Research Task 5: study trip

During the study trip to Brighton for the photo Biennial, I personally didn’t find much inspiration from the photography, mostly because I am more interested by hand made artwork, being an Illustration student. However, I found some of the concepts of the photography, or reasoning behind the pieces intriguing.

Whilst walking through Brighton from one place to another I saw a lot of street art which caught my eye as something I found amazing and inspirational, especially admiring the scale the artwork has been done on.

Below are some photographs I took during the exhibition and throughout Brighton, I have also included my own interpretations / thoughts of each piece.

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Photograph info: Dom Nicolau, from the series Diaspora, 2014, courtesy Galerie Magnin-A, Paris.

To me, this is a photograph representing the fact somebody can be anything they choose to be, shown by the contrast between the aristocratic clothing and background and the more common football and football boots.

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I didn’t understand this piece at first, but after having it explained, found the concept really interesting. The piece is of a bus stop roll-over poster frame. It’s something seen often in every day life and, had there been an image on the piece it would have been immediately recognisable, but the fact that it is not once the image is removed is proof that even things that are seen regularly are never truly seen, instead the poster is viewed and the frame holding it ignored, though both are a form of art.

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Again, I at first didn’t take much notice of these photographs until their backstory was explained and then I took an interest in them. The photographs represent the struggles of a black man in Russia, discriminated against by those with white skin, as can be seen by the hostility in the middle image. The framing of the images as well as scale and fashion has been carefully considered to have the biggest impact in all of these photographs.

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This photograph was found around Brighton rather than at one of the University Campuses the previous images were seen at. I personally found the small exhibition we found outside to be of more interest as the subject matter was easily understandable and relatable and the colours of each image made them stand out beside each other. The above image I like because of it’s sense of depth, almost appearing as though you are looking through a window in a hut rather than at a photograph.

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Some examples of the street art we came across. The scale these are done on amazes me, as I personally prefer to work on a smaller A4 scale. The designs chosen and the colours are all those that work with each other to create the biggest impact and immediately draw in the attention of passers by.

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Perspective is important when viewing art of a large scale, at the time of taking this photo I didn’t realise the ‘lines’ were a stick figure, instead thinking they were lines of a pattern or even typography. It was only later when reviewing the photo I had taken that I realised the lines made up a stick figure and a shadow. I see this image as a subtle visual representation for the warning “smoking kills” as the figure clearly has a cigarette whilst his shadow is grey (lifeless) and has a halo above his head.

For me, the street art was the most inspiring part of the trip to Brighton, though I enjoyed the whole experience.

Research Task 4: Contemporary Fordism

Here are two examples of contemporary Fordism: someone elses experience of contemporary fordist production and my own experience of contemporary fordist consumption.

 

Contemporary Fordist Production:

 

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Contemporary Fordist consumption:

When calling a store or company you are greeted with the standard reply that consists of a greeting, introduction and polite question. It generally is said in this format:

“Hello, this is (name), from (store name) in (location), how can I help?”

The greeting is polite and gives the caller a welcome feeling, the introduction informs the caller of who they are speaking to which means if they have any problems or wish to call back and talk to the same person they can ask for the employee by name, the store name and location lets the caller know where they have called and gives them a chance to immediately know they have dialed the wrong number if the store is not the one they wanted to call. And finally, the polite question is an opening for the caller to begin speaking and start the conversation.

 

(Images found at: http://footage.framepool.com/en/shot/451797413-answering-secretary-job-charm-ambition )

11th October – British Industrial Revolution

industrial-revolution-1024x665Mass production and mass consumption introduced with Industrial Revolution (1750 – 1900)

Today’s modern concept of design is based on mass consumption and production. A lot of thought is given to the reproduction of a product rather than the design or function on its own.

Before the Industrial Revolution there was a division in labor, craftsmen (tailors, potters, carpenters etc) were organised into guilds of which there was a rigid hierarchy: masters, Journeymen and Apprentices. Apprentices had to pay the masters a premium rate for lodging and tuition.

In England, the process to Industrialisation was  the effect of  combination of mechanical, social and historical development.

James Watt pioneered advance of existing machinery with the invention of the steam engine. His partner Matthew Boulton used the invention to produce metal goods, and this led to the trains which meant travel / distribution was easier and things like daily newspapers were made possible as travel time between places was shortened.

