Not Signed-In
Which clippings match 'Modernism' keyword pg.2 of 6
28 DECEMBER 2013

Design genius or author as editor: filtering and synthesising?

"In 'What is an author?' [4], Michel Foucault says we are 'accustomed to presenting the author as a genius.' We see the author as the 'genial creator' of work in which he gives us, 'with infinite wealth and generosity,' an inexhaustible world of meanings. (Being 'creative' always has a positive ring, whatever is produced!) Foucault says that the author does not 'precede' the work: ideas and meanings are already there and the author's role is to 'choose,' to filter and synthesise to create output. (Foucault also emphasises 'limiting' and 'excluding'). The author's role is to limit the proliferation of meanings and present a personal view of the world. Yet the 'genius author' is represented as a continual source of invention–the opposite of his genuine function."

(Monika Parrinder, 2000, Eye Magazine)

TAGS

April Greiman • art and designart market • art star • artisanartist • artist myth • artistic solutions • Atelier Populaire • auteur theoryauthor as editorauthor as geniusavant-garde artists • being creative • blur boundaries • bohemian • Brigit Fowler • Bruce Mau • canonisation • celebritycliche • constructed idea • creative geniuscreative individuals • creative intuition • cult of the author • cult of the individual • cultural elite • Cunst Art • cutting-edge innovationsDavid Carsondesign community • Design Quarterly • design star • designer as author • editing through selectionEuropean EnlightenmentEye (magazine)fine art • Fran Cottell • genial creatorgenius • genius author • genius creator • genius mythgenius of the individual • genius status • graphic authorship • graphic design • Griselda Pollock • Hard Werken • history of ideas • ID Magazine • ingenue • innate talent • inspired visionaries • intuitioninventionJohn Maeda • John Walker • legitimate discipline • liberal artslone genius • lone pioneer • madman • maverick graphic designer • Michael Howe • Michael RockMichel Foucaultmodernismmyth of the geniusNeville Brodynon-conformist • ordinary mortal • Paul RandPentagram Designpersonapersonal expressionpersonal visionpersonalityPeter SavillePierre Bourdieupioneerromantic notion of the artist • Rozsika Parker • self-aggrandisement • self-taught • semi-divine status • solitary • spiritual insight • status • talenttaste (sociology) • Terry Jones • Tomato (design agency)tortured soul • ubermeister • visionary

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 NOVEMBER 2013

Superstudio: the radical Italian architectural group

"The collective emerged in 1966 at the moment when the technocratic optimism of the first half of the 1960s was souring. The watershed was the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in China in 1966 when Mao Tse–tung gave Western intellectuals a new cause to believe in after a decade of disillusion since their faith in communism was shattered by Khrushchev's exposure of Stalin's brutalities. Events in China made Western society seem spiritually barren at a time of growing concern about the Vietnam War. In the visual arts, radicals rebelled against the extrovert imagery of Pop Art in favour of the politically engaged work of Fluxus artists like Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik. The rising tide of political frustration culminated in the 1968 student riots in Paris and copycat protests in London, Tokyo and Prague. Women formed fledgeling feminist movements such as the Women's Liberation Front in the US and Mouvement de Libération des Femmes in France. Decades of oppression against gay men and women erupted in a pitched battle in New York, when the police tried to close the Stonewall, a gay bar in the West Village and a politicised gay rights movement exploded.

Superstudio's response was to develop its 'Anti–Design' projects: themes from which were echoed in the work of other radical architects and designers, notably the members of Archizoom, a fellow Florentine group consisting of Andrea Branzi, Gilberto Corretti, Paolo Deganello, Dario and Lucia Bartolini and Massimo Morozzi. Both groups were founded in 1966 and their first important project was to express their theories about the crisis of modernism in the Superarchitecture exhibition in Pistoia, Italy. A year later, they refined the ideas aired in Superarchitecture in a joint follow–up show in Modena."

