Sunday, 18 December 2011

Task 3 : Essay Proposal

How do counterfeits affect society and the aura of big brands?

The difference between a copy, replica and imitation.
How brands sell a certain image to their audience.
How brands are associated with different social classes.
The trickle down theory within fashion and how classes imitate brands.
The demand for design commodities, and the production of counterfeits, how this affects society.
How counterfeits affect the aura of big brands.

Neil Boorman: Bonfire of the Brands/How I learnt to live without labels. (2007) Canongate books Ltd
I picked out this source purely because Neil Boorman breaks down some of the steroitype we connect with different brands and the influences they have on our life. Its quite a fun book and follows him on a trip to burn all the brands he owns, but theirs also good references to social stratification and fashion within classes.

Alison Lurie: The language of Clothes (1983) Random House Inc

Picked out this source because it talks about how clothes communicate to others and how we are assumed by others because of what we wear and the connotations our clothes have with society.

Walter Benjamin: The work of Art in the age of mechanical reproduction (1936)

I want to talk about reproduction and the value behind a unique piece of work, I want to talk about how counterfeits add value to the original but at the same time take the value away.

Peter Saunders: Social Class and Stratification (1990) Routeledge

Simmel, Georg. 1957 [1904]. Fashion. American Journal of Sociology.
Very relevant for the trickle down theory.

John Storey: Cultural studies and the Study of Popular Culture (1996) E University Press

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Lecture 6 : Cities & Film

Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Modernism was a revolt against the conservative values of realism.Arguably the most paradigmatic motive (motif) of modernism is the rejection of tradition and its reprise, incorporation, rewriting, recapitulation, revision and parody in new forms.Modernism rejected the lingering certainty of Enlightenment thinking and also rejected the existence of a compassionate, all-powerful Creator God[8][9] in favor of the abstract, unconventional, largely uncertain ethic brought on by modernity, initiated around the turn of century by rapidly changing technology and further catalyzed by the horrific consequences of World War I on the cultural psyche of artists.

In general, the term modernism encompasses the activities and output of those who felt the "traditional" forms of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, social organization and daily life were becoming outdated in the new economic, social, and political conditions of an emerging fully industrialized world. The poet Ezra Pound's 1934 injunction to "Make it new!" was paradigmatic of the movement's approach towards the obsolete. Another paradigmatic exhortation was articulated by philosopher and composer Theodor Adorno, who, in the 1940s, challenged conventional surface coherence and appearance of harmony typical of the rationality of Enlightenment thinking. A salient characteristic of modernism is self-consciousness. This self-consciousness often led to experiments with form and work that draws attention to the processes and materials used (and to the further tendency of abstraction).

The modernist movement, at the beginning of the 20th century, marked the first time that the term "avant-garde", with which the movement was labeled until the word "modernism" prevailed, was used for the arts (rather than in its original military and political context).Surrealism gained fame among the public as being the most extreme form of modernism, or "the avant-garde of modernism".

Details from Guaranty buildingA very ornate skyscraper, an organized and ordered environment. The supported steel structure of the building was made from terracotta blocks, divided into 3 sections bottom to top by alternating brick colour.

Carson Pririe Scott store in Chicago 1904Skyscrapers represent the upwardly mobile city of business and opportunity.

Fordism:Mechanised labour relations

-Coined by Antonio Gtmascie in his essay "Americanism and Fordism"

-The eponymous manufacturing system was designed to spew out standardized, low-cost goods and afford workers decent enough wages to buy them. De Grazia 2005. p. 4

Modern Times (1936) Charlie Chaplin

Friday, 25 November 2011

Lecture 5 : The Gaze and the Media

‘according to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but have by no means been overcome - men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’
(Berger 1972)

The gaze almost detaches ourselves with consciousness, its the connection between the viewer and the subject matter. When looking at another human being we can presume someones mood, attitude or intention from their facial expressions, this can be a overpowering factor in art and design purely because of the effects this can achieve.

'men act and women appear"
The quote above is very relevant to the time at which Hans produced the painting Vanity due to the male dominance of the 1400's. The men possessed the wealth and therefore had ost works of art were produced by men because they money to pay for it, art was a product of the upper classes. As a result this had a massive influence on the subject matter, women are treated as an object to be viewed by the man.

