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Archive for March, 2017

The Infinite Script

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


the infinite script_screenshot_1100

“The infinite script” (2016) is an alternative way to look at a human being. It is an uncommon representation of a nature and specifics of mental and behavioral algorithms.
This work is an attempt to visualize a functioning organism as a mechanism supplemented with a human intelligence that uses algorithms. The visibility of the algorithms is created by a computational language and visual information, which are united in one endless artistic research.
A self-development of an artist is a key point of this audible script. It has been performed as a visual monologue of the artist together with the video projection.

Thesis by Kateryna Snizhko as a video/animation artwork, presented at the 2016 graduation show as part of the department of photography


all rights to this thesis are property of Kateryna Snizhko © 2016

for more information check out Kateryna's website :


”I like to sit on a bamboo chair, a bamboo chair is made of aluminum”

Monday, March 13, 2017


Museum ”Het Nieuwe Instituut” in Rotterdam organized an exhibition all about the last layer of finishing a design:” the surface”.  Within this exhibition, the question is asked: ”in which way is the surface important within design” .

Every usage of a surface has a function. And there are many different functions. Such as protection, appearance, to optimise of in order to add a total new archetype to an object.

I received a catalogue after the exhibition.  A quite extraordinary one, it’s more of a book a novel allmost (since there is also no map of the whole expo within). In a quasi-poetic way, various issues about the contemporary approach, meaning and usage of the surface are described. The book connects the topic ‘surface’ to the importance it has for contemporary design and how it might influence the future. I chose to write about the book called: ”I like to sit on a bamboo chair, a bamboo chair is made of aluminium“.
In this text, I will describe the book’s content and appearance.


(Interview with makers exhibition [x])


By pressing the title into the cover, its surface is adjusted. It seems like the pages are black and the letters are white, but is we take a look at the side of the book (which is also visible within the image), we can see that the pages are actually originally white.



Book’s Appearance

As you may see from the images above, a quite extraordinary way of letter pressing has been used by making this book. From the outside, the title is embossed in the cover. With that it becomes touchable, as a kind of braille. By pressing the title into the cover, its surface is adjusted. And by adjusting the surface the text becomes visible without the usage of any ink. From the inside all pages are black. It seems like the pages are black and the letters are white, but if you take a look at the side of the book (which is also visible within the image), we can see that the pages are actually originally white. So, we can conclude that the pages where printed in black, apart from the text. So, this is kind of an ‘’inside out’’ way of letter-printing. Again, the surface of the pages is adjusted. An unconventional way of inverted text processing, which shows us a different view in approaching a books design. This way of book design becomes applied to the content of the book in which the possibilities within the approach and usage of the surface are widely described by six acts.

Book’s content

To be honest, I never been to this exhibition. But this book gives me a very good sense of the discussed topic. In the acts the authors are describing occasions with become very visual. As an exhibition by itself.

(interview with book authors [x])

The book is divided in six acts :

Act I • In which condition is only skin deep – Describes how archetypes of surface and content can be enlarged, hided and manipulated by adjusting the surface

ACT II • In which all that glitters is not gold – Describes the possibility of a detailed finishing of the material by editing or adjusting the surface, which appeals to our attraction to the object. In this state of adapting the surface it is possible to bring in a certain authenticity to the object/product.

Act III • In which nothing is as it sees – Describes that an imitation can actually optimize the essence of a material. It can be an honouring of the material

ACT IV • in which paint takes the power back – Describes how paint can be a revolting, efficient, quick and direct material to express revolutionary thoughts.

ACT V • In which to come clean, is a home truth – Describes how we consort our fears by adjusting the surface. Fears such as the fear of decay.

Act VI • In which the future is superficial – Describes how this knowledge can gives us many possibilities within future design.

The acts are giving quasi poetic examples of cases in which the surface is being questioned. There are examples from art and design works of the exhibition in ‘’Het Nieuwe Instituut’’ in Rotterdam. Also there are (fictional) cases relating to the conventional approach towards the surface or (fictional) examples in which the surface is being approached in a more innovative way and the human reactions and questions on these inventions.