In 19th Century, the advances to printing technology meant there was rapid production of printed media, books, magazines, packaging and advertising. This process was sped up in 1812 by the steam  / iron press. At this time, layout, illustration and design of prints was not decided by Graphic Designers or Illustrators, but by printers and as a result the finished product was often messy and a combination of different layouts and typefaces, especially if more than one printer was involved in the making of the print.

William Morris (1834 – 1896) was a commited socialist and criticised the industrialised production as he believed it to be of poor quality and had a poor impact on working conditions. He is quoted as saying:

“Nothing should be made by man’s labour which is not worth making, or which must be made by labour degrading to the makers.”

At this time there was a lot of focus on how ornamental objects were and the more extravagant, the more they were considered to be worth. As such, the approach to creating new objects was to reuse existing designed models and apply ornamental design to them. Morris, relating to this said:

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

In the 1930’s, General Motors began creating design diversity, breaking free of the old habits. They did this by basing new designs on an existing component of an old one, for example, keeping the same chassis on cars but altering their main body design.

 

(I do not own the image, it was found here: http://industrialrevolution.org.uk/)

11th October – Pre-Industrial Revolution life

Pre-Industrial Revolution 18th C:

Homes had no running water or electricity, meaning water was carried from wells to be used, and lighting and heat came from fires, candles or oil lamps. As oil was expensive, the people lived lives that were more conforming to daylight hours as little could be done in the evenings.

Depending on the class you lived in, you may have had to live in a single room where everything would have been located (e.g. kitchen, bedroom etc) and everyone would have lived together. In the 18th C, entertainment for children may have come from hand made toys, exploring / walking, sowing, reading or even theater trips / sports.

Shopping would be acquired from individual shops or people, rather than from supermarkets. e.g. bread from a bakers, furniture from a carpenters, clothes either handmade or from a tailor. Also, communication would have been done by letters, messengers or occasionally pigeons. This means communication was delayed rather than the instantaneous communication we are used to today with technology. In terms of travel, people would have either gone by foot, on horseback or by horse and carriage

My knowledge of what life may have been like in this time period mostly comes from books, films, history lessons in school and TV shows about modern day people attempting to live as though in the 18th C.

Research Task 3: Critical Reading

The article, “Is Illustration a Big Enough Profession” by Steven Heller featured on Heated Debate, a platform for the expression of thought-provoking views and a start-point for debates.

The article can be read here: http://www.hellerbooks.com/pdfs/varoom_04.pdf

My main method of critical reading was to discuss this article with a group of other Illustrators, all of us having similar or the same views on the article: it is mostly waffle, and only really gets to the point in the last paragraph. The choice of wording seems inappropriate as the large words used seem  unnecessary and excluding. The article, written from the point of view of someone who was an art director rather than an illustrator themselves gives the text less power as the author has no real experience in the profession besides dealing with people who are Illustrators themselves.

Some key points I picked out from the article include:

“illustration added visual dimension beyond the scope of the text”, here he is referencing art from the 1960’s – 1990’s, but I feel this is still true today and often a piece that may have been excluding becomes inclusive because the images alongside it help aid understanding.

“with the advent of graphic novels, internet animation, artists’ toys, and other entrepreneurial wares, illustrators are finding new reasons and outlets for personal expression”, this is proof, I feel, that though there are many arguments about new technology shrinking the world in many ways, I feel this is untrue of art as it has instead opened new opportunities.

In summary, I feel the article was poorly written and for the most part, irrelevant. There were, however, some points that I agreed with, as shown above, but in general it is clear this is an article about the opinion of the author, and therefore very biased and so unreliable as a source of information or fact.

Glossary of terms

 

An ongoing glossary of new / useful terms for CASS:

Anchorage – action of securing something to a base or the state of being secured. e.g. text anchoring the meaning of a poster.

Assemblage – Bringing together unrelated objects to make sculpture.

Automatism – Doing things without conscious thought or intentions.

Avant-Garde – new and experimental ideas and methods in art, music or literature

Brand Loyalty – Tendency of some consumers to continue buying the same brand rather than competing brands

Bricolage – Construction or creation from a diverse range of available things.

Celebrity Endorsement – advertising campaign / marketing strategy involving celebrities or well-known people and using their social status or fame to help promote a product, service or raise awareness

Chromolithography – Method of making multi-colour prints.

Collage – Disassembling material / images / text by cutting it up to make something new when put back.

