Our next reading assignment is 3 short texts from architects/designers/artists affiliated with the Bauhaus. They are as follows:
Walter Gropius; The Theory and Organization of the Bauhaus (1923): Gropius_Bauhaus
László Moholy-Nagy; Typophoto (1925): MoholyNagy_Typophoto
Herbert Bayer; On Typography (1967): Bayer_OnTypography
Here are some ideas and questions you might consider while reading these texts:
Walter Gropius, László Moholy-Nagy, and Herbert Bayer all played critical roles in defining the aesthetics and ideas of the Bauhaus. According to them, what key elements are lacking in art of the past? What is necessary for making art in the future? What should education or “the academy” teach artists about their field? Which of these ideas continue to be important for 21st century art and design?
Please also remember that your first 2-3 page paper is due due on March 3. You are strongly encouraged to begin thinking about, if not actively working on, this assignment. The question and requirements are as follows:
First Paper – Due March 3
Select a design or design object created after 1969 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 Gestalt psychology (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.
Manifestos in The Early 20th Century
Courtesy of new technological aspects triggered manifestos and movements in art, in the dawn of the 20th century. Based on Rodchenko, Marinetti, and Lissitzky, the old phase of art has been foregone due to the need of making art more presentable than it had always been in the past. These artists would speculate on possible dematerialization where everything was done in the art would involve fewer burdens. Perhaps the aim was to reduce the high cost incurred, or even with the cost being high, the total quality would rise. I learn the objective was to minimize cumbersome materials leading to energy loss, improving the future in all aspects through art as well as bringing humankind together: That is, through technology for a better life.
I would say Lissitzky encouraged on new printings to improve book art. He went further in photography invention to attract clients in photographic art and raised the network of communication. In the writings of Rodchenko, art is boosted through unique photography angles and the formation of letters. More importantly, the latter gives constructivism a visual by raising voices and inciting the humankind. Marinetti seems to be focused on bringing the bigger picture of the future. I would say the artist understands that to improve art, support and embracement is required. This drives the desire to portray futuristic images in people with advanced art. However, in different ways, these artists have ignited the new technological basis to improve art.
The ideas of the three artists revolve around the same goal: That is, reinvention by doing away with the old art as well as introducing a new work of art. They all focus on future improvements for humankind. However, I believe the writer’s ideas on pursuing this might diverge. Perhaps this might be possible in the implementation of strategies. I believe some ideas will be capital intensive while others may be labour intensive. This might, therefore, lower the higher success chances.
In the reading about Aleksandr Rodchenko, he envisions the world as technologically advanced. The quote, “Previously- Engineers relaxed with art; Now- Artists relax with technology,” means before engineers relied on art work to define their next move, whereas now Artists rely on software to predict the future. Lissitzky envisions that new century should go above and beyond what has already been made. “Yet in this present day and age we still have no new shape for the book as a body.” This quote has an impatient tone as if he is telling us to not sit on our asses and actually use our brains to work. From the Futuristic Manifesto we see that they have envisioned a more industrial and more modernized approach for the new century. Not to focus on the past but to focus on the future inventions because they felt they were encapsulated by the baroque period. “we want to demolish museums and libraries, fight mortality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice.”
Rodchenko hoped that the process of announcing would continue and that constructions would not stop. Lissitzky says, “the expressive power of every invention in art is an isolated phenomenon and has no evolution,” but this has changed. They want us now to break through limitations and progress what has been done already. So that the idea of it does not fade into the background. The Futurist Manifesto states they want to take the dangerous route of rebellion.
The idea of Lissitzky seems to be that when one thing ends or advances, something else begins to be advanced. This is closely related to Rodchenko’s idea on art evolving us to be able to take on the future. Futurist Manifesto goes against the other readings but not entirely. Compared to Rodchenko, I expressed that the art was evolving us to be able to take on the future. Futurism makes us take on the future entirely in one hit. Thinking beyond what has been already expressed within the art movements. The same thing with Lissitzky, they are willing to start somewhere to end with progress that can be continued. Futurism takes a stronger approach by diving into it head on and don’t look back.
In the readings the shared idea was that technology would come to improve designs in multiple ways including efficiency and our ability to evolve already made creations which shows that these designers had incredible foresight for their time. In the modern day every thing we have now is an evolution of what we had before. Firsts there are Tv’s before that radios and before that books ect. just as they predicted but not everything that they discussed remained true. in the reading “El Lissitzky, Our Book (1926)” he discusses how books are an invention with no evolution and will always stay the same as everything around it changes and evolves but the reality is that books have seen some of the most evolution of anything man made creation. There are now books made entirely of pictures, audio books and even digital books I feel like maybe Lissitzky’s definition of a book prevented him from seeing what a book could actually become.