Hans Memling ‘Vanity’

Hans Memling was a German-born painter who moved to Flanders and worked in the tradition of Early Netherlandish painting, becoming one of the leading artists from the 1460s until the end of his life, painting both portraits and several large religious works.

Women Know they are being Looked at.

The mirror in the painting distracts the models eyes almost involving her in a physical action, distracting her attention from fully focusing on the audience.

The Yves Saint Laurent advert on the right above was changed from being horizontal to being arrange vertically to add emphasis to the direction at which you look, pushing you attention on the face rather than the eyes.

Coward, R. (1984) 

•The camera in contemporary media has been put to use as an extension of the male gaze at women on the streets

Coward, R. (1984)

•The profusion of images which characterises contemporary society could be seen as an obsessive distancing of women… a form of voyeurism
•Peeping Tom, 1960

Pollock, G (1981)

•Women ‘marginalised within the masculine discourses of art history’
•This marginalisation supports the ‘hegemony of men in cultural practice, in art’
•Women not only marginalised but supposed to be marginalised.

Cindy Sherman,
“Untitled Film Still # 6”,

Barbara Kruger
‘Your Gaze Hits The Side of My Face’

Barbara Kruger
I Shop Therefore I Am

Susan Sontag (1979) ‘On Photography’

•'To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed'
•The act of photographing is more than passive observing. Like sexual voyeurism, it is a way of at least tacitly, often explicitly, encouraging what is going on to keep on happening'

Reality Television 

 • Appears to offer us the position as the all-seeing eye- the power of the gaze
•Allows us a voyeuristic passive consumption of a type of reality
• Editing means that there is no reality
•Contestants are aware of their representation (either as TV professionals or as people who have watched the show)

Looking is not indifferent. There can never be any question of 'just looking'.

Victor Burgin (1982)

The video below Is a really good example of the female gaze, How women have been objectified to sell a product. If you watch the video below and count how many times you catch the women on screen stare right into the camera this becomes more apparent. Their beauty and aura put across in the video subliminally sells you the Ipad.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Lecture 3 : Marxism and Design Activism

Marxism and Design Activism


-To introduce a critical definition of ideology.
-To introduce some of the basic principle of Marxist philosophy.
-To explain the extent to which the media constitutes us as subjects.
-To introduce ‘culture jamming’ and the idea of design activism.

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point,however, is to change it.

Marx, K. (1845) ‘Theses On Feuerbach

Marxism is: A political manifesto,leading to socialism, communism and the twentieth century conflicts between capital and labour.

A philosophical approach to the social sciences, which focuses on the role of society in determining human behaviour, based on concept of dialectical materialism.

What is capitalism?

Bourgeoisie  ---------------Thecommodity------------------Proletariat

Everything is bought and sold, people are also commodities along with shoes andropes. Our actions revolve around the logic of a market; the way the market operates is through money, a system which makes us compete.

-Control of means of production in private hands.
-A market where labour power is bought and sold.

Communist Evolution.

The very early stages of human society, hunter gatherer societies, those societies co-operated on every single level and shared everything. There was no such thing as a monogamous relationship. Woman dominated society.

1.Primitive Communism: As seen in cooperative tribal societies.
2.Slave society: develops when the tribe becomes a city-state. Birth of aristocracy.
3.Feudalism:aristocracy becomes the ruling class merchants develop into capitalists.
4.Capitalism: Capitalists are the ruling class, who create and employ the real working classes.
5.Socialism: (“Dictatorship of Proletariat”)
Marx’s Concept ofbase/Superstructure.


Forces of production –materials, tools, workers, skills etc
Relations of Production – employer/employee, class, master/slave etc


Social institutions – legal, political, cultural.
Forms of consciousness – Ideology

“The history of all the hitherto existing society is history of classstruggles”

Religion in a Marxism reading could bee seen as a human trap teaches us that ifwe work hard and abide by certain rules we will be rewarded upon death, i.egoing to heaven.


1. System of ideas or beliefs (eg beliefs of a political party)
2.Masking, distortion, or selection of ideas, to reinforce power relations,through creation of ‘false consciousness.’

