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"social behavior" Category


The island of Utopia


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A page of the 3rd publication from the first english version of Utopia, made in 1597 by Raphe Robinson

A page of the 3rd publication from the first english version of Utopia, made in 1597 by Raphe Robinson

 

The book Utopia was published in 1516 by Thomas More. The word itself means “nowhere”, from the ancient Greek language. As it is said, it was written to give an example of a better society rather than the one of  Europe in the sixteenth century could be like.

As I started reading it there was just one question that kept arousing into my mind: how could the Utopians be so willing to obey the rules? Was More making use of his famous black sense of humor when he designed them?

The Utopians are a group of devoted, placid people; they all dress with the same garments and eat in big cantines. Their sense of community is greatly strong. They agree with all the rules. But that sounds so atypical. More, as many other utopians have done, created a little society where human feelings as fear, hate, jealousy and rage almost didn’t exist.

In fact, many utopic authors created a world in which these feelings didn’t exist either. Like the dystopian work of Aldous Huxley, “A Brave New World”, in which humans take pills to be constantly happy. Most utopias are made to terminate all bad feelings. But why not learn to control them and coexist with them? The deeper the pain, the deeper the joy. A world without these feelings would be a passive world. And in a passive world, there’s little space for big strokes of imagination and self-thinking. How boring would that be…
 

An example of how the island of Utopia could have looked like Isola_di_Utopia_Moro
An example of how the island of Utopia could have looked ~ how it was illustrated in the first edition

 
That lead me to think that most utopias are dangerous. As they represent the most ideally perfect aspects of society/mankind, and perfection is a subjective concept, they are very susceptible to not to fit the personal needs of every human being. So they can easily set apart any person who doesn’t correspond the same ideal, and put her in a cage.

Hitler almost realized his own utopia, and drove many people to serve him in this savagery. Maybe the others could sympathize with him because they saw, too, the heaven in Hitler’s mind. However after the discovery of the Holocaust, utopias could never be the same.

I’m not sure if I could, as many people do, relate that much Thomas More to the humanists of the 15th century. They put for the first time men before God, seeked the ability of the human being to think by itself and break with traditions, and supported more the science rather than the superstition. Thomas More was a deeply religious person, and he even stated being God’s servant when he was executed. However, his book Utopia pursues the finest achievement of a human community in what regards society organization, behaviour and education. So to have gone gone so deep into the matter, shouldn’t More have had a real passion for humanism?

More’s book is not easy to read. Used as we are, “free” educated thinkers from the 21rst century, to judge and compare everything with our current times, I think it’s difficult to put yourself into the mindset of the 15th century. I believe it’s a truly visionary book to be written back in that time, when religion had a considerable place in the european population, taking big imporance in every act.
 
atenas Renaissance artists from the 15th century seeked, too, to find perfection and utopy in the human body

Renaissance artists from the 15th century seeked, too, to find perfection and utopy in the human body

And exactly 440 years after Utopia was published, Constant Nieuwenhuys started working in New Babylon. His structures were motivated by the devastated cities he saw after World War II; he started thinking about how architecture influences daily life, and how it creates a specific environment depending on its shape and interior organization. When I thought about Constant and More together, I couldn’t imagine such differents idealists. But as soon as I started going deeper into his ideals, and tried to understand them, I could see some resemblances. On one hand, I think they were united by the fact that they both had a fascination for anthropology. Constant and More put a great effort into imagining, each one their own way, ways to enhance culture and society. What would have happened if we combined the community of More with Constant’s architecture? Perhaps it would have been a total failure, as it is like combining two opposite worlds that scream for way divergent paragons of life. Constant architecture was made to play, whereas iddleness was totally forbidden in More’s book.

 

An example of one of Constant's scale models for New Babylon

I can also imagine that some art tendencies would have been banned in Utopia. As they hide, as well, butcher houses because it stimulates human violence, they would have probably limited art to just beautifully looking things that appeal to “nice acts”.

But what More, with his deeply religious faith (which maybe nowadays would have been translated into a deep love for mankind) would have designed for nowadays? Aren’t we almost living in a utopia right now, isn’t Amsterdam some sort of bubble? How would he would have felt in our current capitalist world? He was not an artist but I believe he had a deep love and understanding for humanity. Which doesn’t take him that far from art..

 

Homo Ludens


Monday, October 24, 2016

 

The human being is qualified as « homo sapiens », the man who knows and « homo faber », the man who makes. « Homo ludens » is the man at play.

 

So i decided to find out more about Constant Nieuwenhuy’s « homo ludens » and the context.

We are in the period after the second world war, everything is destroyed and has to be rebuilt. Constant had an utopian vision of how we could re invent our world, and for him it was a real possibility. We had to forget how we did thing in the past (traditions, routines, processes, plans…) and create a new world from dust, that he called « New Babylon ».

 

The people of the « New Babylon » world are called the « homo ludens ». He insisted on the importance of play. Something joyful, pleasant and adventurous in our daily lives. People could transform, recreate our environment according to their new needs. Everyone could use his creativity as he wished. Art would exist as part of our day-to-day existence, everyone would be an artist. He puts the human in the centre of everything. Mobility is another key dimension because it was getting easier to travel across the world. Constant saw the new babylonians as a new race of nomads with unlimited freedom to decide about the appearance of their surroundings.

 

 

Staircase

 

 

I think this staircase is the perfect representation of Constant’s idea of « homo ludens ». The stair’s principal function is no more the useful part of it, to go up and down. The amusement of going up and down is what it is about. It isn’t the most practical staircase but when you go up or down, you have fun.

 

The opposite of this new concept of a « ludic society » is the society we are in now, a « utilitarian society ». A society based on the exploitation of the human being’s capacity for work in any kind of domain. « Utility » is the principal criteria of a man for his activity. The creative man can only claim his right on rare occasions.

 

The « ludic society » on the contrary is freed from repetitive production work. It would be a « classless society » with no more hierarchy. A society were individuals developed and discovered their own creativity with others. Constantly at play, an uninterrupted process of creation and re creation.

 

How would « social justice » work in this new world ?

 

Equality and freedom between everyone is the principle of social justice. Freedom depends not only on the social structure but also on productivity. Supposing we are in a world where people create daily, if there is no production then this society doesn’t work. Productivity depends on technology. The new technologies we discover every year give us new ways of doing things, more possibilities, more freedom for the « homo ludens » to play with.

With theses new possibilities people innovate, make something new, re do, renew, rebuild, restore, transform, change… This is in effect the role of a designer but in this world there wouldn’t be any constraints.

 

Schema2

 

These innovations can be used in all kinds of activities. For instance, Constant imagined that air conditioning in  « New Babylon » does not only serve to recreate, as in a « utilitarian society » an « ideal » climate but also to make it possible to vary the ambiance to the greatest possible degree.

 

Technology and innovation enable creativity. For example, we can now bring to reality what was a simple 2D image on a computer. There are many kinds of innovations but I think that artificial intelligence (see also : 7 trends for artificial intelligence in 2016 ) is going to be the major innovation that will have an impact on our society and really affect our creativity in the future.

 

Imagine a world where « homo ludens » would be able to have artificial intelligence (AI) assistants. You could not really make the difference with a human. They would have all the data of the world in their system and would use « deep learning » .

« Deep learning » is different learning methods where the AI has advanced audio and visual analysis skills (facial recognition, voice recognition, computer vision…). They would be able to modify their attitude based on the past, they learn. If you are a bit curious about this subject I advise you to watch the tv series « Westworld  ».

With all this data and advanced technology IA assistants could give to « homo ludens » a different perspective about their production and bring real technical and practical support instantly. It would be similar to the character « Jarvis » in Iron Man. What is interesting about this AI is that it is invisible.

 

Artificial intelligence and « homo ludens » could work well together but AI can be dangerous if it is not well controlled.

 

Utopian…


Monday, October 24, 2016

After World War II, much of Europe is in ruins. People in Europe had experienced two world wars in three decades, many wanted peace and quiet and to try going back to the old order. Women who, during the war, had gone out to work would now stay at home. Some young people who had grown up during the war wanted to explore the newly won freedom. The young artist Constant Nieuwenhuys was one of these young people. He and his family went into hiding to avoid registering for ‘Kulturkammer’ (Nazi Chamber of Culture) so that he could continue to sell his art. When they hid in the house of Constant’s brother in law, his brother introduced Constant to philosophy. He began to read Karl Marx which would be a great source of inspiration for him later on.

