Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Beyond Radical Design, Physical Fiction 99% Invisible: Ten Thousand Years Podcast

Beyond Radical Design - Speculative Everything 

"Faced with huge challenges such as overpopulation, water shortages, and climate change, designers feel an overpowering urge to work together to fix them". 

- Are designers the ones who really fix the issues the world faces?

- Can the human population come together as a whole to get behind an event or idea spontaneously,   or do they always need someone to curate or shed light on an event first?

- What if designers didn't want to work on these issues, would the human world be totally screwed?

- Who is a designer in this instance? When Bob decides to not wash his car to save water for the planet is he a designer?

Speculative design is described as design that uses imagination and aims to open new perspectives on issues, alternative ways of being, and to encourage discussion and redefining relationships to reality.

- How far is too far fro speculative design? Is there such a thing?

- Would designing and presenting a city on Mars of even a different solar system be reasonable or helpful for the current situation or time period?

- What about speculating on past design work? Could throwing around what if scenarios help create more speculative design? For example, "what if I changed ____ aspect about my work and did this instead, how would it change the discussion about the work?

Mars One Settlement Bryan Versteeg

The fictional nature requires viewers to suspend their disbelief and allow their imaginations to wonder. Futures at not a destination, but a medium to aid in thought. 

- Kid's play, they have no idea what things are used for so they use it in their own imaginative way

- How can you break the boundaries of being tied to your previous knowledge about how things work or what they are in order to be more imaginative about things?

Designers should not define futures for everyone else but working with experts ... generate futures that act as catalysts for public debate and discussion about the kinds of future people really want. 

- Would you be considered a designer then, or someone who just organizes information and needs from other people?

- At what point to do you as a designer over-ride people's request and build or design something, based on your own research, you know will be successful.

- What is the difference then between a designer and someone who designs something based on the wants of people around them? Would my neighbor be a designer if he made something that our apartment complex said they wanted, even though he had no prior experience in building or making, or interactive pieces?

Frank Lloyd Wright, Future City 

Le Corbusier, Future City 

- These two architects built future cities they imaged for people, based on their own personal bias and wants. Are they still designers since they didn't really collaborate with any experts in ethics, scientists, economists, etc.?

Physical Fiction 99% Invisible: Ten Thousand Years Podcast

The design system and ideas revolving around WIPP had to communicate the potential dangers of coming in contact with the radioactive material to people 10,000 years from now. 

- Does design need to do it's job 100%? What if only 2 or 3 people died out of 100. 97 people are still alive. The signs and visual communication that may have been left behind by the initial designers can now be associated with people dying or bad things, so the signs are now effective in communicating, at the expense of 2 or 3 people. 

Landscape Architect Mike Brill came up with a visual communication system that was actually determined to change the landscape into something that visually looked dangerous. Something that a person would understand as dangerous just based on the characteristics created. In the end this idea wasn't chosen due to the fact that it might become an attraction in itself and invite people to explore it.

- Why is there a human instinct to conquer everything? Why do we have to be dominant, can't we just let something be, why is always knowing such a staple from century to century?

Mike Brill, Landscape of Thorns

The constant and most durable thing that people have noted to be consistent over time is culture: the folklore cat song (Ray Cat) to help people realize when they were near dangerous substance.

- If the folklore song is in English, and people would still understand the meaning of english in 10,000 years because they can understand this song, they why not just write the dangerous warning information in English around the complex? Is the idea that this folklore will keep language consistent enough where people can still read and understand our dangerous warning signs. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016



Upon being asked for an archive on her artistic output since childhood, Wong Wai Yin’s father’s commented, “I wasn’t sure what would be considered contemporary art”. What do you think about this comment?

Much of Wong’s work deals with plausibility and artificiality. What are your thoughts on making something representational versus using the real thing? i.e. if she had hit them with a real chair, if she had used real cigarettes and pencils. What benefit is derived from making papier-mache copies of these objects?

