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"Wijdeveld" Tag

chaos and order, architecture and linguistics

Monday, April 14, 2014




I found the blog post “Chaos and Order” when I was looking at different tags on the design blog. I thought the tag and title “Chaos and order” seemed interesting and I started to read the blog-post.
The text is based on the Dutch architect and graphic designer Hendrik Wijdeveld’s exhibition ” To plan the impossible” [x].

Henk Wiljdeveld had a romantic viewpoint with a focus on nature and the universe in his utopian architecture. His project “Chaos and order” [x] was a proposal for an alternative expansion of Amsterdam. He wanted to protect Amsterdam from chaos from Randstad. In his plan Amsterdam as a perfect star shaped city with green surroundings from the city centre to the edge. He was searching for an universal model of urbanisation.

The blog-post “Chaos and order” starts with:

“Chaos and order in its most extreme form can be used as a formula for practically everything. From the beginning of time to the death of universe.”

” Chaos and Order” also refers to the Saussurean constructionist’s who believe that you cannot understand a word until you are aware of its opposite. To understand order you need a understanding of chaos. Saussure is the father of modern structural linguistics and he means that meaning is constructed by the use of the language. It is not fixed. Saussure divides the sign in the categories, the signifier and the signified. The signifier is the actual word or sign while the Signified is our idea of the concept.

A lot of focus in the blog-post is on the Universe and life/death in relation to order and chaos. To grasp this huge questions is not simple and I tried to relate the idea of chaos and order on myself.

If you see “order and chaos” from a personal perspective chaos and order are essential elements of daily life. It is impossible to have order everywhere. Chaos is somehow always present. It is as if you are just able to focus on order for some elements of your life at the same time. When you focus on one part and create an order other parts will be in a state of chaos. A very literal example is an article I read about that it exists two types of people the type who is spending a lot of time on cleaning and therefore can find everything fast and the type that is living in chaos but does spend a lot of time looking for things. Both types are spending the same amount of time but some are creating order and others do search in chaos.

The Landscape of Weaving Posters

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hendrikus Theodorus Wijdeveld is a well-known architect and artist. He started his independent architectural life from 1913. During that time, Wijdeveld was one of the members of  ’Architecture et Amicitia’ which consisted of young architects. They played an important role in art, architecture and design in The Netherlands. H. Th. Wijdeveld was not only active in architecture, he was also engaged in interior design, typography and graphic design. Being inspired and influenced by architect Cuypers’s neo Gothic style, H. Th. Wijdeveld combined art-deco, typography and architecture into a publication, a stage for artists which I will introduce in following paragraph. He traveled to other countries and created an international network with other artists, therefore, the cultural movements in other countries significantly connected with his works. It made his creative life considerably various and versatile.

W.M. Dudok, Wendingen cover No.8, 1924 -•- De Stijl Magazine No.7, 1917

Between 1918 to 1932, this art group wanted to create a platform to discuss contemporary architecture and applied arts. They published the specific magazine named “Wendingen”. This poster is one of the covers of magazine. He combined the architecture, typography and decorative art on this cover. “Wendingen” also showed their adoration of decorative art. This magazine was an influential publication juxtaposed with the other one published by De Stijl.


Poster for the first exhibit of works of Frank Lloyd Wright in The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam 1931

I choose this item/poster because i was attracted by its “pattern”. It’s a little bit difficult for me to understand the information of poster. It doesn’t bother me at all. The decorative typesetting associated with architecture reminds me of textiles pattern. I would like to spend some time staring at this “painting” rather than searching information. However, i still can’t comprehend what has been shown on the poster. The combination of typography with architecture is a new language for me. It is the reason i chose this item.

What is the essential point that a poster should possess? Some posters carry only information that viewers can easily record, but viewers experience no more than the information itself. Some posters are shouting out in a visual way. They can attract people’s attention much more, even though the posters are false examples in terms of commercial strategy. The artists and poster designers have been searching for a wider range of possibilities between this objectives since poster art appeared.  This poster “Competition for the League of Nations building, 1927” achieves an interesting balance between sensitive art-deco and sans-serif capitals which are rational reading-friendly.

Tracing back the background of this poster, the development of poster art in the Netherlands was more independent and domestic comparing with other big cites, for example, Paris, Berlin and London. Because of the smaller scale of the society structure, the commerce posters were squeezed in the tiny shop windows on narrowly snaking streets, that viewers should catch at short distance. Jan Toorop’s lithograph below is a good example of that.