1948 Constant created the international artist collective CoBrA. It was a collection of radical young artists from northern Europe who was against war, nationalism and militarism. They wanted to explore a new freedom through art and new perspectives through child- and folk art, mixing different materials and work collectively. Many of them were also Communists, who didn’t see it as the function of art to hang in the bourgeois homes. After CoBrA, Constant concentrated on his project New Babylon, creating models, collages and paintings to figure out what a post-marxist society would look like. His models show buildings that rise up on pillars from the ruins of the old capitalist society. ‘Homo Ludens’, man after a revolution, that no longer need to work as all the work had been automated by machines. He is no longer a worker but spend his own life and time for play. All land in New Babylon was owned collectively and the models show horizontal buildings for a horizontal community, and large open spaces as architecture was not to limit the spawning of Homo Ludens. Instead, it could constantly be modified to needs and desire.

In 1974 Constant gave up the development and presentation of the New Babylon project after nearly two decenniums of exploration. Many saw the project as utopian but for Constant it was a potential and real future. In the New Babylon society, people are connected through a large building that stretches around the world. A place where everyone can be received as mentioned by Mark Wigley, author of “Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire” a digital folder of the books content that we have got access to today –connected with our phones– and through which we can attain the content independent of place both during the day or at night.

When I went through the exhibition New Babylon at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, I thought of today’s socialism and the ideas that an alternative society is something strange and impossible. The ideology of today tells us that we live in the post-ideological era, liberal democracy won the cold war and so also the hegemony of ideological thought. We are told that we can move freely we can become anything if we work hard. Today Constant’s ideas seem naive and detached from reality ‘his idea is a utopia and today we have come to realize that we live in the best of worlds’. Today we are told that we are free. By calling something a utopia we take away its revolutionary strength, Constant is harmless because he hangs in an art museum. His models are ornaments from a naive era. When we leave the museum we leave the naive dreaming behind and come back to our “post-ideological” society.

We have acquired the freedom of choice in what we consume, but that is also as far as our freedom extends. Jens Nordfält, a doctor in store marketing, explains how the architecture of a supermarket is constructed to make us consume. At the entrance is placed freshly baked bread to make you hungry. In the back of the store is placed everyday goods that everyone needs so that one will go past many goods and increase the chance of spontaneous shopping. Placed by the checkout is sweets and cheap small goods that one can indulge in when one has been good and done ones weekly shopping. This is not play nor neutral and free from ideology, but instead reflects the capitalist utopia.

The Concept of Détournement


Monday, October 24, 2016

Détournement is a technique. Détournement is a style. Détournement is a tool.

  • To really understand the concept of this tool, first we have to get to know it’s origins.

When we speak about détournement, the first and the most important figure we have to mention is Guy Debord.

Debord was a Marxist theorist; writer and filmmaker who is mostly known for his activity and leading membership of the Situationist International ( SI ).

In 1950, at the age of 19, Debord joined an avant-garde movement called Letterism, led by Isidore Isou. After two years Debord splits off and creates a radical group, the Letterist International.

Shortly after this collective of rebel artists and theorists was founded ( 1952 ) , détournement was claimed by this certain group.

The very first publication ( and description ) we can find on their desires; announced by Guy Debord and Gil J Wolman in 1956, was the ‘ A User’s Guide to Détournement ’ .

After we did these very basic studies on the genesis of our subject, we can go deeper in search of the meaning and, so to say, the use of détournement.

  • Every movement, every new style claims current things and situations to change. They all have the same purpose: leave the old, the used behind and create, express something new. In our case Guy Debord’s movement was a very radical, even revolutionary way of changing the meaning of art, or better, the production of it. Debord and the situationists all agreed on the fact that art could no longer stay a chic, luxurious, high class production. Rather they believed and strived for art to have a deeper, educational input. They broke down the walls of the classical and the bourgeois way of looking at and creating art by taking different elements of already existing works and transforming them into something new, to express another meaning. These changes don’t necessarily have to be drastic or aggressive. The point of it is to change a small component but then with this small detour, changing the overall expression and audience. They mainly aimed political situations and circles, but only in a peaceful and respectful way.

A very important figure and example in this case would be Asger Jorn. Jorn was a really good friend of Debord, therefore he was highly inspired and led by the situationist concept, styles and ideas. In his paintings series called The ‘Defigurations’ , we can clearly explore the idea of détournement. His works are mainly driven by political issues and his frustration with established structures and authorities within society.

Another well known example is Marcel Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. where he simply adds a moustache on Mona Lisa. With this small adjustment which first looks funny and sarcastic, Duchamp changes the whole meaning of the original Mona Lisa, that presents a laid back, carefree woman, but with this detour he presents the restlessness of the women’s sexuality.

  • At this point i find it more important to come up with more recent examples for détournement.

Let’s say you go to a restaurant, you get a piece of toast and a strawberry. Then you take a bite of this strawberry and you realise that it is actually a tomato. This is a concoction by the radical Star Chef Grant Achatz called ‘ strawberry / tomato ‘ . His cuisine is amazingly revolutionary as he transfers every simple ingredient into something more, something different. With this, he presents the meaning of modern cooking on a new level that is more of a performance or art than just making food for the guests. The food itself loses its meaning, it becomes the show, the whole experience. He takes a simple vegetable a normal herb or an ordinary ingredient but then the way he cuts, boils, combines them he creates tastes, techniques and culinary styles that we have never experienced before.

Another very important figure and illustration from our daily life is Banksy. We are not quite certain if Banksy is one person or a group of revolutionary artists, but the works we find and see under Banksy’s name are carrying the biggest recent political and social issues from these days.

In our case Banksy () could be one of the best examples how détournement works. In these works we can find well known images of current situations, famous moments and people, companies and figures. The way Banksy transforms these pieces, irrevocably opens our eyes on actual problems in our society, on existing and known political debates. The only small detour Banksy has, is that the way it’s propaganda exists might be more aggressive or intense by publishing them on public places, than the basics of détournement were created.

  • However, we face an important  and interesting question now. What if we detour détournement? How far can détournement go? How can or should we divide it from anarchy?

Or maybe peaceful propaganda is not enough at all these days anymore…?!

I assume it might not be. I believe that nowadays within such an aggressive society, political parties and their choices; we have to fight the “rival” with clear, harsh and rebel tools.

So answering our questions: it is almost a mandatory for us artists and philosophers and writers, comedians, journalists or simple working class people and for all medium that is capable of, to take the peaceful elements of détournement to a next,  advanced level. We do have to go further and show our dislike or disagreement, even if it has to cross laws and politeness, for the sake of change and recognition. We have to apply effective and more powerful tools to our ideas and requirements  for them to be realised.

THE SITUATIONIST DILEMMA


Sunday, October 23, 2016

 

Competitive notions in interpreting the concepts of situationism are creating a dilemma. This dilemma signifies friction between the concept and its use in daily life. 

 

Firstly I should say that situationism and the Situationist International had been created in a different world/time than the one I live in. The concept of freedom and play as stated in many of their ideas, resemble an assembly of philosophical and empiric references that are mine, but experienced in a different context. This leads to a reinterpretation of freedom and play connected to the world I live in now.

 

INDIVIDUAL VERSUS GROUP 

Situationist ideas about psychogeography (dérive) and unitary urbanism clarify the concept of living in situations, freedom and play vividly. People wander through different urban areas. Having their individual feelings lead them while being directly influenced by their surroundings. An idea of exploring and living in a landscape existing of unplanned surprises.

 

So far, this concept might sound clear, but a paradox can be found in many of their statements.

On the one hand a person should be strongly attached to his/her own feelings/emotions/senses (individualism), but on the other hand a capitalist/materialist individualism is condemned. This states an interesting way of thinking. Complex by all means.

The word of subject in the sentence above is ‘individualism’, but in my vision on the main situationist theory (a radical aversion for ideas and practices of the powers that were), are ‘individualism’ and ‘collectivism’ interchangeable. The notion of the individual and the group as being a unity and at the same time fragmenting this collectiveness, is such a tough contradiction. This makes situationist theories approachable in many ways, but inapproachable in even more.

