Skip to Content Skip to Search Go to Top Navigation Go to Side Menu


"education" Category


If I was a chess set ???


Thursday, April 25, 2019

 While at the exhibition “Netherlands <=> Bauhaus”, I decided to take a closer look at a chess set [x] by Josef Hartwig [x], barely knowing anything about either chess or Josef Hartwig.
Reaching the end of the basic year has made me think about how I have developed so far in my practice, way of living, and my way of seeing and making things. For this reason I will use the Bauhaus chess set designed in 1922 and observe to what extent it relates to me as a Rietveld Student.

 

  First of all, a few pieces of information about Josef Hartwig: he was the head of the sculpture department at the Bauhaus, invited by Walter Gropius between 1921 and 1925. He was also a member of the NSDAP during the reign of the Nazi regime in Germany. It is hard to find any specific information about his actual role in the Nazi party, but his association with the 3rd Reich already shows a gap between the Rietveld of today and the old Bauhaus. Today it seems unthinkable to have, within the academy, someone so close minded and rigid controlling all aspects of students’ education.

 

             But while looking deeper into chess, I realized that it is one of the oldest games that is still around today. Appearing in India during the 7th century, reaching Europe during the 9th and receiving it’s most modern rules in the 19th century, chess is much more than just a game. Due to the fact that it has been around for such a long time it has had a lasting impact on the society it lives within. It has been used throughout history to confront the human capacity for logic, at first among themselves, later against human created computers. It’s not only a source of entertainment, it also gives us a metaphor for complicated and abstract ideas. On this basis I assume that it will give me a clear illustration of the mindset and the philosophy of Bauhaus.

 

 

« ..from artists to computer scientists and theologians to politicians, it pushes them, who in turn push us. It allows us to better understand ourselves and the world we live in. »

« “Chess helps you to concentrate, improve your logic. It teaches you to play by the rules and take responsibility for your actions, how to problem solve in an uncertain environment.” – Garry Kasparov, a world chess champion

The specific feature of Hartwig’s chess set is that each pieces tells you how you can maneuver them on the grid. With their characteristic Bauhaus style shapes; made of cubes, cylinders and balls. By handling them and not knowing how to move each pieces, with a bit of imagination and logic we should be able to understand how and where they can move in their closed environment.

 

        It is a direct image of the Bauhaus education system itself, which base can be found in the basic year ;

– the pawn could be the drawing skills. It opens your game, it’s the base of your development, bu not the most important pieces. By moving it you gives space to the other elements.
– the knight, the bishop, the rooks and the horses can be related to deeper disciplines such as sculpture design, and other medias and mediums. It gives you the ability to create a more complex strategy, all the movement options are exponentially increasing. You get more creativity in the making of your game.
– the queen and the king could represent your capacities as student, those are the most important pieces of the game, they have the biggest impacts even if by using only them you can’t do much.

In my eyes this is a way of development that traveled from Bauhaus to Rietveld. Creating your future moves, depending on your past and taking in account the present.

       As a basic year student that’s where I feel I am at the moment. Figuring out how I can play, how I can use the pieces I have and how to shape the new ones. Even though I realize there’s a lot of similarities between Bauhaus and Rietveld I’m also glad to see a big evolution.

       For me the chess set of Hartwig, couldn’t represent legitimately the current situation, it is, in a way outdated. The Bauhaus set shares the same base but with important differences in its further characteristics.
There’s no grid here, you can move your pieces everywhere. If a grid there is, it’s not made of 8X8 squares, and it’s not flat anymore, you can play on different levels create your grid with different levels.

 

 

chess board and pieces by Ivor Dabadie

 

  Also you shape your own pieces. With different materials and shapes that don’t necessarily tells you what to do by handling them. You need to figure this on your own with some imagination and a bit of helps of course.
Josef’s chess set, his main work is visually strong and practical. Everything is ordered perfectly in the small box, the pieces and the grid are precisely made to fit it. My set is in a bigger box where you have space to put more pieces and games.

 

 

Finally an opponent is crucial as the aim is also to understand each other’s ways of playing.

 

The diversity of a stable object


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

     As a student of arts and design and, at the moment, about to reach the end of the first year – I found myself trying to understand my progress and development process as a student- considering all the different situations and stages I have been through this last year in relation to the school.

     Characterised by strong rhythm and diversity, the basic year forced me to be extremely versatile.

     Creativity and quick response led me to places where I had never been before and although I was very confused in the beginning, I can now understand the interconnection of all the proposals from the school and how my reaction to them should be constantly evaluated in order to keep developing as a student.

     As so, confrontation becomes incredibly important to get to know myself and, under pressure, the behavior of my body had many times to overcome the speed of thought, which means, that it was necessary to act without thinking innumerable times – which resulted in a completely different way of perception on my own work. This practice, of course, has greatly influenced my method of creation and helps when it comes to try to have an overall view on the last period of my life- which I will be doing meanwhile writing this essay.

    From this very small and summarised description of the last months as a student of an art academy I ask you to take some words that will help you to follow my thoughts throughout the essay:

  • Rhythm;
  • Diversity;
  • Versatile;
  • Creativity;
  • Interconnection;
  • Confrontation;
  • Development;
  • Behaviour of the body;
  • Method.

These words, for me, interrelate the three points I want to focus and connect: Art academies; me as a student and school furniture design. But lets start from the very beginning.

     Art as an educational practice emerged in the 16th century in Italy, and has since evolved in many directions. Artistic teaching has been constantly changing and responsible for the emergence and development of multiple movements and new artistic practices that grow from the urge of the artists and and the society. As so, methods used in art schools have been transformed side by side with the whole society and its needs. 

     Throughout all these years many academies have been important for the development of various names that have become part of world history. Thus, certainly, the school where each one of them studied, had a great impact in their own artistic practice. Aiming for the same to happen to me, when I decided to study arts, I promised myself that I would try to find a place that would truly satisfy my needs and where the thought that moves the school would meet my own way of thinking.

     The academies have become places where learning is fundamental but, over time, the way the disciplines are taught to the students is in constant transformation- what results in a huge variation of methods used in artistic teaching.

Therefore, my task of finding the place where I wanted to develop my practice as a potential artist had to be even more cautious and I had to get to know as much as I could about the schools to which I could apply without studying there.

     After much research, I ended up leaving my home country, Portugal, in search of something that seemed appropriate to me and I ended up enrolling in the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in search of a more adapted teaching to my ideas and to my way of producing.

     Surrounded by different ways of thinking and materializing ideas, I was immediately enthusiastic about the reality that surrounded me. The contemporaneity and versatility of the teaching of each one of the teachers has proven the ideas that I brought with me from Portugal. It is very important to have the school as a safe space where all ideas are respected; Where the concept is valued and experimentation has no limits. The unlimited access to the workshops gives creativity to the students and the consideration of the creation process by the teachers and colleagues makes me believe in several methodologies that open up a huge range of possibilities to each project that I develop.

     While considering all this I realized how similar the school I was studying was to one of the most important schools in the art and design history which I always had as a great example of education techniques: the Bauhaus.So there has grown an even greater interest for this fascinating school. Now, living even closer to where everything happened geographically, I have managed to get more and more acquainted with its history.

     After some research, I have come to understand that the way the Bauhaus developed and educated its students was more than a teaching method. It is perhaps a method of production and creation that is directly related to one’s own method of living.

     Honestly, I find it striking how schools like the one I attend and the Bauhaus consider the curriculum of the degrees, and as time goes on we have more and more evidences of the positive influence that this way of teaching has- somewhat minimal, where “less” is believed to enable a much interesting creation. I would like you to take into account the last sentence- “Less is believed to enable a very interesting creation”

 

 

     While researching about the schools of art education and my perception of them. I began to notice a very important element: school furniture. That both the Bauhaus and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie plays a very important role – maybe because of its relationship with design practices. Considering those academies as a space where an incredible relationship develops daily: between the building and its interior; the objects; and  the people that share this space of discovery and experimentation.

     The interaction turns out to be very relevant in the day-to-day of those who frequent this place. The distribution / organization of space among all those who occupy it is extremely relevant and certainly influences all activities that take place in the school environment, from pedagogical to playful.