Jan Toorop /‘Delft Salad Oil’ 1893 -•- Bart van der Leck, Delfia Vegetable Oil 1919

Comparing with other countries where commercial posters were flourishing and kept appearing, the advertising posters were trapped in the small scale and didn’t leave a significant impact. The artists didn’t regard the poster art as the main art form especially the commercial posters. One reason is because of the Calvinistic background. To some Dutch artists and designers, the art works connecting with ”money” were dirty and sinful. They insisted to stay uncompromising on capitalism and commerce. They opened the other battle field for discussing and made it an art of taken out every materialistic element, simple truly aesthetics. At the same time, because of the faster industrial development, mechanical techniques were created. Some artists and designers combined the simple form and mechanical repetitive words into making a stronger power more shouting. This movement did change some cultural and political posters that artists paid more attention.

Jac. Jongert /Van Nelle 1924

The debate continued when the WW1 started. The Netherlands was neutral and locked behind the front line. The debate became a place in which some artists hided as the safest position, including their works. Although they turned their face back from cruel war, WW1 left an enormous impact that no one in society and economy could escape from. One art group started to organize and wanted to bring a new realm of art to their modern world. The publication they published named “De Stijl”. They carried the part of purify spirit from the past and gave it a more mathematics functional meaning. They also connected with constructivism, creating the harmony of materialism spirit.

Wendingen, 1918

In the same time, 1917, another magazine, called “Wendingen”, was published by Architectura & Amicitia, representing a group of united architect designers and artists who took an important role in Dutch art at that time. They showed their love of Art-deco, combining architecture approach to typography. These two groups formed important movements in the society at that time. During that era, most artists and designers were trying to provide new modern approach to break the previous society pattern.

The “Wendingen-style” which drew part of the art-Deco tradition from the nineteen century seemed old fashion and alienated for public. Digging into the rule of “Wendingen style” that was built up by Hendrikus Theodorus Wijdeveld, we know it created an elaborate composition of angular type as architecture construction with some art nouveau manner called “the Amsterdam School”. Stern rectangle tittles jump out of the ornamental borders with sanserif letters in the rest of the text. Hand-drawn illustration is placed on the edge of the posters. The fusion of old aesthetic and modern innovation, rationality and sensibility, stern and poetry arranges an interesting composition on this one poster.

In my opinion, the influence from Wendingen is not just a “style”, is the open attitude about “fusion”. ‘Wendingen meaning “turns” or “change”, and Wijdeveld became the new review’s editor-in-chief and “art director”. Unlike De Stijl, publication which began almost simultaneously (one week earlier), Wendingen did not publish manifestos or polemics. Without precise manifesto or rule intervening like an army, it broadly contains various subjects, including paintings, sculpture, theater, commerce issue, cultural discussion and vice versa. It gradually became a platform for ‘young artists’. Although the “Wendingen-style” posters still have strict construction and specific gesture, the way they arranged the layout and the type combined, provided the innovative open manner which saved the “old good time” in the same time. No matter how the viewers interpret this typography, in the other way, the posters become a shout with the crunch of rectangle. It’s cultural-cross. For me, the poster shouldn’t only express rational information. It has to represent the clear gesture from artists and provide the flexible space for different interpretation from different audience. We aren’t forced to be filled with the emotion from creators.

Take some Asian posters as example. This Japanese political poster (below) was born from the restless society in 30’s in Japan. They used the language in a way that we couldn’t entirely understand information. The typography becomes a pattern that shows the atmosphere itself. I can feel this shouting crossing the gap of culture.

Japan Proletarian Artists Fed. 1929 -•- Hiroshige Utagawa, Shinohashi Bridge 1857

The painting above (right) is a famous landscape painting from 1857. the frame is a poem, becoming a decorative border.  Keeping us far with the frame make us more calm, as an outside observer, than left one. The poem works not just because of meaning, but because  its position.

Alphabet from Paul Schuitema 1967 / Koichi Sato, Tama Art Universit 2007

another nice video of designer Paul Schuitema

Look at later eastern typographical poster and western typography above. I could see the influence from the era of Wendingen and De Stijl still has lots to do with it. The influence is not only shown in a visual way, but also in the manner. When a poster is entirely composed of words, the way they arrange the title has lots to do with the function and emotion. Words express the meaning themselves and feeling and the composition expresses feeling at the same time. It considerably provided “typing” with a chance to break the boundary. The posters above values the clear information and decorative element which give us a flexible space for interpretation. We know the event and can “feel” what they are thinking about at the same time.

In my opinion, it is also an important reason for why this poster from Hendrikus Wijdeveld becomes an annotation of Dutch poster art development and the significant step for transforming the meaning of the poster. It’s manner still influences later poster design till nowadays.

