Friday, 30 December 2011

Research - Music graphics

MANYDJS music and graphics in perfect harmony?

Arcade Fire Neon Bible - Interactive video

August 2007

A truely interactive experience - Enter your Childhood address and it personalises the experince using Google earth and maps - Amazing!

Bjork - Biophilia - Music, Science and Technology. 

A new concept whereby an App download provides a library of music and education .

Monday, 19 December 2011

Essay proposal

Not fully defined the question yet however exploring
  • Album artwork and design,its role and impact on culture - commodifying and promoting music, as a means of communication - Benjamin, Berger and Adorno.
  • how album artwork can give music context especially if the Designer has a close relationship/affinity with the context- Barnard  
  • In context of the above, consider the cultural impact of the potential de-materialisation of music through digital media.
Some specific examples of album artwork to consider:

Black market Clash - The Clash - Consider context particularly political activism.

Conversely Kiss Alive (1975) and Destroyer (1976)   - escapism and mystery - using Adorno to crtically assess - mass culture duming down. A band which took branding and consumerism to the nth degree - a Capitalist dream?

Peter Saville, New Order, Blue Monday, sleeve design1983 - The capitalist nightmare?

Public Image Limited, album, sleeve design, 1986

Radiohead In Rainbows - self released free digital download by voluntary contribution - Ironically went onto receive Best Special Limited Edition 2009

Some texts looking at:
Benjamin, W The Work of art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Berger, J (1972) Ways of seeing, London Penguin (Also on Youtube BBC - Ways of seeing series) 
Adorno, T (1991) - The Culture Industry, Oxon Routledge
Lister et al (2008) New Media: a critical introduction second edition , Oxon Routledge
Coverscaping: Discovering album aesthetics (2009) Oyvind Vagnes, Asbjorn Gronstad Museum Tusculanum Press
Barnard, M (2005) Graphic Design as communication, Oxon Routledge
Heller, S (2010) Pop: How graphic design shapes pop culture New York Allworth Press

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Barney bubbles recognised at V&A Postmodern exhibition

After Collection 100 last year, I was thrilled to see that Barney Bubbles has been recognised as the key innovator of Postmodern music graphics.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

not quite on subject but in the right ball park...


“Second Lives” confirms how thoroughly blurred the lines dividing art, craft and design have become over the past few decades. Roberta Smith reviews.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Task 2 - Benjamin and Mechanical Reproduction

Read the Walter Benjamin's essay 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction'. Write a 300 word analysis of one work of Graphic Design, that you think relates to the themes of the text, and employing quotes, concepts and terminology from the text.

I started this task with the idea of using Alan Fletcher's Pizza poster which have recently been on sale as limited edition prints for £215 at Kemistry Gallery to celebrate ten years of the publication of the Art of looking sideways. I wanted to compare a piece of Graphic Design, designed to communicate to the masses now being given 'Aura' by the art establishment.  I could not trace however what Fletcher designed the Pizza for originally but it did lead me to this interesting article in the New York Times.

The Man Who Broke the Record on 'Let It Bleed'

The cover image at first appears at odds with the title however this is explained by the fact the record was originally entitled 'Automatic changer'.
'The title was to be “Automatic Changer,” so Brownjohn photographed a surreal assortment of circular objects — a plate, film can, clock face, pizza, tire and wedding cake — stacked above a vinyl LP as if they were on one of the autochanger mechanisms that enabled old-fashioned record players to play numerous albums without stopping.'

'His artwork for “Let It Bleed” is to be auctioned Thursday at Bonhams in London for an estimated price of at least €35,000, about $47,000, which is, inevitably, inflated by its association with the Rolling Stones. But Brownjohn, who died of a heart attack in 1970 a few days before his 45th birthday, was a remarkably gifted graphic designer, and last week the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired more than 200 examples of his work from his daughter Eliza.'
Whatever the final bid, the new owner won’t just be getting the iconic album art. The auction lot also includes two felt-tip pen concept sketches on envelopes, two color positives, two color negatives of the final front and back covers, a U.S. pressing of the album, and a photo of Richards and Mick Jagger checking the cover proofs.

Read more:

Plan to discuss:

The design was intended to be sold with the music - to a mass market.  Now become 'elite' and been given an aura being sold at auction for vast sums of money 
Also MOMA are buying work to exhibit as 'Art' thus providing an aura to work than was intended for mass communication

Album cover art is a good example of what Benjamin describes as ' the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility'.  When Brownjohn was commissioned to design the Rolling Stones album cover his intention was to design a distinctive Album Cover to be reproduced and distributed to the masses, not to produce a work of art for its own sake.  In Benjamin's words ' technical reproduction...enables the original to meet the beholder halfway'

Brownjohn's work has since achieved both aura and authenticity.  Authenticity in the sense that Benjamin describes as 'the presence of the original' and 'the essence of all that is transmissable from its beginning' ie through its context in history. So whilst Benjamin proposed 'that which withers away in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art'; in fact the aura has been established three fold through its uniqueness, the high monetary value placed on the original piece of Album Art at auction and also through the New York MOMA exhibiting his work as works of art.  The Original art work is now only available to an elite audience of either art lovers or the wealthy.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Lecture 6 - Cities and film

Herbert Bayer 'Lonely Metropolitism 1932

How the individual exists in a space which exists on a group contribution.  The city engulfing the human figure 

 Coined phrase 'Form follows function'
Details from Arts and Crafts movement.  Tightly organised system of zones to organise the inside of the building

Land of opportunity

Manhatta Paul Stand and Charles Scheeler 1921 - America built on immigration

Commissioned to take the photographs as part of a 1.3m ad campaign

The figure in the city represented as a cog in the city.  The human body becomes part of the machine like a production line.  Manual workers are the consumers at the same time.

