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Archive for April, 2009

What’s In A Name: a Project for Gray Magazine

Saturday, April 18, 2009

On request of Gray Magazine #5 (yearly published on the occasion of Rietveld’s final exams show) 40 students of the Foundation Year, guided by Henk Groenendijk and Tine Melzer, unleashed a two day project to create a new context for a highly varied 20.000 slide images archive. André Klein, now chair of Fine Arts and Sandberg Applied Art Dept, compiled these slides over his 25 year long career of art history teaching.

We could only guess after the motives and meanings that bound these images together in a dynamic process of ever changing contexts and wonder what new context of relation they would have in the eyes and minds of the basicyear students. The uninhibited existence of a ‘democratically’ selected 1000 reproductions, registrations and images was given new meaning through a process of retagging with subjective keywords. In the 2 day process new contexts and connections were created, processes where discovered, and results presented in a physical display of image related tag-lists and monumental alphabetical (key)word lists. I am a kid
I burn
ice cube
ice cream
in scene
inner space

Awareness surfaced about the relation between content and image and word and form and content in the contexts of our own terms. Tagging images uncovered these relations

some of the question we asked ourselves were:

The mechanisms of images and imagination on one side and the mechanisms of names and naming on the other – where do they both meet?
What is the link between what we see and how we call it?
What is the process of agreement with the other(s) to find relevant and appropriate names?
Is tagging also a kind of ‘baptizing’? Or rather an act of memory and memorizing, how things are called?
What is the level of interpretation when we have to give an image a tag?
What is the relationship between tag and image, word and view?

  download Gray Magazine # 5 [this is a 44 MB document] :
For more information on this and other lecture projects based on the same archive, read Gray Magazine #5. Get your own hard copy from the Library


¿ GRA becomes GAK ?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

¿GRA becomes GAK?, a forum for students and teachers.
Read all comments below!

GAK building is located close to the “Bos en Lommerplein” and the A10

SPACE: As the Gerrit Rietveld Academie is struggling with a capacity shortage it is seriously considering to move to an other location, Designblog wants to provides some background information about this proposed “possible” location .

SPEAK YOUR MIND: Last week after a meeting with the coordinators (chairs) of all departments and the Board of Directors, a request has gone out to speak our minds about a location to house the growing academy. As a result of pragmatic managing the Board of Directors proposed to move to the GAK building located in the Bos and Lommer district. The City of Amsterdam injects millions to upgrade the poor “Bos en Lommer” district and again The Rietveld seems a perfect candidate for their plans.

QUESTIONS: Is the stage already set or do we realy have a say?
If so, let’s asks some questions: Was it not just 5 years ago that the Academie was renovated to be the pearl in the (now in crisis) Cultural/Financial district plan “Zuid-As”? Do we want to move to an office building not better than the new one we already have and dislike? Why is there no alternative in a city that is constantly rehousing cultural institutes and academy’s in town? Do we want to live and work together in one building? What happened to “the dream”?

Architect B.Merkelbach, co-founder of “the 8 & Opbouw” movement.

GAK building: The former GAK-building (City Administration Office for Social Security) is an overwhelming building, dominating -Bos en Lommer- from the A10 Ring way. It has been nominated for a monument status.

MERKELBACH: Build by the architect B. Merkelbach at the end of the 50ties this huge office building housed 3000 office workers. It still is one of the biggest office buildings in Amsterdam. The building is empty since 2005 and gives temporary accommodation to user’s like the Rietveld (2008) and Stedelijk Museum (2009). Many plans are made for a new occupation, but none of them are realized yet. browse through these links to get an idea: old news?, Rietveld Site, Amsterdam-promosite, Monument?
“the 8” MOVEMENT: B.Merkelbach was co-founder of the architectural movement “the 8”. A movement that promoted a pragmatic functionalism and as such opposed the other movements of that time “The Amsterdam School” and “the Stijl Movement”. Merkelbach cooperated with Rietveld in the early stages of developing the Rietveld Academie until he became subject of city politics as a municipal architect. for more info link to: NAi or Arcam

The 8 is anti-KUBISTIC: With this statement they attack the Stijl group (founded in 1917 with prominent members like artist van Doesburg, Mondriaan and Gerrit Rietveld). They promoted an attitude which was against feeling and individualism and for rationalism as a means to express the needs of the society, emphasizing a more functionalist direction in architecture.

