Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
P.S. : No.
P.S. : No.
I: Do you think design is...
P.S. : No. No, I don't.
Till now - I think that this is the best definition of graphic design so far.
Excerpt of an interview by Emily King from the book - Designed by Peter Saville
Friday, September 26, 2008
YOU CAN ONLY WORK FOR PEOPLE THAT YOU LIKE.
This is a curious rule and it took me a long time to learn because in fact at the beginning of my practice I felt the opposite. Professionalism required that you didn’t particularly like the people that you worked for or at least maintained an arms length relationship to them, which meant that I never had lunch with a client or saw them socially. Then some years ago I realised that the opposite was true. I discovered that all the work I had done that was meaningful and significant came out of an affectionate relationship with a client. And I am not talking about professionalism; I am talking about affection. I am talking about a client and you sharing some common ground. That in fact your view of life is someway congruent with the client, otherwise it is a bitter and hopeless struggle.
IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE NEVER HAVE A JOB.
One night I was sitting in my car outside Columbia University where my wife Shirley was studying Anthropology. While I was waiting I was listening to the radio and heard an interviewer ask ‘Now that you have reached 75 have you any advice for our audience about how to prepare for your old age?’ An irritated voice said ‘Why is everyone asking me about old age these days?’ I recognised the voice as John Cage. I am sure that many of you know who he was – the composer and philosopher who influenced people like Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham as well as the music world in general. I knew him slightly and admired his contribution to our times. ‘You know, I do know how to prepare for old age’ he said. ‘Never have a job, because if you have a job someday someone will take it away from you and then you will be unprepared for your old age. For me, it has always been the same every since the age of 12. I wake up in the morning and I try to figure out how am I going to put bread on the table today? It is the same at 75, I wake up every morning and I think how am I going to put bread on the table today? I am exceedingly well prepared for my old age’ he said.
SOME PEOPLE ARE TOXIC AVOID THEM.
This is a subtext of number one. There was in the sixties a man named Fritz Perls who was a gestalt therapist. Gestalt therapy derives from art history, it proposes you must understand the ‘whole’ before you can understand the details. What you have to look at is the entire culture, the entire family and community and so on. Perls proposed that in all relationships people could be either toxic or nourishing towards one another. It is not necessarily true that the same person will be toxic or nourishing in every relationship, but the combination of any two people in a relationship produces toxic or nourishing consequences. And the important thing that I can tell you is that there is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them. Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn’t matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energised or less energised. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.
PROFESSIONALISM IS NOT ENOUGH or THE GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF THE GREAT.
Early in my career I wanted to be professional, that was my complete aspiration in my early life because professionals seemed to know everything - not to mention they got paid for it. Later I discovered after working for a while that professionalism itself was a limitation. After all, what professionalism means in most cases is diminishing risks. So if you want to get your car fixed you go to a mechanic who knows how to deal with transmission problems in the same way each time. I suppose if you needed brain surgery you wouldn’t want the doctor to fool around and invent a new way of connecting your nerve endings. Please do it in the way that has worked in the past.
Unfortunately in our field, in the so-called creative – I hate that word because it is misused so often. I also hate the fact that it is used as a noun. Can you imagine calling someone a creative? Anyhow, when you are doing something in a recurring way to diminish risk or doing it in the same way as you have done it before, it is clear why professionalism is not enough. After all, what is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success. So professionalism as a lifetime aspiration is a limited goal.
LESS IS NOT NECESSARILY MORE.
Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realised that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless. But it sounds great because it contains within it a paradox that is resistant to understanding. But it simply does not obtain when you think about the visual of the history of the world. If you look at a Persian rug, you cannot say that less is more because you realise that every part of that rug, every change of colour, every shift in form is absolutely essential for its aesthetic success. You cannot prove to me that a solid blue rug is in any way superior. That also goes for the work of Gaudi, Persian miniatures, art nouveau and everything else. However, I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate. ‘Just enough is more.’
STYLE IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED.