(Design Museum)

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TAGS

1966 • Adolfo Natalini • Alessandro Magris • Andrea Branzi • Anti-Design (agenda) • Archigram • architectural thinking • Archizoom • avant-garde • avant-garde thinking • Cristiano Toraldo di Francia • Cultural Revolution • Dario Bartolini • design museum • disillusionment • FlorenceFluxus group • Foreign Office Architects • Gilberto Corretti • ItalyJoseph Beuys • Lucia Bartolini • Mao Tse-tung • Massimo Morozzi • Modena • modernismmodernist ideals • Mouvement de Liberation des Femmes • Nam June PaikNikita Khrushchev • Paolo Deganello • Peoples Republic of Chinaphotocollage • Piero Frassinelli • Pistoia • political frustration • pop artPragueradical architecture • radical design • Rem Koolhaas • Roberto Magris • scientific method • Studio Alchymia • Superarchitecture (exhibition) • superfluous objects • Superstudio • technocratic optimism • Toraldo di Francia • University of Florence • Vietnam war • visionary scenarios • visual arts • vociferous • Womens Liberation Front

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 JANUARY 2013

Call to Order: the pretentious sterility of culture

"In a masterstroke of design, the curator of Chaos and Classicism, Kenneth Silver, chose a work of art to illustrate the Nazi annexation of neoclassicism that at first glance is anything but threatening. The Four Elements by Adolf Ziegler decorated the walls of Hitler's Munich apartment. A member of the Nazi Party, Ziegler was charged by Hitler in 1937 to stage–manage the purge of modern art in the notorious Exhibition of Degenerate Art. Ziegler's depiction of four nude women who symbolize fire, earth, air and water, the four elements of nature recognized in antiquity, personifies little but the pretentious sterility of culture under the Third Reich. Yet, it is the perfect embodiment of the banality of evil."

(Ed Voves, 4 October 2010)

Fig.1 Adolf Ziegler, The Four Elements: Fire, Water and Earth, Air, (Die vier Elemente. Feuer, Wasser und Erde, Luft), before 1937, Oil on canvas, three panels, left to right: 170.3 x 85.2 cm, 171 x 190.8 cm, and 161.3 x 76.7 cm, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Sammlung Moderner Kunst in der Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.

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TAGS

1937Adolf Hitler • Adolf Ziegler • air • antiquitybanalitycall to orderchaos and classicismclassical beautyclassical formcorrectioncultural productionEarth • elements • emasculation • essential elements of artessentialismExhibition of Degenerate Artfascismfire • Kenneth Silver • masterstroke of design • modern artmodernismMunichnatureNazi • Nazi Party • neoclassical revivalneoclassicismnude women • pretentious sterility of culture • purificationpurity • racial purity • return to ordersterility • The Four Elements • Third Reichwaterwork of art

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 JULY 2012

Sense of adventure: what happened to playgrounds that give children space?

Aldo "Van Eyck believed playgrounds should challenge a child's imagination without jarring the adult's aesthetic sensibilities. His abstract, elementary forms – often manufactured out of metal tubes like modernist furniture – were meant to belong in a well–mannered streetscape. During the same period in Britain, however, we were developing a tradition of playground design that was almost diametrically opposed. The first 'junk' playgrounds emerged amid the rubble of the Blitz, and the results were far less polite. Consisting of makeshift structures cobbled together out of roof beams and detritus, they were often designed with the assistance of the children themselves. That essential character survives today in descendants such as Glamis Adventure Playground in Shadwell, east London, a riot of skew–whiff woodwork and clashing colours, and an odd hybrid of post–war austerity and postmodern assemblage.

The junk playground model was created by the Danish architect Carl Theodor Sorensen, who believed playgrounds should reflect the imagination of the child not the architect. In 1943, having observed the creative way children play in construction sites, he developed the prototype junk playground on the Emdrup housing estate in Copenhagen.

The concept was brought to Britain by Lady Allen of Hurtwood, who tested it out on the site of a bombed church in Camberwell and then built dozens of what she called 'adventure playgrounds' – the term 'junk' tended to turn local mothers into nimbys. Not only did Allen feel that ordinary playgrounds were sterile places ('it is little wonder that [children] prefer the dumps of rough wood and piles of bricks and rubbish of the bombed sites'), but she believed in the healing effects of exposing children to the urban scars of warfare. At the same time, having them take part in the post–war reconstruction effort was deemed a good way of shaping model citizens.