The question is, why can’t “The Rietveld”, as a leading World Wide renown Academy, not set it’s own trend again and enrich the city with a bold visionary statement in housing.


To read all about this plans: newspaper articles, GRA Newsletters and the critical opposition (petition) link to:

rietveldforrietveld petition website

Volkskrant article April 30th, NRC column by Maria Barnas May 5th, ArchiNed May 14th, AT5 TV May 15h, Parool column by Ronald Hooft May 15th, May 16th, EyeMagazine blog May 18th, June 20th,

official plan (Gerrit Rietveld Academy Newsletter/Ned) May 8th, same Newsletter/Eng version, Signing postponed until September (GRA Newsletter May 15th)

Gerrit Rietveld Website
read also the comments. Most recent comments as they are connected to this posting!

Design linked to Art: Designblog’s New Library Search Engine

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Tags for the Rietveld Library:

How do you find interesting books when you don’t know what you are looking for? How do you stray through the collection in search of inspiration? Can the library catalogue help you or do you better construct one yourself, Exploring connections in the library between design- and artbooks, students created keywords/tags that linked them together.
a recount of tagging the library

Click the keywords/tags from the Tag-list [purple column at the left] to see all related postings, or use a yellow keyword link [below] to read the postings and experience how they are connected together. Use these keyword links to navigate between the postings!

overview, freedom, animal, elder, identity, intervention, repetition, connection, tattoo, self sufficiancy, structuur, illustration, pyramid, leader, visual language, individuality, playground, best, give, beeld, independent, shelter, West Coast, time, neon, develope envelope, fragile, construction, wisdom, invention, oppervlak, culture.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Under dust of ages I’ve been here, waiting. After years, years and years I grow tired of me and mine. I guess that’s happened to my readers a long time ago. though my facts remain true, my language gets older. I have always been wise but slowly I was forgotten…

cat. nr. -corr-2

keyword: wisdom

Beond shelter

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It is possible for the human being to adapt to all kinds of environments and situations, but without a stimulative environment, inhabitants easely get the feeling of lonelyness, boredom and estrangement. “Beond Shelter” is a publication published in connection with the Dutch contribution to the 1976 Venice Bienale in which Tjeerd Deelstra, Hein Reedijk and Gijs van Tuyl give a comment on –current housing– situation at that time in the Netherlands.

As a result of the construction projects of the Dutch suburbs in the 70’s, the architects no longer knew for whom they were designing. They no longer had the same importance in the final say of their projects. It was more up to the construction companies to decide the size of the projects and architects kind of forced in to massive scale buildings. Whole suburbs where competed in few years, leaving no space for inhabitants to give their own charm to the area.

If the speed of construction for new dwellings could be more critically planed and the scale reduced, it would be possible to experience a direct contact between the inhabitant and the architect, or even architecture without architects to let the neighbourhood grow organically and let it have the characteristics of the inhabitants. 719.1-cat-1

keyword: freedom

take care of myself

Thursday, April 2, 2009

And again repetition. It’s also ironic, to repeat a search for repetition. But this time it’s different:
this time it’s art;
this time it’s pink;
this time it’s really big;
this time it’s Sophie Calle.
But still it’s repetition

A letter, over and over again, but the same letter. 30 women from different ages, professions, layers read it, interpretate it into what they think is the content. Now suddenly it seems not to be about the same letter anymore, but it is!
Repetition in language apparently is different than repetition in forms and shapes.
Language has a personality to it that by the slightest (miss) interpretation or (miss) understanding, the content seems to change. So now it’s not a repetition of the same letter 30 times, it’s about 30 different letters.
I get confused now, because I seemed to think that our interpretation of forms, prints and products would be more alike for everybody. Because a form is a form and a product is a product. Because we learned a cup is to drink from, we see a cup to drink from.

We also learned the meaning of words, but somewhere through life these meanings seem to form itself into (slightly) different ones.
Our idea about forms and products are also changing through life, but it somehow seems to me that there is more of a conventional thing to it, or al least a less personal one. At least the function. -call-2

keyword: repetition

AC/DC: Art Contemporain/Design Contemporain

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bailey’s exact term turned out being “montage” and, “compilation” standing quite close, came time to define the terms. Unfortunately, only Wikipedia was at hand and, as long as it hasn’t been functioning for at least two hundred years, I refuse to give credit any non-scientific information published on it.
Left with too precise requirements for search engines or flaneuring around, I asked for advices—leads on compiling art. I got back the exciting yet enigmatic book title approximated as Postmodernist exhibition. Of course there was nothing in the library, nor in the Centrale Bibliotheek Amsterdam or even on the internet.

