Just back from London for Design Week, visiting a whole range of people and work. One of the best things I saw was this body of work by Tomas Kral who I met at 100% design and then again at Libby Sellers party in Libertys. It's like many of the best works I've come across being both very obvious and very sophisticated, it's execution is also well done. I hope we'll be able to work with him soon.
At the moment it comes out of my mouth, I know I've said something that I neither whole heartedly believe in nor fully understand. “Blurring the boundaries between art and design”, I say. It sounds just so exciting. I'd love to go and blur some of those boundaries. In fact, I envision it as something like the dismantling of the Berlin wall, a sort of righteous attack on the artifice of the old guard that had been left standing by our own complacency. There are many un-thought through phrases that spin out of mine and, dare I say, many of your mouths yet blurring boundaries is one that can be heard all too often these days, particularly in galleries, showrooms and magazines just like the one you're holding now.
The examples we are offered of blurring boundaries between art and design often don’t stand up to scrutiny. For instance, selling design in an art gallery format doesn’t make it art. Limiting the number of items you produce doesn’t make it art. Taking a standard design item from your range and painting it another colour also does not make it art. And, by the way, it doesn’t blur any boundaries. I’m not against all of the work that turns up this way, but let's not suggest it is something that it’s not, nor that it’s doing something that it isn’t.
What seems more pertinent is the morphing topology of the market we’ve seen recently in both worlds, by the likes of dePury’s launching into the commissioning of work by designers themselves rather than waiting for a secondary market to wash the work upon the shore of their salerooms. Or Damian Hirst’s (he gets everywhere doesn’t he?) Royal warrant of approval being layed upon Christie's to great media effect this month as he sells directly to the bidding audience a collation of his recent work. This sets a precedent and maybe, with it, offers a glimpse, an alternate future, of the art market.
I personally find an increasing strain in decoding cultural lexicons through the various obfuscating lenses the world is viewed through today that I need no further blurring, thank you very much. In fact, what I’d like is a huge light shone upon the boundaries so that I can more clearly see them. Call for an optometrist and some Halogen lights (CFL’s and the greening of design, we'll come to that at another time). I don’t need to be seeing the world through the wrong end of a telescope.
We’ve seen boundaries being blurred, smudged and dismissed as non existent, in an attempt to suggest they’re no longer relevant. Segregation in the U.S.A. and Apartied in South Africa could only be assessed and brought down as the tyrannical regimes that they were by highlighting them. Emancipation from existing thinking doesn’t come from the blurring of boundaries, it comes from clearly understanding their nature and location.
And if mapping out and drawing of lines may seem far too colonial a pursuit, then be reassured the location of cultural boundaries are more mercurial than those drawn on political maps. They may be porous but they do exist and the location where ideas or bodies meet is almost always the most interesting and telling of moments.
I've just discovered the work of David Shrigley who is based in the old country, from the north of England near my heartland of Barnsley. I love this piece, it seems a somehow perfect observation of the frustration induced by the ridiculous wishfull thinking of evangelical christians. I have a healthy inbuilt disgust for most if not all religions but the narrow minded pomposity of american born agains takes some beating.
Thanks for the moment of zen, a pandora's box feeling comes to me.
I was going to try to write something informative about these Dollarstore-hack peeps, but their own words serve better than I can summon.
In an effort to investigate design and push creative methodologies we hacked existing dollar store items, designing, sketching and building a variety of personal and home goods. All our materials were acquired at the dollar store. Our goal was simple; design by hacking cheaply made plastic junk, and hopefully, manipulating some irony and employing some criticality in an otherwise humorless and often anonymous world of product.
Mark Jenkins cultural interventions seem to me to highlight our observation of conformity. If our brains develop through patern recognition then that which is outside the norm becomes recognisable, it's interesting just how small a change is necessary to create a break in that norm.
Breathing Earth is a rather interesting simulation that shows the carbon dioxide emissions of every country, along with their birth rates and death rates. Its no surprise to see the handful of countries that show up almost immediately. Just something to keep in mind...
The name says it all. We over here at Citizen-Citizen understand that good music is essential part of life. With Slacker you are able to stream a multitude of genres as long as you want for free without the hassle of creating a play-list; of course they have that option too.
It's best not to question what is you are looking at, rather, bathe in it's awesomeness. According to the good folks over at Instructables you will need:
-a laptop computer, pda, or other electronic device
-yarn (I used about 10 skeins for this)
-knitting needles (straight, double-pointed, and circular)
-a sense of humor
Technology meets fashion, or fashion meets technology, this is far beyond quirky and it wins for that alone. It does solve a problem or you could just, you know, go to another room if privacy is your thing.
The energy for tomorrow's miniature electronic devices could come from tiny microbatteries about half the size of a human cell and built with viruses. which could one day power a range of miniature devices, from labs-on-a-chip to implantable medical sensors -- by stamping them onto a variety of surfaces.
First, on a clear, rubbery material developers used soft lithography to create a pattern of tiny posts either four or eight millionths of a meter in diameter. On top of these posts, they then deposited several layers of two polymers that together act as the solid electrolyte and battery separator.
Next came viruses that preferentially self-assemble atop the polymer layers on the posts, ultimately forming the anode. Specifically, they altered the virus's genes so it makes protein coats that collect molecules of cobalt oxide to form ultrathin wires.
This seemed appropriate considering the Olympic moment, Greece is for Lovers based out of yes you guessed it, Athens. We just heard from them and they seem to be our first port of call the next time we hit Athens.