This idea is parodied in this film.

This idea of Fordism is brought to an end by the crash. Image 1936 

 Vertov explores the role of the movie camera in a communist city
In literature the role of the body is the 'stroller', the body in the city.  the function of art is to capture this experience.

 Just there to observe other people's actions.  Also used as an analytical tool by Walter Benjamin.  He also lives this life himself.

 Robert Duanao photograph Street Photography
What does it mean for the female in this role? As the Flaneur ideas were emerging women were not seen on the streets alone so are excluded from the writing.

 Alternative ideas of the woman as a Flaneur
Forboding, observed moments just before or after something has happened

Sophie Calle - A type of Flaneuse

‘For months I followed strangers in the street. For the pleasure of following them, not because they particularly interested me. I photographed them without their knowledge, took note of their movements, then finally lost sight of them and forgot them.
At the end of January 1980, on the streets of Paris, I followed a man whom I lost sight of a few minutes later in the crowd. That very evening, by chance, he was introduced to me at an opening. During the course of our conversation, he told me he was planning an imminent trip to Venice.’ Frieze magazine Act of following links stalking and almost a love affair
Venice - Interesting choice

The idea is also found in the film Don't Look now.  Plays with identity and memory.
Sophie Calle pays a private detective to follow her and take photograhic evidence of her existence.  What is truth, what is photographic truth?
Detective (1980), consisted of Calle being followed for a day by a private detective, who had been hired (at Calle's request) by her mother. Calle proceeded to lead the unwitting detective around parts of Paris that were particularly important for her, thereby reversing the expected position of the observed subject. Such projects, with their suggestions of intimacy, also questioned the role of the spectator, with viewers often feeling a sense of unease as they became the unwitting collaborators in these violations of privacy. Moreover, the deliberately constructed and thus in one sense artificial nature of the documentary ‘evidence' used in Calle's work questioned the nature of all truths.

1940-50 The city as a place of threat - Darkside of NY city- Ukranian press photographer who used police radio to stay in touch with events around the city. Mobile dark room - Instant reporting

Weegee's images were collected in a book on which the film was based

Set in 1947 challenges the player to control the LAPD. L.A. Noire is set in Los Angeles in 1947 and challenges the player, controlling a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective, to solve a range of cases across five crime desks.[17] Players must investigate crime scenes for clues, follow up leads, and interrogate suspects, and the players' success at these activities will impact how much of the cases' stories are revealed.
As the title suggests, the game draws heavily from both plot and aesthetic elements of film noir – stylistic films from the 1940s and 1950s that shared similar visual styles and themes including crime, sex, and moral ambiguity and were often shot in black and white with harsh, low-key lighting. The game uses a distinctive colouring-style in homage to the visual style of film noir, including the option to play the game in black-and-white. The post-war setting is the backdrop for plot elements that reference the detective films of the '40s (as well as James Ellroy's novel L.A. Confidential and the Curtis Hanson film based on it), such as corruption and drugs, with a jazz soundtrack. L.A. Noire is also notable for using Lightsprint's real-time global illumination technology, as well as Depth Analysis's newly developed technology for the film and video game industries called MotionScan, where actors are recorded by 32 surrounding cameras to capture facial expressions from every angle.[19][20] The technology is central to the game's interrogation mechanic, as players must use the suspects' reactions to questioning to judge whether they are lying or not.
L.A. Noire is the first video game to be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival.[21][22] Upon release, the game received critical acclaim.

New york - trip effect in a certain area of New York. Detached observer Filmic portraiture.  Sense of heightened drama and surveillance.  does not ask permission

His photographs would then give a sense of heightened drama to the passers-by accidental poses, unintended movements and insignificant facial expressions.[5] Even if sometimes the subject appears to be completely detached to the world around him, diCorcia has often used the city of the subject's name as the title of the photo, placing the passers-by back into the city's anonymity.

2006 litigation by one of his random subjects.  Religious rights were violated. Lost case- Private realm of individual space cannot be reclaimed.
Di Corcia compares his work to Walker Evans

Unobserved moments on New York subway. Idea of people being alone and separate in the city despite being surrounded by other people.

Cindy Sherman considers sterotypical women in a city,  Woman is lost, threatened by the street. Trapped- presence absence
Film noir stereotype.
Below - Shot at the base of the WTC

The shots of the WTC don’t look like the WTC unless you knew the towers well and could recognise the windows in the background. I wasn’t trying to make photos of Manhattan; I wanted the pictures to be mysterious and to look like unidentifiable locations.  So I used types of building that looked as if they could be anywhere  Nothing is revealed - typical of postmodernism.

Ed Soja . Bonaventure Hotel video.  Getting lost in architecture, proposing the idea of the city as confusing and encompassing space which has to be unravelled.
Fredrick jameson Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism Verso, 1991

 A photo of a Post Modern city. Taken at street level this offers an eye level view of incipient confusion. The eye is overwhelmed by signs, and colour adds to the effect of chaos.  Although the image is full of deail there is no sense of tradition or of unity. Indeed it is difficult to find a solid building at all. Clarke  The city reflects its mental state

Surrounded by people who observe but don't interact with the drama.

Impossible to be a detached observer in the case of a disaster. 
The destruction of the skyscaper, in the Twin Towers is the destruction of the American Dream as Andrew Grahame Dixon figured earlier.
Where issues of the body the city the built environment the man of the crowd the stranger/immigrant collide catastrophically.  Adam Bezer was a citizen journalist.  

Liz Wells identified "citizen journalism' in 2006. Different aesthetic to photography as a piece of information and evidence. No longer a separation of the city and the individual