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Beauty is the harmony of purpose and form.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Alvor Aalto : Screen 100

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Alvor Aalto was born in 1898. Most of his childhood and youth he lived in Jyväskylä, a town in the center of Finland, surrounded by the big finish nature. Thousand of lakes and woods with millions of birch trees, must have influenced the young Aalto.
In his work nature is always present, either in the organic shape of the products or the choice of materials. And Finland is present, one can say that Finland is with Aalto and that Aalto is with Finland.

Aalto was both an architect and a designer. It is very obvious in one of his early works, the Paimio Sanatorium. In addition to the new and functional building he also designed all interior for the building. Today the Paimio Chair is probably the most well-known Aalto chair from that time. It was designed for the patients, functionality and mass production was important issues, together with the organic shape it all makes the chair an icon of good design.

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“Beauty is the harmony of purpose and form.”  Alvor Aalto 1928.

Alvor Aalto has had an immense impact on our perception of Scandinavian design today.
In 1935 he founded the company Artek together with his wife Aino and Nils-Gustave Hahl and Maire Gullichsen. The company should handle the sale of Alto furniture, but they wanted to take it further. They saw themselves as promoters of “Rational living and interior Design” (as they write in ‘the Artek Manifesto’). In other words they wanted to educate people and teach about the ”good life”.

All over Europe design changed or evolved in to something more functional, modern and lighter. There was a new way of thinking, new production possibilities and materials. Just think of the Bauhaus movement in Germany. In Aalto’s design he combines that thinking with natural materials and organic shapes.

It is evident in the screen 100 from 1936. The construction is so simple. Wooden sticks assembled with a metal wire. When the screen is used as a room divider or a simple screen it forms different organic shapes.
The repetition of the vertical wooden sticks leads the minds to forests with beautiful slender birch trees. An effect Alvor Alto also used, when he worked with different expressions on the facade of his buildings. That can be seen on the picture of the finish pavilion which Aalto made for the world exhibition in New York in 1939.

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The screen has been sold since late 1930s. At Stedelijk, I found it attractive and it caught my attention at first because of the simplicity and round shape.

On the attached picture it can be seen in the Artek Showroom in Helsinki in the late 1930s.  Today it is still for sale in the Artek Showroom together with the Paimio Chair and many other Aalto products.

Even though Alvor Aalto made fantastic design he still wanted the user to influence the design.

 “ A standardized object should not be a finished product, but on the contrary be made so that man and all the individual laws controlling him supplement its form.” Alvar Aalto 1935 

The Screen is a standardized object, but the user is the one who forms it.

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Maxwells Colour System


Sunday, February 11, 2018

The scientist James Clerck Maxwell discovered the additive colour system and showed the first colour photography. He lived in the 19 Century influenced by the Works of Isaac Newton and Thomas Young. He has impact on our knowledge of the Saturn Rings, Electromagnetic waves and the RGB colours.

Maxwell Photography

In his student years at the Cambridge he was fascinated by the questions:

What are colours? Why do we perceive colour? And why are we so coloured?

At that time he read the studies of Thomas Young. Young thought that painters have a much better understanding of colours then scientist had at that time. They used the primary colours to get the full colour spectrum of a painting. He found that there’s a significance of these three primary colours and that Biology has a role to play. He assumed there are three receptors for each of the primary colours in the human brain. By mixing these we receive our full colour view.

Maxwell read about this theory and wanted to prove it by mathematics. He developed a tool to trick the human brain. By spinning the right amounts of red, green and blue on a wheel, it seems like the colours are melting together to white. With this experiment he could prove that what we perceive as white is actually a mix of colours. And that there’s a difference of mixing colours in light and colours in pigments.

Colour Pyramid

From this he developed a Red, Green and Blue colour pyramid. On each corner there is the absolute of one of the primary colours. Towards the middle you get different hues of the colour and the center is white. The Pyramid is built on a x/y Axe. Mapping out a point on the pyramid gives a value of each of the primary colours.

To display his founds, he was invited to give a lecture on colour vision. What he did was to screen the same photograph with a red then green and blue light on top of each other. Where the colours intersect, there is white.

Maxwell Colour Experiment

At this time there was only black and white photography. With this experiment he made the world’s first colour photography. The additive colour system can be understood as the foundation of RGB colours and is used in the screens of most electronic devices today.

Isaac Newtons Colour Wheel


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Around 1665 Isaac Newton first passed white light through a prism and he identified seven colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These colours he referred to the colours of the rainbow and that they were analogous to the notes of the musical scale.

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In Newton’s color wheel, in which the colors are arranged clockwise in the order they appear in the rainbow, each “spoke” of the wheel is assigned a letter. These letters correspond to the notes of the musical scale.

What he did was that he projected white light through a prism onto a wall and had a friend mark the boundaries between the colours, which he then named. In his diagrams, which show how colours respond to notes, Newton introduced two new colours, orange and indigo. These to colours would correspond to half the steps in the octatonic scale.

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In physics terminology, an octave is the frequency range from x to 2x, and that premise holds true for musical octaves. If light behaved like music, then photon frequencies of the spectrum would also range from x to 2x, and their wavelengths, inversely proportional to their frequencies, would too. Instead, the wavelengths of visible light range from 400 to 700 nanometers, which, if translated to sound waves, would be approximately equivalent to a major sixth.
Therefore Isaac Newtons colour theory was actually incorrect as the frequency range in an octave is different than photon frequencies of light spectrum. Although his theory falls apart his experiments with prisms showed us that white light is a mix of different coloured lights.

