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"limitation" Tag


Universal Language


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Juli Gudehus is an active German graphic Designer born in 1968. In her book Genesis she made the translations of the Genesis from the Christian Bible or the Torah in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and in a more interesting way, in Pictograms.

Pictograms exist since cave art; they give information by a figurative drawing. It’s a common language that everybody can normally understand.

 

Genesis_1500

 

So this book is really about communication and most of all about universal communication. However, there is a lot of irony in it because the genesis also talks about the Babylon tower or how the humans where divided by god by confounded the language. The book which dignify the actions of god try to neutralize the consequences of his action.

This interesting paradox guide me to different universal languages. I will sum up with all these short discoveries.

First of all Esperanto, it’s an international language talk in 120 different countries. This Utopian idea was born around 1870 from Ludwig Lejzer Zamenhof. Its purpose is to be a second language and a bridge between cultures. This language avoids the risk of loosing cultural identities.

The sign language is another universal language which appeared around the fifth century BC. It’s a body language and manual communication uses at first to exchange information between deaf and mute people. Later it extends in basics exchanges in everyday life. The need to standardize an international sign system was discussed at the first World Deaf Congress in 1951, when the WFD was formed. In 1973 they published a standardized universal vocabulary.

 

International sign language alphabet

After the oral language and the body language the writing language of mathematics was constructed. First of all, you need to know that in each language the words have two components: the “signified”(abstract idea of language) and the “meaning”(concrete form of language). It’s a part of why languages are more difficult to assimilate. However, mathematics only use the “meaning” of the language and its why ambiguity can’t happen. Without these ambiguity mathematics looks like the more clear way of communication. Moreover, you can find mathematics everywhere in our human world: for example it rules the perfect way honeycomb is build or what we are wearing or eating today. And because it constructs our world it must be the universal language of this planet. But after all maybe mathematics is only a projection of humans on their environment. That is why I finally focus my investigations to the extraterrestrial communication or how human trying to communicate with something unknown. I continued this research on the hypothesis that this inter galactic language must be mathematics.

 

measurements

 

In 1974, the mission Pioneer 10 send the message Arecibo some 25 000 light year away. It was a binary message write by Frank Drake an American astronomer and astrophysicist. The binary system represents numeric values using two different symbols: typically 0 (zero) and 1 (one). Binary is what rules our digital world today and used by almost all computers and phones. The final picture of the message give information about the Earth and Humans: numbers,atomic composition of our principals components(as hydrogen or carbon), how our DNA structure looks like, how humans looks like , how tall we are, how many we are and where in the galaxy. Because of this long message distance we didn’t receive an answer yet and there is not a big probability to get one. In fact this operation was more about showing the capabilities of human technologies.

Here is a link to sent your personal binary message.

 

Arecibo

 

Another attempt took place in 1977. Two Voyagers spacecraft took aboard a gold phonograph record disc with 110 pictures of Earth and human life and 1 hour and 30 minutes of sounds and musics. A diagram on the record explained how to use it, partly written in binary arithmetic. The purpose is the same as a message bottle in the ocean but its goal is not anymore to communicate with an extraterrestrial life, it is also a time capsule for the future human generation.

This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.

President Jimmy Carter

voyager-golden-record-images-supermarket-NAIC

 

Cosmic connection is the first TV message for extra terrestrial life. The message is transmitted from Toulouse (France) the 30 September of 2006 during the evening to the star Errai of the constellation Céphée and also on TV. The star is 45 light year from the Earth so we will maybe have an answer on 2096. The originality of the program is that the televiewers could send their own message out of the galaxy. These messages were shown in the same time as the TV show which was about the evolution of extraterrestrial idea from our society. But more than sending a message, this event was about sharing the thoughts of humans on extraterrestrial life.

capture


As all these messages tried to communicate with the outer world, they try to communicate with somebody or something with a capacity of understanding equal or more superior and of course similar with human. If an extraterrestrial life is not build on a mathematical logic, they may have some difficulties to receive and decipher our binary messages. But the hope to unite the nations under a same language is still present: even if the utopian and minor languages such as Esperanto, sign language and mathematics are not becoming complete universal languages. More than 1.8 billion people can more or less speak English. After decades of migrations and globalization, this language is probably the future of the universal language. Even before mathematics.

i see, i see what you don’t see


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Walking into an environment filled up with design items is interesting and tough at the same time. It is interesting to see how the items communicate with their surroundings especially because they were never meant to stand next to each other. Of the many design pieces i liked there was only one which both attracted my attention as well as my imagination.

A piece that is part of the cubic structure collection from 1964 by Jan Slothouber and William Graatsma.