     Historically, there are several objects that are part of the artistic school environment and that, thanks to its constant presence, a certain language between human being and object is developed. As I wandered through the corridors of my school, I realised that each student has its own body language, just like every person and that we all physically get involved with what surrounds us.


Cafeteria after lunch, Bauhaus, Dessau 1930-2, photo: Iwao Yamawaki, Tate UK

     The same happens in relation to pieces of furniture. Without realizing it, the chairs where we sit become part of our position while we are seated, or an easel can become part of our body while we paint – its triangular shape where the frame is supported, often serves as support for the painter. I myself have noticed that many times I paint I find moving in different angles thanks to the support given by the easel. And, together (me and the easel), support the fluid movements of my arm that moves the brush.

     Due to the introduction of this new theme – school furniture design. It is impossible not to go back to the Bauhaus, a school where numerous pieces of furniture were developed and included in the school itself. When I went to the exhibition “Netherlands Bauhaus – pioneers of a new world” at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, I found several photographs with many of the most famous pieces by Bauhaus students, such as Marcel Breuer’s stool but, and I realized how furniture captures my attention by the way it is designed and it interacts with the space. But, throughout the exhibition, there was one piece that captured my attention, the Ulm stool by Max Bill.

“Function means the relation of one thing to another. (…) When we speak about fulfilling a function, we are talking about producing something to fulfill a need. “;

“By function I therefore understand a relation, for example the relation between material and form.” – Said Max Bill.

     Having the designer’s words as a starting point I would like to take advantage of the functionality of his piece – which fascinates me – and directly compare it to my relationship with the school that I attend because, incredibly, while appreciating the stool in the museum Boijmans Van Beuningen I felt that, somehow, its structure was very close to mine, as a student of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

     Physical characteristics of the piece:

– The stool is made up of 4 pieces that when fitted create a volume of varied functionality. The joint of the different parts is extremely well design;

– The simplicity of the geometry allows the interconnection of all parts and a joint strong enough to handle a weight;

– The stool has 3 almost identical parts that form the seat and a tube that allows support and transport.

     In a metaphorical way, I associate this description with my goals as a student. Every day I try to find solutions for my assignments through maximum simplicity; I try to be as organised as possible so I do not get lost in my own thoughts and, to ensure that each of these thoughts results in something material. In order to develop my production process. In each of the projects that I do in school I seek the interconnection with the others projects- always trying to notice the small things where they might be similar and, therefore, I have discovered many personal characteristics – mainly in relation to the way I work and how I shape my thinking. By considering and evaluating my own works I manage to find myself a little bit more every day.

 

     Functionality of the piece:

  • One of the strongest features of the Ulm stool is its versatility in functionality.

The joining of four simple pieces results in a simple object that can be used as a bench, as a desk and as a shelf and can still be transported very easily.

     In relation to my own experience this versatility can be found in a lot of aspects. The Gerrit Rietveld Academie is a place where its diversity promotes an open space where a lot is possible. Even if the departments work in separate ways there are links in between that make the school work as one and everyone is free to participate and to take the best out of everything that the school offers, from people to workshops.

From such freedom I experienced a lot of different results from each student, including myself.  It is this versatility that I try to find in my posture as a student because I believe that it will certainly result in a practicality and ability to solve any problem that I will increase my creativity and for sure be one of the most important lessons I will take with me from my years as an art student.

 

     At this point, where I can relate the characteristics of a design piece with my own performance as a student. I consider my research finished.

After all and by becoming better acquainted with the reality of art academies and their direct relationship with what is produced in them. I believe that writing this essay resulted in a very personal development – It led me to conclusions about how I interact with the space around me and how this influences my results and it also made me pay more attention to the results themselves so that, later, perhaps, I might be able to assume that I know myself.

 

Art School or Art Factory?


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

protest poster of rietveld students

The students and teachers of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie are outraged. Protest have broken out the talks of a strike are becoming harder and harder to deny. After a leaked email from the heads of the Rietveld Academie strongly suggesting what many student already suspected, the school is using the students as unpaid workers. There have been talks between students and some teachers for a couple of months about this development which by many is described as criminal and not from this time, anno 2019. The school is under investigation as we speak to see if the way the school has been treating the students is really unethical and it could result in a high fee for the school, the heads of the school are facing jail time and there are even talks about a complete shutdown of the school.

The Gerrit Rietveld Academie is known to be pretty closed off for the public. They don’t have to adhere to certain rules that other higher education institutes have to, like the fact that they don’t have work with a point system. Also does the school not work with professional educators, but with artist, although this is with common other art schools as well. This is so they say, art schools, to stimulate the student in there education in the arts. Being around real artist will help them think and work in ways educator could not. All this makes the school a hard institute to keep an eye on. Many question arise now if this way of educating should be allowed after the news broke.

I saw many of your new pottery yesterday. They’re almost all single pieces and it would be wrong if we wouldn’t find a way to make the really good work that is in the pieces not accessible for a bigger audience.”

“We need to find a way to reproduce some of the works with machines.”

These are some quotes that caused the outrage among the students and some teachers. The students are being used by the school as unpaid designers, if you ask the students themselves. ‘We pay the school a higher tuition fee than other school in the Netherlands and then your own school uses you and your hard work, to sell themselves and our designs to the public. Where is all this money going to. Why am I even in school. I could apparently just start for myself,’ says Maria Sløthja a graduate student for the DesignLab department. Second year ceramics student, Frank Trebull adds;’It is like we are student athletes, but then like student designers.’ Teachers are also not pleased hearing this news, basic-year sculpture teacher Laurie Nagette has this to say;’ We cannot forget that we’re an education institute, that should be our main focus, educating the students. We shouldn’t try to make money off on them, that’s wrong.’

How the email was leaked is unclear, but there is a conjecture that one of the heads of the academy leaked it. The mail in question was send to all the heads of the school. But the remarks were made by Stijn van Kleinheest, Chairman of board of Directors. The authorities are investigating him closely, and the school has put him on inactive indefinitely.

The academy is also facing a complete shutdown, which comes with an even bigger outrage from the students. Especially among the graduate student the outrage of the shutdown was the biggest. They are in danger of not being able to graduate in that state. The academy is trying to figure a way out to prevent this from happening. They also have a problem with accepting new students for the coming year. They are considering not accepting any new students at all next year, but the admission has already started. And what to do with the rest of the students that already are studying in the academy. These are real problems the school has to face and find a solution for. For now they do not seem to have any. The teachers are also in fear of losing their jobs, for many this job is something they do next to being an artist, however for others it is there only source of income. Working at the academy is a steady pay, with is hard to find when you are in the world of arts.

Everything is One: Building


Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Bauhaus manifesto published in 1919 outlines basic traits of the school. Headed with the Lyonel Feininger Cathedral (Kathedrale), the reader faces three stars shining above the turrets of the fictional basilica.

Lionel Feininger, Kathedrale, 1919, Cover of the Bauhaus Manifesto.
Programme of the Bauhaus. 

The three stars are said to represent the main three elements of painting, architecture and sculpture. All of which fall under the main concept of ‘building’. The Bauhaus was dreamt up upon a basis of creatives coming together, in alliance. To build work in an evolving space, a cathedral of mucky boldness, master among student, declaring craftsmanship and building as the basis of all learning.

Bauhaus itself is a blend of the word ‘to build’ and ‘house’. It takes semantic place as a ‘building house’. Now we can see the offspring of the school stretching from Berlin to Chicago, Pittsburgh and the Netherlands. Amsterdam is home to the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, which too was birthed from the wave of Bauhausian teachers and students left itching to scatter and inform after the original disbanded.

The school, mostly founded on modernist[1] design still has it’s reverberations. Is it just names that live on? Is the branding of Gerrit Rietveld, the only thing that links us to it’s educational model origins? Or is there still a cry of modernist education professing ‘building and making’ over all students?

It occurs that in the postmodern[2] world, the act of ‘building’ is seemingly scattered. Questioned theoretically. Few are painters, sculptors or architects now. Monogamous artists are perhaps becoming a thing of the past, steadily becoming toast along with craft in art. Perhaps we aren’t building physical practices anymore – emerging in the form of degree courses like ‘Autonomous Sculpture’ surfacing at the Rietveld, a subject so loose – almost transient. The focus here is on concept, as opposed to physicality.