 

The radical, anti-capitalist ideas of the situationists can be very effective in extreme, collective confrontation (i.e. revolts, revolutions, marches, strikes). Meanwhile, the individual in daily life, loses strength.

An individual that constructs situations, will be living in a different situation than another individual, although their situations could overlay and complicates such an (already) unclear starting point. A situation defined for yourself, might complicate the practice of freedom and play in a cohesive, social setting.

Freedom and play should be incorporated in situations and life in general, but these terms are uncertain in ongoing effect and consequence.

 

EXTERNAL VERSUS INTRINSIC 

The situationist notion of the spectacle (materialist/capitalist vision on life as a narrow-minded, superficial one) still divides and unites people in their daily patterns nowadays. Although the spectacle reshapes itself continuously towards more flexible definitions.

 

Primary, intrinsic and united similarities are what makes us homo sapiens. The by the situationists admired concept of the homo ludens unites us too. This adventurous person at play is inside all of us. Still few people are able to fully express this as described in a situationist’s observation.

External influences, as the spectacle, restrict us human beings to be limitless in freedom and play. But also, in my point of view, originates an important part from within people themselves. External information (cultural, traditional) is necessary to reinterpret in an individual context. Therefore freedom is needed. Next to these external factors, a variety of embedded instincts and needs (biological, genetic) are prematurely existing. To approach these in a constantly free and playful way is beautifully stated, but in my conception naive, since we are  being born in an already populated world where centuries of ever transforming, created structures aren’t all based on (solely) money and power.

 

UTOPIA VERSUS REALITY

These situationist ideas, created and admired by artists and other people with interest and knowledge in arts, literature, philosophy and/or politics, is not made for, nor to be understood by many others. Capitalists nor communists (and many more who fill this gap).

A situationist world is a utopia. The importance of the unstructured, emotional drifts, guiding every person individually, is un-realizable.

Influence through morals, religions and politics have always been a limitation for protesters. But structure can be found in all ideas  about life. Structure requires limits. Also, a construction of situations.

 

Read more :

The Concept of Détournement

the pleasure of the unknown

 

WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE GUN?


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

text by Celina Yavelow

 

Guilty_Screen Shot

She changes this thing in the house to annoy the other, and the other is annoyed and changes it back, and she changes this other thing in the house to annoy the other, and the other is annoyed and changes it back, and then she tells all this the way it happens to some others and they think it is funny, but the other hears it and does not think it is funny, but can’t change it back.

The Other, by Lydia Davis

 

Loaded Language

 

The fact that language can change a state being is pretty much wow to me. Say the word and there’s a chance something will change: your insides start hurting (“Cunt”), you’re suddenly single again (“I’m breaking up with you”), or forced into a guilty state (“You’re under arrest”). The load in this kind of language is taken literally here, considering the body not only as the agent for speech, but also as physically subject to the force and effect of loaded language — realizing you can actually do things with words, and realizing also, that its authority can be both threatening and empowering.

Complex_Screen Shot

This thesis is titled Where did you hide the gun? because it’s a famous example of a question deliberately loaded by its formulation. It does not ask if there is a gun, but ensues there is, and where did you hide it? According to the question you’re already guilty of the shot — regardless (“POW POW!”). I’ve connected this mechanism to a term in language philosophy and theater studies called performative speech utterance, which is quite a tough shoe to chew, so my theoretical framing is constantly interrupted by metaphoric associations and a fictional narrative, offering a melodramatic illustration of the concepts employed.

And_Screen Shot

Meanwhile, I became completely hooked to the thought that language can be so directive, that we are so easily affected, seduced or tricked by it. I continued my research in a sound piece called Hi, Mary, which was set out to be a subjective audio tour of a small part of the GRA graduation show of 2015, but was mostly exploring this reflex in our body to surrender to a voice and its language. Listen to it here!
Sound file: Hi-Mary

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

650-Celina_Yavelow_LS_05_low_res audiotour at Rietveld graduation show

 

the thesis
The subject –loaded language– is in itself interesting. But what makes the thesis original and engaging is the way in which she approaches the subject - a mix of various types of material (film, language philosophy, literature, current events, memories) and registers (short story, academic prose, interview, collaged/found text), all capably, impressively intertwined. Yavelow presents the reader with both basic and not-so-basic linguistic concepts, each of which she proceeds to explore through various perspectives.
The writing process is thus integral to the subject matter. The bluntness of certain images (for example guns) and juxtapositions (for example romance with guilt) is largely offset by the assured writing style. A range of literary devices are used to good effect: repetition, sentence fragments, double meanings, omission of conjunctions. An enjoyable, kaleidoscopic read.
[text by Louis Luthï]

Screen shot 2016-05-15 at 3.23.50 PM download this thesis by Celina Yavelow

 

A wide variety of books and a bride with no groom


Sunday, February 21, 2016

notebooks  

- – - – - – - – - – - – -  - – - - – - – - – - – - – - – - - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - - – - – - – - - – - – - – - – - – - – -

A WIDE VARIETY OF BOOKS
AND A BRIDE WITH NO GROOM 

(Roughly about emojis)

 - – - – - – - – - - – - – - – - - – - – - - – - – - – - – - — – - – - – - – - – - – - – -- – - – - – - – - - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - - - – - – - – - –  - - 

Bride with no groom

 

 

The first time I saw Emojis  was 4 years ago, around 2011. I had done that big investment and changed my Blackberry for an Iphone. Coming from the Blackberry world it was very important for me to be able to chat for free so I downloaded Whatsapp, which was gaining popularity in my Ecuadorian chatting circle of life. But coming from the Blackberry world I was also missing to be able to send their super cute “Smileys” (how I called them before calling them “Emojis”, by the way my grandmother calls them “caritas” which means “little faces”).

Smileys, Emojis, or Emoticons where not included in Whatsapp and apparently they were not in my super new and slick Iphone neither. A friend recommended me to download an app called Emoji Emoticons, this applications was going to somehow make a Emoji Keyboard appear in my Iphone. So I did Sparkles on Apple iOS 9.3

remember finding very strange the fact that this Emojis will appear in my keyboard as another language. Between the options I had I could either write in Spanish or write Emoji. Technically I couldn’t do both in the same time. Emojis in Iphone interface at that time weren’t categorize as a complementary element to written words, as they appeared in my BlackBerry. Rather they appeared as a whole new language. The Emoji pack for the Iphone was also a lot wider than the Bb Smiley pack. Suddenly having so many options made me question my real need for them. They were all new so I was not used to them and they all seemed not suited to my usual way of communication and a bit arbitrary. Somehow because they where not the Emoji I was used too, they also felt “un-official”. I knew I could demand them to be official and that I couldn’t defend that the Bb smileys were official indeed, but I think it was an interesting instinctive (?) reaction.

I asked myself for example if I will ever need 4 Volumes of books (each one with their own color) and 3 types of notebooks.Where was the ecuadorian flag? And why was there a Bride and not a Groom? What happened with him? Is it the hat? This little and easy remarks (maybe a little bit too easy: Pseuo-Nationalist and Pseudo-FeministFace Throwing a Kiss on Apple iOS 9.3) catch my attention. With the time Emojis started to be used more and more and they started to feel like a some-how “official” thing. Despite this the arbitrary feeling to it was still there. They were being used for a lot of people but were they representing this people need of communication? (AND NOW OMG, MY QUESTION HAS BEING HEARD BY THE GOD OF ADVERTISING AND AlwaysG is also bitching about Feminist-Emoji-Rights…Face Without Mouth on Apple iOS 9.3: Always #LikeAGirl – Girl Emojis)

The ancestor of the Emoji is the “Smiling face”, even though earlier versions are known, Harvey Ball is recognized as the official designer of the smiley, he did it back in 1963. Emoji were born in the late 1990′s created Shigetaka Kurita, an employee at the Japanese telecom company NTT Cocomo. Kurita came up with the idea to add simplistic cartoon images to its messaging functions as a way to appeal to teens. He draw them using a pencil and a paper in a 12 by 12 pixel grid. This is how he came up with 176 crude symbols representing from faces to music notes. This emojis were a hit in the Japanese market, and other mobile providers adopted this feature. In 2007 when the Iphone appeared Apple and Google realized that they had to catch up and they added their own Emoji keyboard in the Iphones. This feature was hidden in the US Iphones, but we soon discovered that we could download an app to make them appear. By this moment the propositions given by provider were partially overlapping symbols and had its own way of coding. Emoji from a different provider often could not be displayed between them. Also emoji via email was a problem. 