CIE-1931-System


Friday, February 9, 2018

CIE-1931-System is a color matching system. CIE stands for Commission internationale de l’éclairage, which is an international authority for setting standards related to light and color. In this system the goal is not to describe how colors appear to humans but to categorize and measure colors and create a numerically order. Which then also provides a framework for precisely reproducing the measured color in printing or digitally. It’s a mathematical categorization of colors and it’s based on matching combinations of light to colors that appear to most people in this way.

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Light is transformed in wavelength and humans can perceive these waves in between 380nm and 750nm. Wavelengths are absorbed and reflected by objects. Inside the human eye we have our own system of perceiving this colors by conephotoreceptors. We have 3 of them and they’re sensitive to different but overlapping wavelengths of light. L is most sensitive to long wavelengths and therefor red, M to middle-long wavelengths and therefor green and S to short wavelengths and therefor blue.

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The cone’s of the eye are stimulated by complex spectral distributions of absorbing or reflecting light and then reduces it to numerical values which represents how much the three cones are stimulated. Important to know is that different spectral distributions can stimulate the cones in exactly the same way. This means we don’t need the original light source to reproduce a certain color but we can create a spectral distribution of light that stimulates the cone in the same way in order to reproduce this exact color if we find the right match. And it’s not only about creating a certain color, but it also deals with showing how to reproduce the difference in brightness of the color. And the CIE-1931-system gives us the information we need to find these matches.

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The system has 3 functions called the RGB color matching functions. These are three fixed primary colors and the color matching functions are there to show you the amount of each primary output you need to create a desired color when they’re all mixed.

 

Hering’s 4-colour wheel


Thursday, February 8, 2018

I am going to explain to you Ewald Hering’s very exciting colour wheel chart containing of not 3 (RGB) but 4 primary colours (RGBY).

Hering was a German physiologist who specialised in colour perception. So basically how our eyes and brains work in relation to colour which we can call “the physiology of visual perception”
A problem that came up was the colour yellow; Helmholtz, another physicist who came op with the RGB model (the Young-Helmholtz theory) had stated that yellow came from a mixture of red and green (so there being 3 primary colours).

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For hering this was not in line with the human experience because the sensation of yellow is very important and is not seen as a mixture of something else.

Instead of seeing complementary colours, like in the 3 primary colour wheel (RGB), Hering talked about opposing colours. Being; blue versus yellow, red versus green and black versus white.

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So next to black and white there would be 4 colours which can occur without the “help” of another colour.
Every perception (what we see) is a mixture of the six basic sensations (so these four colours plus black and white) opposing each other and thus interacting.

Hering called these colours the “psychological primaries”.

Hering states that in the human eye thus brain there are three processes happening at the same time in order to see colour; the red-green, yellow-blue and black and white sensation. Later on I will explain why Hering also calls these sensations the “opposing pairs”.

(In his system, red green yellow and blue can be seen as primary colours. Anyone who is seeing orange can imagine it to be a mix of red en yellow. But no one looks at red, yellow or blue and sees it as a mixture of other colours.)

Hering wasn’t the first to talk about 4 primary colours. Before him so did Leonardo da Vinci. Only the arranging of the colours in a circular model was something Hering did. So the wheel is his invention with which he proved to have a real point.

The outer ring of the wheel shows how every primary colour has a warm and a cool side.
So warm red is red with a lot of yellow while cool red is more bluish
Warm yellow goes towards red and cool yellow towards green. Etc.

Each primary colour pair in the wheel has the same warm and cool side.
For example: Green and red have yellow for warm and blue for cold which makes them pairing as well as opposing.

Although having the same hot and cold sensations, the opposing colours in the weel cannot be part of each other.
- yellow can be kind of green or red but never blue
- green can be kind of blue or yellow but never red.

Complementary colours complete each other (like in the RGB wheel) but Hering’s opposing colours do the exact opposite.

A lot of us have learned in high school that there are three primary colours; red yellow and blue. The thing is actually that this 3 primary colour wheel is how to mix colours by knowing what colours complement each other and what colours generally look good together.
If we are talking about how we actually see colours, there are 4 primary colours!
So this is the big difference between the two wheels; the three colour wheel is about aesthetics while the 4 colour wheel (Hering’s) is about the psychological relationship we have towards colour.

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You have to look at the 4 colour wheel like meters in your head. When the meter goes one way, there is more red, if it goes the other way you get green. If the meter stays in the middle you get zero so no colour (or actually a kind of greyish or brownish), same with yellow and blue.
Then at the same time you have a meter that, for example, goes from a reddish yellow to a greenish yellow and that goes from a yellowish green to a blueish green
And then there is also a meter that adds more or less black or white, also changing the colour.

R – 0 – G , so there is no greenish red
B – 0 – Y , so there is no yellowish blue

There is a greenish blue or a reddish blue (purple)
There is also a greenish yellow or a reddish yellow (orange)

Hering’s colour wheel is used a lot because it shows how the eye naturally perceives colour. So it’s less a bout just mixing paint or seeing how colors can be made in different media in what case you would need only three colours (RGB).

Instead, the wheel is better at showing what happens in the upper, brain level, and describing humans colour sensations.

