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24 JUNE 2012

A History of Eastern European Matchbox Design

"Matchbox labels from the former Eastern bloc often display a remarkable degree of sophistication, elegance and artistic quality. They were, at a time, the most convenient,efficient and powerful medium for visual communications. Although they were produced under strict state–controlled production processes; that were aimed at exploiting them as a means of publicizing political initiatives, promoting public health and safety, and selling the communist ideal both at home and abroad, the artists used them as a vehicle to experiment with various imaginative ideas and artistic techniques, achieving truly stunning results."

(Guity Novin – گیتی نوین (ناوران) – ا)

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Albania • Alexander Dubcek • artistic techniques • Bulgaria • Central Europe • communism • communist design • communist reformers • communist systemCzechoslovakiaEast GermanyEastern bloc • Eastern Europe • EstoniaGDR • German Democratic Republic • graphic designgraphic design history • Guity Navran • Guity Novin • history • history of graphic design • Hungarian Uprising • Hungary • Imre Nagy • Jane McDevitt • Joseph Stalin • label design • LatviaLithuania • matchbox • matchbox labels • national identity • NATO Alliance • Nikita KhrushchevPoland • political initiatives • post-war erapostwar • powerful medium • Prague Springpublic healthpublic information • public safety • publicising • RomaniaRussiaSocialist Federal Republic of Yugoslaviasocialist realismSoviet Union • state-controlled • the communist ideal • USSRvisual communication • Warsaw Pact • Western democracies • Yugoslavia

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 JANUARY 2012

Oramics to Electronica: Revealing Histories of Electronic Music

"The story of Electronic Music, from the sound experiments of the 1950s through the digital revolution to today, is one of invention and innovation. Developed with a team of electronic musicians, our exhibition charts this history with examples of music making technology spanning more than 50 years. ...

The story begins with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and Electronic Music Studios (EMS), two organisations that broke musical boundaries in the postwar years. Objects from this era include the EMS VCS3, the first portable synthesiser.

Also on display is the Oramics Machine, a revolutionary music synthesiser that was created in the 1960s by Daphne Oram, founder of the Radiophonic Workshop. Daphne created this visionary machine that could transform drawings into sound, and it was recently acquired by the Science Museum in co–operation with Goldsmiths, University of London."

(The Science Museum, 2011)

Fig.1 "Oramics to Electronica", Directed, Produced, Filmed and Edited by Jen Fearnley & Nick Street, Commissioned by The Science Museum, London.

Fig.2 "Daphne Oram", Mick Grierson, Director of Creative Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Director of the Daphne Oram collection.

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1950s1960s • Acid House • BBC Radiophonic WorkshopBritish • creative computing • creativityDaphne Oramdevicedigital pioneersdigital revolution • drawings into sound • electronic music • Electronic Music Studios • electronic musician • EMS • EMS VCS3 • engineerexhibition • Fairlight Computer Musical Instrument • futuristicGoldsmiths College (University of London)historyinnovationinventionmachine • Mick Grierson • musicmusic making technology • music synthesiser • musician • Oramics Machine • Oramics to Electronica • pioneering • portable synthesiser • postwar • Public History Project • Radiophonic Workshop • revolutionary • science and technologyScience Museum of Londonsound experiments • Speak and Spell • synthesiser • synthesizer • TB303 • TB303 bass synthesizer • technologytoyUKwomen in music

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 APRIL 2011

The Design Research Unit: 1942 -72 [UK touring exhibition]

Friday 15 April – Friday 13 May 2011, Bonington Gallery, Bonington building, NTU City site, Nottingham, UK. This is a Cubitt Gallery touring exhibition.

"Formed in London in 1942, The Design Research Unit were responsible for some of the most important design produced in post–war Britain. They pioneered a model for multidisciplinary practice, being the first consultancy in the country to bring together expertise in architecture, graphics and industrial design. By the 1970s it was one of the largest and most established design offices in Europe.

This exhibition is the first of its kind, mapping the history of the group and the currency of their designs. It spans more than four decades of their work, focusing on some of their most significant projects and charting their ambition to bring elegant and functional design to all sections of society. It covers three phases of activity; the group's early origins and founder members, initial work in exhibition design and the Unit's role in devising some of the first and most comprehensive corporate design schemes commissioned for British industry.

The Design Research Unit: 1942 –72 will be open to the general public on 15 April 2011. Admission is free."

(Nottingham Trent University, UK)

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19421970s2011architectureauthorshipBonington GalleryBritish designBritish industryBritish Rail • commercial design • consultancy • corporate design • corporate identitycreative practice • Cubitt Gallery • design formalismdesign historydesign researchDesign Research UnitDRUexhibitionexhibition designgraphicshistoryindustrial designinterdisciplinaryNottinghamNTUpioneeringpostwarrail • touring exhibition • UKvisual communication

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 FEBRUARY 2006

Claustrophobic spaces of German modernity and agoraphobic spaces of American post-war film genres

"Running throughout our essay as its leitmotif is the opposition between the claustrophobic spaces of German modernity (epitomized in Expressionist cinema and in the noir films directed by Germans in Hollywood) and the agoraphobic fear of wide open spaces, exemplified by post–war American space (suburbia and the urban "superblock") and by the post–war film genres of the western and the road movie. Lacking a frontier myth, Germans fantasized about an expansive sense of space and dreaded a claustrophobic one. By contrast, the American cinema developed a morbid fear of open spaces devoid of human community and fantasized about the possibility of a tightly–knit urban community."

(Ed Dimendberg and Anton Kaes)

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agoraphobia • American • Anton Kaes • claustrophobiaclaustrophobic spaces • Edward Dimendberg • expansive sense of space • expressionism • Expressionist cinema • filmfrontierfrontier mythgenreGermanGerman Expressionism • German modernity • Hollywood • human community • modernist architecturemodernityopen countrysideopen spacesperiurbanisationpost-war • post-war American space • post-war film genres • postwar • road movie • suburbia • superblock • tightly-knit urban community • urban • urban superblock • Westernwestern film genre • wide open spaces

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
18 APRIL 2004

Tetsuo: Post-war Japanese Identity Defined Through Technology

"The cybernetic mentality that conditions [Japanese] post–war fantastic narratives is in fact a rather active and almost self–torturing acceptance of machine parts into the human flesh, which drive the Japanese identity toward postwar survival and victory over the leading nations by means of radical incorporation of technology."
(Kumiko Sato)

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1989cinemacreation of a new speciescultural identitycyberneticcyborgdramafilm • flesh • Fujiwara • horroridentity • Iron Man • JapanJapanese filmKashiwa Satomoral imaginationspixilationposthumanpostwarsci-fispeculative fiction • Taguchi • technology • Tetsuo The Iron Man (1989) • Tsukamoto
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