 

 

National Park on Apple iOS 9.3
(This is a landscape painting hanging in the wall of this article for decoration and recreation purposes)

 

 

So Emoji added to the Unicode Consortium in 2009.Unicode which was founded in 1990 is a network of contribution members. This is the organization who punctuates, encodes, names and sketches Emoji to make sure that each platform (e-mail, iOs, Android, Google, etc) shows the same character. Then each platform can design their Emoji.  Since then the Unicode Consortium adds new Emoji features each year. This emoji features are held by employees from Apple and Google…Man in Business Suit Levitating on Apple iOS 9.3

In June 2015 there were 37 Emojis added, including an upside-down smiley, a nerd, a robot, a taco, a cheese, a hot dog, a mosque, a synagogue, etc. They also enabled, understandably, the option to change the skin tone of certain human-emoji to different hues on the FitzPatrick Scale, a “recognized standard for dermatology”

Looks quite hard to determine what Emojis are needed to represent all the Emoji-users needs for communication, it is clear that we are looking for solutions to be more expressive via text, but in the same time it also sounds too-easy easy to ask for emoji-representation of everyone. Tyler Schnoebelen lingüistic-related man has done some observations. As he says, “we’ve learned to talk, and we’ve learned to write, but we’re only now learning to write at the speed of talking (i.e., text), sending messages over vast expanses, absent any physical contextual clues. If you are talking to someone face-to-face, you don’t need an additional word or symbol to express “I’m smiling” because you would, presumably, be smiling.” But when we text between each other we loose all the non-verbal faculties like vocal intonation and body-language. Thinking about texting in this way makes very clear the necessity of a body-related language to emerge among chatters to leave intentions clear in a fast, casual way as easily as making a gesture.

But Emoji are not as limited as body-languageMouse Face on Apple iOS 9.3. Because among this very understandable body-expression conventions we also find other pictograms. Pictograms that seems to represent objects, actions or just words. And that have no defined meaning. This is the shady part of emoji. One of the reasons for which we cannot communicate solely with Emojis. With the times though there are some interpretations that have been stablished among certain people for example the girl with hands up in her head is in Japanese context a gesture for “OK”, but in other contexts is mostly interpreted differently. Each Emoji is still very much open for interpretation and I guess with time this language will be shaped to fit our needs for communication. We will add emojis we need and the existing emojis will be filled with the needed meanings. Until then I guess we will keep playing with this pictograms in this shady zone trying to scape from the limitations they offer and trying to use them our way. Hoping also that Emoji will find its way to make us all Smile and will not create any sort of discrimination feeling to start a war, or a second feminist revolution. 

senorita

 

Thats all I have to say. But I have also this emoji-related links to recommend: 
emojipedia.org
Tearsofjoy.nl
emoji.ink
emojiliteracy.com
emojitracker.com
emojinalysis.tumblr.com/
emojicate.com/

And things to read: 
nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/11/emojis-rapid-evolution.html
time.com/2993508/emoji-rules-tweets/

How an object becomes a part of us.


Monday, May 18, 2015

So

I don’t know why  I have this anxiety about smartphones.

Maybe, it’s about dependence, it’s about feeling like something is missing when you don’t have it with you, like an actual part of you is missing.

Do we need smartphones, to avoid loneliness ? The relation we have with our phones are so intimate, we hold them in our hands, they connect to our bodies and become an extension of it.

My research became really visual as I found images that spoke stronger for themselves than what I was writing. Here is a selection :

 

existenz_controller Images from the Cronenberg’s movie ExistenZ came back to my mind. In the movie, the design of this object really intrigued me, this “game pod” [x] that could have been electronic but that is made in a really organic way. They plug it in their spinal column to be able to connect to it and play. Human and the machine are then one.

 

glove-one-the-wearable-phone-is-real-2 Brian Cera is a designer that did this phone/glove called Glove One [x]. He says: “It presents a futile and fragile technology with which to augment ourselves. A cell phone which, in order to use, one must sacrifice their hand. It is both the literalization of Sherry Turkle’s notion of technology as a “phantom limb”, in how we augment ourselves through an ambivalent reliance on it, as well as a celebration of the freedom we seek in our devices.”

 Another picture that was significative in my research

Capture d’écran 2015-03-24 à 18.45.45

 

 

Of one of my first steps, I made this picture to visualize what I wanted to do

 cellphonealien1

 

Quite fast I started to make some objects with clay as I wanted to work with touch and the feelings of materials in my hands. I wanted to make an object that you could use instead of your phone. An object that would be made with organic shapes and give a  conforting feeling. After using clay I wanted to try softer materials, more fleshy, I started with silicone and end with latex. Here is the evolution.

_MG_8411 - copie1 _MG_8383 - copie

_MG_8384 - copie _MG_8385 - copie

_MG_8396 - copie _MG_8401 - copie1

_MG_8403 - copie1 _MG_8404 - copie1

_MG_8410 - copie _MG_8415 - copie1

_MG_8426 - copie1 _MG_8429 - copie1

_MG_8435 - copie1

_MG_8436 - copie1

_MG_8452 - copie1

This is my final object, made out of latex.

 

Object of Curiosity


Thursday, May 14, 2015

When we got an assignment to contact a person that influences and fascinates us I got lost for a moment. There are simply too many people whom I would be curious to meet and ask about their work and inspirations! After a couple of failed email conversations with hard-to-reach professionals I decided to try another way. My inspiration came spontaneous as a follow up of my daily curiosities. I personally find it very stimulating for my own working process to make a step aside from the main route and see what is it there behind the corner because you never know! Following this simple idea I went to a butchery I have been to recently. I already had a short encounter there with a butcher Mike and a video of him slicing slaughtered pig. Therefor we met again and I had a great opportunity to spend some time at the butchery with the best butcher-guide! During that meeting I discovered the world of modern dutch butcher and afterwords continued on searching for the best object i could make to tell the story of this meeting. In the text below you can find all the process steps that led to the creation of the final piece- OBJECT of CURIOSITY.

First Reaction: Right after the meeting I decided to quickly summarize what had happened and what material I have now. I had a sticker with all of the information about the pig Mike was slicing and loads of videos documenting almost the whole meeting. I decided to make a list of tags which would describe that meeting.

Sticker from a piece of meat  2tags-about-the-meeting-copy

First tryout: My first idea was to make a fan with sharp knifes used as blades. I thought it would be a funny metaphor for the meeting. Chilling plus being dangerous.

First idea fan of knifes

 

Second tryout: Understanding that the fan idea is too flat I decided to try to make something what the butcher could use. Here is a sketch of some kind of logo/identity proposal.

second idea logo

 

Third tryout: After talking to my teacher and classmates I decided to go away from my direct design solutions and think more about what was my experience like, what made this meeting so special? The experience was unexpected, though the location of the meeting suggested some narratives, and the main conclusion I made was that my own curiosity led my towards this happening. I started sketching to figure out what object can look common but yet carry something surprising in it and trigger peoples curiosity at the same time.

2third-idea-taste-the-curiosity-copy

 

 

Final idea: To go further I decided to ask my friends in what situations they feel the most curious? Receiving their opinions I understood that all of them were naming the situations where the communication with other people involved. At this point it became obvious for me! That now I want to make something that I can give to others, something that will become something else when used by people. And here came the idea to make some kind of lottery ticket called OBJECT of CURIOSITY. It will help people to create their own Object of Curiosity and at the same time will be object that contains the curiosity in itself. Here is the first version of it.

