art movements that raised, two specific ones in art and design have emerged. In art, the relational aesthetic defined by Nicolas Bourriaud as “a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space. » In design, a social thinking approach has emerged in the same way, materializing into performances, contexts, tests, always in the finality to contribute to improve human well-being and livelihood. Although these two subjects do not have quite the same purposes, they coincide around the same problems and use the same tools with the purpose of better understanding/changing our world and human behavior.
In current art practices, it is not unusual to visit literally empty exhibitions which display works that turn away from the visual and the visible. Facing these constituent sensibilities, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the invisible artwork from its exhibition. But let’s say it’s acceptable, because it is art. But what if this happens with design? What’s the result of it? Nothing specific, just an experience. How is it created? What happens? Let’s first have a look at Manon’s work.
As a social designer, Manon creates event, spaces for people to discuss, she creates interaction between humans. In her project for The Boijman’s Museum , Manon actually creates a space where people can come for other reasons than visiting a museum, and also a space to discuss the exhibition itself. As an answer to « change the system », she proposes discussion. But how is her work different from Tino Seghal’s, how is it different from relation aesthetic? Tino Seghal also bases his work on people’s experience of meeting and sharing, the interaction being the piece of art itself, working against the production of an object. Regarding what is relational art, let’s give an other relevant example. Rirkrit Tiravanija is perhaps the most iconic artist of this movement. He moved all the contents of an art gallery storeroom and office into the exhibition space and staged his work in the back rooms; the art consisted of cooking Thai cuisine for his audience. The viewers became active par­ticipants, first locating the backrooms, then consuming the food and engaging in con­versations with the artist and one another, instead of quietly looking at objects in an exhibition space.
So, what’s different from Manon Van Hoecken’s work ? We can nowadays suppose that there exists a correlation between what art and design produce in the way that now they are both no longer results driven, and either of them do not have a specific function/utility (to a certain extent). Regarding both disciplines, the term ‘relational’ offers a more complex understanding than the simple oppositional binary of both art and design – as either socially active or not.
How come design and art became so abstract, looking similar and tending to focus on the human matter so much?
If we had to make distinctions, we might say that regarding social design, as Manon Van Hoecken produces, it is an experience of sociology that enables the designer and the users themselves to better understand how does interaction and human contact work nowadays. Designers then became « expert citizens » and it is more about designing WITH, but not for users. This could be called « Human centered Design », and is definitely very close to relational art.
Regarding relational aesthetic, it is more about taking as its subject the entirety of life as it is lived, or the dynamic social environment (rather than attempting mimetic representation of object removed from daily life, as would be the case in a Dutch Baroque still life). Also, it is important to emphasize that the main purpose of relational aesthetics is not simply to produce social relationships and interactions but also reflect upon society and critique it through the approach of disruption by creating non-produced exhibition and art. Also, participatory and relational art raise important questions about the meaning and purpose of art in society, about the role of the artist and the experience of the audience as participants.
If we look at it from a historical point of view, relational aesthetic are older than social design. Relational art, as we said before, is a term that was created by Nicolas Bourriaud in 1995 in his book « Relational Aesthetic », from his experiences of his artist colleagues in the 90’s. Social design and human centered design are younger, they appear a bit later in time and have become a real subject of interest nowadays. Is then art what inspired design to go into the more performative experience of customers? How does art influence design? This supposition brings us to an other problematic, but from what we’ve seen so far we can confirm two things:
If social design and relational art have the similarity of experience, design tends more to derive analysis and create problematics from it, otherwise art offers another way to experience and create, in contradiction to what is known and defined. Very similar in their forms, nowadays it can be seen how design and art can be closely related. Social design such as human centered design also gives a much more open minded idea of what design is and can be, far from any industrial or concrete problematics.

 

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In a project I made myself where I created a fake statue with the words “If you ever wanted to talk to someone, do it here whitestranger@outlook.fr” and waited for people to react by sending me/or not mails.
This project can be seen either as an art piece, bringing strangers and public spectators to help create the work itself. A design, social experiment, about loneliness but also about uses of internet communication.
White Stranger (click here to see the project)

 


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