Man sits on invisible chair
I use the title of the book “I like to sit on a bamboo chair, a bamboo chair is made of aluminium” as an example to show what a discussion it can evoke.
It is only the title of the book; the chair might not exist. but I find it a quite interesting example. Since I know nothing more about this bamboo chair, I have to assume something to make its artificial existence a little more concrete. I am declaring that this aluminum chair has a bamboo print, and that’s that why the designer is calling it: “a bamboo chair made of aluminum”. The bamboo chair is made of aluminum but the designer is calling it a bamboo chair. Just by adjusting its surface, a whole discussion about the object can arise.

How can one sell a bamboo chair as a bamboo chair while it is made of aluminum? If the designer is able to produce a bamboo print upon the chair so it appears to be a bamboo chair and a spectator cannot see the difference between “real bamboo” and “fake bamboo” and beside that at least one important archetype is represented “being lightweight”, can we than call the chair a bamboo chair? The bamboo chair could simply have been an ordinary aluminum chair.

But fact is, there are thousands of aluminum chairs on this world. As a designer, you are often making things for the commercial market. If you are producing a chair, you want to make an original one. Because thousands of chairs have already been made. Also, aluminum chairs, and also bamboo chairs. You want your fingerprint to be effective, you want your expenses to be low.

Fact is that an aluminum chair is highly sustainable. You can easily place it outside in all weather.  You might like the material bamboo more because of its appearance (such as warm and natural colours), but it is less sustainable than aluminum. So, you mix them up, so you have archetypes of both products you like, and at the same time you have made a very original chair that no one made before only by adjusting the surface with a bit of paint. Cheap, and effective.

I think the whole surface discussion in the book tells us most of all a lot about how much we are in search for authenticity. Both in Design and Art. The surface is described as one of the most important things we are confronted with while approaching anything physical. How unlimited our possibilities can be in leaving a certain mark on an object and how effective it can be. However, that does not directly mean it is just a “fake trick” (although it can be).

It is also a way to approach material in a more scientifically way, in order to orchestrate your product. Simply to get the best out of it. We don’t have to hook up to conventional usage of material while we can take a broader look upon material. Its archetypes and how we can adapt this to other material. What are possibilities? It is a trick, but also something which is very necessary if we consider design as the act of: “creating something better/ more appealing”.

Designing the Surface with Grayson Perry

Monday, March 13, 2017



After visiting the ‘Designing the Surface’ exhibition at the New Institute in Rotterdam I went to the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam to visit their Design collection. In order to choose an artwork of interest and than relate it to one of the Acts of the book. I chose the work ‘’Floating world’’ of Grayson Perry.
I want to relate this artwork to the last Act (VI: Slim) I described: ‘’In which the future is superficial’’.



Grayson Perry, floating world.

 At the first sight this pot appears to be a cute ceramic pot that you could recognize from your grandparent’s home collection. Conventional in form, colour, and usage of glace. But if you come closer to the pot, you might be shocked by the images of car accidents, penises and dead people. It is extraordinary to explore this kind of images on a cute pot like this.

You can recognize a controversial aspect in the title of the pot called: ‘’Floating world’’ which refers to: Ukiyo-e. Ukiyo-e (literal translation: floating world) is a genre of woodblock print and painting technic originating from the Japanese art

tradition. In this genre the hedonistic lifestyle of the high-class from the 17th till the 19th century is pictured. The high class decorated their homes with these images of their high society lifestyle. Perry makes a link to this subject. The artist is referring to the original Ukiyo-e style in which artworks are functioning as decorative pieces. Perry’s work could been seen as traditional and decorative from a distance. You cannot see what is going on at the surface from a far distance. But if you get really close, you can see the provoking images. By then you see that you are not watching a conventional piece of decorative ceramics, but something that reacts on this. As a platform for protest.