Martino Gamper’s work—100 chairs in 100 days particularly—, questioned by Christian Brändle in the catalogue of the exhibition Wouldn’t it be nice… wishful thinking in art and design, could be related to that montage/compilation method. I would actually really like that connection, the emphasis on the blurry design/art shift, but I’m afraid it would be a little too much indebted to sophistry.

I’d rather come back to the ten books originally found. Four (as well) came from the art section—Local time and New York paintings and art of the steppes and vanishing animals. Out of these four is to be a postmodernist exhibition.

Within the previously defined grid they spell: Independent animal. Design books said: Animal gives. 705.8-cat-184 + 707.8-sie-1 + 702.4-jet-1 + -war-9

keyword: give


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Our sculpture teacher gave us an assignment this monday: To make a sculpture based on a painting by Philip Guston. He had also brought a book. I looked at it, and to my great surprise I had found a third pyramid. The painting on the cover is called “Pyramid and shoe”.

Guston, who first was an abstract expressionist, begun painting cartoonesque images of his everyday life and looking at them is like taking part of it.

About the painting pyramid and shoe:

“In pyramid and shoe (1977) the two objects named meet litteraly on an equal footing. The latter being no  less rooted in place than the former, it represents the individual and the ephemeral confronting the anonumous , the collective and the eternal”.

cat. nr: GUS 3

keyword: pyramid

Children drawings

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I found a strange book with drawings made by children pasted inside. Why were they pasted inside, and why was only the first drawing printed in color.
The first drawings were made by children between 4 and 7 years old, the drawings at the end of the book were made by COBRA artists.
Language makes one look into the world in a specific way and the other way around; language reflects our ‘views’ on the world.
Children at the ages of 4 and 7 don’t look as conceptual at the world as adults do. Children mostly make use of essential basic-shapes by expressing their feelings and visualizations. Many modern artist seems try to get back to the essential by deconstruct the visual world. The understandable visual world falls apart and becomes one in abstraction. 705.8 zwa 1

keyword: visual language

Hedgehog In The Fog

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I tried to find some relation from illustration to art, but the problem was that i couldn’t find any book that i need. I was thinking about Carl Larsson, swedish painter and interior designer. I think his watercolors combine perfectly art and illustration. But there was no book about him in library. After i was thinking to use music albums covers. Many bands use art works as a covers (like Sonic Youth used Gerhard Richter and Richard Prince paintings as a covers).
Finally i chose book “Masters of animation” by John Halas. I think many frames from animations could be present as a beautiful illustration. Inside this book i found short chapter about “my own” master of animation Yuri Norstein. I woudl like to present his brilliant movie “Hedgehog In The Fog”:

hedgehog in the fog (MOVIE) <———(follow this link!!!!!!) 799.7-HAL-3

keyword: illustration

Very differents parts

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I was walking around with the keyword in me mind: connection… And this nice little book jumped out.

This connection is really good. The human being fighting against the nature. One of the pictures shows a animal/person running away from a chanterelle, -Or is he just yelling “Hurrah” because he find the chanterelle, meanwhile he is wearing a rabbit costume?

This is a art book. A really art book. I don’t understand the connections anymore. The logic is gone!

It seems to be another way of communication, a more free way. I have to look at this book as an art book, and use another way of thinking. -mut-3

keyword: connection

Fragile subject, solid object.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Doris Salcedo is a columbian sculptor who works with the seemingly fragile subject of memories. Salcedo has for years travelled the land of Columbia, searching out and listening to the stories of people who have witnessed and survived the cruel civil war. People that have lost parents, siblings, spouses, friends and neighbors to guerillas, drug gangs and military death squads. These stories Salcedo translates into beautifully unnerving sculptures. She works with everyday objects such as wardrobes, chairs and tables and she turn them into assemblage like sculptures.

In the Untitled series chairs and wardrobes merge into each other in solid blocks held together by concrete. The concrete fill out the hollowness inside the wardrobe and the space under the table as if trying to fix the memories and keep the secrets these spaces holds. In the work Unland the orphan tunic, two table halves becomes one, dependent on each other they create a new unity. Salcedo takes everyday objects and by slightly changing them she turn them into symbols for human relations and carriers of memories.