Essentially, all playgrounds are designed to do the same thing: to help children develop their abilities, use up excess energy and keep them off the streets. But the ideology of the adventure playground is interesting for several reasons. First, there's the notion of not restricting children to the repetitive motions of the slide or swing, because the sooner you reach the technical limits of the equipment, the sooner you have to stretch those limits – hence all those swings you see coiled around the crossbar. The adventure playground was designed to liberate the wild thing within and, by exposing children to risk, teach them personal responsibility (all forms of play are underpinned by some form of didactism, so it's worth reminding ourselves that this is also simply more fun). Just as crucially, it was intrinsic to the concept that children be involved in designing the playgrounds, dreaming up weird structures and adapting them later by tacking on extra elements. This participatory dimension, managed by volunteer play leaders, is key to the development of their creativity.

It's curious how much the ethos of the adventure playground chimes with the language of a new era of design today: a 'participatory' process, recycled materials, an adaptive product. It doesn't sound like the 1940s. But equally valuable is the zone of exception that the adventure playground represents in the city, one of improvisation and informality that, pace Van Eyck, does not blend in to a polite streetscape.

Today, there are few true adventure playgrounds left, but occasionally another is built that follows all the essential tenets, such as the Kilburn Grange Park playground in north London, designed last year by Erect Architecture and based on the ideas of local kids. Increasingly, though, 'adventure playgrounds' are produced by specialist manufacturers and merely designed to look rustic. You can't adapt them, or at least anyone who tried would be carted off. These are the products of a health and safety culture that watered down adventure playgrounds in the 1980s and 90s. There was a minor revival a few years ago, when the Labour government invested £230m in new play spaces across England, but the coalition government freed that budget up for other uses, so it was short–lived. And now, with the cuts, several adventure playgrounds, including the giant ones in Battersea and Kilburn, face losing the play workers that make such playgrounds what they are.

It's worth remembering just how cheap and yet how luxurious these spaces are. We should let kids loose on this new breed of sanitised playground, to inject a little of the old spirit in them. I hear the builder behind Kilburn Grange Park salvaged the formwork from Zaha Hadid's Olympic diving towers – that could come in handy."

(Justin McGuirk, Tuesday 3 July 2012 15.40 BST, The Guardian)

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TAGS

1940s19431980s1990sad-hocadventure playgroundAldo van EyckAlfred Trachselausterity • Battersea • bomb site • Camberwell • Carl Theodor Sorensen • challenge imagination • childhood imaginationchildren • clashing colours • coalition governmentcobbled together • construction site • CopenhagencreativityDanishDenmarkdetritus • didactic • didactism • dream up • elementary forms • Emdrup housing estate • Empress Frederick • engagement • Erect Architecture • exposure to risk • formwork • free expressionfun • Glamis Adventure Playground • healing effects • health and safety culturehybridimaginationimprovisation • informality • junkjunk playgroundjunk playgrounds • Justin McGuirk • Kilburn Grange Park • Labour governmentLady Allen of Hurtwoodlearningmakeshiftmodel citizenmodernismmodernist aestheticmodernist furniture • new era of design • NIMBY • open-endedopen-ended play spacesparticipatoryparticipatory processpersonal responsibilityplay • play leader • play spaces • play worker • playground • playground design • playscapespost-war • post-war reconstruction • postmodern assemblagerecycled materialsrisk-takingRobinson Crusoe • rough wood • rubbishrustic • salvaged • sanitised • scriptible spaces • Shadwell • skew-whiff • sterile placesstreetscape • Theodor Sorenson • urban scars • warfare • weird structures • Zaha Hadid

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 MARCH 2012

The Gestalt Principles

"Gestalt is a psychology term which means 'unified whole'. It refers to theories of visual perception developed by German psychologists in the 1920s. These theories attempt to describe how people tend to organize visual elements into groups or unified wholes when certain principles are applied."

(Spokane Falls Community College)

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TAGS

abstractionaesthetics • Berlin School • brain • closeness • closurecognitioncomplete formdesigndesign formalismdesign principlesdesign rules • entirety • essence • figure and ground • form and function • form-generating capability • gestalt effect • gestalt principlesgestalt psychology • gestalt theories • gestalt theories of perception • gestalt theory • gestaltism • graphic designgrouping • human eye • illusion • Kurt Koffka • layout designmodernismmodernist design principlesobjectivityperceptionperceptual organisationpictorial systemsprinciplesproximitypsychology • psychology of design • regularity • reificationrepetitionrulessensesshapesimilaritysymmetrytexturetheory of mindunified wholevisual communicationvisual designvisual illusionvisual literacyvisual perceptionvisual recognitionvisual rulewhole formswhole is greater than the sum of the partswhole is other than the sum of the partswhole situation

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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