Saturday, May 26, 2012

the new power of arthoodication?

Stephen Kornhauser’s glass jar of cotton balls used to clean the museum’s Jean Arp 

the new power of arthoodication at m. bourbaki:
The general purpose of curators and critics is to enthuse the public the into consuming art. Art is culture. Culture is good for you. But culture, as Donna Haraway suggests, can be a logic of "domination of a necessary but dangerous instinctual nature." Unfortunately, artists, the other party in this game, are too concerned mimicking & negotiating with what's already sanctioned out there in their Weltanschauung (incidentally, a systemic organism digesting symbols in the same redundant manner). The jar exhibits a categorical problem: How to explain this uncanny passage from objecthood-to-arthood unless it undergoes a process of arthoodication? Is it really about a magic-friction-factor? Is it proximity of contact or q-entanglement whereby the cotton balls and Jean Arp's museum sculpture become a part of the same phenomenon?). 

Friday, April 27, 2012

P.L.E.A.S.E. don't forget the student evaluations!

Each year you have the opportunity to evaluate our job. The evaluations for ARH 346 are up. Don't forget to leave your opinion. Thank you.

See you next week.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The child consumer

Are children under excessive commercial pressure to be seen buying and wearing fashionable brands?

YES. The average American child watches an estimate between 25,000 to 40,000 television commercials per year. In the UK, it is about 10,000 $15-17 billion is spent by companies advertising to children in the US. Over $4 billion was spent in 2009 by the fast food industry alone. The marketing seems to be worth it. For example, Teens in the US spend around $160 billion a year Children (up to 11) spend around $18 billion a year “Tweens” (8-12 year olds) “heavily influence” more than $30 billion in other spending by parents, and “80 percent of all global brands now deploy a ‘tween strategy.’” Children (under 12) and teens influence parental purchases totaling over $130-670 billion a year. 

The Journal of the American Medical Association has said that children between the ages of two and seventeen watch an annual average of 15,000 to 18,000 hours of television, compared with 12,000 hours spent per year in school. Children are also major targets for TV advertising, whose impact is greater than usual because there is an apparent lessening of influence by parents and others in the older generation.… According to the [Committee on Communications of the American Academy of Pediatrics], children under the age of two should not watch television at all because at that age, brain development depends heavily on real human interactions.

A nice website here.

End of suburbia

You can watch the whole documentary here.

First World vs. Third World realities

Water predicament

Where does our dumping go?

Try to make buildings imitate ecosystems

Issues in Contemporary Design

Sustainable design
Waste and waste management
Social consciousness
Buddhist Economics (Gross National Happiness)
Critical design
Environmental design
Business ethics
Occupational safety
Design redundancy
Consumer protection
Social engineering

Suburban sprawl

Green Design


Your turn #11

Raoul Ubac, 1910-1985, via Juxtapoz.

What do you have in mind? Think outside the box.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Design is History

A very good website for graphic design history here. You get a time table on the left hand side and a scroll down menu of schools & figures. A nice bio with clear images informs the artist or school. It's a work in progress!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Namaiki (Tokyo)

Those familiar with Namaiki’s insanely colourful objects and installations, mad graphics and psychedelic videos might be surprised to hear that they are now mainly working in the garden watching their plants grow. Oh, really? Indeed, the Tokyo-based foreign design duo, consisting of graphic designer David Duval Smith (NZ) and architect Michael Frank (UK), are not only celebrating their 10th Namaiki (naughty) anniversary this year: Still fulfilling the connoisseur’s high expectations in terms of silliness, madness and genius, they added another level to their recent fun and light-hearted installations by switching literally to more natural grounds. PingMag transcribed the essence of an afternoon in David’s garden introducing some of Namaiki’s inspiring thoughts as to why ending up working with living things is just the most interesting thing to do… (taken from Ping Mag)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Your turn #10

Filip Dujardin, courtesy DGV
We talked about lots of things: the digital magazine paradigm, paper vs. virtual. Designing entertainment & new cultural niches. What drives the selection of style, that is to say: typeface, grid, image and text placement, what's the demographics? Re-designing design. The new stars. A new world out there: rich, complex, difficult.

What's on your mind?   

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Jean Paul Gaultier CokeAd

Aisle One

Aisle One

Almir Mavignier

Almir Mavignier (Brazil 1929)

Hurricane Projects: poster as a political medium

Jeff Boyes Pitt Meadows, Canada

A.. Vastagh, Nashville, Tennessee
Jason Thompson, Brooklyn, New York
 Allen Boe, Lincoln, Nebraska

The posters were part of the Hurricane Project, a collaborative effort to raise money for the victims of Katrina.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Julie Joliat

Julie Joliat pursues her career between the two key graphic centers of The Netherlands and Switzerland. Recently based in Zurich after spending 4 years in Amsterdam and the Hague, she works in the field of graphic design and illustration mainly in artistic and cultural medium for: books, magazines, logos, corporate identities, brochures, posters, flyers, web design, and self initiated projects...