15 miles into the andromeda strain

Thursday, May 31, 2012



Hey Hole!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The project I singled out from the NAI treasure collection is called 15 MILES INTO THE EARTH by Hendrik Wijdeveld.

Wijdeveld situated his 1944 design for an international geological research centre in a shaft in the earth at a depth of 15 miles. Designed during the harsh winter of 1944 and 1945 at the tail end of the Second World War when food and supplies were scarce, this project is a plea for international collaboration and for putting science and technology to a peaceful use. At that point in time, little was known of the earth’s deeper strata. Wijdeveld foresaw new discoveries, an ‘uranium age’. At the same time, the project is a ‘world theater’. With a ritual scene taking place at the base of the shaft, he depicts the world coming into being as the primordial force of nature and man’s creative power collide in an explosive display of energy.

Hendricus Theodorus Wijdeveld (1885-1987) considers himself as director with the world as a total theatre, a stage for his designs: he is architect, editor-in-chief, and typographer of the journal ‘Wendingen’, as well as a designer of books, theatrical stage sets and costumes, furniture and utensils. The most famous example is the huge People’s Theatre in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam in the shape of an enormous vagina, the national park Amsterdam-Zandvoort, a number of enormous high-rise projects and “Plan the Impossible”, like this extraordinary proposal dating from 1944, involving boring a 25 kilometre deep shaft deep into the earth, and a plan to hem in the existing city with a ring of towers. The towers would not only act as dramatic landmarks but would set a resolute boundary to urban growth. He took advantage of his experience in theater design to stage a new landscape and evoke collective experiences.
Several architects such as Brandon Mosley, Rick Gooding and Douglas Darden have based their utopias in the underground. The novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne digs into the depths of the prehistory of the globe. Furthermore many modern and contemporary artists worked with the concept of the hole, in primis Anish Kapoor seems to be almost obsessed by it.

hole (hõ?) noun 1. opening into or through a thing 2. hollow place, as a pit or cave (a deep place in a body of water; trout holes) 3. underground habitation, burrow 4. flaw, fault 5. the shallow cup into which the ball is played in golf; a part of a golf course from the tee to the putting green 6. shabby or dingy place 7. awkward position. [middle English, from old English hol (from neuter of hol, adjective, hollow) & holh; Old High German hol, adjective, hollow and perhaps to Old English helan, to conceal; first known use: before 12th century] 1. I have a hole in my sock 2. He fixed the hole in the roof 3. There is a mouse hole in the wall 4. The dog dug a deep hole 5. Her putt rolled right into the hole 6. She made a birdie on the seventh hole 7. The course has 18 hole synonims perforation; gap; flaw; weakness; burrow; aperture; orifice antonyms bulge, camber, convexity, jut, projection, protrusion, protuberance rhymes with hole bole, boll, bowl, coal, cole, dole, droll, foal, goal, knoll, Kohl, kohl, mole, ole, pole, poll, prole, role, roll, scroll [...]

‘A hole?’ the rock chewer grunted. ‘No, not a hole,’ said the will-o’-the-wisp despairingly. ‘A hole, after all, is something. This is nothing at all’. (Ende)

Holes are an interesting case-study for ontologists and epistemologists. Naive, untutored descriptions of the world treat holes as objects of reference, on a par with ordinary material objects. Hole representations – no matter whether veridical – appear to be commonplace in human cognition. Not only do people have the impression of seeing holes; they also form a corresponding concept, which is normally lexicalised as a noun in ordinary languages. Some languages even discriminate different types of hole, distinguishing e.g. between inner cavities and see-through perforations. Moreover, data from developmental psychology confirm that infants are able to perceive, count, and track holes just as easily as they perceive, count, and track paradigm material objects such as cookies and tins. These facts do not prove that holes and material objects are on equal psychological footing, let alone on equal metaphysical footing. But they indicate that the concept of a hole is of significant salience in the common-sense picture of the world, specifically of the spatio-temporal world. If holes are entities of a kind, then, they appear to be spatio-temporal particulars, like cookies and tins and unlike numbers or moral values. They appear to have a determinate shape, a size, and a location. (‘These things have birthplaces and histories. They can change, and things can happen to them’, Hofstadter & Dennett) On the other hand, if holes are particulars, then they are sui generis particulars. For holes appear to be immaterial – they seem to be made of nothing, if anything is.
For example: 1. It is difficult to explain how holes can in fact be perceived. If perception is grounded on causation, as Locke urged, and if causality has to do with materiality, then immaterial bodies cannot be the source of any causal flow. So a causal theory of perception would not apply to holes. Our impression of perceiving holes would then be a sort of systematic illusion, on pain of rejecting causal accounts of perception. (On the other hand, if one accepts that absences can be causally efficacious, then a causal account could maintain that we truly perceive holes) 2. It is difficult to specify identity criteria for holes – more difficult than for ordinary material objects. Being immaterial, we cannot account for the identity of a hole via the identity of any constituting stuff. But neither can we rely on the identity conditions of its material “host” (the stuff around the hole), for we can imagine changing the host, partly or wholly, without affecting the hole. And we cannot rely on the identity conditions of its “guest” (the stuff inside it), for it would seem that we can empty a hole of whatever might partially or fully occupy it and leave the hole intact.3. It is difficult to assess the explanatory relevance of holes. Arguably, whenever a physical interaction can be explained by appeal to the concept of a hole, a matching explanation can be offered invoking only material objects and their properties. (That water flowed out of the bucket is explained by a number of facts about water fluidity, combined with an accurate account of the physical and geometric conditions of the bucket.) Aren’t these latter explanations enough? Further problems arise from the ambiguous status of holes in figure-ground displays. Thus, for example, though it appears that the shape of holes can be recognized by humans as accurately as the shape of ordinary objects, the area visually enclosed by a hole typically belongs to the background of the host, and there is evidence to the effect that background regions are not represented as having shapes. So what would the shape of a hole be, if any?