‘Religion is the opiate of the masses’ Karl Marx, 1843

Art was ideological because it reflects what a certain class thinks. Art wasmade by the rich and bought by the rich so it was related to a specific class.It was used.


Ideology is a practice through which men and women ‘live’ their relations to realconditions of existence.

Ideology offers false, but seemingly true resolutions to social imbalance.

Althusser, (1970) ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’

The media As Ideological StateApparatus.

A means of production.
Disseminates the views of the ruling class (dominant hegemonic)
Media creates a false consciousness.
The individual is produced by nature; the subject by culture (Fiske 1992)
-The constitution of the subject

Monday, 31 October 2011

Seminar 1 - Panoptcism

Panopticism relies on surveillance or at least the idea that you are always under surveillance.

Michel Foucault- Was interested in the Panopticon because it reflects our day to day lives in the modern world. Hence calling it Panopticism.

Key features of Panopticon (Jeremy Bentham 1791)
Isolation, Visibility, Surveillance, productive, Self regulation,

The power to control and exercise over people, power is a relationship, a fiction that people think they have and use over others. Power only exists because people let themselves be exploited to power.  There is a always a possibility to resist.

Institutional Gaze. For panopticism to work you need to have a constant reminder that you are being watched but knowing the subject that is watching you would twist the way you learn to reform and wouldn’t work.

Foucault calls the ideally trained human a Docile Body, somebody who wont resist, somebody who will be trained and forced to act a certain way. 

"He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection" (202-203).

The quote above can be compared to something as simple as being sat on the computers in the mac suites at college in uni, You know the technicians can see you and you can see them. There's rules to follow and JANET to stick to but the fact you're being watched puts you in a relationship where the technicians have power, purely because you feel like you're under their surveillance. Not to add to the fact they can watch you're screens.

Another college comparison could be comparing the lecture theatre to the panopticon giving the person doing the lecture a position of power. The chair's all face in the same direction, curved to centre your viewpoint, we are subjected to the lecturers field of visibility so develop a relationship where the lecturer has the power.

Lecture 2 : Technology Will Liberate Us

Technology will liberate us – Joannna Geldard 2011


Technological conditions can affect the collective consciousness.

Technology trigger important changes in cultural development.

Walter Benjamins essay ‘The work of art in the age of mechanical reproductions’ 1936, significantly evaluates the role of technology through photography as an instrument of change.


Draw a doodle,
Faithfully copy this
And again…
And again…

Anything that is copied or reproduced becomes something entirely different, an image in its own right or just merely an image representation of the original.

There are some artists who use this process to critically develop their work.

Machine Age; Modernism.

Walter Benjamin and mechanical reproduction

The age of technology and art.
-Parallel and specific to new developments;
a duality expressing the zeitgeist.
-Dialectical due to the coy, reproductive nature and the role of the original.
-The aura and uniqueness of art.

The camera eye is still a very big fascination because it can come from a  number of points. It comes from lots of different viewing points and perceptions, which creates the theory of originality.

dziga vertov -  man with a movie camera 1921

The camera eye has a variable gaze and Benjamin claims it has a new consciousness as a result, and represents technological progress and its faith in it.

The value of thought behind a piece of work is valued more than the work itself, technology changed this when modes of production and modes of consumption because the value of work is changed.
With photography comes the de-materialization of art and design. We don’t have to deal with an object at all.

Richard Hamilton 1922 dada. Using technology of the time to create image. Instead with photography images and objects are ordered and coded and styled.

Karl  Maex and technology

-Associated with the r term technological determinism. How technological determines economical production factors and affects social conditions.

-The relationship of technological enterprise to other aspects of human activity.

Dialectical Issues

-Technology drives history
-Technology and the division of labour
-Materialistic view of history
-Technology and Capitalism and production
-Social Alienation of people form aspects of their human nature as a result of capitalism.

Post modern Post Machine

 Many electronic works were still made with modern aesthetic.
Emergence of information and conceptual based works.
The computer a natural metaphor.
A spirit of openness to industrial techniques
Collaborations between art and science.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Lecture 1 : Panopticism

Panopticism, Institutions and institutional power.