I think this idea first occurred to me when I was looking at a marvellous etching of a bull by Picasso. It was an illustration for a story by Balzac called The Hidden Masterpiece. I am sure that you all know it. It is a bull that is expressed in 12 different styles going from very naturalistic version of a bull to an absolutely reductive single line abstraction and everything else along the way. What is clear just from looking at this single print is that style is irrelevant. In every one of these cases, from extreme abstraction to acute naturalism they are extraordinary regardless of the style. It’s absurd to be loyal to a style. It does not deserve your loyalty. I must say that for old design professionals it is a problem because the field is driven by economic consideration more than anything else. Style change is usually linked to economic factors, as all of you know who have read Marx. Also fatigue occurs when people see too much of the same thing too often. So every ten years or so there is a stylistic shift and things are made to look different. Typefaces go in and out of style and the visual system shifts a little bit. If you are around for a long time as a designer, you have an essential problem of what to do. I mean, after all, you have developed a vocabulary, a form that is your own. It is one of the ways that you distinguish yourself from your peers, and establish your identity in the field. How you maintain your own belief system and preferences becomes a real balancing act. The question of whether you pursue change or whether you maintain your own distinct form becomes difficult. We have all seen the work of illustrious practitioners that suddenly look old-fashioned or, more precisely, belonging to another moment in time. And there are sad stories such as the one about Cassandre, arguably the greatest graphic designer of the twentieth century, who couldn’t make a living at the end of his life and committed suicide.
But the point is that anybody who is in this for the long haul has to decide how to respond to change in the zeitgeist. What is it that people now expect that they formerly didn’t want? And how to respond to that desire in a way that doesn’t change your sense of integrity and purpose.
HOW YOU LIVE CHANGES YOUR BRAIN.
The brain is the most responsive organ of the body. Actually it is the organ that is most susceptible to change and regeneration of all the organs in the body. I have a friend named Gerald Edelman who was a great scholar of brain studies and he says that the analogy of the brain to a computer is pathetic. The brain is actually more like an overgrown garden that is constantly growing and throwing off seeds, regenerating and so on. And he believes that the brain is susceptible, in a way that we are not fully conscious of, to almost every experience of our life and every encounter we have. I was fascinated by a story in a newspaper a few years ago about the search for perfect pitch. A group of scientists decided that they were going to find out why certain people have perfect pitch. You know certain people hear a note precisely and are able to replicate it at exactly the right pitch. Some people have relevant pitch; perfect pitch is rare even among musicians. The scientists discovered – I don’t know how - that among people with perfect pitch the brain was different. Certain lobes of the brain had undergone some change or deformation that was always present with those who had perfect pitch. This was interesting enough in itself. But then they discovered something even more fascinating. If you took a bunch of kids and taught them to play the violin at the age of 4 or 5 after a couple of years some of them developed perfect pitch, and in all of those cases their brain structure had changed. Well what could that mean for the rest of us? We tend to believe that the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind, although we do not generally believe that everything we do affects the brain. I am convinced that if someone was to yell at me from across the street my brain could be affected and my life might changed. That is why your mother always said, ‘Don’t hang out with those bad kids.’ Mama was right. Thought changes our life and our behaviour. I also believe that drawing works in the same way. I am a great advocate of drawing, not in order to become an illustrator, but because I believe drawing changes the brain in the same way as the search to create the right note changes the brain of a violinist. Drawing also makes you attentive. It makes you pay attention to what you are looking at, which is not so easy.
DOUBT IS BETTER THAN CERTAINTY.
Everyone always talks about confidence in believing what you do. I remember once going to a class in yoga where the teacher said that, spirituality speaking, if you believed that you had achieved enlightenment you have merely arrived at your limitation. I think that is also true in a practical sense. Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. It makes me nervous when someone believes too deeply or too much. I think that being sceptical and questioning all deeply held beliefs is essential. Of course we must know the difference between scepticism and cynicism because cynicism is as much a restriction of one’s openness to the world as passionate belief is. They are sort of twins. And then in a very real way, solving any problem is more important than being right. There is a significant sense of self-righteousness in both the art and design world. Perhaps it begins at school. Art school often begins with the Ayn Rand model of the single personality resisting the ideas of the surrounding culture. The theory of the avant garde is that as an individual you can transform the world, which is true up to a point. One of the signs of a damaged ego is absolute certainty.