CMYk printing advices:


Thursday, February 8, 2018
CMYk is color system used for printing. To print an mage, first you have to separate it into four colors: CyanMagenta,Yellow and BlackEach of this colors consists from halftone dots, when dots of different colors overlap each other you can get all colors of rainbow. By using halftones of each colour, we are able to mix various percentages of all four process colours to print a huge spectrum of colours. If you take a magnifying glass to the full colour image, you will see that it is comprised of dots of various process colour. There is a measure of density of this color dots, it is called DPI, in particular the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch (2.54 cm). If you are printing photo, dpi should be around 300. But if you are printing big board or poster, something that people will observe from the distance dpi can be less than that.

RGB


Thursday, February 8, 2018

RGB is an additive colour model, meaning that lights are added together in different frequencies to create colours. For example, when red and green lights are added together they create a yellow colour. This is different to a subtractive colour model where colours are created by mixing dyes, pigment paints etc. which then absorb parts of the full spectrum of colour frequencies available in white light and reflect other frequencies which then give the surface it’s colour.

 

additive-vs-subractive1x

 

 

RGB is used in digital colour sensors and digital colour displays and projectors. Each pixel on a screen has three tiny light sources, red, green and blue in colour. These emit different brightnesses which in the combined effect create the specified colour of the pixel. The sum of all the pixels on the screen will create an image.

 

LCD_RGB

 

These three colours, Red, Green and Blue, are chosen because they correspond to the way the human eye sees colour. We have photoreceptor cells in our eyes called rods and there are three types of rods. One which detects long-wave frequencies of light, another for middle-wave and another for short-wave. Specifically, these correspond to the frequencies of blue, green and red.

 

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CMN Colour System


Thursday, February 8, 2018

 

 

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The CMN system was first introduced in Venice, 1986. Colours transform; they get brighter and darker until they eventually become white or black, as well as altering the quality of transparency and reflectiveness. The system shows why and how colours appear, change and disappear. Eat point of the tetrahedral structure marks the different qualities in reflectiveness, transparency, brightness and darkness the colour can posses. This single tetrahedron can be combined with others and create a complete range of spacial models required to find the origins of the colour as well as reflect the intentions of the observer. Despite transparency and reflection stemming from an object which is illuminated, the colours appearing will be the result of the contribution made by the observer. The effect these two qualities have on colours is at the forefront of this colour system, as it is the first to consider transparency and reflection in a colouring ordering system.

The tetrahedron constructionwas a form first seen in Plato’s geometrical idea of colour. The radiance must appear along side the colours and have equal value, only white being allowed dominance. The tetrahedron is taken as a basis, three can be assembled with their tip representing white interlocking acting as the central point and remains colourless. This forms a second triangular plane with a colour appointed to eat corner. The white centre being empty allows colours to be mixed. This idea given by Plato is not a formally constructed colour system, rather the personal view is intended to aid understanding the colour mixtures he describes.       pyt02    pyt03

Michel Albert-Vanel’s Planetary Colour-System


Thursday, February 8, 2018

In 1983, the Planetary Colour-System, was introduced by frenchman Michel Albert-Vanel, with the intention to organise colour perception multidimensionally.

Albert-Vanel created a so-called Plantetaric Room, in which the colours move like planets in a solar system. The floating planets represent four primary colours, which refer to the psychological primary-colours of Ewald Hering. Albert-Vanel incorporated Herings’ psychological primary colours (Yellow, Red, Green, Blue) into his planetary room. The secondary colours – that connect the primary-colours – are moons and thus orbit the planets.

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We almost never see colours isolated but in combination with others, which puts them directly into a context. The planetary system tries with the introduction of new parameters to describe this context in which a colour exists. In order to point out an individual colour, contrast and material are added to the usual parameters of hue, brightness and saturation.

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The contrast-parameter unites three new scales (again hue, brightness and saturation) describing a group of colours (the context), to later point out the individual isolated colour.

The scales of the material-parameter describe first if a colour is active (light) or passive (pigment), second if it is transparent or opaque and thirdly: matte or gloss.

With the incorporation of this context a colour is put in, the planetary system involves the natural effects of our colour perception. It considers, that we see colours differently depending on the surrounding it is put in.

 

Painting, smoking, eating, chairs, table, shelf.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Oil, canvas, metal, clay,

Met in the Stedelijk one day.

 

A strong effect can be produced with simple actions. Sometimes it makes a big difference just to put together things that never met each other before.

Maarten Baas’s clay furniture is something that I didn’t see at the times of the old Stedelijk permanent exhibition. The composition includes are different size coloured chairs, a bookshelf and a small table. Objects are placed on white square shelves attached to a wall on different levels. They are actually made out of a synthetic clay put on top of a metal skeleton.

It would be difficult to write about only one of these objects because they are placed so close to each other that I immediately thought of them as one composition.

philip guston and clay furniture

The wall where all the clay furniture is exhibited happens to be next to a painting “Painting, smoking, eating” by Phillip Guston. This neighbourship doesn’t seem to be random. Put in this corner of space the all these objects create a common vibe. Thick and handcrafted legs of clay furniture resonate with fat lines of paint on Guston’s canvas. The furniture and the painting are so alike that you can easily imagine these chairs, the table and the shelf to appear from the Guston’s painting which makes them highly connected. The painting is so much overlayered with paint that it produces the visual effect of the furniture almost dripping on the floor. Both furniture and painting have this tactility in them. You can see how thick and greasy the layers of the paint are so you want to touch the cars to feel the softness of clay.

marten baas clay tablePhilip Guston

To conclude I’d like to emphasise again how beneficial the neighbourship of these objects happened to be. Putting Guston’s  painting and Baas’s furniture together solved the problem of placing artworks in the space in a whole new way.

