Thursday, October 20, 2016

dada: anything goes!

duchamp, urinal, 1912

what's the best definition of dada?

anything goes.

 duchamp, readymade

dada starts as a cultural movement in neutral Zurich, Switzerland, during WWI and peaked from 1916 to 1920. the movement primarily involved visual arts, literature, poetry, art manifestos, art theory, theatre and graphic design and concentrated its antiwar politic through a rejections of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works. \

dada photography is collage (either visual or formal)

 erwin blumenfeld, leinie spoor, 1932

or like this

 george grosz, remember uncle august, 1920

or illustration:

 max ernst, l'evade (1926)

or collage:

 hausmann, self portrait, 1920

dada "events" included public gatherings, demonstrations, and publication of art/literary journals. passionate coverage of art, politics, and culture filled their publications.

dada + poetry = ?


We might have coupled
in the bed-ridden monopoly of a moment
Or broken flesh with one another
At the profane communion table
Where wine is spill't on promiscuous lips
We might have given birth to a butterfly
With the daily-news
Printed in blood on its wings

Mina Loy, (1882-1966)

"I will reveal to you with words that are simple" -- Mayakovsky

As they say,"the incident is closed."
The love boat wrecked by daily life.
I'm all even with life and nothing would be gained by listing
mutual hurts, troubles, and insults.. . . .
Don't think I'm a coward. Seriously, it could not be helped (Mayakovsky's suicide note).

fortunato depero's dinamo

Fortunato Depero was tireless in his propagation of Futurist principles. He promoted the art of the Futurist book, founded and directed the machine-art magazine Dinamo, produced Futurist radio programs, designed costumes and furniture, opened the Casa d'Arte Futurista in Italy and New York, and invented an "onomalanguage," a free-word, free-sounding expressive verbal rigmarole. Representing the so- called second stage of Futurism (from 1919 to about 1930), Depero was the individual most responsible for putting the often inaccessible Futurist theory into practice, particularly in the service of business.

Russian Futurism

Believe it or not, Russian Futurism is more "avant" garde than its Italian counterpart. Why?

Check this flicker selection of Russian avant-garde book covers.

Futurism: political synesthesia

Futurism was launched when the Italian poet Filippo Marinetti published his Manifesto in the Paris newspaper Le Figaro in 1909. On the same page one would find three, four ink colors, and twenty different type faces (italics for quick impressions, bold-face for violent noises and sounds). Futurists believed that typography could become a concrete expressive visual form to impact and change social norms.

Here are some excerpts:
*We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness. Courage, audacity, and revolt will be essential elements of our poetry. Up to now literature has exalted a pensive immobility, ecstasy, and sleep. *We intend to exalt aggresive action, a feverish insomnia, the racer’s stride, the mortal leap, the punch and the slap. *We affirm that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath—a roaring car that seems to ride on grapeshot is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace. *We want to hymn the man at the wheel, who hurls the lance of his spirit across the Earth, along the circle of its orbit. *The poet must spend himself with ardor, splendor, and generosity, to swell the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements. Except in struggle, there is no more beauty. No work without an aggressive character can be a masterpiece. Poetry must be conceived as a violent attack on unknown forces, to reduce and prostrate them before man. *We stand on the last promontory of the centuries!... Why should we look back, when what we want is to break down the mysterious doors of the impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. *We already live in the absolute, because we have created eternal, omnipresent speed. *We will glorify war—the world’s only hygiene—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman. *We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind, will fight moralism, feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice. Above, Filippo Marinetti's Futurist Words-in-Freedom (1919).

Cubist literature: Gertrude Stein

Imagine a piece of literature by Gertrude Stein as a song, or a poem you listen to in the background as you work (are there any existing recordings of Stein saying her lines?
It happens very often that a man has it in him, that a man does something, that he does it very often that he does many things, when he is a young man when he is an old man, when he is an older man. One of such of these kind of them had a little boy and this one, the little son wanted to make a collection of butterflies and beetles and it was all exciting to him and it was all arranged then and then the father said to the son you are certain this is not a cruel thing that you are wanting to be doing, killing things to make collections of them, and the son was very disturbed then and they talked about it together the two of them and more and more they talked about it then and then at last the boy was convinced it was a cruel thing and he said he would not do it and his father said the little boy was a noble boy to give up pleasure when it was a cruel one. -- Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans.
Stein was definitely a rapper. Don't you think?

The graphic genius of Juan Gris

It's not difficult to imagine Gris --a master cubist-- doing posters instead of paintings. And they are extremely effective, partly because they are timeless. That is to say, they squeeze the content out of the form. The end result is direct and beautiful.

Synthetic Cubism

The first work of Synthetic Cubism was Picasso's Still Life with Chair-caning (1911–1912), which includes oil cloth pasted on the canvas. At the upper left are the letters "JOU", which appear in many cubist paintings and may refer to a newspaper titled "Le Journal". Newspaper clippings were a common inclusion in this style of cubism, whereby physical pieces of newspaper, sheet music, or the like were included in the collages. JOU may also at the same time be a pun on the French words jeu (game) or jouer (to play). Picasso and Braque had a constant friendly competition with each other and including the letters in their works may have been an extension of their game.

Analytic Cubism: almost no color & break the sape

Analytic Cubism developed between 1908 and 1912. 

As I said in class: To understand Cubism you have to wear Cubist glasses. 

In contrast to Synthetic cubism, Analytic cubism "analyzed" natural forms and reduced these forms into basic geometric parts on the two-dimensional picture plane.  

Color had to become a monochromatic scheme that often included grey, blue and ochre. Instead of an emphasis on color, Analytic cubists focused on forms like the cylinder, sphere and the cone to represent the natural world. It makes sense, if you have too much color, the forms disappear within the color overload. 

rodchencko's amazing constructivist photography

stairs, 1930


 miakovsky, 1923


 woman with leika, 1924

electric tower, 1920s

lylia brik, 1924

igor nivinsky's constructivist theater design

 Preconstructivist production of Turandot at the MAT (Studio), designed by Igor Nivinsky, 1921

einsenstein's potemkin

Eisenstein wrote the film as a revolutionary propaganda, but also used it to test his idea of "montage".

This is a propaganda form within the film narrative:

Eisenstein's editing intends to produce the greatest emotional response, so that the viewer would feel sympathy for the rebellious sailors of the battleship Potemkin --and hatred for their cruel tzarist overlords. The clip shows the most famous scene in the film: the massacre of civilians on the Odessa Steps (also known as the Primorsky or Potemkin Stairs).

dziga vertov & constructivist cinema


The Melnikov House, Konstantin Melnikov, Moscow, 1929

what are the tenets of constructivism?

1- formal rupture with the past, functionalism, geometric formalism and machine aesthetics.

2- design is a formal experiments for social change.

3- graphic design is a bridge between commercial publicity and fine art conventions, despite the polarization of these realms by definitions of high and mass culture.

4- graphic design education turns away from historical styles in favor of a pursuit of universal principles and systems.

5- the effectiveness of graphic design as a shaper of public opinion prompted questions about the nature of propaganda and the social responsibility of designers.