Final idea- object of curiosity tryout Final idea- object of curiosity tryout 2

 

Final design: To make it look more like a lottery ticket I made a design for the object and used special techniques by applying scratchable lines on it.

objectof curiosity final version

 

Final move: To finish my project I asked two of my friends to test OBJECT of CURIOSITY and sketch their own Objects of Curiosity. Here below is what came outcome.

object of curiosity used by ValdemarValdemars object of curiosity

 

 

object of curiosity used by RubyCURIOSITY-ruby_900

 

OBJECT of CURIOSITY is a lottery ticket to the greatest trip of your imagination! In this object I tried to combine suspense with excitement, make it open and closed at the same time and, above all, interactive. This is a metaphor for the process of my work and a useful tool for others.

 

!BE CURIOUS!

#STICKY #SWEET_SMELL #MUSELS #VACUUM #MAFIA #BLOOD #SLAYERS #DELIVERY #FRESHLY_SLICED #HASH #FREEZER_ROOM #SALTED #DRIED #EX-ANIMATOR #GANGS #JEW_BUTCHER_FROM_30s #AIR_CONDITIONER_IN_A_WARDROBE #WINNER_OF_2013 #CLEAN_EVERY_WALL_EVERYDAY #BUBBLES #SHARP_KNIFE-THE_MAIN_RULE #STAB_YOURSELF #CHILL #FAMILY_BUSINESS #CUSTOMERS #BACTERIAS #SALAMI #HOOKS #HAIR_STYLING #VAN_PERSIE #FOOTBALL #DRUNK- AGRESSIVE WOMEN HARASSMENT CHILLED MEAT TO TASTE BETTER #YOUNG_MEAT- NO_TASTE #TEENAGE_MEAT #CUT_CLOSE_TO_THE_BONES

The chair as a subject of slow thought


Saturday, March 28, 2015

This is how I remember my grandfather’s chair. I remember how I used to watch him sit on it. Or, sit in it. The chair was big and my grandfather had then already begun to become tiny. It was as though this chair, with its plumpness, its doubtful green color and its leather cushions pushing into skin, offered him an escape.

Since then I’ve never seen anyone sit and disappear like him.
Maybe people don’t have the time.
Maybe people don’t have the space.
Maybe people don’t have the guts.

_________________________________________________________________________

Human beings are standing beings; our muscles are constantly at work to keep us up, while gravity is constantly pulling us down. Keeping this in mind, sitting seems to be merely a way to discharge these muscles, to compensate for the unnatural posture that is ours as a result of evolution.
It is compensation that shows that even though we’re trying (as we are developing new techniques and exploring new ways of enhancement every day) we have not reached the state of super human yet. We are still in some state where we possess human intelligence, but are trapped in our animal bodies.
To sit is to accept this animal body.

- or is it?

It is easy to speak of only physical aspects in regard to sitting. However, as both the brain and the rest of our body are part of the same nervous system, there is of course a connection between our mind and body; these two influence each other every second of every day.
Having the object ‘chair’ as a framework, I’m interested in how this chair can, being a  specific physical condition, extort or stimulate a specific mental condition. A desk-chair for instance has another mental state as a purpose than a dining chair; there is concentration on the one hand and relaxation on the other.

 

To explore this, I’ve been sketching chairs I come across lately. By doing so, I aimed to assemble a variety of chairs, carrying a variety of different appearances, to see what the similarities are.

mrs-fast-chairs

As it turns out, the designs of these chairs share quite some similarities (even though the chairs don’t all share the same purpose). You can see that none of them have armrests, for instance. Partly due to this, none of them seem to be ‘heavy’. All of them are quite small and all fitted in the place where I encountered them.

__________________________________________________________________________

I feel like these daily chairs, that I will refer to as fast-chairs, trigger two reactions in us;

Firstly, awareness of one’s surroundings: these chairs are in a way elongations of what is already there, instead of autonomous objects. This stimulates a way of living in which one is always cautiously aware of what is happening around him, and therefore less aware of what is happening within himself. Society tends to distract us from ourselves. As we are being placed in groups everywhere and also forced to function within these groups, we are reminded that it is these surroundings that matter; it is the society around you that you should play your part in.

Secondly, these fast-chairs stimulate fast-thinking: the lack of armrests, the light feel; all of these elements make that these chairs are only shortly used. As we rush through the day, we accept the world we live in and try to give the right answers to it. Who still dares to propose deliberate questions, though? Who still dares to sit alone, and be consumed by existential thoughts? Who still dares to disappear, like my grandfather would?

Considering the second thought, it is interesting to refer to Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist whose book ‘Thinking, fast and slow’, was published in 2011.
In his book, Kahneman distinguishes two systems of thought: “System 1″ is fast, instinctive, stereotypical and emotional; “System 2″ is slower, more deliberative, more calculating and more logical. System 1 is much more frequently used than System 2, explains Kahneman in the following interview:

As Kahneman distinguishes these models of thinking, you could also distinguish two types of chairs. Type 1 is the fast-chair I mentioned earlier and Type 2 is the slow-chair ; the type of which there are less and less to be seen in our daily routine. This I consider as a scary thing, since the level of critical, individual thinking might follow the way down.

__________________________________________________________________________

It’s in my grandfather’s living room where you can find the slow-chair. Sitting in his chair caused for him the seemingly paradoxical situation where while surrendering his physical control, he gained mental control. Because of its physicallities (pointing towards the plumpness I talked about before), this chair was something autonomous:

It didn’t need my grandfather to sit in it to exist, my grandfather needed this chair to exist.

 

(more…)

Sensors and supervision


Wednesday, November 26, 2014


The exhibition The Future of Fashion Is Now at the museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam features established and upcoming designers questioning and challenging the premises of contemporary fashion. One of the contributing designers is the canadian designer Ying Gao, who in her work Incertitudes used speech- and motion-activated sensors hidden within two white dresses covered with thousands of small needles, reminiscent of porcupine coats. The gestures and noises of a viewer or passerby forces the attached pins to move, transforming the garment as well as the contours of its wearer. In her description of the piece, Gao refers to the constant stress and uncertainty of modern day individuals, always flexible and ready to adapt to new situations.
Gao was participating in the section of the exhibition called Materiality and Experience, which makes perfect sense in consideration of her other works, also making use of innovative technological solutions. Besides Incertitudes, she has also investigated light-reactive electronic components, by creating coats that move depending on the intensity of a light source, such as a flashlight. Involving interactive techniques in fashion could bring a sense of dynamism to the concept of clothing. When permitting participation/interaction with surroundings and spectators, the pieces rapidly distinguish themselves from any garment that is delivered already “done”. Bypassing flatness and immobility, they become equipped with a quality of sensibility and refinement.

 

researchweb2

 1.
• Flexible Pressure Sensors • Incertitudes (close-up) by Ying Gao • Silver nano wire sensors • (Now)here (Now)here (close-up) by Ying Gao • Solar Powered Jacket by Tommy Hilfiger

 

Combining aesthetics with the latest technological developments is not always an uncomplicated process. Successful and sophisticated design of hi-tech clothing is still limited to a small number of fortunate tries. We slowly move away from the “ugliness” that usually haunt technical innovations in their early years. The industry could be seen as going through a process of normalization, where the feeling of the relatively unnecessary “tech gadget” is left behind.Designers experimenting with the new possibilities are however operating in an unexplored grey area somewhere between usefulness, beauty and supervision. When letting technology become autonomous and enabling it to take its own decisions, the designer releases control over the outcome. Reducing his or her position by introducing chance and fate will inevitably lead to new opportunities and new situations.
Although the integration of data-collecting sensors in fabric has a natural relevance for the innovative clothing designers, the use of such equipment will most likely not be restricted to the fashion industry only. This could mean infinite possibilities – the risk of abuse on civil liberties should be taken into consideration. What if the occurrence of intelligent fabrics was as widespread (but also overlooked) as surveillance cameras in public spaces? If biometric textile was put on the seats of public transport? Or misused, as if put on animals or plants? How would our experience of daily life change if speech- and motion reacting sensors were installed in supermarkets, shopping centers, cafés? If objects/garments changed with the impact of our mere presence?