400 a day


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

 

My_Stop_Motion_Movie

everywhere in our school you can see this small weird objects just lying around.  on the sink, on the table, in the hands of a sleepy student, paper cups took over our school.  inexpensive to produce paper cups are the easiest way to carry the precious liquids but is it good for the environment?  more and more people are becoming conscious about how much trash we produce and how to turn it the other way around.  as basicyear people we know how many different things you can find in the trash or how many things you can make out of it.

lets start up easy – re-using our cute little paper cups.
look at some examples of art made out of cuppies

url 3

make some toys for your kids/cats/boyfriends/girlfriends and imaginary friends
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pro version – pimp up your bedroom with this marvelous coffee cup lamp

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you can even use it as a pen holder!
okay lets get real

 

our school uses around 400 paper cups a day

400 x 5 days = 2000 paper cups a week.

it’s a lot, isn’t it?

why do we do it?

too busy?

too lazy?

too easy to just take it from the canteen?

Image result for coffee gif

(maybe we should try it this way)

paper cups are usually coated inside with polyethylene (PE) a thermoplastic polymer, what makes them difficult to recycle.

most of them are being thrown to RESTAVFAL or KARTON bins but what happens next?

after you throw your cup to either one of this containers, they go into the bin in front of school.  then, they are taken by Milieu Service Nederland  to an oven and get burnt.   unfortunately the company cannot say what exact place they end up in, because there is many ovens and places where our trash goes to.

most of us reuse paper cups as a water container while painting but afterwards they’re just being left alone dirty, polluting not only classrooms but the environment.

keeping in mind how much cups we use, therefore how much waste we produce I believe bringing your own cup to school is as easy as taking another paper cup from the canteen.

let’s stop the cupmageddon! 

 

WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY


Sunday, December 10, 2017

 

WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY

Our clothes are probably some of the most tactile and flexible objects surrounding us – touching our bodies at all times. This is probably also why it has been such a hard job for designers and researchers to combine it with the stiff mechanics of technology. The term used when these fields are combined is Wearable Technology. Something that fashion designer Pauline van Dongen has been known internationally for exploring. But while Pauline van Dongens works primarily exist in the span of the human body interacting with its physical surroundings, I find it more interesting to research how technology can elevate our identity through clothing.

 

solar-shirt

 

We use technology to perform our identities online.

We use fashion to perform our identities through garments.

Why not try to physically combine technology with clothes as a way of enhancing how we showcase our individuality and uniqueness.

 

For wearable technologies to become truly integrated with fashion we have to bridge the divide between aesthetics and how we understand technology’s usefulness.” – Pauline van Dongen

 

FASHIONABLE TECHNOLOGY

It is obvious that clothes functions as a protective extension of the skin, but it is just as important that they help us form our individual identities. Our identities are ‘wearable’ and changeable through fashion, and have been so for a long time now. The new aspect of adding technology to this equation will hopefully be able to offer alternative and new ways of transforming our identities.

At the moment, there is already a lot of researching going on and a lot of solutions being proposed as to how wearable technology can change our current view of fashion. This research does not only include experiments like Pauline van Dongen’s, regarding the practical usefulness of technology in fashion, but can also have a more conceptual or aesthetic focus point. These projects become interesting since this is where a lot of the ‘identity-making’ in fashion occurs.

Ying Gao is another fashion designer dealing with the concept of technology intertwining with her designs. But in comparison to Pauline van Dongen she uses technology primarily for conceptual and aesthetic reasons. However, this still interacts between the human body and its surroundings, but does not allow the wearer itself to manipulate his/her clothing. Something I think that would be a logical next step with wearable technology.

 

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Other research exemplifies how this self-initiated interaction might become possible. Dr. Sabine Seymour, who is the director of the Fashionable Technology Lab at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, has even written a book with this exact title, Fashionable Technology, that researches the intersection of design, fashion, science and technology. On top of that, several companies are working on inventions involving textile – such as touch-screen fabric. I find this study interesting because it is the steppingstone for making fashion truly customizable at any time. And not only by the external domain of a phone or computer, but by actual interaction with the textiles you put on your body. This idea of technology leading to a more tactile and touchable communication with your clothes – instead of it being dematerialized in a device – also takes technology in a totally new direction.

 

Google+Levi+Strauss+Touchscreen+Clothing+Display+Alliance+Blog

 

INDIVIDUAL TECHNOLOGY

Of course there is plenty of ways to approach linking the gap between aesthetics and the functionality of technology. Personally, I am curious about a solution where that link would manifest new ways of projecting my personal identity. Combining the idea of a, supposedly soon-to-be, future where textiles can act as touch-screens, I have tried to conceptualize how technology can have an effect on fashion and its personal value.

 

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

 

There is no doubt that technological innovations will have a deep impact on the meaning and communication of fashion and thereby identity.

[…] we have now entered an age in which technology is not only a bodily extension, but also a physical improvement, enhancement and expression.”

Throughout your life your identity is constantly changing, so it seems only logical to design new types of clothing that can follow your personal development. As my video suggests, this would be possible if clothing became truly obedient to your personal wishes and could be customized with your own hands. You could then at any given moment change the appearance of your clothing – and your identity. A more analogue example of this is the Color-In Dress, made as a cooperation between Berber Soepboer (fashion designer) and Michiel Schuurman (graphic designer). Although my experiment is limited to colors and patterns, you could imagine that even shape or texture could be transformable too, with the rate technology is developing.

