Our next reading assignment is 3 *relatively short* texts from architects, designers & artists affiliated with the Bauhaus. They are as follows:
Walter Gropius; The Theory and Organization of the Bauhaus (1923):
László Moholy-Nagy; Typophoto (1925):
Herbert Bayer; On Typography (1967):
Some ideas and questions you might consider:
According to these authors, what was missing from past art and education? What roles should typography and photography play in shaping a new art? What roles should other media serve? What role does language or communication play in art and design? How should artists approach the creation of future art forms? What should education or “the academy” teach artists about their field? How should Bauhaus ideas be updated to remain relevant in the 21st century?
Please also note that your first 2-3 page paper is due on October 12. You are strongly encouraged to start thinking about, if not actively working on, this assignment. The question and requirements are as follows:
First Paper – Due October 12
Select a design or design object created after 1971 in which the influence of the theories considered thus far can be seen. Begin with a brief description of the object, the designer who created it, and the historical circumstances under which it was made. Considering these factors, examine the ways in which the creator was responding, directly or indirectly, to theories related to linguistics or semiology, avant-garde art movements or the psychological perception of forms (ie. any of the ideas that we’ve covered). Discuss the manner in which the design you’ve chosen embodies these theories. Provide direct references to relevant passages from our readings. Locate additional writings using library resources to substantiate your comparisons.
Your goal is ultimately to provide a critical examination, not an account of historical details.
This response will be submitted as a 750-1000 word typewritten paper, double-spaced in 12 pt. Times New Roman. Include images of the work under consideration and any other relevant illustrations. Cite all materials researched for historical context, any related writings, and image sources. All sources, references and quotations should be cited in MLA format. You’ll upload your paper as a PDF, attached to a new OpenLab Post.
All of these authors wanted to use design as a means to communicate their political beliefs to the masses. Both Lissitzky and Rodchenko were pro-soviet as Marinetti was pro-fascist. All three believed that technological advancement would help them spread their messages, whether it be through the internet or the printing press. They also embraced technological advances as they believed it would change how people would communicate for the better.
I believe that these authors wanted to influence society through design and new forms of communication. Rodchenko wanted to use design in order to help society, while Marinetti wanted to use design in order to make his radical fascist ideas more palatable. Marinetti is the most problematic of the three designers. He believed that war was necessary for the advancement of society, he felt it was a form of cleansing of the earth.
What is the future of design and technology as a whole? Is there a difference between artistic expression and analytical engineering? Is it possible for them to coexist in a symbiotic relationship? The three manifestos that I read today aim to answer these questions with give different interpretations. Firstly lets talk about The Futurist Manifesto gives a macho vibrato interpretation of the future of design. He aimed to focus on war and violence demolishing museums and libraries in focus of on the beauty of struggle and grit. There is an opposition to feminism and morality because in the authors view it is seen as cowardice. Which in my opinion is appalling but very indicative of the times and the way men perceived their talents at the time.
However in the two other manifesto’s they were both speaking about the symbiotic relationship of the designer to the product they are promoting. However one was more thinking about it being a detriment while the other is focusing on it being an enhancement. For example in the Who We Are manifesto it was stated that “technology was the mortal enemy of art… we are fighting the punitive force… we are but slave workers.” Emphasizing the feeling of just being cogs of the machine on mass production and exploitation. While on the other hand in the other article Our Book it was stated that “…In this way there develops a
technique of simple effectiveness, which appears to be very easy to operate
and for that reason can easily develop into dull routine, but which in powerful
hands turns out to be the most successful method of achieving visual poetry.” Which indicates in the hands of an average person the technique of design is a simple but easy dull routine but in the hands of the designer it brings a more successful amazing work of art.
These Authors envision a world where art would be seen something outdated and technology would take its place. What I think they mean is that art can be applied differently. Long are the days that your just an artist with no creative freedom and just making paintings or sculptures of historical references or doing masterpieces for the church. They would be other forms of art. Such as industrial design in the case of, Aleksandr Rodchenko who was an artist turned constructor/ assembler. Furthermore, the role is in helping society. It would come about in angles as Alesksandr would say or language in the case of El Lissitzky. Art would be seen in angles such as shapes like a line, grid, composition and shapes. This reminds me a lot Alfred Stieglitz and his famous photo “The Steerage”, which was seen as the first form of modern photograph because it moved on from the past of capturing a moment in time or a portrait of person and evolved the expanded to focus on modern graphic design theory such as shapes, compositions etc.… Again, moving forward not being stuck in pass with technology.
I also believe they all have similar views of moving own from the past of the artist not having a sense of voice or doing things by the books and trying to find new forms of art. Where I think they differ is El Lissitzky doesn’t believe art would just go away, instead other ways would take its place. As she mentions that technology would just enhance it and make it better such as theaters are still seen and viewed the same as before such with slight improvements or the way to read a book is still the same after these years. Theres no need to forget or cast aside the past when you can enhance it or in some cases is already fully optimized.
I believe what remains presents is the need of wanting to expand and grow. Trying to find new ways of art and don’t always worry about how the people use to do it before, and creating a new path. What I think is problematic is discarding the past and taking notes from what came before. As these people are well informed and is important to learn from the past to not make the same mistake as was done before them.
Our third reading assignment consists of three short manifestos written by avant-garde artists in the early decades of the 20th century. They are as follows:
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism (1909):
Aleksandr Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova, Aleksei Gan, Who We Are: Manifesto of the Constructivist Group (c. 1922):
El Lissitzky, Our Book (1926):
Here are some questions to consider as you read:
What possibilities or advances did these authors envision for their immediate futures? What role did they imagine technology would play in shaping those futures? In what ways did these artists anticipate the art and design that would follow? What common views do these authors share and where might they disagree? Which elements of these texts remain relevant for the present, and which elements are problematic?