Schools encourage the idea of not compromising and defending your work at all costs. Well, the issue at work is usually all about the nature of compromise. You just have to know what to compromise. Blind pursuit of your own ends which excludes the possibility that others may be right does not allow for the fact that in design we are always dealing with a triad – the client, the audience and you.
Ideally, making everyone win through acts of accommodation is desirable. But self-righteousness is often the enemy. Self-righteousness and narcissism generally come out of some sort of childhood trauma, which we do not have to go into. It is a consistently difficult thing in human affairs. Some years ago I read a most remarkable thing about love, that also applies to the nature of co-existing with others. It was a quotation from Iris Murdoch in her obituary. It read ‘ Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real.’ Isn’t that fantastic! The best insight on the subject of love that one can imagine.
Last year someone gave me a charming book by Roger Rosenblatt called ‘Ageing Gracefully’ I got it on my birthday. I did not appreciate the title at the time but it contains a series of rules for ageing gracefully. The first rule is the best. Rule number one is that ‘it doesn’t matter.’ ‘It doesn’t matter that what you think. Follow this rule and it will add decades to your life. It does not matter if you are late or early, if you are here or there, if you said it or didn’t say it, if you are clever or if you were stupid. If you were having a bad hair day or a no hair day or if your boss looks at you cockeyed or your boyfriend or girlfriend looks at you cockeyed, if you are cockeyed. If you don’t get that promotion or prize or house or if you do – it doesn’t matter.’ Wisdom at last. Then I heard a marvellous joke that seemed related to rule number 10. A butcher was opening his market one morning and as he did a rabbit popped his head through the door. The butcher was surprised when the rabbit inquired ‘Got any cabbage?’ The butcher said ‘This is a meat market – we sell meat, not vegetables.’ The rabbit hopped off. The next day the butcher is opening the shop and sure enough the rabbit pops his head round and says ‘You got any cabbage?’ The butcher now irritated says ‘Listen you little rodent I told you yesterday we sell meat, we do not sell vegetables and the next time you come here I am going to grab you by the throat and nail those floppy ears to the floor.’ The rabbit disappeared hastily and nothing happened for a week. Then one morning the rabbit popped his head around the corner and said ‘Got any nails?’ The butcher said ‘No.’ The rabbit said ‘Ok. Got any cabbage?’
TELL THE TRUTH.
The rabbit joke is relevant because it occurred to me that looking for a cabbage in a butcher’s shop might be like looking for ethics in the design field. It may not be the most obvious place to find either. It’s interesting to observe that in the new AIGA’s code of ethics there is a significant amount of useful information about appropriate behaviour towards clients and other designers, but not a word about a designer’s relationship to the public. We expect a butcher to sell us eatable meat and that he doesn’t misrepresent his wares. I remember reading that during the Stalin years in Russia that everything labelled veal was actually chicken. I can’t imagine what everything labelled chicken was. We can accept certain kinds of misrepresentation, such as fudging about the amount of fat in his hamburger but once a butcher knowingly sells us spoiled meat we go elsewhere. As a designer, do we have less responsibility to our public than a butcher? Everyone interested in licensing our field might note that the reason licensing has been invented is to protect the public not designers or clients. ‘Do no harm’ is an admonition to doctors concerning their relationship to their patients, not to their fellow practitioners or the drug companies. If we were licensed, telling the truth might become more central to what we do.
via Milton Glaser inc.
Monday, September 22, 2008
I feel greater then the sum of all my parts
A domestic beast with a hairy Heart
Trapped within a walled suburbia
I found my tastes is somewhat underground
Between the shadows and the cracks
I’m building my Utopia
I need to beak free from all that binds
That makes me old before my time
In this world of Dystopia
My love is lik a a bright, guiding light
Shining in the darkness of the night
The star of my Utopia
In the motion of the sea, in the air that we breath
Can you feel me?
In the stars and in the trees, in the song of the bees
Can you hear me?
Caged, golden memories
Time has come to show your true feelings
I know it’s the only way to be
When the same old feelings come over me
I feel greater of all the sum of all my parts
A space jockey from a distant star
marooned upon Dystopia
I found my tastes is somewhat underground
Between the shadows and the cracks
I’m building my Utopia
In the motion of the sea, in the air that we breath
Can you feel me?