Indeed, this way of customizing your style is already possible, but at the expense of a fast, unsustainable and trend-driven industry. If my (suggestive) model of wearable technology [x] is realized, I believe that this would establish an intimate dialogue between body, mind and fabric – making fashion more valuable to the wearer. It is the relationship you have with your clothes and how it mirrors your personality and emotions, I find interesting to develop further with technology.

Pauline van Dongen’s vision is based on the belief that technology can add new value and meaning to fashion. She does this while focusing on the human body and an interactive relation to its surroundings. I believe, that it is just as important how wearable technology can add an interactive level to our projection of ourselves, and change our relationship with fashion on a very personal level.

 

What is Vetements doing to the fashion industry?


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Vetements: pronounced vet-MAHN is French and simply translated as “clothes.”

Unquestionably there is something fundamentally wrong with the fashion industry and it appears that Vetements is challenging these tiresome conventions. The Design collective brings to light the lack of imagination and consciousness, utter egoism and instant gratification present in the fashion industry today. I have a deeply rooted love hate relationship for this industry and this is why I wanted to understand if Vetements really is challenging these problems.

Since its debut in 2014 Vetements has harshly divided opinions and been at the center of controversy. Everything Demna Gvasalia has done with Vetements has been provocative in a high-fashion sense — rejecting the traditional fashion calendar, casting people on the street, letting them style themselves. The Parisian design collective was founded by eight designers seven of whom remain anonymous, except head designer and public face 34-year-old Demma Gvasalia. Gvasalia’s professional background includes senior design roles at Louis Vuitton and Maison Margiela and now also works as creative director of Balenciaga.

Fashion is no longer driven by creativity but instead by corporate leaders. It’s stale, we repeatedly see the same garments paraded on the catwalks each season, altered by their colour or fabric choice. To many, particularly to those connected to the industry, Vetements represents a refreshing turning point – yet I remain sceptical. It is hard for the brand to have conviction when its leading figure is also involved with one of the longest standing fashion houses – Balenciaga.

Vetement’s low-brow aesthetic and extravagant price point makes it an easy target for skeptics. Whilst it is intended to look so incredibly blasé, so effortlessly cool, I believe it can be regarded as the exact opposite. Most famously they’ve used brands such as DHL to create T-shirt which retailed at a price tag of £185 whilst an identical T-shirt for £4.50 could be bought directly from the DHL Website. These T-shirts resemble something your dad was given as a freebie but now might only wear around the house. It is clear that they haven’t picked brand at random, instead they’ve carefully thought about something to evoke a feeling of ironic indifference.

It would appear the logo mania trend of the naughtiest is back. Yet whilst the earlier exclusive trend became a mechanism to denote prosperity and statues, it soon became an aesthetic trope in itself. It appears Vetements is redefining luxury with its attention-grabbing visual statement. Unlike the ostentatious symbolism used by brands before Vetements injects humour- a relatively unknown concept to fashion.

DHL’s bold yellow and red branding is recognized globally and has the grit of a working uniform. They have subverted something incredibly ordinary and given it and extraordinary twist. But Perhaps the ultimate irony is that there is almost no twist at all. The brand has done little to differentiate the original T-shirt from their own. I see it as a validation where the price tag seemingly justifies the garment. These garments are embraced and accepted which affirms the brands ideas of individuality and inclusivity. This raises an important issue for me that we depend on the industry elite to dictate to us what is ‘in.’

Vetements appears to opt for forced ugliness Gvasalia Has also said: “It’s ugly, that’s why we like it.” This aesthetic is very anti-fashion and seemingly sets itself apart from the crowd. It relies on repulsing mainstream tastes to create a feeling of exclusivity, an illusion that ordinary people “don’t get it.” I don’t believe it can be rewarded with the hype surrounding it. It’s not avant-garde, because it reactionary and contrarian and ultimately defined by the mainstream.
It is nothing out of the ordinary for fashion to not conform to conventional ideals of what clothing should look like yet with Vetements it raises interesting questions about their intent as they evoke a feeling of inclusivity representing the broad spectrum of sub-cultures appropriating their style yet selling it for astronomical prices. This is nothing new to fashion Vetements can be seemingly challenging and rejecting traditional standards of beauty.

This idea of incorporating logos into their work is nothing new. Pop Artists such as Andy Warhol used pop culture symbols in his paintings. Vetements is not doing anything radically new. The use of brand usually has a strong anti-corporate rebellion but DHL seems far too ordinary. Yet perhaps this is the statement they are trying to make, the ultimate portrayal of the ordinary challenges the unattainable glamour imposed by the traditional haute couture houses. I think the hype surrounding Vetements speaks more about how dull the industry is right now than the brand itself. But I think it’s such a cheap-and-easy grab for attention with grotesquely over the top clothing. It seems that they’re all novelty no substance.

Ultimately what makes the collective both interesting and infuriating is that it says something we already know— that the most exciting fashion is created by everyday people, on the street, being themselves. And then it takes that sentiment and distorts it with eccentric colours, crazy poses and absurd shapes, which makes it high-fashion again and this is nothing new to high-fashion. Yet I do think it communicates something very crucial about social identity and excepting everyone in society.

One thing that is overlooked at Vetements is the technical complexity that goes into their garments. Many of their garments are up cycled vintage garments which I think should earn them a lot more praise. For example their reconstructed Levi Jeans were made with two separate pairs which have been offset at the hem to give the illusion that they are sliding away. Other garments like the shirts that have been stitched together back-to-back are equally as impressive.