The original Bauhaus manifesto is not something that presents a package of transience, but one of definitive action – “Architects, sculptors, painters—we must all turn to the crafts. … The artist is an exalted artisan.” The stress is on doing. Less on thinking.

The question I would like to pose is ‘what really happened during this rework?’ In the move from modernity to postmodernity, the focus has changed. Does this mean compromise? The change has happened in many forms, yet using the policy and attitudes towards ‘building’ in the two schools, we can evaluate them on a level playing field.

In my personal day to day experiences of the school, I have never been encouraged to ‘build something’. However, I have been encouraged to think reflectively, as if constructing something from thought. Within Itten’s original preliminary base course structure, the idea of elementarization[3] of basic artistic means plays a large part. I question wether this is still relevant with postmodernity. Elementarization was a method of finding the core of things. That could be related to shape, colour, and formal elements much better than thoughts, concept or theories. Deconstruction of colour, according to Itten’s book ‘The Elements of Colour’, allows you to provide “general rules and laws of colour, yet also relate it to subjective opinion”. Elementarization is a bid to find the root of something, the truth in which the experience lies. However, within a postmodern (Rietveld) structure, ‘truth’ itself is something shied away from. Instead of trying to find ‘the truth about colour (or making)’, we are left trying to find ‘the truth about thinking’, left ‘thinking about thinking’.

It is important to mention that even just through the existence of the Basic Year, and the formation of classes, teachers and subjects, it is apparent that the Rietveld does honour the idea of a ‘good education’, over a ‘bad one’. They have, after all  applied this structure to the course based on reason and pedagogy[4] study (or so I would assume). Thus, the structure must be based on certain means that deem it useful or good to us as students. This leads me to believe that there is indeed a right and a wrong way to educate young artists. In other words, there is a true art education to be obtained. In the Gropius manifesto of 1919, ‘What is Architecture’, this truth lies in “architecture, painting and sculpture”. But the world today demands a wider spectrum of conversation. I personally think that it is more than okay to dedicate oneself to finding a real trade, or becoming the master of something, as opposed to a jack of all trades.

I can see both sides of the story in so much that The Rietveld has to keep up to date with the process’ of the current art world, but coming from a somewhat dated model. When beginning this essay, I was under the impression that the school was undergoing some kind of identity crisis. Attempting to link themselves to their withering ancestral roots in Bauhaus. I would argue that the link is indeed withering. That can be seen in their policies on ‘making’. It is perhaps more of a historical connection now. In truth, if I wanted to become a master woodworker, I could. But it wouldn’t line up with the philosophy of the school. I have personally received criticism for dedicating myself towards attempting to become a kind of master in one material.

In conclusion, Gropius himself would suggest that the Rietveld needs a re-work if we are to base our education on a Bauhausian model. I think he would suggest that there are no ‘master craftspeople’ being raised up.

The Rietveld Academie has not explicitly chosen to follow the Bauhaus manifesto like some kind of Bible, so, from the perspective of a student studying here now, the school is allowed to deviate from the original blueprints due to societal changes. I personally think it’s great that we aren’t all sold into unpaid labour making zig-zag chairs. Yet, the school should probably analyse its withering links to the past. Just like inevitably a grandson will probably have different interests to his Grandfather. The Rietveld is not in an identity crisis, but slowly developing the ability to keep proud the family name, yet not live in the shadow of it’s ancestry. There will probably be a time, when the Rietveld’s education model will bear no similarity at all with that of the Bauhaus.

 

[1] Modernism(ism) – Modernism refers to a global movement in society and culture that from the early decades of the twentieth century sought a new alignment with the experience and values of modern industrial life. These were often utopian, and modernism was in general associated with ideal visions of human life and society and a belief in progress.

[2] Postmodern(ism) -Postmodernism was a reaction against modernism. While modernism was based on idealism and reason, postmodernism was born of scepticism and a suspicion of reason. It challenged the notion that there are universal certainties or truths.

[3] Elementarization – The reduction of artistic elements to their most basic or original form.

[4] Pedagogy – The method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.

  1. Johannes Itten, The Elements of Color, John Wiley and Sons Inc, Hoboken, 1970
  2. CityLab. (2019). Western Pennsylvania’s Bauhaus Town. [online] Available at: https://www.citylab.com/design/2019/03/bauhaus-pennsylvania-gropius-breuer-aluminum-city-terrace/584485/ [Accessed 20 May 2019].
  3. Moss, C. (2019). 100 years of Bauhaus: Berlin and beyond. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/mar/16/100-years-bauhaus-germany-berlin-weimar-dessau [Accessed 20 May 2019].
  4. The New Bauhaus. (2019). The New Bauhaus. [online] Available at: https://www.thenewbauhaus.com/ [Accessed 20 May 2019].
  5. Gropius, W. (1919). Walter Gropius, Bauhaus Manifesto (1919). [online] Adepratt.weebly.com. Available at: https://adepratt.weebly.com/uploads/3/7/7/1/37716215/bauhaus_-_manifesto__program_statement.pdf [Accessed 20 May 2019]
  6. Bauhaus-imaginista.org. (2019). The Bauhaus Manifesto – Articles – bauhaus imaginista. [online] Available at: http://www.bauhaus-imaginista.org/articles/1771/bauhaus-manifesto-re-cap [Accessed 21 Apr. 2019]
  7. Danchev, D., 2011. 100 Artists’ Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists. (s.n.). p159-p161 (M33 Walter Gropius – What is Architecture? 1919)
  8. Gerrit Rietveld Academie. (2019). Home. [online] Available at: https://rietveldacademie.nl/ [Accessed 20 May 2019]
Nicholas van Pelt

Colorconsequence.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Color consequence.

As a student in the Basicyear at the Rietveld Academie I have started to discover the lack of teachings on the consequence of color. Many of the employees in the Academie I have discussed this matter with has answered (according to my perception of their given answer) that it is not an up-to-date topic. Yet I consider myself aiming at this from a painting perspective, the knowledge of color consequence is important, so it seems, also within the realm of what I define as Design. The Rietveld Academie has been described to me, during my time as a student, as it takes great pride in the use of what could be called ”The Bauhaus” model. Design and Fine arts share the same space with all of the crafts that you can fit into those two realms.  What I have started to investigate has begun to make me realize that there is color consequence to pretty much everything for someone whom has the ability to see, and is therefore of upmost importance as a subject in our education for every department in the Academy.

Johannes Itten mentions in his introduction of the book ”The Elements of Color” a simple example of how important color can be to space,

– ”The mausoleum of Galla Placidia, now at Ravenna, Italy, is dominated by a remarkable colored atmosphere of grey light. This effect is produced by bathing the blue mosaic walls of the interior in an orange light, filtered through narrow windows of orange-tinted alabaster. Orange and blue are complementary colors, the mixing of which yields gray” 1.

He goes on giving examples on how the element of color is used in other scientific professions,

– ”The physicist studies the nature of electromagnetic energy vibrations and particles involved in the phenomena of light, the several origins of color phenomena such as the prismatic dispersion of the white light and the problems of pigmentation. He investigates mixtures of chromatic light, spectra of the elements, frequencies and wave lengths of colored light rays. Measurements and classification of colors are also topics of the physical research.”

“The chemist studies the molecular structure of dyes and pigments, problems of color fastness, vehicles and preparation of synthetic dyes. Color chemistry today embraces an extraordinarily wide field of industrial research and production”.

“The physiologist investigates the various effects of light and colors on our visual apparatus-eye and brain – and their anatomical relationships and functions. Research on light -and dark- adapted vision occupies an important place. The phenomenon of afterimages is another physiological topic”.

“The psychologist is interested in problems of the influence of color radiation on our mind and spirit. Color symbolism, and the subjective perception and discrimination of colors, are important psychological problems. Expressive color effects, what Goethe called the ethic-aesthetic values of colors-likewise fall within the psychologists province.” 1.