Jan Slothouber and William Graatsma - cubic structure (1964)

Because the plastic material is transparent, the colours are being mixed on the white textile. For a moment i could not recognize if the textile was dyed or not. It was a sort of visual illusion and in the meantime i asked my self why is this soft and kind material locked into a hard plastic box? Is it design or is it art?

jan slothouber

William Graatsma together with Jan Slothouber began to work for the Dutch State Mines (DSM) in the beginning of the 1950′s. Their job was to create and develop packaging, product applications, advertisements and exhibitions, thereby establishing DSM’s corporate image.

cubic constructions p139_515pxcubic constructions p205_515pxcubic constructions p203_515px

They experimented with cubic constructions, developing them for applications in exhibition design such as the 1958 World Exhibition in Brussels. They limited themselves and decided to use almost only the cube as form or starting point, thus they tried to determine the principle of cubic constructions.

cubic constructions p158-159_1000px

Jan Slothouber was opposed to individualistic movements such as the painters of Cobra, and preferred a more ‘democratic’ artistic form, whereby the cube was the universal shape that everybody could understand and use. In fact he was an architect, he believed and practiced what Louis Sullivan [x] said in an article in 1896; “form ever follows function“.

Slothouber and Graatsma went on to found the Centre for Cubic Constructions (CCC). In 1966, CCC won the Sikkens Prize (jointly with Peter Struycken [x] and Johannes Itten [x]), for their innovative contributions to art and design. Their approach to commercial exhibition design earned for Slothouber and Graatsma an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in 1967. Design, dimensions and experiments in colour and lettering, all in relation to the cube, were being displayed under the title ‘Four Sides: Size, Shape, Colour, Letter’ (Vierkanten: maat, vorm, kleur, letter). Three years later, they represented the Netherlands with their Cubic Constructions at the Venice Biennale in 1970 (GRA Library).

cubic constructions p408_515pxcubic constructions p409_515pxcubic constructions p407_515px

After all this success, they were known by the public as artists instead of architects or designers. This became very visible when they were asked to design the post stamps for the former PTT in 1970. The profit from selling the stamps went to a charity for children. During that time, the PTT had a lot of critique for choosing such an “avant-garde artists”. The charity was afraid that the designs were to abstract for the bigger public and the stamps would not have been sold.

ccc_postzegels_515px

After his carreer at the DSM, in 1970, Eindhoven’s Technische Hogeschool invited Jan Slothouber to set up a Faculty of Form Theory in the new architectural engineering department. Together with his students, he developed ‘new cubic constructions’ (nieuwe kubiese konstrukties).

As professor of the new faculty he gave several lectures on a regular base. In 1971 one of his public lectures was “The form of our surroundings“, where he explains that our surrounding is built up by creatures, objects and happenings, and they are visible because of their shape. Our surrounding exist, because we see, experience, think or execute it, but everybody experiences it differently, because everybody’s awareness of the surrounding is different.

Therefor we are unable to talk about it as something common, it is only an apparent similarity because we perceive these shapes the same way, but it doesn’t mean we experience them on the same way. Sensory observations like sight is measurable, but our personal emotions change the result. Our feeling can influence our perception of the surrounding and that is why our surrounding can occur differently for everybody. The emotional perception is highly underestimated in architectural design, only invisible form aspects can be experienced. But for pleasure both (visible and invisible) form aspects are important.

Furthermore he explains the importance of the usefulness in our surrounding, whereby he mentions that the architect has to distance himself from artistic ambitions. These ambitions make the livability dissimilar for every levels of society. The best thing to do is to create an understandable form language, a base for our communication with the constructed surrounding. Human perception should be the priority of design. To achieve this, we need to cooperate with science, technology and art.

The object i have chosen was a result of a series packaging whereby he experimented with different materials inside the cube. The relation between the materials and the transparent, sometimes colored, plastic cube. His research has been shown in the Stedelijk Museum and the Venice Biennale, so what is this object? Art or design? Is it important?

Slothouber has done a lot of different things in the past so it is difficult to say where this object could be categorized. His design research has been shown on art exhibitions and his designs has been criticized as too ‘avant-garde’ art. He is erasing boundaries between design, architecture and art. The object I have chosen, the object where my all research started, is not just design, architecture or an artwork. it all comes together in that piece.

Jan Slothouber was an admired teacher, although it wasn’t always clear for his students if he was totally crazy or a genius. One of his students was John Körmeling. In his work the influence of Slothouber is highly visible. They both share the similarity of outlook on the erasure of boundaries between design, architecture and art.

video of the rotating house in Tilburg by John Kormeling

 


everything is relative,
even cubic regularity.
many things are true
and few are certain.
form is only a means,
just like cubic construction.
important is the aim
that finds expression by it.
an idea can be made visible
by the shape of a construction.
reconstruction of the idea however
is often a difficult task.
we beg your pardon
for our cloudiness.
we hope you will discover yet
the aim of cubic constructions.

– a cubic construction compendium, 1970

 


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