Logo trends for 2012




Friday, March 30, 2012

Can Advertising Survive Digital?

In the Daily Beast, an interesting article by Dan Lyons:
In this brave new world, the role of advertising agencies would change as well. Instead of being a pack of well-paid liars, ad agencies would act more like consultants, helping companies figure out how to fix their businesses and improve their brand reputation based on actual accomplishments.

Your turn #8

Nicholas Gottlund, print on aluminum plates, via Juxtapoz
Polish posters, Cuban posters, LOGO! What's your take?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Freedom and originality

The Polish Poster is an original school, which goes from the mid-1950's to the early 1980's. There are two things that sets this school apart: search for freedom and originality. Polish artists try to create outside the box of Socialist Realism. In doing so they come up with a specific code-system, which is unique, and at the same time, universal. Two of the main underlying styles are a kind of Polish Surrealism and Polish Pop art.

By the way, this is a great page for Polish Poster History!

What's so (a)typical about the most typical face?

After this image appeared on Yahoo News, I posted something on miami.bourbaki about the riddle concerning "typical."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Your turn #7

Alicia Olink with Ray Gun, Fancesco Locastro, 2011
There is plenty to talk about: Bauhaus and its ripple effect, the war poster, information design, the masters: Lissitzky, Gabo, Moholy Nagy, the independents: Tschichold, Zwart, The New York School: Liberman, Herbert Matter, Saul Bass, Brodovitch, Sutnar, Lubalin, Pineles, the International Topographic Style, advertising vs. propaganda.

Go ahead!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Who needs Graphic Design Theory?

Helen Amstrong believes we do.

A Design Education Manifesto

I found this Design Education Manifesto by Mitch Goldstein I'd like to share with you:

School is hard. Design school is especially hard because so much of it exists within the abstract, the opinion. There are few, if any, absolutes as you go through design school. Much of design education is about learning some key techniques and then trying to apply them to your work in interesting ways. The following are some thoughts I have about how to go through a design program and get the most out of the experience, and beyond as a creative professional. More here.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Your turn #6

Jugend cover, 1901 (via Juxtapoz)
We've gone through an explosion of art movements & personalities. The main idea is the  design of the avant-garde: Cubism, Blue Rider, Expressionism, Futurism, Dada, Neo-plasticism, Constructivism, Surrealism, art for the people, art goes to the movies, propaganda vs. advertising, collage, photo-collage, the propaganda poster, (functional art ---> floor plans? ---> elevations?). Big names: Picasso, Kandinsky, Rodchenko, Marinetti, Duchamp, Breton, Dalí, Mondrian, Magritte, A. M. Cassandre, John Heartfield, etc. 

Go ahead!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Designing persuasion (early 20th century)

Two approaches, one in favor, one against. The important thing is to see that both persuasion and fear can be "designed."

Ken Russell's The Devils (1971), apropos of decadent Pre-raphaelites

Could not find Ken Russell Dante's Inferno in youtube

Your suggestion makes perfect sense: At the BBC Russell had his own "pre-raphaelite" company: Oliver Reed, Max Adrian, Murray Melvin, Christopher Logue (the one-time socialist poet). Iza Teller, and Judith Paris among others -names frequently found in the cast listings of his feature films. Russell is a music lover, who manipulates anachronism with almost baroque splendor (for which his work has been called "bizarre," "outlandish," "sick").

You get a good idea of Russell's bombastic style with The Devils, his 1971 film, banned by 17 local authorities in England. It attracted many scathing reviews. Judith Crist called it a "grand fiesta for sadists and perverts." Derek Malcolm called it "a very bad film indeed." However, The Devils won the award for Best Director-Foreign Film in the Venice Film Festival.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Your turn #5

Jean Delville, Idol of Perversity, 1896
There are plenty of themes: Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Aestheticism, Exoticism, Decadence, erotica, 19th century consumerism. Then there are the great artists of the epoch: Chéret, Grasset, Mucha, Dudovich, Koch, the Beggarstaffs, Toorop, Delville, Goudy, Beardsley, etc.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Designing pork

Mark Bittman's food columns in the NY Times have recently taken an ethical-gastronomical angle. The issue at hand is McDonald's new requirements that its suppliers of pork  provide plans for phasing out gestation crates. Bittman writes:
This is important for the animals and for the entire meat-selling industry. Let’s start with the sows: a gestation crate is an individual metal stall so small that the sow cannot turn around; most sows spend not only their pregnancies in crates, but most of their lives. For humans, this would qualify as “cruel and unusual punishment,” and even if you believe that pigs are somehow “inferior,” it’s hard to rationalize gestation crates once you see what they look like. (For the record, defenders of the system suggest that crates prevent sows from fighting in group pens. There’s no space to argue that here, but it’s nonsense.)
This is when you come in because "designing pork" impacts our food design in terms of that seldom explored food topic: animal cruelty.