It strikes me how color is such a essential part of our visual world that it is crucial to understand how it works, it is a very subjective matter among humans but also between species. If I look to nature I would like to state that the fundamental meaning of color is communication. Communication in the way of understanding what to avoid and not to survive.

After having some time digesting this research, having discussions with students, teachers and people whom are not professionally involved in fine arts and design, I’m starting to change my approach towards color and its consequence, also understand why color does not have the same essential role in our education as it had for the Bauhaus students. The other week my roommate had his father visiting. We were strolling around the center of Haarlem (NL) when we decided to enter The Frans Hals museum. An exhibition suggesting contemporary aspects of Frans Hals work was showing including art works by contemporary artists. One of the main focuses was the color of the walls in the museum rooms. Instead of the normally used white, changing hues of a green/yellow color represented each room. Even if I read this before entering I did not notice how the constant change of hue was effecting our approach towards the exhibition. I was very focused on analyzing the art itself, until my roommates father (my room mate had been in the same over analyzing state as me) suggested that the change of wall color had effected how we criticized the exhibition and it’s art pieces showing. It struck me that I’m so over focused on criticizing artworks that I lose perception of what else is happening around, which might suggest that my overthinking of how I use color based on the old color studies published is only an obstacle and not an asset. During painting classes after this I realized how I produce more balance with color by not thinking about the old color studies but by using my instinct. So after presenting my idea last time in class a short discussion with our design teacher ended up with him stating that our contemporary perception of color and its consequence is a common knowledge based on that the society we grow up and is now posses with a greater awareness, in difference from to what people during Itten’s time learned and experienced. Though Itten also said;

”For the artist, effects are decisive, rather than agents as studied by physics and chemistry. Color effects are in the eye of the beholder. Yet the deepest and truest secrets of color effect are, I know invisible even to the eye, and are beheld by the heart alone. The essential eludes conceptual formulation” 1.

We are observing the world and our reality from our perspective, the person next to you has another perception of reality. We tend to assume that the rest of the people have the same moral, same understanding and same ethics as oneself but when it comes to what is right or wrong, good or bad I would like to think that there are as many truths on this planet as there are humans. One reality for every human. All others, plants and creatures on the planet, experiencing the moment in ways not understandable to humans. This also would mean that there is one perception on color for every human, so in the end it is up to the artist to determine what purpose the colors used fits his or hers reality. Josef Albers writes in his book “Interaction of Color”,

In order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually” 2.

Color study from the book Interaction of Color by Josef Albers. 2.

For a more contemporary (digital) approach towards color please visit “The Color Library” made by Maximage.  Maximage is a Swiss collaborative studio established in 2008 who created a website they call ”The Color Library”. You can also visit the website where it is described how color is used in the Rijksmuseum.

If you have further interest in reading about color please visit some of the other color researches at the designblog, here is also one on surface.

Additionally here is a link to a lecture on Color Theory from YouTube.

 

  1. Johannes Itten, The Elements of Color, John Wiley and Sons Inc, Hoboken, 1970, page 9, 12 and 7.
  2. Josef Albers, Interaction of color 50th anniversary, Yale University Press, London, 2013, page 1.

UNIVERS REVOLVED


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

UNIVERS REVOLVED is a three-dimensional alphabet consisting of 26 letters. It was created by Korean artist Ji Lee as an attempt to challenge and question conventional reading methods. With the Latin alphabet as the starting point Lee revolves the existing letters around themselves in a 360 degree using a 3D modeling program until they become symmetrical ‘objects’ which the user can arrange to form words and sentences readable from left-to-right, right-to-left, top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top, as well as using them to build sculptures, buildings or furniture. His project ‘3-D Chess Board was created to “add an extra dimension of physicality to the game’s battle field.” Lee combines learning with play. On one hand he wants to challenge the linear way in which we perceive and on the other he seeks to add a playful perspective, turning two-dimensional letters into three-dimensional objects which you can build and create with. (More about the importance of play in learning and building is to be found in Johan Huizinga’s book Homo Ludens). Similar to Lee’s 3D alphabet, graphic designer and illustrator Karl Nawrot uses a playful approach too, where “geometrical forms don’t confine themselves to neither the constraints of two dimensional paper nor the responsibility of representing something else”. This can be seen in several of his works and typefaces including the Bauhaus Type 2012 ,  Ghost(s) Writer or Stencils etc.

11one_action

Example of words written with the typeface Universe Revolved

 

Karl Nawrot

Example of work by Karl Nawrot

Lee states that the linearity of reading, which we have adapted to as the reading standard, could be a possible limitation to extend our ability to perceive the world in different ways. While linearity offers a system to ease communication it also leaves out certain aspects for which our brains would be able to convey and interpret in their own ways. Linear means for something to be arranged in a straight, or nearly straight, line; a sequential progress of an order. An arrangement that provides the most ‘logical’ way to read, perceive and understand. Linear goes from A to B, B to C, C to D and so on. However there are plenty of examples of non-linear narratives as well. The early calligrams of Emil Bønnelycke and Guillaume Apollinaire, where written words are placed to form a visual image, to Tarantino movies where the scenes are jumping from one chapter to another and back again, almost resembling a circular structure. Although many mention-worthy novels, films and texts belongs in this category, it seems that linearity is reserved for formal matters whereas the non-linearity belongs to the narratives. And this exactly is what is so interesting about Lee’s Universe Revolved.

It could be that it’s either the linearity of which we learn or the mere lack of three dimensionality in most subjects such as literature, physics and mathematics that is the core problem. And if it’s applicable or not is hard to determine, as the linear methods do provide common ground for us to communicate and understand each other in the first place. Imagine if that was only the first step in the learning curve and that Lee and Huizinga’s ways of combining playing and learning was applied, not instead of, but in extend of this first step. Fora dyslexic or a person with dyscalculia it might be difficult to follow a course of which you have to make a logic sense out of a two-dimensional arrangement of letters or numbers, but if these subsets of alphanumeric had an actual, physical existence too, there would be a change for one to grasp, feel; sense these letters and numbers, not only for their logical purpose but for their potential as well. Take the Danish mega brand Lego for instance. The very name is a hybrid of the phrase ‘Leg Godt’ which translates to ‘Play Well’. The playfulness is incorporated in the very name, and though the various sizes and colors of the lego blocks don’t indicate a specific value, it’s possible for kids (and adults) to construct three-dimensional objects, letters, cities etc. in a way that makes sense for them.

For this research we have both made our separate attempts to interpret the Latin alphabet in a personal way. With tin foil and patience, WooRyun Song has created letters by grabbing and crumbling the foil into small, physical landscapes each one containing a different letter. Due to the chosen material it has reflective paths and shiny hills. When the letter A has been formed, you go to B, C, D until all letters has been given a physical existence. She then unfolded the roll of foil, stretching it slightly until it’s back to its two dimensional form. Using digital techniques, she made the last few steps to create a new font in this project called ‘From Plane to Line, From Line to Plane’, outlining the patterns and letter of the tin foil landscaped.

From-Plane-to-Line_1200       From Plane to Line, From Line to Plane

As for Sidsel Lehn Mehlsen, she used the video game Mine-craft (quite similar to the idea of Lego) to build sculptural letters in a virtual park. Inspired by Lee’s approach she revolved the letters around themselves, but unlike a full 360 degree the letters have only been extracted at 90 degrees angles, forming a cross when seen from above.

Skærmbillede-1_1200 Skærmbillede 2018-05-21 kl. 12.00.44

Skærmbillede 2018-05-21 kl. 11.59.05 Skærmbillede 2018-05-21 kl. 11.58.57

So you like patterns?


Sunday, November 26, 2017

The book I choose to research is called ‘Biogea’ and was written by Michael Serres, and designed by Jason Wagner. Published in 2012 by Univocal Publishing, which Jason Wagner co-created with Drew Burk.
From the design of this book and from other books that Jason Wagner has designed I can see hints of his personality if not that then definitely his direction of interest. The way all the patterns are so precise and clean cut gives me the impression that he has a methodological nature and an obvious love of patterns both simple and complicated, while enjoying a subtle use of colour. As seen in another book designed by Jason Wagner ‘Variations on the Body’, which is also written by Michel Serres.