In the stars and in the trees, in the song of the bees
Can you hear me?
Thursday, September 18, 2008
( actually this man has got four points and a comma )
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
" Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original, whereas if you simply try to tell the truth ( without caring twopence how often it has been told before ) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without even having noticed it. "
- C.S. Lewis
Monday, September 15, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Most people seem to have experienced the phenomenon at least a few times in their lives, and many people encounter it with such regularity that they anticipate it upon the introduction of new information. But what is the underlying cause? Is there some hidden meaning behind Baader-Meinhof events?
The phenomenon bears some similarity to synchronicity, which is the experience of having a highly meaningful coincidence… such as having someone telephone you while you are thinking about them. Both phenomena invoke a feeling of mild surprise, and cause one to ponder the odds of such an intersection. Both smack of destiny, as though the events were supposed to occur in just that arrangement… as though we're witnessing yet another domino tip over in a chain of dominoes beyond our reckoning.
Despite science's cries that a world as complex as ours invites frequent coincidences, observation tells us that such an explanation is inadequate. Observation shows us that Baader-Meinhof strikes with blurring accuracy, and too frequently to be explained away so easily. But over the centuries, observation has also shown us that observation itself is highly flawed, and not to be trusted.
The reason for this is our brains' prejudice towards patterns. Our brains are fantastic pattern recognition engines, a characteristic which is highly useful for learning, but it does cause the brain to lend excessive importance to unremarkable events. Considering how many words, names, and ideas a person is exposed to in any given day, it is unsurprising that we sometimes encounter the same information again within a short time. When that occasional intersection occurs, the brain promotes the information because the two instances make up the beginnings of a sequence. What we fail to notice is the hundreds or thousands of pieces of information which aren't repeated, because they do not conform to an interesting pattern. This tendency to ignore the "uninteresting" data is an example of selective attention.
In point of fact, coincidences themselves are usually just an artifact of perception. We humans tend to underestimate the probability of coinciding events, so our expectations are at odds with reality. And non-coincidental events do not grab our attention with anywhere near the same intensity, because coincidences are patterns, and the brain actually stimulates us for successfully detecting patterns… hence their inflated value. In short, patterns are habit-forming.
But when we hear a word or name which we just learned the previous day, it often feels like more than a mere coincidence. This is because Baader-Meinhof is amplified by the recency effect, a cognitive bias that inflates the importance of recent stimuli or observations. This increases the chances of being more aware of the subject when we encounter it again in the near future.
How the phenomenon came to be known as "Baader-Meinhof" is uncertain. It seems likely that some individual learned of the existence of the historic German urban guerrilla group which went by that name, and then heard the name again soon afterwards. This plucky wordsmith may then have named the phenomenon after the very subject which triggered it. But it is certainly a mouthful; a shorter name might have more hope of penetrating the lexicon.
However it came to be known by such a name, it is clear that Baader-Meinhof is yet another charming fantasy whose magic is diluted by stick-in-the-mud science and its sinister cohort: facts. But if you've never heard of the phenomenon before, be sure to watch for it in the next few days… brain stimulation is nice.
Also see the Serial Position effect
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Filing is now more important than forming. This is turn reflects a culture that lacks autonomous self-confidence and willingness to trust in risk. ' A culture increasingly defined by rule serving and form filling accountancy rather than rule questioning.'
Organizing is a preparatory and retrospective process not a generative one.
It is useful when consolidating that which, in general, has already been proved to work, but it does not function well as a device for the generation of new ideas."
by Maxine Naylor & Ralph Bell
Thursday, August 28, 2008
- Buna dimineata, domnule Abramovici!
- Buna dimineata. Dar de unde ma cunoasteti?
- Simpla deductie......