 

research 2web2

 2.
• Infrared motion sensor burglar alarm • Digital persona Fingerprint reader • AR. 2.0 Parrot Model drone • System Azure Security Ornamentation by Jill Magid • Facial Weaponization Suit by Zach Blas

 

It is nowadays clear that smart wristbands (as well as watches, jewelry and other attachable items) tracking, measuring and analyzing the bearers every movement is a constantly growing industry. The technique of smart fabrics and integrated sensors in clothing is evolving equally rapid, thereby soon making the act of strapping on an external device unnecessary. By inserting sensors capable of tracking very precise information already in the fabrics, data on motion, size, location, force, weight or shape could easily be collected.
Technological monitoring of human movement is however nothing new. The first closed-circuit TV cameras (CCTV) came into use already in 1942 during the observation of a rocket launch in Peenemünde, Germany. Surveillance camera systems performing continuous video recording has been a common practice almost ever since. Among more recent developments are biometric recognition (face, fingerprints etc), aerial surveillance (helicopters, drones etc.) and naturally everything related to internet and social media. Could the integration of intelligent fabrics be a suitable addition to this process?

 

research 3web2

3.
• Google Glasses • Ritot smart wristband • Flexible Skin Temperature Sensor • Necklace Projector • Smartphone

 

New wearable technology are in some aspects already being used as a means of self-control and self-reflection, as a way of eliminating chance and the unforeseen at any cost. The behavior could be linked to the ongoing obsession with observing and measuring the own body. Health, sport and the perfecting of ones physical appearance has gotten a new trendy twist with smart apparel, fitting quite well into the all-encompassing life project certain enthusiastic users are living by. Are we moving from an attitude of authoritarian respect from earlier times and into a slavery of self discipline and personal surveillance? From the all-seeing, omnipresent monitor to the individual supervising itself?
The existence of hidden, interactive sensors and reactive fabrics is undeniably a relevant topic – the potential is striking. Anyone curious in new means of communication could possibly avoid the advancement of smart textile in modern daily life, reaching us all within a very near future.

On a personal level, I ask myself if there could be some sort of spirituality to be found in this technology of supervision? Is there an empty space to be filled in secular societies, leading up to this voluntary self-surveillance through different types of apparel and other devices? The subject is fascinating both from an artistic point of view as well as a philosophical/ethical one. 

 

research 4web2

4.

• Conan O'Brien tries Dream Weaver (video) • Chakra Balancing application • Deepak Chopras Dream Weaver • iPhone surveillance

 

How do we as individuals deal with the concept of spirituality, truth and privacy in the age of technology? The adaption to new conditions is unavoidable, but becomes more and more a matter of privileges.
The revelations on to what extent state supervision is currently practiced (Edward Snowden, NSA, Wikileaks) chocked a whole world and deepened the conflict with the established, monotheistic religions believing in the One and only God to monitor and judge all human action. Surveillance relates to different aspects of privacy, such as privacy of property, of space, of personality and of thought. Worthy of note is that not everyone has the economical means to question authoritarian demands on personal information, with the consequence of privacy possibly turning into a valuable property that only a select few can access.
New forms of spiritual practice and/or self-monitoring take shape with the aid of technological devices. Smartphone applications connected to health, higher power, meditation, zen etc. are immensely popular, offering a re-charging of the soul similar to the charging of batteries. When spiritual leaders such as Deepak Chopra releases biosensorical glasses promising relaxation and inner peace the merging of spirituality and technology is indisputably a fact. Are they all yet another expression of an egocentric, self-obsessed Western society or a useful tool to actually reconnect lost searchers of truth?
In any case, a space has opened up for an intimate, personal form of spirituality disconnected from the dogmas of organized religions whilst also distancing itself from sovereign state control. The idea of scientific knowledge as the superior way of accessing truth is once again questioned – and is it necessarily in opposition to all spiritual methods? To conclude: it is visible how technology/the visible and spirituality/the invisible intertwine and affect each other more and more in modern societies. This provides interesting opportunities for artists to question and investigate further, and I am certain that projects such as Ying Gaos is only a preview of what the future will hold.  

 

The invisible fashion


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I am not really into fashion so I didn’t know what to expect during the exhibition and even by looking at the website of The Future of Fashion is Now I had no clue whether I am gonna appreciate this kind of art or not. My fondness for Adele Varcoe started when I visited the exhibition. It was divided into 3 parts and it was the last one which seemed to me totally unclear and thereby intriguing. Ironically it was precisely this part –New Values and New Stories– in which I found this  amazing artist who is taking fashion into a higher level, looking at it not only as an outfit but more as a factor indicating our behavior.

Adele Varcoe is an Australian artist. She is not strictly a fashion designer but her works are directly lined with fashion. She is creating experiences which are suppose to show the social effects on clothing. Adele is mostly constructing group performances in which she brings people together in order to explore the elusive nature of fashion. She wants to outline the sense of self which is heightened through the clothes.

Imagine Chanel

While making her performances she likes to mix the participants, working with artists, models but whats mostly important with the public. She is interested in revealing how fashion influences the interactions and relations between people. Adele often uses the quote “perception of dress” which in her opinion is the subconscious behavior of the society depending on what we wear and in what situation we are.

The performance which I saw in the Boijmans exhibit and which invited me to learn more about Adele Varcoe was the salon fashion show Imagine Chanel. It was in 2012 when she came up with the idea of presenting fashion experience through language. She used the descriptions of garments from 1920s till 1960s Chanel archive at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Powerhouse Museum as material to reveal the role which our imagination plays in looking at fashion. The main goal of this performance was to highlight that fashion is not something that exists as dress only. The fashion show is led by a woman reading the descriptions of Chanel outfits while nude women circle between the audience acting as they were wearing all the precious, described cloths. This situation gives the audience a broad field where by using their imagination they can design their own clothes worn by the models.

03-Adele-Varcoe

Adele’s concept is based on the professional opinion of a sociologist Yaniya Kawamura [x] who claims that : “Fashion does provide extra added values to clothing, but the additional elements exist only in peoples imagination and beliefs. Fashion is not visual clothing but is the invisible elements included in clothing”.

Here comes the link between her work and the name of the third section of the exhibition: New Values and New Stories. I am really fascinated by her way of thinking. It looks like if she is taking a broad working space which is fashion and approaching it from a totally unconventional side. I think the point of conceptual art is to influence the audience and show them something which is not obvious. Working with subconscious behavior and reactions upon “invisible fashion”, Varcoe is putting new values to clothing which is actually our second skin changing our behavior and social interactions.

Each of her works is often closely connected to the broad area of fashion sociology. It is claimed that in fact, fashion is not about clothing but more about the basic process that propels modern life, and it is the outfit which structures the psycho-social development of a modern person.

A similar  concept was to be seen in Varcoe’s other exhibit in the Boijmans Museum called ” Feeling of undress”. This movie was even less about fashion itself but more about the social behaviour and human interactions.

Some other sociologist like Georg Simmel states; ..” that fashion refers to a general phenomenon, in which it becomes a type of social horizon point where the individual interest and taste comes across the collective”. He once wrote “Fashion represents nothing more than one of the many forms of life by the aid of which we seek to combine . . . the tendency toward social equality with the desire for individual differentiation and change”.

I think after experiencing her art or being part of it, we start to realize some behaviors and actions which are natural for us but we can never see them consciously. Varcole gives us an opportunity to set aside our subconscious actions and observe how the natural behavior is chaining depending on what situation we are in.

I think the most interesting part of being an artist is to use your creativity and open minded thinking to show the audience something new, in this case something totally normal but not realized in everyday live. I think its also interesting how she links the scientific knowledge in the area of sociology to play with the human mind and gives people the opportunity to experience and then realize the way of human behaviors by taking part in her art performances.

Thoughts on Lucy + Jorge Orta


Friday, November 21, 2014

image_107_image1

Nexus Architecture

3020760-inline-i-1-human-centipede-ad-agency-part-2

The Human Centipede (2)

 

At the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s The Future of Fashion is Now (Fashion, Activism, Community and Politics), Lucy + Jorge Orta showed their work Nexus Architecture x 25 – Nexus Type Opera.tion. In Nexus Architecture (2001) they zip together the clothes of a group of volunteers. The idea is to depict the loss of individuality in a cluster of social relationships. We are all connected; “Each individual keeps an eye on, and protects, the other. One individual’s life depends on the life of the other. The warmth of one gives warmth to the other. The physical link weaves a social link.” I refer Nexus Architecture to the horror film The Human Centipede by Tom Six. ‘’A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a group of people in order to reassemble them into a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others’ rectums.’’ The victims basically have to wear each other to survive, of course an extreme version of “Each individual keeps an eye on, and protects, the other. One individual’s life depends on the life of the other. The warmth of one gives warmth to the other. The physical link weaves a social link’’.