Literature, art and their respective producers do not exist independently of a complex institutional framework which authorises enables and empowers and legitimises them, this framework must be incorporated into any analysis that pretends to provide a thorough understanding of cultural goods and practices. (Randal Johnson in Walker And Chaplin 1999)
1792 – Panopticon – Building that is used for social control. Jeremy Bendon

This building has the same principles of control as our society has the same principles of control.

Michel Foucault- Died from Aids, Frenchman, 1926-1984
-Madness and civilisation, Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison.

Madness, insanity, the village idiot etc, were socially accepted and used within society for what they were. Up until the early 1600’s.

Those who couldn’t work or weren’t useful to society were shunned to one side, The great confinement, was a project working to separate criminals, the insane, the poor and unemployed, single mothers (Anyone who couldn’t be put into work) were placed in these houses of correction.

They were put to work, facing the consequence of being beaten if the work wasn’t completed. Rather than making people socially productive, the houses of correction corrupted people more.

After the houses of correction, certain other affiliations started to appear, this is when Asylums started to appear. Knowledge specialists, taking on the status of being able to stand above others and have the ability to judge people for their uses. 1700’s.

At this time all different forms of knowledge emerge, biology psychiatry, medicine etc, legitimise/support/protect these institutions. They provide backing for the shift from physical to mental control. People who acted socially unacceptable were made a public mockery of (Put in shackles etc) This was not to shock or punish you but to expose the message that if others acted in the same way they would be humiliated. To be made an example of.

Disciplinary society and disciplinary power.Discipline is a technology aimed at how to keep someone under surveillance, how to control conduct, his behaviour, his aptitudes, how to improve his performances, multiply his capacities, how to put him where he is most useful.

The Panopticon-Designed 1791
Alike to a prison, spherically shaped so that the prisoners were always backlit by sunlight when encase in their cells.

The ideal mechanism for disciplinary power. Each prisoner separated in his cell can constantly see the middle tower, so they are constantly aware that they are being watched. However they cannot see each other, the only visible thing would be the middle tower, this created the illusion that knowing that you are being constantly watched but not being able to verify this has an unusual effect on the body. It makes you behave, how you think the person watching you would want you to behave, therefore not stepping out of line.

People started to mentally control themselves, and discipline their actions, Controlling themselves rather than being controlled.

Allows scrutiny, Allows supervisor to experiment on subjects, aims to make them more productive.

-Reforms prisoners
-Helps treat patients
-helps instruct school children
-Helps confine, but also study the insane,
-Helps supervise workers.
-helps to reform beggars to work.

The Panopticon reflects on society today, for example educational and work environments imitate the same principles the panopticon used. Its about training people to act a certain way, or getting to people to train themselves in respect to discipline.

In the modern world principles of the Panopticon can be seen from institute to institute, At work an open plan office can relate to the Panopticon because it gives the boss/leader superior power over his/her workers being able to monitor their progress from day to day.

Panoptisim-The act of controlling yourself in relation to behaviour.

The fear of being caught out makes us act much more responsibly because we face the illusion that we are constantly being watched.

Relationship between power, knowledge and the body.

Power relations have an immediate hold up it (the body), they invest it, mark it, train it, torture it, force it to carry out tasks to perform ceremonies.  Disiplinary society produces what Foucault calls – ‘Docile Bodies.’

-Self Monitoring
-Self correcting
-Obedient Bodies

Foucault and Power

His definition is not a top-down model as with Marxism.

Power is not a thing or a capacity, people have – It is a relation between different individuals and groups, and only exists when it is being exercised.

-The exercise of power relies on there being the capacity for power to be resisted.

-Where there is power there is resistance.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

So Year Two Begins....

Year two of CTS is off to a start Below is a plan for the year;

14 Lectures - will be updated on moodle each week.
Seminars - Every other Monday.

CTS tasks will be blogged on the CTS blog.

 A 2000 word word self assigned essay.

Blog all the lecture notes and seminars.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

"Advertising doesn't sell things; all advertising does is change the way people think or feel" (Jeremy Bullmore). Revised

"Advertising doesn't sell things; all advertising does is change the way people think or feel" (Jeremy Bullmore). Evaluate this statement with reference to selected critical theories.