Is it better to eat an animal that lives a more humane life?*
*When it comes to animal abuse and neglect, "humane" is generally used. Few have stopped to ponder why. I find difficult to hold a moral standard which ultimately serves the very purpose of killing the animal being protected. It's like saying: "I'll keep you happy until it's time for you to die" so, 1- you taste better, 2- I feel less guilty for eating you and -on top- treating you miserably."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Designing (cyber) dependence

I find this interesting article in the New York Times by Pamela Paul entitled "Don't Tell Me, I Don't Want to Know" addressing informational overload:   
The entire world has become this Dickensian series in which you are not visited by three ghosts but by eight million ghosts,” said Sloane Crosley, author of “How Did You Get This Number.” “I feel as if I see things about people that I don’t necessarily want to see, and then it’s lodged like a piece of corn in my subconscious.” Whether it’s via Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, e-mail or some other form of Internet connectedness, the latest headlines from your super-successful frenemy from high school, the boss who fired you and the awful 14-year-old boy your daughter is in love with are now in your face. Sometimes you don’t want to know about these people at all. Other times, you don’t want to know quite so much.
So, do we want it or not? Paul reluctantly acknowledges that our choice is caught in vicious cycle:
Let’s be straight: it’s not just that other people’s minutiae bombard us regularly. Sometimes, we seek it out despite ourselves. Whether you call it low-buzz stalking, cyberstalking or the unsettling new term “creeping,” people can now browse around the edges of former intimates’ lives, learning much too much about them:
In other words, the bombardment works!, which is why we're bombarded in the first place. In case anyone ever thinks of personal (cyber)fulfillment, Paul cites that,
A study published last month in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking found that the more time people spent on Facebook, the happier they perceived their friends to be and the sadder they felt as a consequence.
In the end one feels Paul's title could be revised: "Don't Tell Me, I Don't Want to Know."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Your turn #4

 Auguste Belloc & Félix Jacques Antoine Moulin, Femme sur un lit, 1856

Plenty to discuss: photo as reportage, as art. Illustration as fashion, as natural science, as social mores, as war reportage, as the exotic. Harper's cultural contribution. Victorian design and Pre-Raphaelite design. And the emerging Arts and Crafts.

Next week I'll talk about a huge market for 19th century erotica illustrations, daguerreotypes and early photography: EROTICA!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Your turn #3

Koo-koo, "the bird girl"

Great class. There is plenty to talk about: communities of belief, early newspapers, charts, Blake, Romanticism, daguerreotype, political satire, photo-portraiture.

Pick your favorite topic!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Your turn #2

Incunabula by William Morris (1834-1896)
Hi. This class consisted of a more detailed survey of the history of graphic design right after Gutenberg and into the Counter-Reformation. We examined the impact of the new technology for 1- standardization, 2- new forms of reading, 2- a new market, 3- division  of labor, etc.

Simultaneously, one can see a stylistic development in typeface as such, which has two aspects: the inherent technological advance makes possible a different production of typeface styles as well as the proliferation of regional differences (for example, why is it that Gothic becomes so popular in Germany shortly after Gutenberg where as Rotunda, a similar sharp-cornered yet slightly more rounded script is created in Bologna?).        

(as we saw, some designers, such as Ratdolt, who worked in Venice, are good at both) .

We also talked about the book as a kind of architecture. Once we have printers and regional styles, we get a sort of "made in" constant. So we get, incipit, rubrication, border, frame, column, marginalia & illustrations, all aspects of standardization of the profession:
example of illustration inside the page using metal engraving, copper plates, an intaglio method
so-called column, they are explanatory notes around the text of the laws, in fact the type is set so that notes are arranged to surround the text in incunabula
Pick any of these themes or any variation of it. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beliefs were (and still are) formed by exposure to graphic representations

Emblematum liber, circa 1500's
Spicy Adventure, 1935
DC Comics, late 1950's

Friday, January 20, 2012

Your turn #1

Illustration by Ricardo Leite
Again, welcome to my class. Nice first meeting. There is plenty to talk about:

1- Design as individual mark, as communication, as expression, as lebeswelt. The importance -and effect- of technology, the good and the bad of it  (forgot to mention global warming, an obvious effect of human -involuntary- design).
2- Style as form, personal stamp, as methodology, as performance, etc.
3- The relativity of epoch and the idea of obsolescence (i.e., purposeful decay built into the design).
4- How design is relative to materials, i.e., language, alphabet gets inscribed in stone, papyrus, vellum, paper, or digitalized ( i-pad, kindle, etc). The idea of books as objects, media, memorabilia, etc (I made a case for a future Kindle that is 3-D, and feels like a analog book). I find a peek into the immediate future of tablets here (in fact we commented this possibility):
McIntyre also predicts that tablets, and not just smart phones, will become more like digital wallets, replacing the need to carry physical currency or identification. She suggests that identity will be vouched by “voiceprint” (speech verification) or software that can analyze an individual’s keystroke patterns.
 5- If there is anything else worth saying, go ahead!

I am closing this post next Thursday at 4pm.