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 20.43.57Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 20.46.44Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 20.44.17Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 20.44.30

 

Nexus (which means link or tie) Architecture is a symbolic work which I find to be a shame as there are examples of functioning clothes which actually do realize bond and equality, for example school uniforms. I wore a school uniform as a child and my experience was that wearing a uniform built team spirit and unified. Also prevented the pressure of having to have status symbols such as branded clothes and thereby made the economical differences less visible in school. However I did feel a lack of freedom to express myself. Other areas where uniforms are used is for example in the military, prison, finance and sports. The idea is that if you are wearing the same uniform you are friends and you help each other. But even if we wear the same fabric and colors we are not always friends and we do not always help each other. To tell how the world works Orta metaphorically connected the uniforms physically (what happens to me will happen to you) which automatically also becomes literal. The work is executed in a bold and direct way which I do admire. The doubts I have about the work not being applied to people in a direct (functioning) way may depend on the way it is presented…

 

At Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Nexus Architecture was presented as an installation. But during performances, Orta gives the participants commands, setting the whole group in motion, ‘’emphasizing the loss of humanity within the collective’’. Depending on the participants engagement in following the task it can either be or not be a working organism. I believe that Orta is not making a political statement but rather questioning the political ideology of today and the future. Maybe the importance of both communism and capitalism, the group and the individual.

 

In general I was fascinated by the room of Activism, Community and Politics in the The Future of Fashion is Now exhibition because I respect artists like Orta who try to break down and deal with these large and relevant questions. I have to make 10 designs on the subject Ebola for design class which is a subject far from my control, and to me it is a motivation to see how Orta can manage similar matters. Orta has an optimistic approach in both content and aesthetic. But I can not help but question if the work of Orta maybe is too playful? I feel slightly split about the fact that world issues are ”anesthetized” when artists take them on. As the beauty overshadows the message but at the same time maybe this is necessary when wanting to communicate to the western world. It is a paradox. In any case I think that it is couregous to deal with such serious matters. Later on one can argue if a work is successful or not, if the artist does harm or good. I may be cynical but it is hard for me to understand the motive of why Orta has cared for the complex of global problems such as the ecological environment/global warming, sexism, refuge and immigration policy, the hostility towards the Romani people, the biomedical ethics of organ donation and homelessness as these subjects differ so much from each other. But then again it is arguable that a team of two artists do not share the same mind and therefore bring different issues to the table. Anyway Orta has surely succeeded in raising some of  the spectators awareness or opinion as I have just written a text about this.

PROVO | Amsterdam’s Anarchist Revolt


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Provo | Amsterdam's Anarchist Revolt

designer: Josh MacPhee

 

The title of the book strongly indicates that it is of political context. Being myself concerned with politics, especially in a period of great upheaval (globalization/economical crisis) like the one we are in now, and coming from a country where politics itself plays a significant role in its history ever since the ancient times, this book instantly attracted my attention.

It is recognized that art is part of a practical activity that can change the world. In many cases it comes into existence in response to certain definite problems. Leon Trotsky has written that art can play a dual role within society: That of the mirror and that of the hammer. In other words, what he means by that, is that art has the ability of reflecting the movement of society while also forging consciousnesses inside it. Provo is representative of such case.

Provo is based on a political struggle in the mid 60′s, that focused on provoking violent responses from authorities using non-violent bait. It is an Amsterdam-based anarchist, political, social and art movement. Its interventions where staged into the symbolic and everyday spaces of Holland. What is interesting to look at, is that the activists involved with this movement, where really creating their own distinctive posters, graphics and other forms of art, such as political spectacles and street theater, illustrating their beliefs and intentions.

Walls and words, silk-screen posters and hand printed flyers where the revolutionary media passed out in public. The Provo radicals would carry out total black or even totally blank banners, purposely provoking the police in a ‘ludic’ attitude. They would relate themselves to Dada, constructivist movements, Bauhaus and other Russian ways.

wit

They took existing rules and decided to play within them, to see how far they could push the limits of those rules.
They were not allowed to use actual slogans, so they decided to use unwritten banners. They made use of the ambiguous nature of play: They were protesting, but at the same time not protesting. There were no forbidden slogans on their banners, but at the same time, the slogans were ever so present throughout their absence.

 

pro0102-provo-artists-book-god-nederland-oranje  Anarchy

 

http://www.experimentaljetset.nl/provo/

http://www.experimentaljetset.nl/archive/interview-graphic-no-24

 

It is a simple, black & white book. Its design is intentionally simple, in this way successfully highlighting the content of the book, erasing any type of decorative matter. Looking at it’s outline, it is clearly characterized within the Provo attitude. It is not modern or in any way trying to draw attention through some kind of unusual graphic design. The pages are matte and the text produced with a bold, black typeface. The only evident, decorative detail are some thick black lines and squares either on the sides and bottoms of each page or in the beginning of a new chapter. The ink on the paper seems quite thick, giving the impression that if you rub the pages in the book you are almost able to scent, as well as feel it.

Consequently, it successfully carries out a very strong depiction, that the book itself, could be an original Provo pamphlet or poster. The do-it-yourself feeling is well portrayed through its design. The cover of the book itself is also represented by a successfully eye-catching Provo poster, illustrating a pair of gigantic feet ready to be chopped off by a tiny white figure.

 

Photographic documentation from the book:

ANP01_13385083_X
AdamCanon_45

 

The designers background totally reflects upon the the books context and therefore explains his design. Josh MacPhee is a Brooklyn based artist, activist and archivist. He is also a print-maker and a self-taught historian of 21st century left politics. He established a distribution system called ‘Justseeds’, a decentralized, worker-owned cooperative of twenty-five other artists. Justseeds relates to social and environmental movements and issues in order to get more radical art projects out to the public. Their work illustrates an extraordinary aesthetic range of radical movements during the past 50 years and explores the rise of powerful countercultures that evolve beyond traditional politics, creating distinct forms of art, lifestyles and social organizations. MacPhee’s simple aim is to use art, such as visual and graphic work, to inject protest politics into public discourse.

Besides Justseeds, MacPhee also organizes  the ‘Celebrate Peoples History Poster Project’, an ongoing poster series in which  different artists create posters to document and remember moments in radical history. He himself, has a big collection on political posters. For instance, he collects Cuban political posters as, while according to him, they are some of the “most aesthetically diverse, experimental and impactful in the history of political posters.”

http://www.justseeds.org/subjects/anarchism/

 

We cannot delude ourselves. No art has ever only served itself. We ought to support and defend the art born within resistance, the art which fights and contributes to equality and fairness.

 

04pcnofence_400043Steps1_400

Josh MacPhee :
No Fence Uncut /offset printed postcard • Three Steps /3 color screenprint 

Rietveld library catalog no : 947.6 kem 1

A Photograph Revolution


Sunday, October 19, 2014

 

Among all of the recent books in the Rietveld Academie library, Boy Politics particularly appealed to me for its very peculiar aspect and design. It is a bit damaged and looks very breakable which gives it a feeling of preciousness, emphasized by the fact that it is a unique copy. At first I had decided to go see what it looked like because the title was very evocative to me and seemed like a topic I would want to read about. I am interested in the theme of gender and particularly male domination in different cultures and have often questioned it in my work last year in my art school in France. The boy figure, what is expected from a boy and how deeply these expectations and behaviors are attached to a culture and collective unconsciousness.

This book was my first glimpse of the tip of the iceberg that are Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos’ collaborative projects.