    The term 'advertising' and 'advertisement' have at their root from the Latin word 'advertere' meaning turn towards. Wright 1996 (page 4) defines advertising as follows: 'making it publicly known that an individual or an organisation has benefits, usually products and services, it wishes to offer to an identified target audience in return for some other benefit, usually money'

    Advertising is all around us and although we don’t consciously realize it, it attempts to alter    how we perceive ourselves or to modify our behaviour. To have an effect the advertisement must engage us with a common language and an emotional response. The whole point of advertising is to capture our attention and to change the way we feel so that a product can be sold or change product allegiance. It is very much a part of everyday life and often adverts hit us from every possible angle. New ideas, innovations come about through human interaction and discussion, so that great thinkers in one generation build from previous generations. Consequently advertising often uses images from former times to manipulate the impression of familiarity to a product. 

    Advertising encourages the consumer to invest in products using images that we feel can change our lifestyle or our lives by potentially buying more. By using gestures and signs our minds feel a need for what we are being sold, because of the lifestyle associated with it. John Bergers 'Ways of Seeing' gives a deep analysis of publicity within advertising and explains that adverts are directed and aimed at individual people rather than a large audience. As people we understand that 'You are what you have' (John Bergers Ways of Seeing Part 1).

I think many advertisements work in a very subliminal way and for what could be a split second looking at a poster on a wall, the language and images used almost trick you into thinking a different way without even realising. We long and hope to achieve more each day than we did the last and publicity plays on this, giving us an outcome which we eventually hope to reach. 'Publicity is different, it appeals to a way of life we aspire to or think we aspire to but have not yet achieved.' (Bergers Ways of Seeing Part 2, 1972)

    Contrary to John Bergers outlook on advertising the characteristics of adverts and the way they work can be decoded in a completely different perspective, 'most people don't believe, don't remember, don't even notice, most advertising. This has always been so and always will be so.' (Stephen Garey, How advertising works). Advertisements could be seen as just serving the purpose of selling a product not tapping into our brains and convincing us to buy. Stephen Garey also states that 'The vast majority of advertising is ineffective and inefficient' but if this was the case then we wouldn’t live in the materialistic world that is today. Advertising and adverts are put out there to do a job, that job is to sell something, but it’s the way we personally understand what we see that changes the way we think.

    To establish how we think or feel when we view an advertisement we need to understand the theory behind how adverts work. 'Its not what our message does to the reader, but what the reader does with our message, that determines our success' (Mackay, in Aitchison, 1997, page 25 Cutting Edge Advertising). This expresses that we decide what we think about an advertisement, not the advertisement forcing us to change the way we think. However Mackay also states “We want people to absorb what we're saying without being distracted by their own opinions” (Page 24  Cutting Edge Advertising) This refers to the way adverts are presented, how the way we think and feel is altered through the message that is being delivered. We may not realise but advertising shows us an alternate way of life that is briefly taken in and from then on as individuals decide our future.

Therefore adverts could be argued to change both the way we think and feel how we digest what we view just depends on our own personal characteristics and what appeals to us as a specific person.

To change the way we think or feel an advertisement should contain a deep underlying message that everybody can relate to. Communicating a message that stays in the viewers mind giving more time to understand what has been seen. Advertising has to pin point subjects which we can distinguish personally and this is the key factor to changing how we feel and think. The advert to the left was produced in 1969 by the Cramer Saatchi advertising agency made for the Health Education Council to educate people about unwanted pregnancies. 'Using the classical technique of turning the rational world on its head to demand attention........also using humour to great effect rather than a direct command or criticism which would have been more like to alienate the target audience and alleviate the problem' (Saunders Page 155) At the time most people thought the advert to be quite offensive and shocking due to contraception being a taboo subject to present in public and the image of the man being very far from a stereotype masculine image.
So the advert worked because of its shock tactics and the way everybody can understand the message that it’s putting across. Relationships and emotions are something everybody experiences in their lifetime so immediately you feel like you have a connection with the message. The advert is aimed at men. The statement: 'Would you be more careful if it was you that got pregnant?' highlights to male viewers the responsibility they hold in regards to a pregnancy. By questioning the viewer you are immediately getting them to think on impulse, therefore attempting to change the way they feel. This advert isn't trying to sell a product to the viewer instead it’s selling a message to the viewer altering their state of mind. 'For adverts to work, they must use our commonly shared resources of language in ways that affect us and mean something to us.' (Angela Goddard: The language of Advertising page 4). This statement re-enforces that the language and image in the poster above has been used as a common boundary for people to associate with. By using a Helvetica typeface, a typeface that is very bold and readable this adds to the way the message sticks in the audiences heads, Saunders Page 155 states: 'Although the headline is long the image is sufficiently intriguing to draw the viewer in to understand the message, the words and picture together add up to more than the sum of the parts.'