I feel affected by these works. They are curious, narrative, they want to tell the story but still don’t give away the secrets. I feel like this is art that wants to change the world, not in a big revolution, but by telling stories and changing us a tiny bit at the time, so slightly that it can barely be noticed. I’ll end this with a quote from the artist;

`I know that art doesn’t act directly I know that I cannot save anybody’s life, but art can keep ideas alive, ideas that can influence directly our everyday lives, our daily experience.´ -salc 1-

keyword: fragile


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Constructing patterns, all around the world.
That’s what they do in my last book also.
But now in a more emotional way, rather than functional.
Here its more clear what their dreams, fairs and thoughts are.

as we call them,
just because they see it from their own vernacular perception.
More pure, more spontaneously, out of visionary need.
They are more independent from what we consider art. 705.9-car-1

keyword: culture

Differents parts

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A part off this book is about connecting differents parts.
All these nice objects and combinations…

The pictures are so clean, there are a silent feeling on the pages.
The pictures shows different kind off machines- mostly from daily life such as iron, hairdryer and mixer.
-It’s the perfect world – I will stay here for a while…

In my imagination I can see the young women standing there with her brand new iron. Proud and pleased with herself.
-Did she change a bit?
A woman with a iron. Is more than a woman without..?

Here there is a very nice mixer, with a lot off possibilities.
You can put parts together in new combinations.
– Is this what we have as a human being? – 3 separate tools?
and then we just have to combine them in different way, so it fits with the situation we are in.

How many tools do we have?
-are they changing over time?

They are, I think.

cat. nr: 772.9-pen-1

keyword: connection


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mijn zoektocht mislukte De link tussen beide teksten, die eerst niet helemaal duidelijk was, heb ik wel gevonden. Omdat we in een tekst elkaar altijd iets duidelijk proberen te maken was mijn laatste boek het meest heldere boek dat ik in de kast zag staan. Het boek bevat allemaal verschillen ’dingen’, dat is  bovendien ook de titel van het boek: Dingen. In dit boek zie je bijvoorbeeld een ontwerp van een beker. Eronder staat in zes verschillende talen de betekenis van de afbeelding plus de manier waarop je het woord uitspreekt. Toen ik dit boek ontdekte, kreeg de zoektocht naar mijn televisie opeens heel ander perspectief. Ook andere mensen zijn geobsedeerd door objecten, door beeld. Dus dat andere perspectief is de fascinatie voor vele mogelijkheden van communicatie. 772.9-cat-50

keyword: beeld

Bruce Nauman, but not on citizenship.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

As a final post on flaneurship and neon lights in the city landscape, I chose to write about  Bruce Nauman. This might seem confusing, because his works are usually displayed in a gallery or a museum, quite isolated from the busy city environment that was my starting point for the first post.

Nauman made some installations with neon light, some containing text, others consist of images only. I chose these three examples from the mid-eighties (One Hundred Live and Die, 1984, Seven Figures, 1984, Mean Clown Welcome, 1985) for the more or less brutal messages they communicate.  I still don’t know what the medium neon in itself expresses. This needs a more elaborate research. I’ll try to give a short comparison between Nauman’s work and the neons in Vegas. Comparing these two types of neon signs arise questions about this romanticist (yet uncanny) idea of a flaneur who gets sucked into a dreamworld of lights in the city. The common divider between these works of Nauman and for instance the neon signs in Las Vegas is immediacy. Both types of signs are attacking the viewer, but the effects are parallel reversed to one another. Nauman plays with a system of repulsion, while in a competitive commercial context (such as Las Vegas), neon signs would rather be used to evoke attraction. Still, I think both have to do with desire. -naum-8

keyword: neon

things as they are and things as they were

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

“things as they are” is a book reflecting photojournalism of the last 50 years.
it is a documentary about the development and change in this specific genre, but also very useful as an overview of of social, political and enviromental topics, concerning the media in this timeperiod.
Its definition as an artbook functions, because it is dealing with the medium photography itself, aesthetics, how they change, but also with the investigation of reality and how it is and has been shown to us.
It’s great flipping through it for the matter of inspiration, information, investigation, interest and the aestetical experience. 761.6-pan-

keyword: overview

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