Variations -Cover

The fact that Jason Wagner is a part of the Univocal means that a critical look at the company can give an insight on the designer and ultimately the design itself.

Univocal Publishing was founded in 2011 as an independent publishing house specializing in small-scale editions and translations of texts spanning the areas of cultural theory, continental philosophy, aesthetics, anthropology and more. Univocal’s books including Biogea combine traditional printmaking techniques with the create evolutions of the digital age and feature letterpress covers designed by Jason Wagner, who demonstrates the technique in a video.

https://youtu.be/qwQSNhor1EQhttp://

Using techniques similar to this the publishing company oversaw the printing and binding of books from 2012 to May 2017, in which it ceased operations and merged with another company. This could seem to fall down to Jason Wagner who is stated to be moving on to pursue other projects.

But why did I choose this book? I decided on this book for a variety of reasons. I enjoyed its’ simple yet complex design containing a neat revolving spiral-like pattern which is placed in the middle of the book and looks pleasing to the eye. The pattern it self drew my gaze as I found it really intriguing as it resonated with my own interest in complex and unique patterns which I like to create.

The plain colours and easygoing layout of the book for me made it feel more approachable. The design it self didn’t take anything away from the content, for sometimes I feel that the cover of a book can sometimes give you false expectations of what it contains. Being misled into buying something based on its looks. This book however balances this nicely I think by not taking anything away from the content but instead relating and highlighting the themes within.

Biogea

The Typography is placed on top of the design and relates to and supports it nicely. Accentuating its colours and giving the book a clean and natural feel. The pattern initially drew my attention to the book, but as I took a closer look I found that the texture around the design on the cover felt good to the hand and gave it a thicker and more solid feel. This impacted on my decision as the pattern and texture subtly blend their delicate qualities together to create a book that i found aesthetically pleasing. While the design since imprinted on a thicker material felt noticeably different making it stand out from other designs and books.

The almost scientific complexity of the simple and delicate design also relates well to the content of the book for it’s a mixture of poetry and science. While also presenting a philosophy that merges the humanities with all creation. This has made Michel Serres “one of the most intriguing thinkers of his age”, and I believe is a reason why Univocal publishing has design and printed most of his books. Because of the authors philosophical and poetic inquiry sings praise of earth and life, and what Michel Serres names singularly as ‘Biogea’. The design relates well to the content as it mixes light fresh colours with an intricate pattern, which gives a natural clean aesthetic relating to some of the topics within the book. Some of the obvious examples being the use of blue in the typography which links with text within. “ Today we have other neighbours, constituents of the Biogea; the sea, my lover; our mother, the Earth, becomes our daughter; this beautiful breeze which inspires the spirit, a spiritual mistress; our light friends, the fresh and flowing waters.

Even though the design itself is quite precise it has a sense of movement to it and gives the book a poetic feel to it, this also relates to the content, as it’s a mixture of poetic statements revolving around natural themes. “In these times when species are disappearing, when catastrophic events such as earthquakes and tsunamis impale the earth” the author wonders if anyone “worries about the death pangs of the rivers”.

The author asks the same question of philosophy “as the humanities increasingly find themselves in need of defenders. Today, all living organisms discover themselves part of the Biogea”. Knowing the content of the book also ends up shaping my view on the design of the cover as the series of lines almost create a shield like swirl or sea creature, protected by the bold strong title Biogea.
 

Biogea, designer: Jason Wagner, Rietveld Library Cat. no: 157.3 ser 3

Chair-making for Dummies


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

“A seperate seat for one person, typically with a back and four legs.”

The result of google-searching what is a chair?

 

Donald Judd started making furniture when he moved with his family to a remote town in Texas in 1973. No desirable furniture available in his surrounding area, he got to work himself and began making furniture with the only material at hand, lumberyard-cut pine.

Judd thought a chair had to show the function of the object, as well as the image. To sit on it, and a chair. Separating his art from his furniture, he decided he wanted to make “well functioning” furniture, not an “artist’s furniture”. Now, in his opinion a “well functioning” was determined by the following;

“The art of a chair is not its resemblance to art, but partly its reasonableness,                                       usefulness and scale as a chair.”                                       (Donald Judd from “It’s Hard to Find a Good Lamp” 1993)

Besides that he pointed out that if one was to embark on both the path of furniture making as well as art, that there will be consistent similarities in the interests in form.

I had the choice between either doing theoretical research or practical, research for the essay. For the sake of my own enjoyment and an end result where I  have heart for, I choose the latter. Making the chair and experiencing it Now, here my task started. Figuring out how to make a “well functioning” chair, and keeping in check with Judd’s minimalist aesthetic. Truth be told I was quite excited!

For more information on Judd and his furniture I have the following link;

 (click the yellow dot to click the link)

Chairs man

 

Step one, gather the materials. 

IMG_5774

For me I wanted to put myself a bit in Judd’s situation. To gather from the materials to my disposal. I could’ve chosen to let wood be custom cut for me, but I liked the idea of having to find pieces among the leftovers a lot better. And so I found the pieces of wood that could be used as the parts of my chair.

 

Step two, measuring. 

22790181_736686986530751_938404995_oIMG_5775-300x225

With this I had to keep in mind design as well as function. The width of seating had to be comfortable, but not look off-balance compared to the rest of the chair. The height of the seating was the same case. As for the back of the chair, I decided to make it about shoulder height when sitting down. This was because I have the tendency to hunch my shoulders too much while working on projects. And honestly, if I was making a chair anyways, why not make one that would function for more than just another chair in the classroom? Why not make one that would help with my posture as well? Same thing for the smaller compartment under the seating, great for storing materials in case my desk gets too crowded.

 

Step three, cutting. 

IMG_5780

Please be careful when cutting the wood! It is easy to forget to adjust the size, and if you cut one piece entirely or even slightly off, you’re a long way from home. Precision is essential with making a chair as simplistic as the ones by Judd. One centimeter off, and the whole work falls apart. Sometimes even literally.

 

Step four, figuring out how Judd even kept his works together. 

This was easily the hardest part. I love the form of Judd’s chairs, but it was quite complicated to figure out how the wooden chairs remained chairs without any visible nails or use of dovetail joint. I was lucky to receive some help by one of the employees of the wood-workshop. She explained to me that I could make little slits within the wood, to then make one on the other piece of wood which would touch it at the same point. A small oval piece of wood would then be put between the two slits and keep them connected. Kind of like a puzzle piece!

 

Step five, actually putting it together. 

IMG_5782IMG_5828

For someone that has the concentration level of a fruit-fly, this task was a challenge. You have to make sure that all the slits connect perfectly, align perfectly, and that the width between the slits and where the wood is supposed the end, are the same on both pieces.

Then, you try it out. Put it together to make sure that every puzzle piece connects. Ensuring you did it correctly through and through.

IMG_5827

 

Step six, keep it together.

IMG_5830IMG_5844

Besides the slits and wooden pieces, you should add glue to keep the chair a chair. Keep pressure on the points where the joints need to be as tight possible, so it can carry the weight of the average person. Preferably a bit more than that.

Let it dry overnight.

 

Step seven, place it within school. 

The reason I did this, was because the assignment I had gotten was to explore the similarities within Judd’s furniture and de Stijl. And as Judd had said, if one makes both art, furniture and architecture at the same time, there will be consistent similarities of form within all of these. And Gerrit Rietveld, influential artist within de Stijl, happened to do two of these.  My chair standing there, I saw their shapes came together quite nicely. The same geometrical forms, same practicality.

Now if you are interested in finding out more about the combination of these two things, de Stijl and Judd, please click the yellow square!

 

 chairio

Step eight, enjoy your work

Sit on it, drag it around to sit on it in different places, store things within the compartment and revel in the fact you actually made something you can use.

I found a few other enjoyable examples of chairs made from things in your surrounding area.

[click the yellow dot , it will lead you to a fun and educational video]

Faux-Amis*


Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Sans titrop

 Learning and being confronted to new languages this year, I noted funny and intersting bridges inbetween languages. These are homonyms or linguistic loans interpreted differently ; nice coincidences, attesting of the different ways that each language deals with its reality. Here I propose to relate English, French, Dutch and even German, according to different homonyms that I was confronted by this year.