To conclude it is hard to see that Vetements are challenging the transient faddishness – the fixation of disposable novelty. Is it changing the game or is it just the latest fad? There is a relentless desire for the new and next and I believe this is fundamental what’s wrong with fashion. It’s infuriating and ultimately fashion industry really needs to slow down.

Community to change the system


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dave Hakkens creates machines to recycle plastic. The concept Precious Plastic is that everywhere, everybody can build themselves these machines and recycle their plastics. For me, the most interesting point in this concept is the community around it. He says

“To start up an idea is a powerful tool to use these days. A designer is able to bring people together by just sharing an idea or a potential solution.”

 

Dave Hakkens and his projects are accessible in two points.

Most of his design projects are often provides with open-source instruction videos and blueprints, so it is presenting as a do it yourself project. You can inform yourself, make your own machine or your design object, share on social network, and use it. Make and use these projects is to be active to change the system, and be a designer as well.

Furthermore, he is very active on social networks. On YouTube (with 122 000 followers), he often published videos to clearly explain his projects, how to make it etc. But also he has a certain way of life that you can clearly see in his videos called Story Hopper.

or an other link:  here.

If I had the opportunity to talk to Dave, I would ask him if he thinks that in addition to this solution to reduce plastics wastes we also must have to adopt a minimalist and zero waste attitude. For me, the series Story Hopper highlights this way of thinking because he gives advice on how to consume and act more responsibly. These videos fit perfectly with the sharing of opinions and go further with the ideas that he wants to present. He offers more than just designers content while playing with the border of social network influencers.

Also on his website, you can find the forum where you can talk with people around the world. It’s nice to see all these people who said « I want to recycle plastics but I don’t know where or how to start » Finally I understood that in this big community, some other little communities are created to make projects easier. On the topic, someone answer: « try to find people, and build an association or something with many people to reduce costs!»

 

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V3 Exhibition during the Dutch Design Week

 

I am wondering how this concept can grow and evolve in the rest of the world. Are social media enough to share his ideas? The definition of the word community by the Oxford dictionary is: the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common“. 

Dave Hakkens and his projects are accessible for those who know him and who share the same interests. Plastic machines were at first introduced in a museum as an exhibition because Dave Hakkens is at first a designer. So a certain public is interested to see it and in this kind of place, it does not have the same purpose. It is difficult to apply something that you just saw in a museum. You can maybe just except to have a discussion but not really a revolution. What effect would he have if he presents his project in a hardware store? The visitors of both places are different and they are mostly not looking for the same interest. So I am wondering about the accessibility if Dave wants that everyone can build those machines and change the system. For me, to imagine the Precious Plastic project in a context more realistic like the hardware store allows more an action than a proposition that we can not touch and allows a wider impact on the population.

 

I discovered the work of Dave Hakkens thanks to my sculpture class at the Rietveld Academie. Indeed, some students were able to create two of his plastic machines: the injection and the extrusion machine. I spoke with one of these students and she gave me an interesting reflection: « He says that everyone can build those machines, it works for us because we are in art school, so we have all the materials needed and we always can find a way to be creative with the plastic machine, but I am not sure it’s the same in poorer countries, because it has a cost and maybe they did not hear about the Precious Plastic project».

It was quite complicated for students to build these plastic machines because some pieces were difficult to find, expensive, and a lot of detours at the metal workshop were needed. Finally, it took 6 months to complete the injection machine and the extrusion machine is still in construction.

 

 

PLASTIC MACHINE             Injection
Injection machine in the Rietveld (Left beginning of the construction, Right the electronics part has been added)

 

Dave Hakkens went in 2015 to Ghana for research to help the poorest countries to access the construction of plastic machines. As we could experiment at the Rietveld, this needs a lot of resources (internet or specific stores to buy the pieces) and money. But this visit to Ghana shows us that even recycling machines can be an option and it is not necessary to have money. They found machines which are made to press the juice out of fruits which are very similar to the extrusion machine, in this way they were able to reuse these machines as an extrusion machine with a little bit of do-it-yourself.  Also just a few weeks ago, he shipped a big container to the Maldives to clean ocean. However, the help of Dave Hakkens is still necessary to implement these solutions at first. Then, after his visit to Ghana, the local population can be more aware and autonomous to recycle plastic.

The fact that Dave Hakkens brings container is important because “the risk” of this way of building plastic machines is to build them for a personal use or very restrained, as the weekend handyman in his garage. Containers, places of many workshops to recycle plastics, can expand the utilization and bring a lot of people to work together. Indeed, it can not be an activity in its own right, but it should really be part of our way of life and as we can not spend our time recycling plastic. We may wonder if this community of active people is enough? What about the big industries? 

In fact, there is a start-up called The Plastik Bank which collaborates with the big industries. Plastic waste that invades the poorer regions of the world is collected by local people and then sold to companies that recycle it. But in the end, Dave Hakkens gives the opportunity to communities to create something with plastic, be autonomous in the research and win money (if they decide to) as part of the process. It is really like building something new, maybe a new society.

 

To say goodbye one more very interesting article on other people who tried to find solutions for plastic wastes. 