Vitruvius - cartea I - 1,1,1; 4-5
" emaque esse proprietatem diuitiarium maxime nihil desiderare. "
ambele citate fac parte din introducerea scrisa de Traian Costa ( prefata editiei 1964 ) - Traducere - G.M. Cantacuzino
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Interlocutorul i-a raspuns :
"Eu nu sunt de parere ca ti-ar face rau sa gandesti. Mai sunt de parere ca nu exista termenul de ‘ prea mult ‘. Exista doar un singur factor care decide cat este prea mult si cat este prea putin – acel factor il cunosti foarte bine si l-ai amintit in scrierea ta … acel factor esti tu. Singura problema apare cand impartasesti anumite lucruri cu cineva care te va eticheta in functie de sistemul lor de referinta – iar frica sa nu sochezi acea persoana sau acea masa de personae tot tie ( fauritorului acelui gand sau idee ) iti apartine. Frica si respectiv noi insine suntem inamicii nostri cei mai mari.
Eu spun – da-I bataie – si macina ce ai acolo, dezvolta – si impartaseste….
Imi vine in minte o chestie ce i-a zis-o X lui Y acum ceva vreme: “Stiu tot ce spun dar nu spun tot ce stiu.” – mie mi s-a parut foarte buna dar in acelasi timp si foarte rea – asadar interpretantul acestei zicale este arhitectul / fauritorul destinului propriu si o foloseste cu si dupa rationamentul lui momentan.
Suntem oameni – Suntem stapanii propriului nostru univers – Suntem constienti de existenta altor oameni( respectiv infinitele universuri ce ne inconjoara si cu care interactionam inevitabil) – Suntem creatori - Suntem capabili de orice –Suntem copii si suntem fericiti..."....
"...Am sters deja 2 inceputuri de scrisoare pe care vroiam sa ti le scriu. Cu sinceritate nu stiu cum sa iti raspund la ceea ce mi-ai scris – stiu doar ca imi doresc sa iti raspund… faptul ca nu imi gasesc cuvintele necesare este o alta treaba ( limitata doar de grai si limbaj – insasi o limitare de-facto a ceea ce numim noi oameni ). De miscat – sunt miscat si voi continua sa iti comunic prin alt Mediu ceea ce simt…
Pot doar sa merg inainte cu capul sus si cu bratele deschise sa intampin cu taria unui Copac de fier si cu fluiditatea unei salcii ceea ce va urma. Un numitor comun au ambele exemple … radacina.
Doresc sa iti multumesc pentru aceasta radacina puternica… ea va ramane pe veci in adancurile mele si de ea ma voi agata la vremuri … evitabile si inevitabile. "
Sunday, August 24, 2008
... If you earn 100 Pounds and spend 99 --> happiness.
If you earn 100 Pounds and spend 101 --> misery."
Charles Dickens ( Celebrated English writer )
It could be 10 cents, 1 second, 1 breath, 1 year, 1 book ... think about it.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
U. Eco - Kant si Ornitorincul ( Pontica 2002 )
" Pentru magistrul care poseda un atat de fin simt artistic al secretelor expresiei si un treaz simtamant de educator in cunoasterea caracterelor, existau de multa vreme anumite caracteristici fizionomice pe care se bizuia instinctiv, fara a-si fi construit din ele un sistem; asa, de exemplu, pentru el exista un fel specific castalian si unul specific lumesc de ras, de zambet si voiosie, ca si un fel specific lumesc de suferinta si tristete. "
- Text extras din 'Jocul cu margele de sticla' ( Hermann Hesse ), descriind abilitatea fantastica al lui Magister Ludi de a cunoaste si re-cunoaste diferitele caractere pe care le intampina zi de zi.
" - Un labirint al simbolurilor, m-a corectat acesta. Un invizibil labirint al timpului. Mie, englez salbatic, mi-a fost dat sa dovedesc aceasta taina fragila. La capatul a mai bine de o suta de ani, amanuntele sunt irecuperabile, dar nu-i greu sa presupun ce s-a intamplat. Ts' ui Pen ar fi spus odata: Ma retrag pentru a scrie o carte. Si alta data: Ma retrag pentru a construi un labirint.Toti si-au inchipuit doua lucruri; nimeni nu s-a gandit ca labirintulsi cartea erau un singur obiect. Pavilionul Purei Singuratati se inalta in mijlocul unei gradini de nepatruns; faptul acesta poate sa le fi sugerat oamenilor un labirint fizic. Ts' ui Pen a murit; nimeni, pe dilatatele pamanturi care-au fost ale sale, nu a gasit labirintul; confuzia romanului mi-a sugerat ideea ca acesta ar fi labirintul. Doua imprejurari m-au facut sa ajung, direct, la aceasta solutie. Una: ciudata legenda ca Ts' ui Pensi-a propus un labirint care sa fie absolut nesfarsit. Alta: un fragment dintr-o scrisoare pe care am descoperit-o.