As previously stated Stephen Garey suggests that 'The vast majority of advertising is ineffective and inefficient.' This advert however would appear to have been very effective and efficient and became world famous by inclusion in 'Time Magazine.'

    United colours of Benetton further developed the use of shock images in advertising, by using real images from the real world to 'be noticed and be remembered' (Saunders page 72), rather than imaginary imagery. Benetton connects with its audience on a different level to other advertisers by advertising their company rather than their actual products. Their ‘shock’ adverts confront issues such as birth, death, Aids, poverty and multiculturalism. In order  to connect with a wider global audience. Perhaps the most memorable image being the 1991 photograph of a new born baby. The public tending to buy from a specific company because they favour and trust them over others. Benetton, by completely removing the whole sense of purchasing from their adverts, are instead trying to gain the trust of the public so that they are 'noticed and remembered.' Luciano Benetton: 'We believe advertising can be used to say something besides selling a product- something more useful' (Saunders,1992, Page 73). This shows that Benetton are attempting to change the way people think and feel, helping Benetton to become such a successful business. This unusual approach to marketing and advertising attempts to push the boundaries of imagery and controversy by highlighting subjects that relate to the Global Community with a universal Global brand. Benetton's advertising philosophy being the total opposite of the model proposed by John Bergers ('Ways of Seeing') of direct adverts targeted at individuals rather than a large audience. The Benetton poster of the baby changes how the public perceive the company. Benetton is trying to express a deeper message.

All advertising attempts to change our perceptions and alter our thought processes, encouraging us to do things we never would of thought of doing before by modifying our behaviour or lifestyle. Our feelings, emotions, opinions can all be subtly influenced by advertising attempting to alter our decision making process. Advertising changes both the way we think and feel on a range of different levels, when looked at in depth we can often read into it more than what is superficially visible.

An advert will simply only change the way you think, if you let it.



Ray Wright. Financial / Times Prentice Hall 2000, ISBN 0-273-63289-2

Jim Aitchison. Cutting Edge Advertising / Prentice Hall 2004, ISBN 981-244-557-9

Angela Goddard. The language of Advertising / Routeledge 1998, ISBN 0-415-27803-1

David Saunders. 20th century Advertising / Carlton Books London 1999, ISBN 1-85868-520-6


Online Resources;

An article on how advertising works written by Stephen Garey:

John Bergers Ways of seeing 1972 BBC series:

A scanned image of page 26 of The Journal of Marketing 1999 explaining the linking between advertising and the consumer:

A reference to 1969 Satchi Advert, 'Would you be more Careful' explaining a brief account on its background:

Deconstuctivism Analysis Task


A form of criticism, which involves discovering, recognizing and understanding the underlying and unspoken and implicit assumptions, ideas and frameworks of cultural forms such as works of art. First used by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the 1970s, deconstruction asserts that there is not one single intrinsic meaning to be found in a work, but rather many, and often they can be conflicting. In Derrida's book La Vérité en peintureVincent van Gogh's painting Old Shoes with Laces, arguing that we can never be sure whose shoes are depicted in the work, making a concrete analysis of the painting difficult. Since Derrida¿s assertions in the 1970s, the notion of deconstruction has been a dominating influence on many writers and conceptual artists. (1978) he uses the example of

With aid of the text 'Thinking with Type' (Lupton, E, 2008)

Designers provide ways into-and out of- the flood of words by breaking up text into pieces and offering shortcuts and alternate tones through masses of information. De-constructivist text takes theories like this to another level of communication, separating and distorting words to break the rules we automatically abide by, It’s this level of experimentation when presenting information that defines de-constructivism.