Results of day-to-day technology and modern media.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

An introduction to: Forensic Architecture. 
Forensic Architecture (FA) is a research based agency located at Goldsmith’s university, London. It undertakes advanced architectural and media research on behalf on international prosecutors, human rights organizations and political and environmental justice groups. It refers to the production and presentation of architectural evidence – buildings and larger environments and their media representations.

As contemporary conflicts increasingly occur in dense urbanized areas, homes and neighborhoods become targets. Casualties come to be in cities, buildings and the ‘safety’ of their own home. Nowadays, thanks to this multimedia era, urban battlegrounds are overflowing with information and data shared to social media platforms. Many violations, undertaken within cities and buildings, are now caught on camera and are made available almost instantly. The premise of FA is that analyzing IHL and HR violations must involve modelling dynamic events as they unfold in space and time and creating navigable 3D models of environments undergoing conflict, as well as the creation of filmic animations, and interactive cartographics on the urban or architectural scale.

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These techniques allow FA to create precise, convincing and accessible information that could be crucial for the pursuit of accountability. Architectural analysis is also important because it enables new insights in context of urban conflicts.

The widespread possession of cheap digital recording equipment, the development of satellite communication, the public availability of remote sensing technology and the ability to communicate and diffuse information instantaneously through the internet have made urban conflict more complex, but also generate enormous amounts of data that can be used as potential resources for monitoring. However, these transformations also lead to secondary conflict about interpretation that takes place on news and social media websites. The establishment of new forums of international jurisdiction mean that also contemporary forums themselves become dense media environments. In them screen-to-screen interaction replaces face-to-face deliberation. The combined process of the urbanization and mediatization of war makes FA an urgent and indispensable practice for human rights investigations. FA seeks to respond to these challenges by developing new modes of media research and new modes of media presentation for urban and architectural environments.

 

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Results of day-to-day technology and modern media. 

Nowadays our lives are filled and dependent on electronic devices, and with that I don’t mean ‘the ones that keep you breathing in the hospital’. It is the smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart watches and what not, that makes that we can function in modern society. Because of it we can keep up with the ever-changing world on a speed that we have never seen before. Now it is a very contemporary debate if this is a positive development, many pointing out the negative. From a subjective and personal point of view I would have to place myself on negative end of the spectrum as well, seeing the unfavorable short and long term effects. Finding out about FA was because of that very thought-provoking.
I will open up a research project that compares positive and negative aspects of modern media and technology use in the present-day.
I will introduce this research through a series of set examples.

 

Generation Selfie

First of all, a negative side to the rise of social media is the deteriorating self image and esteem of essentially Generation Z and the Millennial’s.  Quoting scientist Clarissa Silva:

“Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism and decreased social skills. As a Behavioral Scientist, I wonder what causes this paradox? The narratives we share and portray on social media are all positive and celebratory. It’s a hybridized digital version of “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Meaning for some, sometimes it appears everyone you know is in great relationships, taking 5-star vacations and living your dream life. However, what is shared across our social networks only broadcasts the positive aspects of our lives-the highlight reels.”

The idea of saving and sharing the highlights of our lives has been a long past introduced concept, think about the photography albums your parents made of you and themselves. But in this new form of doing so, we are constantly bombarded with other’s excitements and achievements in life as well. From the envy and hate- love relationships we hold with our online society grows a competition with a non-existent finish line. Seeing photos and videos of your ‘friend’s’ beautiful holiday destinations, their new set of clothing and perfect life is just a start. The image we have our own appearance decreases drastically, not only as an indirect result of the examples shown above, but also the obsessive behavior around beauty.

It has been part of mankind that the vision on beauty evolves over time and differs from culture to culture, but the coming of social networks has changed the game thoroughly. We can change our DNA online to look like what we see as perfect. Setting impossible goals for ourselves in real life, which makes it less interesting to ‘live’ there.

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Here is a link to an ongoing social media based project using Instagram as publishing base and inspiration input.

 

Panoptical Society

“He who is subjected to a field of visibility and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection”

A quote from Michel Foucault about ‘Discipline and Punishment’ and his theory of the panopticon, referring to an experimental laboratory of power in which behavior could be modified, he viewed it as a symbol of the disciplinary society of surveillance. Jeremy Bentham proposed the panopticon as a circular building with an observation tower in the center of an open space surrounded by an outer wall. This wall would contain cells for occupants. This design would increase security by facilitating more effective surveillance. Residing within cells flooded with light, occupants would be readily distinguishable and visible to an official invisibly positioned in the central tower. Conversely, occupants would be invisible to each other, with concrete walls dividing their cells. Due to the bright lighting emitted from the watch tower, occupants would not be able to tell if and when they are being watched, making discipline a passive rather than an active action. Strangely, the cell-mates act in matters as if they are being watched, though they cannot be certain eyes are actually on them. There is a type of invisible discipline that reigns through the prison, for each prisoner self-regulates himself in fear that someone is watching their every move.

 

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Cross section drawing of how the prison is structured.

 

Nowadays we can question till what extent our privacy is legitimate. Especially in the western world where conspiracy theorists can not stop about ‘big brother’ and the never ending evolutionary steps in technology which make registering everyone’s smallest move and collecting this data easier. Still to be a fully functional in the society we shaped we require the illusion of privacy. It allows us to be fully human. This illusive quality of privacy is not something of the past decade, it goes back to the Hebrew bible. Consider beautiful Bathsheba, who strips for a bath in the second Book of Samuel, an ancient text, only to come under the lustful gaze of King David, pacing on his palace rooftop. Or Hamlet, whose private conversation with his mother is overheard by Polonius, hiding behind the drapes.