A points of discussion that end up happening into the modern day was in “Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism (1909)” where Filippo discussed the use of technology for the advancement of military power which is more prevalent now then it’s ever been in modern day U.S our military retrieves some of the most funding in the country and other major national superpowers simply paling in comparison to us. I feel if we spent in other parts of the country as much as we do in the military there’d have been more major breakthroughs in departments like health and education.
With this knowledge that’s shown to us in these readings it’s surprising that we don’t look at them as ways to direct how we making development in technology and instead simply look at them as discussion points for what ideas people have had. I feel if more people with power looked at these through a more critical lens then perhaps more advancements would be made to help people instead of just evolving for the sake of commercialization and profit.
Reading over the different excerpts I found that the idea of innovation became increasingly common, in Typophoto the writer laments the past use of type and looks forward to a new innovative realm where video reimagines the role of typography in the world. Gropius’ “The Theory and Organization of the Bauhaus” goes over the more educational side, the way in which they go over how limited experience can stifle creativity, and that the designer needs to understand and experience many things in order to be proper. In “On Typography” the writer goes over a mesh of both, the new diciplines of designers, as well as the horizon that is new media.
What does this have to do with us, how does it relate to what we’ve already learned? The sources are a bit old, we know now, especially from reading some of the “Graphic Design Theory” book, that some of their ambitions fell flat, the new era of design either did not come or did not come as fast as they thought, the new era of design and type a universal system of communication, didn’t pan out, however it’s hard to reject how with the biological and scientific approuch that some of these articles take, that their push could simply have been premature rather then entirely misguided.
We know that type and books are taking on weirder roles today, more niche roles, why not have an entire book written in those paragraph fragments, ink must be getting cheaper, why not darken the page of a very large book up a bit? While the status quo of an industry is hard to break, surely, it can only be a matter of time,perhaps we can be the ones to push it? The question might be how, not for some delusions of granduer where the world is forever changed, but for the real and humble goal of better communication, and ease of comprehension? How could be bring that about?
Perhaps as art directors or even as freelance artists people could get together and work on a project, a book of poetry in a new typographic layout, or a large book in the darkened pages, maybe try for a cross between a book and a photo album using typophoto? I’m not sure, but these excerpts bring out an optimism and a creativity that I can’t help but indulge.
Advanced technology can help build a better future. Each generations technology is becoming more advanced but some technology can to be build for violence. In the readings, “Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism (1909)”, the author wanted to used advanced technology for mass destruction. On number 9 of the author stated that “9. We want to glorify war – the only cure for the world – militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of the anarchists, the beautiful ideas which kill, and contempt for woman”. Number 10 he also stated that ” We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice”. To me looks like he want to destroy important places for humans being and create more war.
The readings, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova, Aleksei Gan, Who We Are: Manifesto of the Constructivist Group (c. 1922) The author believes that advanced technology could help the world in peace. According to the article, Rodchenko was an a constructor, an assembler, more engineer than artist. Rodchenko collaborated with his wife Varvara Stepanova on some of his projects, One quote that caught my attention, was ” Artists relax with technology ” I can relate to this quote because most graphic designers bring their art work come to life by using technology.
The excerpt, “El Lissitzky, Our Book (1926)” the author explains that El Lissitzky predicted continuing of the dematerialization of society. Each generations a new technology is develop and becoming more advanced. On the first line of the article, the author said “Every invention in art is a single event in time, has no evolution”. In my thoughts I think he means every invention that was created has its own time period from closer to the next we invention. The invention of phone, television, computer, and radio is occurring in our society as we speak and can be considered as dematerialization.
After the Industrial Revolution, the emergence of large-scale production of machines, division of labor, and commerce made the old way of life began to disintegrate. But people do not have new rational thinking about this new lifestyle. Businessmen firmly believe that the artistry of a product is something that can be bought from the market and applied to industry, equating decoration with design, rather than tightly combining art and technology to form an organic whole. From the 19th century onwards, handicrafts turned to mechanical processes for the production of daily necessities. Since then, technology and art have been separated, and they have been combined with science, and the products have become unified, standardized, and batched. At the same time, the production of large machines has a profound impact on the art world, and a gap has emerged between artists who meet the needs of the public and artists who are self-isolated.
