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Which clippings match 'Convention' keyword pg.1 of 1
22 JULY 2012

Fountain: an ordinary article of life without useful significance

"Fountain is one of Duchamp's most famous works and is widely seen as an icon of twentieth–century art. The original, which is now lost, consisted of a standard urinal, laid flat on its back rather than upright in its usual position, and signed 'R. Mutt 1917'. The Tate's work is a 1964 replica and is made from glazed earthenware painted to resemble the original porcelain. The signature is reproduced in black paint. Fountain is an example of what Duchamp called a 'readymade', an ordinary manufactured object designated by the artist as a work of art. It epitomises the assault on convention and good taste for which he and the Dada movement are best known.

The idea of designating such a lowly object as a work of art came from a discussion between Duchamp and his American friends the collector Walter Arensburg and the artist Joseph Stella. Following this conversation, Duchamp bought an urinal from a plumbers' merchants, and submitted it to an exhibition organised by the Society of Independent Artists. The Board of Directors, who were bound by the constitution of the Society to accept all members' submissions, took exception to the Fountain and refused to exhibit it. Duchamp and Arensburg, who were both on the Board, resigned immediately in protest. An article published at the time, which is thought to have been written by Duchamp, claimed, 'Mr Mutt's fountain is not immoral, that is absurd, no more than a bathtub is immoral. It is a fixture that you see every day in plumbers' shop windows. Whether Mr Mutt with his own hands made the fountain has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object.' ('The Richard Mutt Case', The Blind Man, New York, no.2, May 1917, p.5.)"

(Sophie Howarth, April 2000)

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TAGS

1917196420th centuryabsurdAlfred Stieglitzartart historyassault • assault on convention • assault on good taste • avant-garde • black paint • contextconventioncultural signalscultural significance of objectscurationDadaDada movement • designated by the artist • Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven • everydayexhibition • fixture • Fountain (work of art) • glazed earthenware • good taste • icon of twentieth-century art • immoral • information in context • Joseph Stella • layers of meaning • lowly object • Marcel Duchampmodern artobjet trouve • ordinary article of life • ordinary manufactured objectporcelain • R. Mutt 1917 • readymadereplica • Society of Independent Artists • Tate Modern • took exception • twentieth-century art • urinaluseful significance • Walter Arensburg • work of art

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
25 APRIL 2011

Stephen Fry: Don't Mind Your Language...

"For me, it is a cause of some upset that more Anglophones don't enjoy language. Music is enjoyable it seems, so are dance and other, athletic forms of movement. People seem to be able to find sensual and sensuous pleasure in almost anything but words these days. Words, it seems belong to other people, anyone who expresses themselves with originality, delight and verbal freshness is more likely to be mocked, distrusted or disliked than welcomed. The free and happy use of words appears to be considered elitist or pretentious. Sadly, desperately sadly, the only people who seem to bother with language in public today bother with it in quite the wrong way. They write letters to broadcasters and newspapers in which they are rude and haughty about other people's usage and in which they show off their own superior 'knowledge' of how language should be. I hate that, and I particularly hate the fact that so many of these pedants assume that I'm on their side. When asked to join in a 'let's persuade this supermarket chain to get rid of their 'five items or less' sign' I never join in. Yes, I am aware of the technical distinction between 'less' and 'fewer', and between 'uninterested' and 'disinterested' and 'infer' and 'imply', but none of these are of importance to me. 'None of these are of importance,' I wrote there, you'll notice – the old pedantic me would have insisted on 'none of them is of importance'. Well I'm glad to say I've outgrown that silly approach to language. Oscar Wilde, and there have been few greater and more complete lords of language in the past thousand years, once included with a manuscript he was delivering to his publishers a compliment slip in which he had scribbled the injunction: 'I'll leave you to tidy up the woulds and shoulds, wills and shalls, thats and whiches &c.' Which gives us all encouragement to feel less guilty, don't you think?

There are all kinds of pedants around with more time to read and imitate Lynne Truss and John Humphrys than to write poems, love–letters, novels and stories it seems. They whip out their Sharpies and take away and add apostrophes from public signs, shake their heads at prepositions which end sentences and mutter at split infinitives and misspellings, but do they bubble and froth and slobber and cream with joy at language? Do they ever let the tripping of the tips of their tongues against the tops of their teeth transport them to giddy euphoric bliss? Do they ever yoke impossible words together for the sound–sex of it? Do they use language to seduce, charm, excite, please, affirm and tickle those they talk to? Do they? I doubt it. They're too farting busy sneering at a greengrocer's less than perfect use of the apostrophe. Well sod them to Hades. They think they're guardians of language. They're no more guardians of language than the Kennel Club is the guardian of dogkind.

