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"society" Tag


Can we control our Nature ?


Saturday, February 9, 2019

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  Next Nature is a book designed by Mieke Gerritzen and edited by Koert van Mensvoort, Mieke Gerritzen and Michiel Schwarz. it was published in 2005. The design of this book is really interesting, not so much because of the paper chosen, the format of the pages or the functionality, but more because of the choices made on color, as well as the fonts and basically the whole visual identity, that is closely linked to the raised subject. The relation between text and image is really particular and intense with a lot of repetitions for example. This is not the only book designed by Mieke Gerritzen that goes with this kind of designs. Her work as a designer and artist is a study of the image culture, in relation to technologies and all kinds of digital medias. She also designed other books such as mobile minded for example, “A booklet about the mobile world of quotes, essays, statistics and factoids, all reflecting the very young state of wireless thinking”, is said on the website, showing that there is still a relation to technologies.

 

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Her website transcribes this idea quite well with a lot of of images, fonts and projects coming to your eyes as you open the page. It even gets you lost a little bit.

 

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Koert Van Mensvoort, artist, philosoph and scientist, and one of the editors of  Next Nature, made a few conferences to talk about what is next nature. At a certain point, he draws a graphic comparing the things that were born and that we control (genetically modified fruits for example), those who were born but that we don’t control (the sun), and then does the same with the things we created : a car is controlled by us but a computer virus not for example.
In the end, he proposes that we think of nature as a nature caused by us : next nature.

 

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The idea of next nature and the designs, visuals that join it, are present a lot on the internet. On many pages you find a lot of content with a crazy amount of informations, different elements mixed together, images repeated or put there without any explanation.  This is something that you find in the book, on the first pages already. When you open the book, the first two pages are heavy repetitions of photographs of dogs and of a font « next nature ».  This kind of designs came, in a way, with the explosion of internet , and of a new digital era, following different artistic domains. For example, codeine/purple trippy visuals or videoclips mostly came with new rapers such as yung lean for example, with his music « ginseng Strip 2002 » . The video came out in 2013, but contains a lot of references to things that were popular in 2002. A lot of music artists consider this video clip as a revolution because of the raping style that is slower, along with the instrumental, but also the visuals for the video clip, and the outfit he’s wearing. For a lot of people, this is at the origin of a whole fashion/music trend that has been really popular the past years. In his videoclip « Hurt », you find a lot of visuals that are old computer/digital styled, often absurd and colorful, really similar to the book’s visuals.

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The interesting thing is that this book next nature came out in 2005, but in 2005 only 9 % of the world population was using internet while now it’s 55.1 %, knowing that we are also more on earth. So, this kind of visuals were a lot less common in these days. The title next nature was actually more than accurate because it anticipated a lot of things.

As i said earlier, the content of the book is a lot about new technologies and medias, and so is  focused on modern society, in a way : « in this world it is perhaps fitting that we can now – thanks again to our technologies – also manipulate the images of nature ». Most of the images chosen in the book are symbols you find in big cities or famous logos remade with different colors, like the apple logo made as a pear for example. Even the use of pop culture images (Nike P.18 ; Coca cola P. 30) is recurrent.

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You can see that one of the main topic of the book is the consumer society, something also present on internet with  “memes”, on social medias for example. It is humor, of course, but often about technologies, politics or the actuality, so it’s still an analysis of the modern society, even most of the time a criticism, in it’s own way. In the book, they’re almost using these modern society symbols as a lifestyle, a way to use social medias, to wear clothes, to talk, to write, to listen to music. This kind of designs take the side of accepting and amplifying the fact that we are over exposed to a big quantity of information nowadays. It’s like if they were ironically trying to like this society. For example, P.113, the supermarket is compared to a neighborhood, because it has everything : theater, a club… « The supermarket […] as lifestyle ». This crazy quantity of information is translated by the fact that each page is really different : some fonts or colors come back in the book sometimes but the display of the elements, or backgrounds, is always changing.

 

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Mieke Gerritzen also published a book called : « everyone is a designer in the age of social media ». For me, this goes with the idea that us, the spectators, can now take a major role in the visual identity of objects, ideas and that by sharing it, liking it, we actively chose the way we treat the information we receive and have a role in what our designs look like. It also goes with the idea that nowadays, we, as humans, are designing our nature, the next nature.

 

 

 

 

1 : Front cover of the book Next nature

2 : Front/back cover of the book mobile minded

3 : Screenshot from Mieke Gerritzen

4 : Image taken from the facebook/instagram page virtual experience : https://www.facebook.com/virtualexperiences.net/

5 : Screenshot from the video clip of Yung Lean – Hurt, on youtube.

6 : Image from the book Next Nature

7 : Image from the book Next nature

8 : Cover of the book Everyone is a designer in the age of social media

 

https://miekegerritzen.com/books/

https://www.nextnature.net/2006/07/save-our-next-nature-buy-the-pocket/

https://miekegerritzen.com/vision/

https://miekegerritzen.com/exploding-the-world-of-graphic-design/

https://www.facebook.com/virtualexperiences.net/

Koert Mensvoort: Next Nature. design by Mieke Gerritzen, Rietveld library number: 754.2 nex 1

Utopian…


Monday, October 24, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Weaving through the paradoxes and dilemmas in protesting


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

After clicking around this Designblog, I came across the post about Caroline Lindo’s thesis work ”The Surface of Protest”. The post is called ”Creating Destruction” which i find quite an intriguing contradiction. In her thesis project Caroline Lindo is investigating the meaning of protesting, different ways of doing so and which meaning they each imply. She essentially aims at answering the question: ”What is the most efficient – yet morally just – way of protesting?”

I would indeed like to know the answer to this question.

Lindo is directly relating the rules and structures of society and economics to the craft of weaving which apparently is also quit a rigid system (written in the attached PDF). Lindo tells us of have the warp (the amount of lengthwise yarns, that are held in tension within a frame, for threads to go under and over), within the art of weaving, has symbolized the basic structure of living which humans have to accept. The weft (the thread or yarn pulled through the warp) represents all the choices and decisions humans make for themselves in life.

 

Skærmbillede 2014-04-09 kl. 10.45.10

 

I find this symbolism quite moving.

To me it seems that with this as the background, Lindo is reconsidering which weft to take, instead of using the one given to her by society. Can you even make a protest using the ”weft” given to you by society or do you have to cut all of these threads and come up with new ones yourself? Will anything constructive aspire from this? Is it hypocrisy to use the tread – the means, structure, environment given by society – in making protest? Or is it not? These are all questions she is investigating  throughout her thesis.

As a research field she attended Occupy Amsterdam, which went worldwide in 2008 as a reaction on the financial crisis. She is studying the way of protesting through the tent-cities, which occurred during the same events. I always find it quite striking whenever someone manages to making such an abstract theme tangible, as Lindo does.

 

ON SOCIETY


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

 

 

Emma Bienfait* and Sophie Wartenbergh talking together on the subject of Society

 

Each project that students initiate, makes them into temporary experts on given topics. Art & Design schools then become knowledge hubs where different expertise cross fertilize. By looking at what types of research students engage in, Designresearch and UnBornLab organized a 'workshop' to investigate design matters from a students' perspective.

Through a series of short video's students from both the Foundation Year and the DesignLab department share ideas, focusing on the temporary expertise gained as part of their projects, rather than the outcome. The workshop was articulated around one of their given assignments. Students were asked to develop a specific object or context to help focus or explain content.

The format is clear: two persons, discussions, filmed from above.
the space is : two stools and a table.

* Foundation Year

 


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