With regards to language the two articles give their contribution on its significance and its motivation. Certain language is clearly explicit for its expected segment. In the Course of General Linguistic article they talk about the self-assertive nature of signs. They proceed by clarifying the connection between’s the signifier and the meant and the direct course of correspondence. The significance of sound to word imitations was additionally talked about to pass on feeling and goal and restricted the planned message. They likewise go against themselves by saying language is established in design and governs and in view of a framework. The framework in play isn’t generally self-evident and it relies upon the translation. They clarify how language is only phonetical sounds deciphered by the past age. Anyway in the subsequent article a ton of its thoughts are attached in representative symbols to pass on message. A ton of hieroglyphics and images are use to pass on the substance of the subject as well as the amount of them also. The various societies use characters and images to impart musings. The creator going so far to supplant portions of the sentence with the images to pound the mark of how significant the realistic parts are to passing on the thought. Their motivation was to mainly educate regarding the possibility of realistic images. I personally view language as ever evolving. Language isn’t a fixed situation; As society is evolving or devolving the “native” or common language is going to change along side it.
By Michael Desmangles
When it comes to language both articles give their input on its importance and its purpose. Certain language is obviously specific for its intended demographic. In the Course of General Linguistic article they discuss the arbitrary nature of signs. They continue by explaining the correlation between the signifier and the signified and the linear process of communication. The importance of onomatopoeias was also discussed to convey feeling and intent and narrow the intended message. They also contradict themselves by saying language is rooted in structure and rules and based on a system. The system in play is not always obvious and it depends on the interpretation. They explain how language is nothing but phonetical sounds interpreted by the previous generation.
However in the second article a lot of its ideas are rooted in symbolic icons to convey message. A lot of hieroglyphics and symbols are use to convey not only the content of the subject but also the quantity of them as well. The different cultures use characters and symbols to communicate thoughts. The author going so far to replace parts of the sentence with the symbols to hammer the point of how important the graphic components are to conveying the idea. Their purpose was to inform of the idea of graphic symbols.
My interpretation when it relates to design is how important symbols and type are to conveying a message. For example if you put one cow in the middle of a poster with nothing surrounding it but an empty barn with the text heading saying “Where are my friends?!” You can interpret from the graphic combined with the text that the cow is alone. However, deeper interpretations may talk about the meat industry and animal cruelty. Base line interpretation is the linear correlation that was discussed in the course of linguistics article where the onomatopoeia enforces a tone and a response. However the arbitrary nature of the graphic lends itself to different interpretation.
What is language? Languages can be explained in many different forms from alphabets to symbols. Language is a way to communicate doesn’t always have to with words.
What makes language different than other forms of languages is the way they are thought off. You can’t just make up a word call it something because it sounds like it would be named that. Concept and sound image are united to make words/ language. This is done for psychological reasons and their meanings are extremely important from, originating from like Latin or Greek origins, which define our words and language.
How are symbols or icons related to language? Furthermore, there are different forms of communication like I mention before that aren’t just words. Symbols are also a form of language. Some of the first form of communication come from tally marks to keep track. And the from of grouping items was extremely important which later was expanded upon by hieroglyphs. We ended up using this form of symbols in a more versatile way unlike words. For example, the “X” has many meanings such as, X for a signature, X signals an act of selection and could mean ten in roman numerals.
How does language shape design? What does design do that language cannot? How are language and design related to one another in today’s culture? Like a said earlier it started with tally marks and putting stuff into groups which turned into a clay tablet system known as hieroglyphics, and today we have what Lupton miller calls Modern Hieroglyph. Cook and Shanosky made the man and female with help from the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1974. But before Cook and Shanosky there was a man by the name of Otto Neurath who was Viennese, and in the 1920 made the system Isotype (International System of Typographic Picture Education). This visual language of was seen as a utopian effort to transcend limitations of Letters by using visual characteristics of typography. It was seen as new breed of the ABC. Furthermore, Sign and signifiers employed in general communication the way you see a male figure in contrast to a female figure meaning that’s for men / woman. They didn’t need to add more details like a man sitting in a toilet of woman sitting in a toilet because the man in contrast to a woman is enough of difference to give you universal context.
All of these authors wanted to use design as a means to communicate their political beliefs to the masses.Both Lissitzky and Rodchenko were supportive of soviet as Marinetti was favorable to fundamentalist. Every one of the three accepted that mechanical progression would assist them with spreading their messages, regardless of whether it be through the web or the print machine. They each accepted innovative advances as it would change how individuals would impart to improve things. I accept that these creators needed to impact society through plans and new types of correspondence. While Marinetti needed to utilize a plan to make his extreme fundamentalist thoughts more satisfactory. In addition, Marinetti is the most hazardous of the three creators. He accepted that war was essential for the progression of society, he felt it was a type of purifying of the earth. While Rodchenko needed to utilize plans to help society.
Our second set of readings are excerpts from two books; Ferdinand de Sausurre’s Course in General Linguistics and a collaboration between J. Abbot Miller and Ellen Lupton entitled Design Writing Research.
The Saussure reading consists of the first two chapters from Part One of the Course, which are in this PDF:
The Ellen Lupton & J. Abbot Miller reading includes 3 short essays – Counting Sheep, Modern Hieroglyphs and Language of Dreams – which can be found in this PDF:
Here are some questions for these readings:
What is language? What distinguishes a language from other forms of What is language? What distinguishes a language proper from other forms of communication? How are symbols or icons related to language? How are signs, signifiers, and the signified employed in general communication? Or in graphic communication? How does language shape design? What does design do that language cannot? How are language and design related to one another in today’s culture?