            When reading a body of text we follow each word along the page because of the spaces left in-between each word, without these spaces the reader would be lost. The spaces our eyes naturally skip by when reading, physically exist when the words are spoken verbally due to the reader taking small pauses to breathe. However ‘Spoken Language is perceived as a continuous flow, with no audible gaps.’ The transition from a sound to being recorded on paper gives the creator endless ways of presenting this information, the tones and pauses in each spoken sentence can be translated into space and punctuation so they are seen but not heard. Spaces or indents are a form of vehicle used to make what we’re are reading visually understandable, but we only understand them because we’re used to following the text how it’s most commonly presented.

            Typographers arrange text for their audience in a way that we all interpret for individually, however this forces us to navigating around a page according to the direction they want to send us in.  Web designers have a pre-planned route for their audience to take when reading through a webpage thanks to hyperlinks and grid systems. They can encourage the readers eyes to notice certain things more than others by solely focusing on the arrangement of text and working with layout. However this takes the whole fun away from reading, reading should be an act of freedom where the viewer can jump from paragraph to paragraph reading only what they want to read, type is a vehicle that can be manipulated in endless ways and this is what reading should be about.

            Traditional printing methods such as using a block press evolved from handwritten documents because of how text could be produced accurately and in mass production.  I think that this almost limits the possibilities and variations of text that could be created because the hand-drawn feel is lost.  ‘Typography has evolved from a stable body of objects to a flexible system of attributes’ This communicates that type can mean so much more to the reader than we realise. Type can define tone of voice, mood and character but when limited to a structure that arranges text in its most simplistic way we loose out on what is being put across to the audience. De-constructivist type is the opposite, and works with multiple ways of expression, using alterations to size and style to make a message more apparent.

‘Like an interpretation of a musical score, reading is a performance of the written word.’ This makes the possibilities endless for Designers to produce work where the type can communicate movement and shape. ‘The reader plays the text as a musician plays an instrument.’ As the reader navigates through each section of text they are sub-consciously prompted how to read by minimal details within the layout of the text. If these limitations were removed then reading would become not just about improving your intellect or engaging with an interest but it would become about being aesthetically pleased by the words in front of you.

The image above is another piece of work by David Carson for Yale University Art Gallery 2010 open day. I picked to analyze this image because of how layered it is and how the type works as image. The first thing I noticed when I looked at this piece was the numbers '2010' on the left hand side because of how bold they are. After instantly digesting the shape of each number within a split second i started to notice the repetition of these numbers tucked underneath different layers of type. I like the depth the collaged text creates and how you can see through the negative space of certain letters to reveal different words. The combination of typefaces works really well, the handwritten type in the background is thin in width, and small in size therefore pushing the larger text to the front of the viewers perspective. Even though when looked at as a whole the information becomes hard to understand the vital guidelines of whats being promoted are still being communicated when your eyes scan smaller areas of the image. This only works because the image appears hard to decipher at a first glance, the mind thinks it complicated, however human nature encourages us to long to find out what the image actually means, making it easier to break down into smaller sections.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Deconstructivism Lecture Notes 15/02/2011

Deconstructive Graphic Design- Lecture Notes- 15/02/2011

Deconstruction became the main mode of graphic design in the 60's. The work produced is a model for the integration of theory and practise together, its a perfect example of a practise that relies on theory or inversely a theory that relies on practice.

Post modernism

-Po-mo attitude of questioning conventions
-Po mo aesthetic=multiplicity of styles and approaches

  • Deconstruction= approach associated with post-structuralism and Jacques Derrida
  • Blended with 20's Russian constructivism= de-constructivism in architecture
  • Visually interpreted in Graphic Design= sometimes called deconstructionism

What is deconstruction...?

Approach to texts which analysis their systems of representation- the systems which frame their communication. (Of Grammatology 1966 trans 1976)

Writing and Speech. Writings purpose is to immitate speech,

Speech- interior to the mind, requires no equipment, spontaneously learned, natural, organic, present subjects.