Understand what you want
or what you can.

Hier
[bijwoord]

Op deze plaats: van hier tot ginder (of: gunder), van hier

tot Tokio heel ver, heel groot; hier en daar op sommige plaatsen

Hier
[adverb]

1. a.Räumlich; hinweisend; an dieser Stelle, an diesem Ort, an

dem der Sprecher sich befindet oder auf den er hindeutet
b.Bezieht sich auf jemanden, etwas in unmittelbarer Nähe, auf

den bzw. worauf der Sprecher ausdrücklich hinweist
c.zur Verdeutlichung einer Geste, mit der der Sprecher dem

Angeredeten etwas überreicht, erteilt
d.in dem vorliegenden Zusammenhang, Fall, Punkt
2. zu diesem [genannten] Zeitpunkt, in diesem Augenblick

Hier
[adverbe]

(latin heri)
1. Le jour qui précède immédiatement celui où l’on est

(dans  le discours direct).
2. Il y a peu de temps, à une date encore récente ou proche.

Fast
[adverb]

kaum noch von einem bestimmten Zustand, Ergebnis, Ausmaß, einer Anzahl, Größe o.?Ä. entfernt; einer

genannten Angabe ziemlich nahekommend; beinahe, nahezu

Fast
[adjective]

1. Moving or capable of moving at high speed.
2. Predicative or as complement (of a clock or watch) Showing a time ahead of the correct time.
3. Firmly fixed or attached.
4. Photography(of a film) Needing only a short exposure.
5. (of a dye) Not fading in light or when washed.
6. Engaging in or involving activities characterized by excitement, extranvagance, and risk-taking.
7. West Indian (of a person) Prone to act in an unacceptably familiar way.

[verb]
Abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance.

[noun]
An act or period of fasting.

Faste
[nom masculin]

(bas latin fastus, luxe)
Étalage de magnificence, déploiement de tous les signes extérieurs

du luxe : Le faste d’une cérémonie.

Gift
[Substantiv, Neutrum]

In der Natur vorkommender oder künstlich hergestellter Stoff, der nach Eindringen in den Organismus eines Lebewesens eine schädliche, zerstörende, tödliche Wirkung hat (wenn er in einer bestimmten Menge, unter bestimmten Bedingungen einwirkt).

Gift
[noun]

1. A thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.
2. A natural ability or talent. 2A natural ability or talent.

[verb]
Give (something) as a gift, especially formally or as a donation or bequest.

[noun]
Medicine Gamete intrafallopian transfer, a technique for assisting conception by introducing mixed ova and sperm into a fallopian tube.

 

Ziel, das

[Substantiv, Neutrum]

1. (a) Punkt, Ort, bis zu dem jemand kommen will, den jemand erreichen will

(b) Sport Ende einer Wettkampfstrecke (das durch eine Linie, durch Pfosten o.?Ä. markiert ist)

2. etwas, was beim Schießen, Werfen o.?Ä. anvisiert wird, getroffen werden soll

3. etwas, worauf jemandes Handeln, Tun o.?Ä. ganz bewusst gerichtet ist, was jemand als Sinn und Zweck, angestrebtes Ergebnis seines Handelns, Tuns zu erreichen sucht

4. Kaufmannssprache veraltend Zahlungsfrist, -ziel; Termin

 

Ziel

[meervoud: zielen]

1. (de; v(m)) het niet-stoffelijk gedeelte vanwaaruit de mens leeft; (religie) onsterfelijk deel van de mens: ter ziele gaan

(a) sterven;

(b) ophouden te bestaan; God hebbe zijn ziel gezegd van een overledene; met zijn ziel onder zijn arm lopen doelloos en zich vervelend; zich methart en ziel aan iets wijden met zijn hele wezen; iem. op zijn ziel trappen hem krenken, beledigen

2. (de; m,v) persoon, mens: hoe meer zielen hoe meer vreugd hoe meer gasten hoe prettiger; zieltjes winnen bekeerlingen maken

Soul

[noun]

1. The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.

2.  Emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance.

3. The essence or embodiment of a specified quality.

 

Soûl, Soûle

[adjectif]

1. (familier) Qui est ivre, qui a bu avec excès d’une boisson alcoolisée .

2. Qui est pleinement rassasié de quelque chose, qui en a eu au-delà de ses désirs.

3. Qui est grisé, enivré, étourdi.

 

 

* False-Friends

 

The Indefinable Nature of Graphic Design


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book cover

 

In the following essay, an almost complete series of books will be discussed in comparison to each other, regarding the design, layout, and publishing choices that the respected artists/designers or publishers had to face. The books in question (both written and designed by) are: Talks About Money by John Barclay, I Heard They Ripped It Off by Robin Ekemark & Brita Lindvall, 37 Assignments by Indrek Sirkel, Can I Make Everybody Happy? by Dag Brandsæter & Noa Segal, and Our Daily Debates by Nina Støttrup Larsen.
The books in this series enquire into the different fields of graphic design, where the basic understanding of what graphic design actually is seems equivocal. They investigate this lack of definition in the different fields as a means to contribute to an otherwise arbitrary profession. The focus will be on Can I Make Everybody Happy?, which will be used as a base for comparison with the other books of the series.

All books share a similar front cover, namely a white background, with a black stripe of thick spray-paint horizontally across, that sometimes covers the title. If you place the whole series next to each other, you will see that the lines join up, and it looks like one fat line of spray-paint on a white, clean surface. The title is written in a specific font that is used throughout each book differently, including fonts such as Comic Sans for Talks About Money or Courier New for 37 Assignments also seen below. In I Heard They Ripped It Off, Robin Ekemark and Brita Lindvall created a new font for themselves in “an attempt to tell a story from the closest point of a source”.

 

talks-about-money-1

 

 

Can I Make Everybody Happy? designers Dag Brandsæter and Noa Segal had decided to compose the book of emails that had been sent back and forth between colleagues that mostly disagree on plans concerning the graphic design of specific, unknown projects. Ironically however, is that the blurb on the back describes how confrontations by e-mail are prone to make people aggressive and defensive, and that matters are best discussed face to face. This ironic addition to the production of the work coincides with the theme of the series, namely to investigate the miscommunication in the graphic design world.

In comparison to Can I Make Everybody Happy?, the layout in Talks about Money is a similar type of communication. Dialogue is displayed in speech-bubble format, discussing how much graphic designers can sell their work for. There are, like every other book in the series, chapters, which in this case are divided into a logical structure of explanation. Unlike Can I Make Everybody Happy?, the content is a constructive discussion, where graphic designers ask themselves how much they are worth, further accentuation the lack of definition within graphic design. Below is a picture to get an idea.

P1311_5220c3bf4f83a-580x387

In I Heard They Ripped It Off, the chapters are a lot less distinguishable. There are no chapters, as this is a retelling of a story about a specific project, the “Experimental Jetset”. There are divisions sometimes, to make the reader pause for effect, with a blank page. I heard They Ripped It Off seems like a personal encounter with the graphic design choices that have to take place during a project. The retelling of the story in the book feels more personal with this custom scribbled font. 37 Assignments focuses on the variety in 37/100 chosen graphic design assignments over the course of 2002 – 2007 at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, to investigate potential patterns with the projects. To preserve the voice of the teachers, the texts are edited as little as possible: only specific dates are removed to make the assignments timeless and universal. All Assignments are presented anonymously, in an attempt to stress the entire approach of the department not simply the individual assignments. In a way, this book differs from all of the previously discussed, and dives into an almost scientific way of investigating graphic design.

Our Daily Debates is another new approach to investigating the indefinable nature of graphic design. The book is structured like a script, between Nina, Sirkel, and some other colleagues. They joined together to debate about graphic design, their future profession. In a way, this book is similar to I Hear They Ripped It Off, as the wall between reader and writer is once again broken down by the layout choices of the book.