Constructivism – Style or movement in which assorted mechanical objects are combined into abstract mobile structural forms. Movement started in early 1920’s Russia. Influenced aspects of modern architecture and design.

Cubo-Futurism -Main school of painting and sculpture practiced by the Russian Futurists.

Curator – A keeper or Custodian of a museum or other collection

Dada – Deliberately has a non-fixed meaning, the word coming from baby talk as a nonsensical word intended to be non-definable.

Dadaism – Art movement of European avant-garde in early 20th C.

Derive – to base a concept on an extension or modification of another concept

De Stjil – Used to refer to body of work from 1917 to 1931 founded in the Netherlands

Detournment -An artistic practice conceived by the Situationists for transforming artworks by creatively disfiguring them.

Digital Natives – Those who’ve grown up with technology

Double-Coded – Having more than one meaning

Flaneur – a man who saunters around observing society

Futurism – concern with events and trends of he future, or which anticipate the future. Artistic movement started in 1909 Italy, strongly rejecting traditional forms and embracing modern technology.

Guerrilla Advertising – promotion of services or products in an unconventional way with little spent budget

Interpolation – estimation of a value based on extending a known sequence of values or facts beyond that which is known

Irrationality – Illogical or unreasonable.

Juxtaposition – putting two things together for a 3rd meaning.

Lithography – Process of printing from a treated flat surface that will repel ink except when required for printing

Mass media – media addressing a large audience. It is a feature of contemporary life.

Media – plural form of media, method or means by which a message is conveyed.

Medium – meaning middle. A tool, channel or process of communication between a thing and representation.

Mobbing – Crowding in an unruly way

Montage – cutting images and reassembling.

phsychogeography – an approach to geography with emphasis on playfulness and drifting around urban environments. Has links to the Situationist International.

Portmanteau – a word blending the sounds and combining the meaning of two other words (e.g. Brunch / motel)

Precis – A summary (include context of piece, purpose, writer)

Propaganda – Information of a biased or misleading nature intended to promote a political cause or point of view.

Rationality – Logical or reasonable.

Readymade – Using existing objects as something else.

Rhetoric – effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques. Often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.

Sachplaket – Early style of poster originating in Germany in 1900’s, started by Lucian Bernhard of Berlin in 1906

Semiotics – study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation

Serendipity – when good things happen without intent. Chance encounter with positivity.

Situationism – Theory that human behavior is determined by surrounding circumstance rather than personal qualities. Also a revolutionary political theory which regards modern industrial society as being inevitably oppressive and exploitative.

Subvertising – portmanteau of subvert and advertising. Making spoofs / parodies of corporate and political advertisements. May take form of new image or alteration of existing image, often in satirical manner.

Supremativism – Russian abstract art movement started 1915, characterised by simple geometrical shapes and associated with ideas of spiritual purity.

Surrealism – 20th C avant-garde movement i art and literature, sought to release creative potential of unconscious mind, e.g. by irrational juxtaposition of images.

Ubiquitous – present, appearing, or found everywhere

Urban Exploration – exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned ruins or components of the man-made environment rarely seen.

Urban Sketching – global community of artists that practice drawing on locations in cities, towns and villages they live in or travel to.

Visual Rhetoric – fairly recent development of theoretical framework describing how visual images communicate.

 

Timeline Ideas

I’m interested in looking at the history of manga, graphic novels and comics for the theme of my timeline. In particular Manga is what catches my attention as this is the art style I normally work in. Some links I have looked at so far as part of my research are:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/134810088/Comics-Manga-and-Graphic-Novels-A-History-of-Graphic-Narratives-pdf

http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/evans/his135/events/anime62/anime62.html

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/comicstimeline.html

https://www.timetoast.com/timelines/a-brief-history-of-graphic-novels

In terms of how I will present this timeline, I like the idea of presenting it as a list-like grid going down the page as this allows room for images and more detailed descriptions as well as being easy to follow chronologically.

Research Task 2: Looking and Finding

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1) Title of image is “Le Bais er de l’Hotel de ville, Paris, 1950”. It is a photograph taken in 1950 by French photographer Robert Doisneau. The photo was taken for Life Magazine. Two lawsuits from people believing themselves to be the couple in the photo led Daoisneau to reveal the photo had been staged. The photo is controversial due to the mystery of who the couple in the photo are. Lawsuits were dismissed as it’s impossible to identify people from the angle of the photograph.