Wong mentions a search for honesty in her work, and that she is unable to make such a claim without losing honesty. What do you feel makes up an honest work of art? Is art by its nature a trick in someway or another?



in the case of Joseph Beuys, there is some debate as to whether or not the event with the Tartars ever actually occurred. What effect do you feel this has on his work? Are his claims illegitimated by his use of an imagined narrative? What role does the idea of plausibility play in the reading of Beuys’ work? (i.e. we can believe that it could have happened, which is enough for his metaphors to resonate)

“Channeling chaotic energy into order or form”
What role do you feel this plays in your work? What are some of the chaotic elements you are interested in? Can chaos and form exist simultaneously in any non-contrived way? What about Robert Wysocki and him using form to essentially create chaotic elements?

Is the museum or gallery an empty space for investigation? A place for new experience to emerge? Would a Joseph Beuys sculpture in an alley behind an Italian restaurant have the same impact it would inside of a gallery? What role do you feel the gallery/outside world plays in your work? If your work directly or indirectly references the outside world does it need to be in a gallery to properly resonate?

Beuys talks about the relationship between sculpture and life. “If things can change in art, why not in life?” (paraphrased). Do you feel that sculpture can act as a prompt for progress? Does this recognition of artificiality call to mind the artificiality in our own lives?

Dave Herman, The City Reliquary Museum, Thursday February 18th, 6PM, FAB 103

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Paragraphs on Conceptual Art Sol Lewitt and Coco Fusco: Observations of Predation in Humans: A Lecture by Dr. Zira, Animal Psychologist (2013)

Paragraphs on Conceptual Art Sol  Lewitt

  • Conceptual art
  • How do you initially approach your work? From a conceptual standpoint or a perceptual one? How do you weight each approach to your own practice?
  • From a conceptual standpoint does it matter how the work looks?
  • How much does chance play into your work, do you plan things thoroughly and keep it to a minimum or leave more room to figure things out in process? 

  • The philosophy of the work is implicit rather than an illustration of the philosophy 
  • Does the audience need to know and understand the concept as you see it? Does allowing the viewer to reach their own interpretations appeal to you or do you prefer to try to control how the work is digested?

  • All steps in the process are of importance.
  • Does this thinking find it's way into your own work? Are you more interested in the process or the final product?

  • Art is not utilitarian. 
  • Do you agree or disagree? Does architecture which is inherently utilitarian serve as art or something else entirely?

  • Any idea that can be better stated in two dimensions should not be three dimensions. 
  • Here he argues that in conceptual art the idea takes precedent over the form, most anything done sculptural becomes a contradiction to conceptual art as the form inherently draws attention to it's own surface rather than the idea first. Do you think this is a fair statement?

Coco Fusco: Observations of Predation in Humans: A Lecture by Dr. Zira, Animal Psychologist (2013)

  • What was the purpose behind using Planet of the Apes as a backdrop for this talk? Would it have been hindered any by dropping it? What may this backdrop have added to the conversation?

  • She focuses primarily on human behaviors which relate to aggression and dominance over one another, citing examples of the frequency of animal violence in nature shows. Do you think her assessment is accurate and fair?

  • There is a focus on the way the human brain functions and has evolved and also mentions studying other animal behaviors in comparison. She also relates the inaccuracies of the Ape dogma such as "no animal kills for sport". what is the significance of these points?

     Methodological Playground

      Speculating is based on imagination, the ability to literally imagine other worlds and alternatives. If we are interested in shifting design’s focus from designing for how the world is now to designing for how things could be-we will need to turn to speculative culture and what lumbomir Dolezel has called an “experimental laboratory of the world –constructing enterprise.”

      As lubmir Dolezel writes in Heterocosmica: Fiction and Possible Worlds, “ our actual world is surrounded by an infinity of other possible world.” Parallel Universe

In capital societies that everything is controlled specially people’s mind, do you agree with the fact that our imaginations are controlled as well. Can we still have a pure/ unique imagination that is not under affect of capitalism? If our imaginations are controlled would the speculation and imagining of other worlds and alternatives still make sense? 