The worst of this sorry bunch of semi–educated losers are those who seem to glory in being irritated by nouns becoming verbs. How dense and deaf to language development do you have to be? If you don't like nouns becoming verbs, then for heaven's sake avoid Shakespeare who made a doing–word out of a thing–word every chance he got. He TABLED the motion and CHAIRED the meeting in which nouns were made verbs. New examples from our time might take some getting used to: 'He actioned it that day' for instance might strike some as a verbing too far, but we have been sanctioning, envisioning, propositioning and stationing for a long time, so why not 'action'? 'Because it's ugly,' whinge the pedants. It's only ugly because it's new and you don't like it. Ugly in the way Picasso, Stravinsky and Eliot were once thought ugly and before them Monet, Mahler and Baudelaire. Pedants will also claim, with what I am sure is eye–popping insincerity and shameless disingenuousness, that their fight is only for 'clarity'. This is all very well, but there is no doubt what 'Five items or less' means, just as only a dolt can't tell from the context and from the age and education of the speaker, whether 'disinterested' is used in the 'proper' sense of non–partisan, or in the 'improper' sense of uninterested. No, the claim to be defending language for the sake of clarity almost never, ever holds water. Nor does the idea that following grammatical rules in language demonstrates clarity of thought and intelligence of mind. Having said this, I admit that if you want to communicate well for the sake of passing an exam or job interview, then it is obvious that wildly original and excessively heterodox language could land you in the soup. I think what offends examiners and employers when confronted with extremely informal, unpunctuated and haywire language is the implication of not caring that underlies it. You slip into a suit for an interview and you dress your language up too. You can wear what you like linguistically or sartorially when you're at home or with friends, but most people accept the need to smarten up under some circumstances – it's only considerate. But that is an issue of fitness, of suitability, it has nothing to do with correctness. There no right language or wrong language any more than are right or wrong clothes. Context, convention and circumstance are all.

I don't deny that a small part of me still clings to a ghastly Radio 4/newspaper–letter–writer reader pedantry, but I fight against it in much the same way I try to fight against my gluttony, anger, selfishness and other vices. I must confess, for example, that I find it hard not to wince when someone aspirates the word 'aitch'. ..."

(Stephen Fry, 4 November 2008)

Fig.1 Matthew Rogers (2010). 'Stephen Fry Kinetic Typography – Language'. http://rogerscreations.com/blog/?p=202

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TAGS

Anglophone • animated presentation • apostrophe • Charles Baudelaire • circumstance • clarityclarity of thoughtClaude Monetcommunicationcontextconvention • correctness • cultureeducation • elitism • evolutionexpressiongrammatical rulesGustav Mahler • heterodox language • Igor Stravinskyinnovationintelligence of mind • John Humphrys • kinetic typographyknowledgelanguagelanguage developmentlanguage habitslinguistics • Lynne Truss • meaning makingmotion graphicsmotion typographyOscar WildePablo Picasso • pedantry • pleasure • pretension • Radio 4scriptible • sensuous • sentence • sharpie • signageStephen Fry • technical rules • Thomas Stearns Eliotusageuse of wordsverbal freshnessvisualisationWilliam Shakespearewords

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 JUNE 2010

No character can exist without the context of a game world

"The role of the character in a role–playing game has long been debated. Yet no character can exist without the context of a game world. The character always has a relationship to its surroundings; the easiest way of creating a character is often through providing a context. Even if one supposedly plays oneself in a fictional world, a character – a variation on the ordinary persona – will soon emerge. "

(Markus Montola & Jaakko Stenros)

[2] Montola, M. and J. S. (eds) (2008). Playground Worlds – Creating and Evaluating Experiences of Role–Playing Games. Finland, Ropecon ry.

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TAGS

2008 • A Week in Finland • belongingcharactercollaborationcontextconventioncultural codesDenmarkengagementfictional worldFinlandgamegame world • Knudepunkt • Knutepunkt • Knutpunkt • LARPlive-action • live-action role-playing • NordicNorwayparticipationpersonaplayrole playingsocial interaction • Solmukohta • story worldstoryworldsurroundingsSwedenworld of the storyworld-building

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 FEBRUARY 2006

WarioWare: video game pastiche

"Wario Ware is a game about games. Some of its micro games are straight re–implementations of earlier Nintendo classics, but WarioWare also parodies older games such as Super Mario Bros[7]. and The Legend of Zelda[8]. WarioWare exhibits and distorts many game design conventions we take for granted.
...
WarioWare's most obvious departure from conventional game design is its discontinuities, which illustrate the effects of continuity on game experience. Wario Ware's ultra–compressed games contain only a minimum number of ingredients. These miniature games illustrate how complex games are generally built out of simpler ones. WarioWare?s nonsense and absurdities also explore the relationship between fiction and rules.

In a sense, WarioWare is an Understanding Comics[4] of video games: a text that uses the representational strategies of a medium to reflect upon that same medium. But where Understanding Comics is discourse on comics, written in the language of comics, Wario Ware is more like Chuck Jones's meta–cartoon Duck Amuck[2]. WarioWare and Duck Amuck violate convention, and in doing so draw attention to how cartoons and games are both constructed and interpreted."
(Chaim Gingold)

[2] Duck Amuck. Director: Chuck M. Jones. Warner Bros, 1953. 7 minutes.
[4] McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics. New York: HarperPerennial, 1994.
[7] Nintendo, Super Mario Bros. Sept. 1985. NES game.
[8] Nintendo, The Legend Of Zelda. 1987. NES game.

[Gingold talks about the Nintendo (Gameboy Advance) game called WarioWare. He reveals it to be a pastiche of earlier video games, clustered together and played as a single master game.]

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TAGS

cartoonconstructionconventionDuck AmuckgameGameboygenre • Gingold • hommageNintendoparodypasticheself-referentialself-reflexivetributevideo gameWarioWare
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