IHEARDTHEYRIPPEDITOFF_853

 

IHEARDTHEYRIPPEDITOFF12_853-1

Subsequently, the series contains a variety of books that each contains their own specific design and content layout, sometimes seeming totally unrelated. However, the indefinable nature of graphic design is thoroughly reflected and investigated upon in these books, due to their contrast in content, difference in font choice, or disparity of the choices made to display the content. Therefore, the series works successfully together as a whole to provide a tangible examination of an indefinable, arbitrary, profession.

 

Can I make everybody happy?: Rietveld library catalog no : 750.1 bra1

I Heard They Ripped It Off: Rietveld library catalog no : 750.1 eke1

Our Daily Debates: Rietveld library catalog no : 750.1 stö 1

37 Assignments: Rietveld library catalog no : 750.1 sir 1

Talks about Money: Rietveld library catalog no : 750.1 bar 1

A performance in n dimensions


Monday, June 16, 2014

In spring 2014 Designblog was invited by the 26th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno (subtitled Education and Schools) to prepare a presentation for their Open OFF Program.
I decided to involve a group of BasicYear students in a research focussed on browsing the blog. The goal was to look for a personal objective and to visualize the browsing behavior it generated.
In an effort to regain more insight in the position of Designblog, we invited Klaas Kuitenbrouwer to lecture on the position of blogs as part of the wide interwoven internet space. A space that turned out to look much flatter than our imagination could have ascribed it.
The lecture later developed into this text supporting "WORDPLAY", our final presentation at the Biennial. No better place than to publish that text as part of the student research project "Browsing Designblog" on the Designblog itself.

Henk Groenendijk : moderator Designblog

 

 

While the screen of the device you are using shows that Designblog has a relevant two-dimensionality to it, this text will take you along perspectives on Designblog from single dimensions to two-and-a-half, three, four and even the ever flexible ndimensions in which Designblog simultaneously exists.

 

Address

http://designblog,rietveldacademie.nl
is an address, a pointer to a location. An address refers to a particular spot, a one-dimensional unit that is typically part of a thing with more dimensions.

An address like this has two kinds of capacities:  one is understood and used by machines, and the other is for humans. In its machinic capacity, designblog.rietveldacademie.nl points to a specific series of states of tiny logical gates, that are part of a memory disk in a server owned by some provider. That’s where Designblog resides in what you could call its latent, purely informational state. In this state Designblog is inaccessible for humans.

The human-facing capacity of the address points to a location on the WorldWideWeb. This address holds particular information on what it points to. In terms of content, it suggests its visitors to relate to what is behind the address as a time-stamped list of musings (a weblog) contextualized in the particular world of meanings known as design. But the address also ties the web location to a place on the physical globe, mobilizing some spatial –geographical- reference frame. It shows the blog is affiliated with an art academy: the Rietveld Academie in The Netherlands.

When a human calls upon that address – when it is clicked by you in this text, for instance – a command is sent to copy a section of that series of logical states from the server through fiber optic cables, through a couple of routers to the computer or phone where the click was performed. The browser on that computer (yours, that would be) than has the specific task and ability to allow that series or logical states to inform the screen of its computer to display what we have come to think of as the front page of Designblog.

 

Page

The ‘page’ is home turf for the graphically oriented. A two dimensional surface, that can passively hold various two-dimensional artifacts in a fixed relation to one another. The page was a helpful metaphor to be able to relate to the strangeness of networked information, as it was performed by snippets of code – a rewarding, but also frustrating metaphor for the graphically oriented: neither is there a real surface, nor is there a fixed two-dimensional relation between any artifact and any other. Still, although the page doesn’t exist anywhere but in your lazy perception, it doesn’t really hurt to think of Designblog as a collection of pages.
But there’s more…

The latent, machinic state is now activated. The address opened its front door, and revealed what performs not only as a page, but also like a place. An online, publicly accessible part of the Rietveld Academy, that indeed has some characteristics of a classroom.

 

Place

A place is an appropriated space. A location with layers of stories, traces of events. A place offers corners, furniture, a means to sit down and be there. A place ties to identity, to individual identities, or group identities. At places, relations become entangled. Anything can talk to who- or whatever also happens to be there. A place is somewhere you can be with your experience, somewhere to orient from. This possibility of being there, (which is different from ‘looking at’) this possible sensation of presence, subtly mobilizes a notion of partiality.

Over its years of existence Designblog has become a place with a deep accreted inside, a vast archive of contributions by Rietveld students: worded observations, found media-items, responses to assignments, to each others contributions, linked to each other, to other addresses on the web, clustered and flagged by tags.

Unlike a classroom, the inside of Designblog is at the same time its outside: the stuff inside is crawled and indexed by the bots of Google, that provide the endless amount of entry points for the querying audience. In this sense Designblog is like a Klein Bottle, an object with two-and-a-half dimensions, of which the outside and the inside are one unbroken surface.

Every corner of Designblog either links to some item in the vast non-dimensionality of the web, or is accessible from it. Things inside Designblog are not even closer to one another than to things accessible through other addresses. Everything  on the web exists at more or less the same distance from everything else. If this is a classroom, it is an extremely open classroom.

 

Space

Designblog has a lot of placeness, but clearly also still has endless space. To call it space pulls the attention to its not yet actualized potential. It brings to the front that whatever it is, it could house a great many future developments, without ever loosing that quality of potential. In the sense that any member of the blog can always open up a new empty page (a sub-address) to fill, Designblog performs as space. But this spaceness, because it is part of the web, has no particular kind of dimensionality to it.

 

Nest

Designblog is a collective, open archive, an accessible history of students’ online work. But to say (like you would say of an archive) that informational artifacts are ‘stored’ there would be misleading. The artifacts are not stored in its structure, they are its structure, as well as its decoration.

Like a birds nest is made of twigs, threads, leaves, wires, found things that are sufficiently twinable, Designblog is made of its twines. Also a nest is a place where one can land and fly off from. A nest is a place that holds up who dwell there, but that does not cover them. A nest offers place, but has no real inside. All that seems to hold for Designblog: as a groups’ nest it offers a place to land, to contribute informational twines to, and to fly off from.

 

Body language

When language deals with space and location, it stubbornly uses the body as implicit reference. The language of spatiality is about here or there, behind or in front, up or down and in or out. The web captured the human imagination through the metaphor of cyberspace. This spatial approach offered important and helpful familiarity, and has made the internet inhabitable, so to speak.

Spatial concepts have played and still play a crucial part in helping people to relate to networked computing. But insisting on spatial notions also fixes the relation between people and the online as a spatial one.

 

Time

And it is through the time-perspective – the fourth dimension– that other Designblog realities reveal themselves. Because the most essential aspects of Designblog are processes.

The emergence of Designblog, (as of all blogs) follows a time line, that would be one-dimensional if it didn’t fold in on itself, and looped to earlier contributions. Twining may be an apt practice by which to perceive the development of Designblog: both making and responding to what’s there, simultaneously creative and reactive.

Time is also the room in which learning takes place – the process of one thing informing another thing, the process of information, the raison d’être of a school.

 

Performing

All agents related to Designblog are engaged in some act of distinctly time-based performance. A performance of a for a particular audience – you.  Some of those acts come down to straightforward, unambiguous execution of tasks, others are more elaborate and creative.

Your computer or phone performs its web browser, for you. The web browser in turn performs the latent code of Designblog to make it active and accessible, again to you.

Designblog performs its fuzzily structured content, never showing more than a glimpse of its vastly twined labyrinthine body. It responds to your clicks by turning a differently dressed little facade, by offering a new shadowy inroad, or by suddenly pointing a spotlight in your eyes.

Members perform the mysterious part of author – transforming found things into new source material. They create independent, informative agents of text or (moving) image, that in their turn perform the act of information on your sense organs.

And the members add tags to their agents, to suggest similarities or difference between their agents to you. These tags perform as frames through which to move with your mind, frames that you put on to shape your perception. Every one of those tags performs like one of n dimensions along which the content of Designblog can be morphed, when you travel along it. Although it is not so much you who travels through Designblog, it is more that Designblog travels through your screen – you stay put, Designblog performs the moves.