The Ukiyo-e is showing the nice high class lifestyle, and this piece suddenly displays violence, pain, and sex. We have to know that we have to take a closer look to designed objects to understand its origins. If you don’t do this, you might risk that you give you grandma a ceramic pot full of penises for her 80th birthday. A fun anecdote to tell: My own grandmother was a very conservative woman. In the 60’s with the summer of love and all the hippies my father had long hair and my grandmother really disliked this. She disliked anything that had anything to do with hippies. But then one day, when she was in a more emphatic mood, she gave my father a tie-dyed t-shirt because she thought he would like it. But what she never knew, there was a text and an image pressed on the t-shirt, not easy to read though: ‘’save water: shower with a friend’’ and four feet wrestling.




Three stones, and more various sections

Sunday, March 12, 2017

In the design exhibition of the Stedelijk museum, when you see the objects displayed in terms of “surface”, you can see what you can feel in the three kinds of stones obtained from nature and human touch.

velo speichen kette

Bernhard Schobinger -Zurich CH [1946] • velo speichen kette [1988]

These three different kinds of stone, and they are fragments of a huge object that contains their own time and story.
They were also woven into a spoke chain, a part of a bicycle, and became a jewel with objects made by human beings that seemed to fit. This seems to be pretty rough, but the combination of color and the trimmed stone and bicycle key chain is harmonious. Also, the inscription of each other method makes another section, and the meaning that each section conveys has come to me very symbolically.
In Schobinger’s work, we can see that there is already a concentration of colors in combination with what exists in nature, its meaning, and personal experience. And it can be guessed that it is also meaningful to collect the  minerals that is made by volcanic activity, one of the quartz-the second most abundant mineral on the planet he chooses, and weave them with iron, a familiar material in everyday life. It was also interesting to me that the selection of quartz minerals with colorful colors, especially in minerals.
The general view of the occasional visit to the stedelijk museum and the perspective of looking at a particular viewpoint – surface gave me a very different analysis. The reactions of the surface of objects with different physical properties and the created, intended surfaces were found at the same time and when they were discovered sequentially. It gives us a sense of unexpected angles, such as fine touches on the outside, exotic patterns, physical properties itself as well as their meaning.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Irene Vonck / From Rhythms of Space series 1995

When material is manipulated to make-believe, touch becomes irrelevant for the experience of tactility, the physical experience of touch is exceeded and the brain is provoked. “From the rhythms of space” touches upon the idea that when contact between bodily surface and the object displayed is censored the viewer perception is (mis)leaded into dissonance with reality. This visual contradiction appears when the associations between the artwork as a whole and the material used in brut is not coherent.







The art piece appears to be made of cloth but instead it is made of airbrushed stoneware. None of this adjectives mentioned prior seems to describe the properties of cooked stoneware; this is because construction of tactility is build upon the pillars of experience and imagination since we cannot come in contact with it. Due to this I believe this work of art belongs to FAUX (in which nothing is as it seems) and AGENCY (in which paint takes the power back). Colour and subtitle sinuosity trick the viewer, the black colour gives the piece a sense of heaviness whilst the red interior an association with felt fabric. Paint definitely becomes an important element; it gives the object a sense of elegance and mystery and of course exhilarates the desire of touch. There will always be something very special and curious in tactility, in objects that seem ambiguous, objects that lure the viewer into doing what it is highly prohibited – TOUCH. When exploring an art gallery/museum/space etc., objects can be quite novel to us and thus, as young children do, we might feel the urge to touch, touch to understand, touch to explore, to grasp on the full experience of wonder. But … when we cannot touch ( and this is what fascinated me this time)it becomes pure mental construction and sense of touch is replaced by sense of sight.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Walking through the design collection of The Stedelijk Museum, this weird pink object in a glass vitrine caught my eye. A lamp designed by the Italian design studio ‘Superstudio’. The lamp was designed in 1967 and went in production under the name of GHERPE. This lamp is one of the examples of the ‘antidesign’ movement. This was a movement against the commercial and functional design of Italy in that time. To get a better idea of this movement,  the text by Elena Martinique gives a good view on ‘antidesign’. It made an ironic reference to the mass production. Considering the exhibition ‘Designing the Surface’ at ‘Het Nieuwe Instituut’, you could connect this lamp to the chapter: ‘In which nothing is as it seems’.