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2) Illustrator David Lloyd is responsible for designing the ‘Guy Fawkes mask’. The mask has been used in multiple contexts sine creation, one of the most known being as a major plot element in V for Vendetta (published 1982, film adaptation released 2006). The mask became a symbol for online hactivist group Anonymous and several anti-government / anti-establishment protests worldwide. The mask conceals identity and unites members under commitment to a common cause.
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3) I personally perceive the dress as blue and black or blue and gold depending on the image. People see different colours because of how their eyes see waves of colour and what information their brain filters out or keeps. The brain takes away what colour light is bouncing off of what is being looked at, leaving the true colour.
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4) Simon Patterson, an English artist, re-made and altered Harry Beck’s iconic London underground diagram, replacing station names with those of comedians, footballers and philosophers. He likes to teak information that is seen as reliable and subvert that belief, commenting that he likes ‘disrupting something people take as read’. A print of this work can be purchased at:

http://www.ltmuseumshop.co.uk/posters/product/the-great-bear-poster.html

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5) The still is from the film ‘Un Chien Andalou’. It is a 1929 silent short film directed by Spanish director Luis Buniel and artist Salvador Dali. The sequence with the eye was done using an animal eye and make-up to make it appear human.
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6) The artwork was designed by William Morris in 1862 as a fruit themed wallpaper. The originals were created using wood blocks and mineral based natural pigments to create the prints which, nowadays, are done with specialised machinery for faster and more efficient production. The mediums used were gauche paint overplayed on pencil and crayon. A sample of the original can be found in the V&A museum.
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7) The poster, called ‘beat the whites with the red wedge’ is a propaganda poster made in 1919 by artist El Lissitzky. The red triangle symbolises El Lissitzky’s support of the red army, the revolutionaries of the Bolsheviks 1917 revolution, piercing the defenses of the Anti-communist white army.
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8) The man, Che Guevara, was a well known figure in the Cuban Revolution. He traveled around with the purpose of causing revolutions and is seen as a symbol of radical revolution for those underrepresented due to a capitalist society. The popular and famous photograph of him, taken by Alberto Korda, has been used on merchandise of all kinds, including t-shirts, mugs, posters, toys and packaging among many other products. Though the image became so popular the photographer earn no royalties through the use of his photo. Korda had given Italian publisher Gianfranco Feltrinelli two copies as a gift when the publisher came looking for a photo of Che. After Che was executed (October of the same year), Feltrinelli began printing and selling thousands of posters using the photograph, making himself rich but not giving Korda any royalties.
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9) A meme is an ‘image, video, piece of text etc, typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by internet users, often with slight variations’ or ‘an idea, behaviour, style or usage that spreads from one person to another in a culture’. There are multiple memes I found relating to Aylan Kurdi online, almost all in a ‘humerus’ light which, knowing the story behind the photograph, I feel is wrong as the subject matter should remain serious rather than comedic.
10) Mercury prize winner Dave Okumu us on the cover of the magazine ‘British Journal of Photography’ on the issue themed ‘Portrait of Britain’. The editors are as follows: editorial director – Simon Bainbridge; executive editor – Diane Smyth; online and social media editor – Tom Seymour; editorial assistant – Izabela Radwanska Zhang.
11) Bill Bragg won the V&A Illustration Awards – editorial illustration category with his work ‘but today I’m afraid’. The piece was made following the November 2015 Paris terror attacks. It was created to show backlash against Muslims and illustrate the authors fear.
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12) The photo of Earth taken on the Apollo 8 mission by Bill Anders changed Human consciousness by giving people an environmental consciousness and new ‘world perspective’, later referred to as ‘the single most influential environmental photograph ever taken’.

Research Task 1: Every Picture Tells A Story

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An example of an image that has been influential is the above, a photograph of firefighter David Tree giving a Koala water during the Black Saturday Bush Fires in Victoria, Australia in 2009. The image has impact because there is often a lot of media focus on how people mistreat animals, yet the photograph shows somebody going out of their way to help. The firefighter saw the Koala at the side of the road and requested they pull up, he then proceeded to give the Koala water from bottles he had with him.
The image spread on social media after being featured on the front page of the Herald Sun. He received both positive and negative attention with people varyingly wanting photos with him or accusing him of abandoning the animal.  Overall though, the image remains positive, aided by the symbolic look of unity and comfort by the fact the two are holding hands.