But you are not undergoing this passively. You are the last performer, performing the score of Designblog, following the by-roads and sideways. By your clicking you act upon your pseudo-conscious choices about what material is allowed to inform your perception. Your clicks and non-clicks manifest your own perspective in the material of Designblog.

 

Klaas Kuitenbrouwer augustus – september 2014

(written for the occasion of "WORDPLAY", the presentation of the online artefact Designblog at the Graphic Design Biennial in Brno, Czech Republic.)

 

Wendingen as Layout and Form


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

[X]

One of the most immediate impressions one has of a Wendingen publication is of the format. It is ironically a very stout and conventional square shape, while not being a standard Din format. This is obviously a considered format, one which was chosen so as to fulfill a specific requirement. Similarly, once the publication is opened, the considerations of lay-outing the page as well as the type, is as immediate. The shortening of the printed area of the page reverts the visual shape of the page back to a more common rectangular format. The lay-outing of the type too is interesting as it plays along a similar functionality. With colour fields being constructed from smaller sets of shapes aligned together. This back and forth in format and form is something that may be interesting to play with on a digital platform such as a a basic webpage, where format differs from screen to screen, and browser to browser. Although this is fairly standardized, there is some variation. The lay-outing of individual elements in HTML then allows for a chance to reformat the page as desired by the user. While this is in no means a finished or particularly useful webpage, a more playful and relevant investigation into these issues is at least a potentially good starting point.

ON TEMPORARY EXPERTISE


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

 

TemporaryExp1_redu TemporarExp2_redu

 

Temporary Expertise is a workshop by Eugenie deLariviere (Design Academy Master/UnBornLab) and Henk Groenendijk (Professor/Modorator of Designblog) in cooperation with the Department of Design (DesignLab).

 

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 then 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.

This project proves how important the final step of conclusion –finding out what the project is all about– is. Getting rid of the intention and understanding, analyzing what you did

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

all projects: UnBornLab /Temporary Expertise [x]
 

ON DESIGN EDUCATION


Thursday, February 6, 2014

 

The bricks manifesto is a collaborative version
of ‘this is (not) a manifesto’ to bring people together
to discuss their education vision during DDW 2012.9

tumblr_inline_ms8phbzUvw1qz4rgp

 

UnBornLab
Presented at the graduation show of the Design Academy Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week 2013, UnBornLab is a masters project, initiated by Eugenie de Lariviere, looking at design education from a design student’s perspective.

It was important for me to understand education from my own perspective; as a student and a designer.
Mixing both a field research on a local level, and an academic research on a more ‘global level (that is the European level)I felt the need to always bring the theoretical part into practice, by organizing workshops, discussions, lectures, interviews (etc), in order to grasp an understanding of the big notion that is education.

One way to do so was to analyze how the system functions. I was able to get an overview of it by breaking it down into four ‘elements’, which together, represent the main ‘pillars’ forming our schools. These four elements being; community, structure, content and environment, the interactions they have together shapes the different academic institutions we know of.

(For example: Structure = Content implies that if structure makes content, it induces a top-down approach of knowledge, raising the question of knowledge accreditation, knowledge hierarchy, as well as of formal vs. informal knowledge. Whereas Content = Structure implies that if knowledge forms structure it leads to a more bottom up approach of producing and sharing knowledge for example; crowd source and open source systems. The same goes with structure = community vs. community = structure and so on.)

To communicate the concept clearly, I visualized these methods of the ‘four elements’ by quickly sketching them into volumes. It was once again a means of bringing the theory into practice by giving shape to the research. Making it physical also enabled me to reach people who did not feel strongly about the subject.

COMMUNITY-CONTENT_redu CONTENT-COMMUNITY_redu

Community = Content  vs.  Content = Community

 

Following on the idea of ‘rethinking’ education from a student’s perspective, I chose to look further on recent shifts in the relationship between ‘content’ and ‘community’, focusing on students as the bearer of contemporary knowledge.

With the faster availability of information the world is transforming at a greater pace and students are often proven to be quicker to adapt to these changes, may they be social, economical, political (etc). The content they bring in the school, as an addition to the curriculum, comes to show more applicability regarding the world they evolve in. In this process, schools go from being knowledge distributors to becoming intermediate spaces where a dynamic cross-pollination of knowledge happens.

The UnBornLab functions as an experiment to document students’ working processes as the basis for renewing design curricula.
The first step of the project was a blog to bring student’s current research (in this case their thesis topics) outside of schools.

DAE-BLOG

DAE Masters Blog

 

Believing in the importance of students’ self-taught expertise as a school’s temporary knowledge, the idea evolved in the motivation to create a dynamic archive of this knowledge by building a self-generating library of past researches.

Through a series of short video-interviews students present their work, focusing on the research rather than the outcome. Considering students as temporary ‘experts’ of their subjects, the videos can be seen as short introductions on given design topics. One topic leading to another UnBornLab intends to be the start of a dynamic knowledge database of ‘UnBorn’ designers.

UnBornLab_siteS_screenshot

 

THE ALPHABET OF GROUP A


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Alphabet of Group A

The main language we speak in group A is English and mostly the communicating language on this earth, but there’s of course many other languages.

In Group A we have Arubiano, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and South Koreean Nationalitys.

The students name below are in alphabet form that makes it easier and faster to search for the name you attempt to search.
Last name to first name in alphabet form from A to Z

Last name

  1. Arco Johanna
  2. Arnardottir Maria
  3. Barlinckhoff Anne
  4. Chuard Nicolas
  5. Dinther Jessy van
  6. Galama Jorik
  7. Goldbech Rikke
  8. Jang Aram
  9. Kuijl Thi-Lien
  10. Liimatainen Mira
  11. Nagler Floor
  12. Oduber Natasha
  13. Peterson Chelsea
  14. Ryliskyte Agne
  15. Schraven Mari
  16. Sjoerd Schunselaar
  17. Sjøberg Jakob
  18. Vasquez Callo Rodrigo
  19. Westbom Weflo Anton
  20. Zürrer Selina

First name to last name in alphabet form from A to Z
First name
  1. Agne Ryliskyte
  2. Anne Barlinckhoff
  3. Anton Westbom Weflo
  4. Aram Jang
  5. Chelsea Peterson
  6. Floor Nagler
  7. Jakob Sjøberg
  8. Jessy van Dinther
  9. Johanna Arco
  10. Jorik Galama
  11. Mari Schraven
  12. Maria Arnardottir
  13. Mira liimatainen
  14. Natasha Oduber
  15. Nicolas Chuard
  16. Rikke Goldbech
  17. Rodrigo Vasquez Callo
  18. Selina Zürrer
  19. Sjoerd Schunselaar
  20. Thi-Lien Kuijl

download >PARALLEL SCHOOL PUBLICATION


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

“Thus the story of pedagogy is more a story of love than a story of didactic materials”

This publication relates one week of activity among students from different schools and backgrounds who tried to work their way back to the basis of education. This could translate to something as simple as: one person meeting another, sharing and exchanging knowledge in a generous and disinterested way.

As a small entity alongside institutional education, Parallel School tries to explore and question the limitations of the former.

Without any predefined rules aiming to prevent failure or disorder, the participants in the workshop organised themselves as a group united by the goal of creating something together during one week, without knowing each others in advance. The experience can probably be considered “young”, i.e., imperfect and criticisable. Nonetheless, it embodies a common desire for learning without neither geographic boundaries nor hierarchical pressure, allowing for failure, leisure and pleasure to arise. If we shift the focus from the act of teaching to that of sharing, exchange becomes a necessity more than a possibility, and engagement is born out of the assumption of the fundamentally mutable and open character of the roles of teacher and student. Each participant explored his own expectations, initiated an activity trying to teach or to make the others discover something and finally ended by participating in an activity initiated by someone else.
The short time spent on each activity naturally led to more spontaneity and ingenuous curiosity than to a concern with systematicity. In any case, or perhaps exactly because of that, this was definitely an encouraging and motivating work experience through which self-centered interests in education were transformed into a collective and generous process of sharing.”

Parallel School workshop Berlin: 29/06 — 04/07 2010

> Download the publication
> More about the Parallel School Berlin workshop on the Parallel School blog
> this post connects to ‘Parallel Reading


Log in
subscribe