Nowadays, and probably back then, the lamp gives a cheap feeling, the feeling that is easily connected to Kitsch, also a feeling ‘Superstudio’ wanted to evoke.  A lot of futuristic aesthetics all combined in one object. The aspects of this object are screaming to the audience. The color wants to jump in your face and the material wants to fall down to show that it is not breaking. So the surface of this object is there to raise questions and false assumptions.


The shape fools your mind as well. It wants to tell you I am everything but a functional object. But of course this pink unit has a function. It gives you light in the dark and most of all a subject to talk about when you have nothing to say anymore. ‘I would never say this is a lamp’, is the sentence you hear the most when you show this object. In this case ‘Superstudio’ did a great job in their mission to create antidesign and a reference to kitsch and mass production. You do not know what it is, you do not know if it is cheap or expensive and you do not know if you like it or not, because your eye keeps caught by it, but you certainly have an opinion about it.

You could connect this object to a previous text I wrote for the Supplementary Surface Show [x]. A text with the subject ‘surface that changes‘, it changes by light. This is of course also happening in the case of Gherpe. First, Gherpe is an object without a functional look, but as lamp (light source) it changes to an object with function. In the previous text it is about Albedo 100, a reflective spray. It is completely not functional without light, so impossible to see a function. When it hits light, the function starts in a split second. Two different objects, with a lot of similar characteristics.

Rebellious jewellery

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Marble that looks like concrete, oxidized silver casts and penetrated diamonds – the jeweler and artist Karl Fritsch plays with the use of material and with the common perception of jewellery. By using different techniques, he challenges his profession’s tradition and the notion of value.
What makes a ring valuable? How does it need to look and feel to be wearable? Having these questions in mind, Karl Fritsch interprets jewellery-making in a new way through unusual combinations of different material. For example, in contrast to the process of marbleizing, where artists try to paint a surface that looks as close to real marble as possible and even go to special schools to learn the techniques of painting faux marble, Fritsch doesn’t want to achieve a look that is familiar to our eyes. Instead, he works with real marble and leaves it in its raw state.


Karl Fritsch, RING 2008 coll. Stedelijk Museum

The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam displays five rings and one brooch of Fritsch that perfectly illustrate his unconventional approach. One striking piece is a ring made out of silver, sapphire, quartz and marble. On first glance, the materials used seem crude; however, when you look closer, you notice the materials are actually real marble and precious stones. Fritsch plays with conventional ideas of what a material should be in the jewellery world. When we look at high end jewellery we tend to expect perfect finishes and nicely polished stones with smooth surfaces. However, the marble of the piece seems more like concrete and the silver doesn’t have a shiny but dark surface due to the oxidation.


Karl Fritsch, RING 2003 and BROOCH 1994 coll. Stedelijk Museum

Karl Fritsch is known for his unique working methods and techniques, ignoring social conventions and traditional standards. Precious stones like diamonds are usually finished in a specific way. The treatment of the surface – the special cutting and sanding of the material give diamonds their value. Nobody would dare to ‘destroy’ the surface since the gemstone would instantly lose its value. However, Fritsch does exactly that – he penetrates diamonds, sapphires and other precious stones. By ‘destroying’ the value through damaging the surface Karl Fritsch is able to give the pieces another layer of value. His pieces are unique and blur the line between common conventions of jewellery-making and fine arts. His former professor Otto Künzli described his rebellious works “as if [he] repaired the broken ring[s] with a golden chewing gum”. His interpretation of jewellery turn rings and brooches into wearable pieces of art

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