Writing- Exterior to the mind, requires equipment, culturally constructed, artificial, copy, absent subject.

David carson ray gun Magazine 1992 -95

His take on deconstruction, type that is hard to follow and seeks to reveal more than you expect. Its more of an explosion and onslaught of graphic design insanity, that overwhelms you and overcomes what you're thinking.

David Carson- The end of print

Deconstruction became a style very quickly influencing architecture and other forms of art.
Peter Eisenman- Tokyo office block

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Avant Garde

Definition: Applied to art, means that which is in the forefront, is innovatory, which introduces and explores new forms and in some cases new subject matter.

To define Avant Garde in around 300 words, I've decided to analyse 2 of my favourite album covers that I think fall into this classification. The CD below is by Simian Mobile Disco a DJ with the album titled Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release. I picked the cover because of how it pushes boundaries within design, for an electronic genre of music you wouldn’t expect the letters to be made out of shells and surrounded by grass. I think the piece has been made digitally because of the accuracy in the shapes of each letter, however the cover shows experimentation and an unusual way of representing this type of music. The term Avant-Garde has been used so regularly it has almost lost its own meaning, however I think this CD fits into the category of being Avant Garde due to its irregular way of presenting information. I like how the type is all uppercase, this works well to catch the viewers attention, and also plays on the characteristic of pushing boundaries.

This is my second album cover, The Warning by Hot chip, I think the album cover is Avant Garde for many reasons other than just pushing boundaries. The shapes/building blocks on the front cover aren’t something that you would see or or think about everyday, they appear to be very futuristic and the way they have been set out and arranged engages you as a viewer. A range of pastel light colours have been used to compliment each other, yet if you were to have used them separately I think they would loose their appeal. The design leaves us as the viewer to make up the answers to the questions it creates by using an unusual subject matter. I think without knowledge of when the piece was made (2006) a viewer could be told that it was from the 70's or 80's and it would be believable.

Exploration of shape is this piece's main characteristic that pushes it into the catagory of being Avant garde. The repetition of dissected blocks/bricks works well to stimulate the viewer into creating their own perception of the piece, mixing all the shapes together to make our own new subject matter. This exploration of multiple different forms shows that simplicity works and that the mind can wander, a good example of being Avant-Garde in relation to pushing boundaries within design.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Avant Garde- Stephan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister  is a graphic designer and typographer mainly based in New York with his own design firm, Sagmeister Inc. He has designed album covers for Lou Reed, OK Go, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne, Aerosmith and Pat Metheny and is very well known because of his dark unusual pieces of design.

This photograph above outlines many reasons why Sagmiester's work is Avant Garde because of how dark and unusual it is. The piece doesn't follow the conventions of graphic design and doesn't stick to the rule of form follows function. Carving into the human skin is far from being a regular recognized form of media and is a shocking technique to use, this shock has built on the pieces fame and has been used to gain attention.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Lecture Notes- 01/02/2011 Avant-Garde

Dictionary definition: The adjective form is used in English, to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics. Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm. The notion of the existence of the avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism.

-Being Avant Garde in the work you do challenging innovating etc.

-Idea of doing art/design work that is progressive

-The concept of avant Garde has been used so much its meaning is basically meaningless.

Avant garde criteria from LCA old prospectus;

Innovation, (creating new stuff), experimentation, (process involved in order to achieve stuff), originality (to copy is bad, to be original is good) Creative genius, (to bring out a hidden creative depth held deep within the student)

Pushing boundaries/conventions.

We imitate others work to build up skills until we become accomplished to move on. Constantly developing rules to push forward in terms of talent. Style can be picked up through following others rules.

Art created for arts sake, not concerned for politics of the world. They're trying to create a system of aesthetic experimentation where we only think about things such as beauty or form. The more people look at these pure works of art the more they will culturally develop.

A major problem for the Avant Garde is that it seems to necessitate (ELITEISM)

Good design is invisible, but if your work is invisible then how can you ever get noticed?

What is Kitsch?

An inferior copy of work, or a worthless imitation of a piece of art.

Kitsch aspires to be like art but fails in some way. To call something kitsch you have to make a judgement of taste. But then who decides what is tasteful and what isnt?