These difficulties – along with some form of horror vacui – may lead a philosopher to favor ontological parsimony over naive realism about holes.
A number of options are available: [A] One could hold that holes do not exist at all, arguing that all truths about holes boil down to truths about holed objects. This calls for a systematic way of paraphrasing every hole-committing sentence by means of a sentence that does not refer to or quantify over holes. For instance, the phrase ‘There is a hole in…’ can be treated as a mere grammatical variant of the shape predicate ‘… is holed’, or of the predicate ‘… has a hole-surrounding part’. (Challenge: Can a language be envisaged that contains all the necessary predicates? Can every hole-referring noun-phrase be de-nominalized? Compare: ‘The hole in the tooth was smaller than the dentist’s finest probe’) [B] One could hold that holes do exist, but they are not the immaterial entities they seem to be: they are, like anything else, material beings, which is to say qualified portions of space-time. There would be nothing peculiar about such portions as opposed to any others that we would not normally think of as being occupied by ordinary material objects, just as there would be nothing more problematic, in principle, in determining under what conditions a certain portion counts as a hole than there is in determining under what conditions it counts as a dog, a statue, or whatnot. (What if there were truly unqualified portions of space-time, in this or some other possible world? Would there be truly immaterial entities inhabiting such portions, and would holes be among them?) [C] One could also hold that holes are ordinary material beings: they are neither more nor less than superficial parts of what, on the naive view, are their material hosts. For every hole there is a hole-surround; for every hole-surround there is a hole. On this conception, the hole-surround is the hole. (Challenge: This calls for an account of the altered meaning of certain predicates or prepositions. What would ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ mean? What would it mean to ‘enlarge’ a hole?) [D] Alternatively, one could hold that holes are “negative” parts of their material hosts. On this account, a donut would be a sort of hybrid mereological aggregate – the mereological sum of a positive pie together with the negative bit in the middle. (Again, this calls for an account of the altered meaning of certain modes of speech. For instance, making a hole would amount to adding a part, and changing an object to get rid of a hole would mean to remove a part, contrary to ordinary usage.) [E] Yet another possibility is to treat holes as “disturbances” of some sort. On this view, a hole is to be found in some object (its “medium”) in the same sense in which a knot may be found in a rope or a wrinkle in a carpet. (The metaphysical status of such entities, however, calls for refinements.)
On the other hand, the possibility remains of taking holes at face value. Any such effort would have to account to the effect that holes are sui generis, immaterial particulars – but also for a number of additional peculiarities. Among others: [a] Holes are localized at – but not identical with – regions of space. (Holes can move, as happens anytime you move a piece of Emmenthal cheese; regions of space cannot.) [b] Holes are ontologically parasitic: they are always in something else and cannot exist in isolation. (‘There is no such thing as a hole by itself’) [c] Holes are fillable. (You don’t destroy a hole by filling it up. You don’t create a new hole by removing the filling.) [d] Holes are mereologically structured. (They have parts and can bear part-whole relations to one another, though not to their hosts.) [e] Holes are topologically assorted. (Superficial hollows are distinguished from internal cavities; straight perforations are distinguished from knotted tunnels.) Holes are puzzling creatures.
Black Holes appear to be the origin of the Universe, and vaginas the cradle of life.

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