 

BoyPolitics_h900

Boy Politics, Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos

 

Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos are two former students of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Both graduated in 2009 ; Blesa from VAV and Delfos from graphic design. They have been working together ever since between Barcelona and Amsterdam. From 14/05/13 to 07/06/13 they held an exhibition at Rietveld library where they exposed a selection of Blesa’s secondhand books in a window display, opened at a certain page. It was a mute and powerful visual essay of the figure of the boy throughout images from the 1920′s to the 1990′s. Later on, two other former students of the Academie (Anton Stuckhard and Andrea Sergio) designed Boy Politics, a book that archives this exhibition in a very efficient manner that, to my opinion, is really coherent to the way Blesa and Delfos work. Without any fuss, they encapsulated the spirit of what was the starting point of a larger project that Blesa and Delfos have been working on ever since : « Werker ».

 

Boypolitics1

 

Werker magazine is a long term project and concept that asks many questions and got more and more complex over time. There are 8 different werker projects but usually more than one edition by project.

The artists define them as « contextual publications about photography and labor that inquire into the possibility of formulating a contemporary representation of work » They are all mute analysis of a situation that they try to depict in a most objective manner as possible. They are often the following or addition to an event (exhibition, lecture…) like for Boy Politics. Werker 2, for example, was realized for the exhibition « 1979, A Monument to Radical Instants » in the Virrena Centre de la Imatge of Barcelona (2011), dealing with the issues of daily life in crisis of working class young men. Knowing that photography is the medium that communicates best the essence of a situation, Blesa and Delfos have realized a very accurate observation of several situations.

 

werker2_h1000

 

An example of that accuracy is the « Cinema Diary » edition of Werker 6 (that you can find in San Serriffe book store, along with other Werker issues. It is « a collection of photo diaries that reflect on the current working conditions of the youth through self-representation and amateur photography. » It is the summary of a young artist’s (Matthijs Diederiks) side job at a Pathé cinema. In this small book (x) from which the cover is handwritten by Diederiks, you can find an extract of his working contract and meaningfulness in the lost time of a very boring job.

 

Werker is the story of how graphic design and art meet through photography (amateur photography, secondhand books images, internet pictures…) aiming to deliver a message : Images have power and that power is into the wrong hands, the people must take it back. Blesa and Delfos are indeed strongly politically engaged with revolutionary ambitions.
Let’s focus on « Werker 7 : the language of revolution ». This exhibition followed by an edition of newspaper (once with and once without image) was inspired by the words of Ariella Azoulay in a lecture she gave at the museu d’art contemporani de Barcelona in 2011 in which she did an analysis of Egypt’s revolution through images from the internet (you can find her lecture here : x). Werker 7 questions the revolutionary image, the revolutionary language, the role of mass-media in all this and the function carried out by photography in construction of a global revolutionary language. All the images chosen for that project were found on the internet.

 

Werker7_index_w1500

Werker7_index_zoom1_w1500

 

Werker takes its name from the « Worker Photography Movement » :  a group of amateur photographers that appeared in Germany in the 1920’s, following the steps of the first socialist photography experiences in the USSR which extended into the rest of Europe, the USA and Japan. The first group of amateur photographers to use the camera as a tool to fight class-struggle. When I found out about this origin, the work of Blesa and Delfos came clear to me to its full extent. Werker 3 is a « political kitchen calendar » developed within the « grand domestic revolution – user’s manual », a long term living research initiated by casco office for art, design and theory in Utrecht. it is a call for students, artists, domestic workers (and so on) to contribute to the collective gathering of materials. A call for amateur photography as an observation of domestic space. The assignment was « Think politically of your domestic space and contribute to Werker 3 ».

 

Werker-3_h900

 

Finally, I found in the « Cinema Diary » an extract from the book Der Arbeiter-Fotograf from Willi Münzenberg (1931) that I thought was very relevant to Delfos and Blesa’s approach, aims and tasks.

« Photography has become an indispensable and outstanding means of propaganda in the revolutionary class struggle. (…) For an illustrated book is easier to read (…) than the lead article of a political daily. Photography works on the human eye (…) the bourgeoisie caters for the mental laziness of the masses and also makes a lot of money. (…) Much more important is the political effect (…) a skillful editor can falsify every photograph into its opposite and can influence the politically naive reader. (…) The revolutionary workers of all countries have to realize these facts very clearly. They have to fight the class enemy with all means. Just as the workers of the Soviet Union have learned to make their own machine-tools (…) the proletarian amateur photographers have to learn to master the camera and to use it correctly in the international class struggle. »

Delfos and Blesa’s aim and ambition : an anti-propaganda revolution guided by photography.

Rietveld library catalog no : roi 1

Is the pursuit of happiness just an illusion?


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

 

What is happiness to you? How does it smell, taste and feel?

A smile for you

Jeppe Hein is a Danish artist based in Copenhagen and Berlin. His work attempts to be inclusive and tactile, whilst at the same provides a stimulus for contemplation.

The book tries to depict the artist’s representations of three dimensional work within the context of a two dimensional medium.
First of course I was attracted to the front cover. My eyes followed the confusion of coloured dots, like spatter from an ink-jet printer. Until they found the centre; a blister free of colour where the title nestled and seemed to lift, like the title suggested: “A Smile For You”. And then, off-centre; top left following the curve, the artist’s name. Tinier, but somehow less intimate. Different font. Lighter in colour, perhaps, but a statement nonetheless. Ownership.
I browsed through the book and saw that these elements were replicated throughout; the lack of margins, the differing fonts and point sizes, sometimes with serif, sometimes without as if each page was a different room of the exhibition. I became a visitor among the others. And there are many others. I am one of those looking at them, trying to look within.
I realised that the depiction of the artwork was an attempt to reflect the conceit of happiness. The expression of such is difficult; emotions are subjective; happiness is maybe the hardest one to express in a creative medium. I therefore found it interesting how you could try to express happiness in design and in the content of a book.
Books are neither happy nor sad. It is what is contained within and the ability of the author, the designer, and the illustrator; the bookbinder and most importantly the consumer who decides that.

I feel like I have an intimate relationship with this book, it’s precious nevertheless I’m not afraid to use it, look at it, smell it, crease it, read it and ignore it. As long as it’s on the bookshelf it will always be there. A small happiness in my head.

 

The book was designed by All the Way to Paris a Danish-Swedish graphic design studio based in Copenhagen. Founded in 2004 by Tanja Vibe and Petra Olsson Gendt. ATWTP and Jeppe Hein have a personal relationship together. They have been working as a team for the past six years. In 2008, the designers produce the graphic identity for “Karriere” a restaurant ran by Jeppe Hein and his sister. Also, in 2009/2010, they created a logo for “Circus Hein,” a circus show held in Orléans, France. The designers touch can easily be recognized. The colours and typeface are echoed throughout their work.

Circus Hein posters

The catalogue’s design is a close collaboration between Jeppe Hein, his studio and the graphic designer. The artist decided on the selection of images and came up with the idea to include the postcards, engaging the reader to participate by sharing his thoughts on happiness.
The photographs of the artist’s installations and drawings are inviting; the reader can easily travel through them. The choice of mat photo paper is important. The depiction of these works attempts to be as truthful as possible. Many of the photographs enable the reader to see the audience’s reactions to the installations and how by using everyday materials Jeppe Hein tries to reflect the serenity of introspection through voyeuristic engagement.
The designers were able to incorporate a collection of intriguing dividers into the catalogue. Each introduced by an element on the previous page that relates to it somehow. Their content is different from the rest, they’re special. Every divider consists of a short reflection on happiness. These small and grainy pages are significant. They allow rhythm within the book.

At the end, you can find the index of the work featured in the catalogue. The information is printed in landscape format, more convenient to gain space, but also to radically separate the exhibition content and the index. Though I find it uncomfortable to read a hefty book in this way.

 

What is happiness to you?

 

I thought I could use this research for personal reasons in addition to the design aspect. Expressing and understanding what makes me (feel) happy is complex. I can identify when I am intensively happy or deeply sad. But never what’s in between?

 

And I still can’t.

Rietveld library catalog no : Hein 1

 

Weaving Designblog


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

weaving1_1100
 

Through my browsing on the designblog I stumbled upon different tags/keywords. Each played a vital part in leading to my final destination: http://designblog.rietveldacademie.nl/?p=25122.[x] In this final state of my browsing I found a structure of several dimensions and connections, where each point leads to the other. I let this be symbol of my browsing by visualizing each tag as part of this structure. As the result I create the diagram of my browsing.
 


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