What is the source of imagination? Is it a single-rooted phenomena or comes from our uniqueness?  

·        The ones (fictional worlds) we are most interested in are not just for entertainment but for reflection, critique, provocation, and inspiration. We start with laws, ethics, political systems, social beliefs, values, fears, and hopes, and how these can be translated into material expressions, embodied in material culture, becoming little bits of another world that function as synecdoches.

Can the critique of capitalism itself create numbness in people (people won’t do anything about it) since we are also bombarded by the critiques as well? We already accepted that we are not able to change the system but the only thing we can do is to criticize it.   

·       To Zygmunt Bauman captures the value of utopian thinking perfectly: “ to measure the life “as it is” by a life as it should be ( that is, a life imagined to be different from the life “ as it is” by a life as it should be ( that is, a life imagined to be different from the life known, and particularly a life that is better and would be preferable to the life known) is a defining, constitutive feature of humanity.? 

Would the idea of utopia make people always look for happiness and a better life in the future rather than appreciation of life in the moment? 

Can dystopia stories and movies work as a system of control to make our mind ready for all those dystopian experiences, which has been planed? 

Paragraphs on Conceptual Art
Bahareh Karamifar

When an artist uses a conceptual art the idea of concept is the most important aspect of the work. 

When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. ?? Can it be vise versa?

It is usually free from the dependence on the skill of the artist as a craftsman. It is objective of the artist who is concerned with conceptual art

This kind of art is not theoretical or illustrative of theories; it is intuitive, it is involved with all types of mental processes and it is purposeless. It doesn’t have any purpose? Intuition vs. mind??? If it does not involve mind as much it would not be conceptual?

Conceptual art is usually mentally interesting to the spectator, and therefore usually emotionally dry.

Some artists like Bas Jan Ader, who is considered as a conceptual artist whose work deals with emotions, tragedy and romanticism with a cool aesthetic. What do you guys consider as conceptual art?  What are the boundaries between conceptual and ,for example, expressionist pieces or well crafted art? Can both intersect? How you define the boundaries? Any work, which engages emotions rather than mind, would or would not be considered as conceptual?

Broken Fall ( organic ) by Bas Jan Ader

Conceptual art is not necessarily logical. Logic may be used to camouflage the real intent of the artist, to lull the viewer into the belief that understands the work, or too infer a paradoxical situation.         

Most ideas that are successful are ludicrously simple.

Art that is meant for the sensation of the eye primarily would be called perceptual rather than conceptual. This would include most optical, kinetic, light and color art.

Do you consider work of James Turrel who has worked with light a lot perceptual or conceptual? and heightened perception artworks?

These days most art should have a concept. Does the necessity of having a concept make a piece of art conceptual?

 Sometimes what is initially thought to be awkward will eventually be visually pleasing.

 If the artist carries through his idea and makes it into visible form, then all the steps in the process are of importance. The idea itself, even if not made visual, is as much a work of art as any finished product. Those that show the thought process of artist are sometimes more interesting than the final product.

Visually interesting and well crafted vs. conceptual??

When the viewer is dwarfed by the large sixe of a piece this domination emphasizes the physical and emotive power of the form at the expense of losing the idea of the piece.

Conceptual art is made to engage the mind of the viewer rather than his eye or emotions. Color, surface, texture, and shape only emphasize the physical aspects of the work. Conceptual art should be stated with the most economy of means.

Have conceptual art definition has changed over time or still has the same definition as Lewitt has defined it?

“In many important respects, conceptual art sits very uncomfortably with other, often more traditional art forms and artworks, and this tension highlights a pressing issue for anyone interested in the possibility of a universal theory of art, the role of the artist, and artistic experience. For if there is to be one rule for conceptual art and another for all other kinds of art, are there still good grounds for thinking of conceptual art as a kind of art? Moreover, could not every particular kind of art form or artwork demand a separate theory of art, artist and artistic experience?”