Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Brief: key points

Key points from Chapter 1. of John Berger's 1972 book ways of seeing.

John Berger's Way's of Seeing highlight key moral and technical issues that a lack of understanding of a completely new form of viewing art poses. Firstly, how the technical changes to the way art is made and situated make it impossible to be viewed in a remotely similar way as to when it was made. The essay then goes on to challenge the viewpoint that by mechanical reproduction the masses, or even a seasoned art critic can fully or even partially make use of and comprehend art of the past.

Berger argues that the former sacred role of art has been lost due to the fact that most great works are first viewed at a remote location due to the means of reproduction, the 'pilgrimidge' to go and physically view a work is no longer necessary. Works of art are not restricted to location, thus the complete viewing experience is changed. No longer would you go to see a famous painting already knowing the physical likeness, so the value of the work changes. The conclusions made are no longer based on appreciation of first viewing the work but appreciation of authenticity.

The introduction of photography as an art form also posed a new dilemma- the altered understanding on perspective changed the whole field of (western) art. Man no longer looked at the world independently arranged for himself, as paintings were once arranged from single point perspective, making the viewer unique.

Furthermore, as a technical change in the viewing of art, the whole concept of reproducing means that works are juxtaposed and cropped. The attention of the viewer directed to where the presenter of the work wishes the attention to be, not where the artist intended.

However, Berger's most pressing point is the fear of the issues that a ignorance of these issues leads to. The assumption that now every man can appreciate art equally. The assumption that we should interpret works from the past as works from the present. The change of focus in the value of works of art.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

That Figures...

Just some work that popped into my head when I first heard the figures/(doll?) brief.

Maybe the doll I make will make use of the elements of costume design/be multifunctional as a costume itself?
How will distortion of proportion affect the mood of the doll?
How will my use of material determine the interpretation of character, ie in the Puktake image?
Can a single doll have multiple events/characters? 

Ilona Kivijärvi (b. 1960, Rovaniemi): Puktake 

Patrizia Guerresi Maïmouna

Hercules and Lion, 1928

Patrizia Guerresi Maïmouna

On the Post Apocalyptic World

Follow up on 'A World of Finite Resources"

What concerns me the most about the topics previously discussed is how, as an illustrator, can I highlight or make use of the information given to me on the seminar day. I was considering what I would do if I chose the given topic as my elective, and it struck out to me that communicating the worst case scenario or providing insight into what could happen if nothing is done about changing the linear production loop in our industries. To me, this is a convincing way of creating action to follow through with changes, and as it would be a topic that I would find interesting I can imagine that the same will go for someone else.

As a bit of recreational research I have compiled a few 50's-70's clips/links to series dealing with these topics. Specifically what I find interesting in these clips is that, thought dramatic, the issues are still relevant and should (to an extent) be taken seriously.

The first episode of the series 'Survivors' (1975) in which the 5% of the worlds remaining population try to 'survive', as the title suggests. In the tradition of British television, excessive drama is neatly avoided and it has a fairly serious take on the issues that would ensure if we had to rebuild society (in the 70's).

Though this movie dosn't specifically focus on the topic of resources, this link has a conversation about the last few survivors of the world talking about how the world had been destroyed by the human emotion of fear, also relevant on this topic is one of my faveroite movies, Dr.Stragelove.

And of course, it is impossible to talk about post apocalyptic resource wars without mad max, I chose to link the 2nd movie as it has a much more specific look on oil wars then the first, though there is no attempt to avoid over dramatization.

A World Of Finite Resources

As part of the electives course, we had a day of Seminars and Lectures on the topic of Manufacture And Sustainability. Though this is probably not the elective I am planning on choosing, a few interesting topics came up nonetheless. The topic of how we go on living after we have used up our fossil fuels has always interested me, more often in the genre of 70's post apocalyptic sci fi, so it was insightful to look at this issue from a designers point of view.

Yaniv Peer from Exploration Architecture gave a lecture on Biomimicry, which I would particularily inspiring, both for the reason that it seems a positive direction to take the issues of dependency on finite resources, and an innovative take on problem solving and design.

"biomimetics to describe the transfer of ideas from biology to technology."

"a science concerned with the application of data about the functioning of biological systems to the solution of engineering problems" Webster Dictionary 1960

Biomimicry: new science that studies nature's models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems". Janine Benyus 1997.
The following Video is a TED talk on the topic,

The particular quote "Taking the design genius from nature and learning from it." made me recall Bruno Munari's writings on the replication of nature in art and design. As I cannot locate my book on the topic, I found a quote that probably illustrates this much more effectively;

"When the artist observes nature... it is as if nature communicated, through the sensitivity of the artist at that moment, one of its secrets. (Bruno Munari)"

"In Societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as immense accumulation of a spectacle of images." Guy Debord
As my handwriting is infamously messy, I am going to be using this blog to record my research for Yr.2 Illustration...