 

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Bathsheba at her bath, by Jean de Troy (1750)

Hamlet Kills Polonius

Hamlet killing Polonius, by Leonard de Selva (ca. 1980)

 

This enormous growth of ways to document humanities slightest movements with or without their full realization is not lacking a reason. Governments worldwide are gathering data about their civilians, justifying it by telling us it is for our protection. Like possible terror attack prevention. But why would they need your WhatsApp messages? A connection to your webcam? And access to private files? Princeton computer-science professor Edward Felten explained that simply because it’s cheaper and easier than trying to figure out what to take and what to ignore. “If storage is free but analysts’ time is costly, then the cost-minimizing strategy is to record everything and sort it out later,” Felten noted. Ofcourse this is questionable as well. And we have reason to be suspicious, we all know how classified and mysterious the higher working powers can be. Cases like Edward Snowden’s make us aware of the ambiguity of the top authorities. Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA, left the US in late May after leaking to the media details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by American intelligence. Mr Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, faces espionage charges over his actions.

This being a very contemporary topic, artists (as they tend to do) have taken a liking in the subject as well. At the Sonic Acts: The Noise Of Being exhibition in February 2017, I saw the work of Zack Blas called Facial Weaponization Suite. It showed several masks hanging on the wall and a video explaining the cause. He calls is a protest against biometric facial recognition and the inequalities these technologies propagate. This mask, the Fag Face Mask, generated from the biometric facial data of many queer men’s faces, is a response to scientific studies that link determining sexual orientation through rapid facial recognition techniques. With this work he makes us question ourselves how much autonomy, privilege, power and privacy we let them take away from us. Or have they taken it all already, and is what is left just an illusion?

 

 

Is there anything to rely on?


Thursday, November 30, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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A waste of fashion


Thursday, November 30, 2017

It was probably about a year ago that I passed by my friend while she was making a rug out of old clothes, when I asked her why, she explained to me that there is an overabundance of textiles in the world. She told me about how this is actually starting to become a problem, so she was trying to find a new purpose for left over textiles or old clothes. (Re-purposing textiles is an old technique but maybe growing into necessity.) The overabundance of textiles was an issue that never really occurred to me before but immediately caught my attention because it’s so obvious if you think about it. 

The attitude that people have towards clothing has changed, fashion trends move quick, every year there are new collections from every brand, stores are filled monthly, or even weekly and we all buy into it. The average person buys 60% more garments that last half a year compared to fifteen years ago. The way of production has changed as well, the materials are cheaper and made not to last very long. Next to that the production has inflated massively, according to Greenpeace the production has doubled from the year 2000 to 2014 and the number of garments exceeded 100 billion by 2014. A lot of clothes that are being made don’t even make it to the shops, they were made to have enough in stock even though the shops are often overstocked already. The clothes that don’t sell fast go into sale, but 4,2% stays behind after the sale. That doesn’t sound like much but we’re talking about 21,5 million new pieces of clothing, from which 12,3 million pieces get destroyed. They get burned in ovens or shredded because the clothing companies don’t want these clothes to be used or resold. 

Next to the overproduction of the fashion industry, we have our fair share of throwing away textiles as well, the average person throws away about thirty kilos of clothing per year, this is roughly eight trash bags a year, even though 95% of the clothes we chug away is still reusable. Not only the clothes that get thrown away cause problems but donation in some cases as well. The clothes that are donated to charity and can’t get sold in charity shops are shipped off to third world countries. In some of those countries, here it gets sold for so cheap that the local tailors can’t compete anymore and have to go out of business

The waste that the left over and thrown away textile produce is polluting the environment and is practically toxic waste. Since the clothes are produced so cheaply the fabrics are often synthetic and the dyes are toxic. The clothes that get burned release a lot of chemicals in the air. The clothes that get thrown away  often end up in landfills. Since they’re not biodegradable they just keep staggering up, causing an environmental hazard. The textiles chemicals and toxins get absorbed by the soil, polluting both the surface and the ground water. It also releases methane into the air which contributes to global warming.

 

design theory waste 3  design theory waste 2  design theory waste 1

 

So now what do we do? What can we do about this? There might be a few options. One of them is instead of throwing away the old clothes that we’re sick of, or never wear anymore, remake them into something new. This is what for example Viktor and Rolf did for the Boulevard of Broken Dreams collection of 2017. They used pieces and materials of left over material, pieces and damaged items of previous collections. Italian company Marchi & Fildi turns old fabrics, in this case pre-dyed cotton textile scraps that are left over in the fashion companies to make a new recycled yarn, Ecotech. But also the company Evrnu found a way to turn cotton waste into a new fiber, by first turning it into a pulp. With these approaches cotton waste is being saved and a new durable material is created for fashion designers to work with.

I noticed that after doing more research on how polluting the fashion industry actually is, it changed the way I look at certain things, I started experimenting with making new clothes out of the ones I didn’t want anymore and working with the small pieces that get leftover in the process (inspired by for example the Japanese Boro technique). It saves quite some money to buy less and think responsibly about the clothes you don’t want. Instead of just throwing it in the bin, bringing it to secondhand shops or even selling it is way more profitable for yourself and the environment. This problem is so severe and almost everyone contributes to it without even thinking. The fashion industry is now the second most polluting industry in the world, right after the oil industry. So I hope you will remember this information the next time you’re doubting whether or not to buy that shirt so we can all take small steps towards a solution for this waste of fashion.


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