Many avant-garde artists emerged in this period of time, such as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. In Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto, he praises the pursuit of passion for adventure. In Marinetti’s his Manifesto, women and violence is mentioned, My understanding is that since this is a revolution, tradition needs to be abandoned to its absolute, the common perception of women must change and violence is the method to make this happen, and violence indeed has progressed world, as world war 2 has modernized this world but for a huge price. Although it is cruel to say, we are definitely benefiting in this aftermath of WWII.
In such a human society, these futurists were the first to realize the need to move forward and the “cage of history”, Human beings already controlling machine serve themself (this is not experienced by any previous civilization ), the old way must be updated to reach a new balance as it is not suiting the contemporary society.
Technology is something that I believe has no end and its renewable. Although not all generation are up to date with the technology. Technology is however something useful but needs to used right.
In the article by El Lissitzky, I learned from the part where he stated “We know two kinds of writing: a symbol for each idea = hieroglyph (in China today) and a symbol for each sound = letter” and then he gives example saying that The hieroglyph is international and if a Russian, a German, or an American impresses the symbols (pictures) of the ideas on his memory, he can read Chinese or Egyptian (silently).And its true people can relate and understand despite that is relative.
I also think what is inspiring and I believe help in improving the technology was the invention ofGutenberg, the inventor of the system of printing from movable type. I think without his invention we wouldn’t have printers today.
In the article who we are the author I think is stating that humans are the ones who built technology because the ways we design through technology now was invented in the 19th. The square—1915, the line, grid, point—1919.
By reading these texts, I learned that every artist such as Marinetti, El Lissitzky, and Aleksandr Rodchenko have different ways to improve art. They found that the old style was already too old and decided to create a new revolution of art. I also learned that for them, there was a need to find and explore new ways of expressing the field of art and to take away the old art that they express how images recall from memories and with it bring the artists’ expressions from the old and how it rekindled painful memories that were a discouragement to the author’s dreams. This was to make original artworks and to combine it by incorporating expressing emotions that can be identified easily by the audience. Therefore, this helped the artists to integrate technology to build art in what is called modern audience.
In the manifesto, I learned that artists had to reconsider the design, the type and space of a book to help the writers create new writing methods. The text of El Lissitzky was based on new possibilities or ways for typography and its combination with printing, writing machines duplicating and copying instead of handwriting which is in a way too tired and old. Rodchenko, Stepanova & Gan Manifesto focus on constructivism which is an art movement. This is also based on communism which focuses on designing new products and geometrics to have mass production of products in the industry. The artists focus on trying to pass this idea and not being afraid of any risk.
In order to follow, the artists had to look forward to the art and design without leading the outside to bring ideas in which they think wrongly about what they are doing. They had to be courageous in order to make their ideas passed as well as they focused on leaving the orthodox and embracing the unorthodox. The manifesto gave the artist a bravado to continue on with the hopes of passing this idea and not being afraid of taking the risks even if it meant putting themselves at any risk.
I noticed that a lot of the authors’ ideas intersect as they have mainly the same idea of taking away the old and constructing new ways of reproducing and revolutionating art as well as technology. Technology is a main factor today as it helps to make digital art as well as it can be printed on paper and put the art outside for the world for people in various copies to appreciate it.
Whenever there is an advancement it always allows for a growth to occur of productivity, especially when those advancements are relating to technology. Technological improvement often improves productivity, for example the invention of cars allowed for easier, more durable, and faster travel than what horse drawn carriages could manage. The same could be said for technological improvements that benefit artists and designers. For one, better technology meant that more art pieces and designs could be produced at faster rate and with better quality.
What these authors envisioned for the new century were new ideas and inspirations, and they were relatively right. The 20th century brought a lot of new styles like, Futurism, Constructivism (which two of the readings talk about; 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)), Cubism, and Expressionism. Artists began to explore more with their abilities, rather than try and paint or draw something realistically they instead exaggerated features or made them up from shapes or splotches. They began to express themselves more which wasn’t really seen in the previous century until about the end of it.
If we were to compare an advertisement piece from the 19th century to one of the 20th century, we’d see that a lot of 19th century art looked similar with realism and impressionism being common styles of the time. 20th century however shows how color and shapes began to be explored more. It was also the century in which objects were also being used to create pieces along with photography and other modern art forms.