Albert s-a ridicat. Pentru cateva clipe, mi-a intors spatele; a deschis un sertar al biroului aurit si innegrit de timp. S-a intors cu o hartie care avusese candva culoarea purpurei; acum era rosietica, subtire si patrata. Renumele de caligraf al lui Ts' ui Pen era indreptatit. Am citit cu nedumerire si fervoare cuvintele urmatoare, pe care cineva din sangele meu le-a transcris cu o pensula, minutios: Las mai multor viitoruri ( nu tuturor ) gradina mea cu poteci care se bifurca...."
Jorge Luis Borges - Gradina potecilor ce se bifurca - Fictiuni 1944 ( editura univers 1999 )
-adica ciuruita si friabila, sau chiar rizomatica, un Nod de serpuiri ce se pot reparcurge potrivit unor optiuni diverse la infinit, ca un labirint "
Gianni Vattimo - ... despre fiinta ...
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Forever and always people were questioning what changes and what is remaining over time. (Almost)None of them have drawn the conclusion regarding this matter, and thankfully - that is the first big(and important) step, because you cannot draw a conclusion, not in paint, moving image nor in words. These are all limited expression mediums (they are just expression mediums) . Even talking about this here feels like I'm drawing the portrait of God by adding meaning to a line i drew on a white surface. It's self-inflicting to think so but it's also self-indulgent if you don't think at all. If you think in words the limit appears already in our minds. If we are limiting ourselves by nature and change over time - we are then defined only by the white space we leave between the words we speak and think, and the pauses in our actions. But as a friend of mine said a while ago... Life is although.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Interview with Miggs B - 1
Interview with Miggs B - 2
Interview with Miggs B - 3
Conversations with Paul Rand
Steve Jobs on Paul Rand
Steven Heller & Paul Rand Interview - part 1
Some tribute movies on Paul Rand
" Everything is Design, Everything. "
" Design is relationships. Design is a relationship between form and content. "
"It is important to use your hands, this is what distinguishes you from a cow or a computer operator. "
All the three quotes are from a Paul Rand conversation with students held at Yale in 1993
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
On the one hand, Schmidt explains the triad of spatial practice: representation of space and spaces of representation.
On the other hand. there are concepts of percieved, concieved and lived space.
This double helix emphasizes a dual approach one which is at once phenomenological and linguistic."
Excerpt from the book SPACE FIGHTER by MVRDV/DSD ( 2007-ACTAR ) - page 109
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I hope that this is proof enough that I am back ( especially for my future self ).
All the best
Love to the rest
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Ushenko's Field Theory Of Meaning
I will suggest that as the vuser of a Recombinant Poetic system, we become one with that system and intermingle with it. Thus the outcome of the interaction is a result of what we bring to the situation in terms of our mindset "field" and what the initial author has translated into the system in terms of combinatorial possibilities and aesthetic processes; another set of fields. This differs from Ushenko's concept of a kind of opposition between the "object" and the "percipient." Ushenko intimates:
The dynamics of the exhibition, i.e. the enactment, is two-directional. On the one hand we face the external object; on the other hand the object confronts us. The outward direction of perception, from the percipient to the object is met an opposed by the inward direction, from the object to the percipient. Unlike a memory image which is with us, along with other resources with witch we face things, the external original thing is independent of percipients and, to that extent is against us. The complementarity of being with and against us, is the dual set of direction in an enactment of externality. (Ushenko, 1958, p. 21)
In his book, The Field Theory of Meaning, Ushenko tries to directly map the vectors of physics onto meaning processes. This has very interesting ramifications but unfortunately he died before bringing these concepts to a full understanding. I will below speak about the ramifications of some of his concepts.
In terms of combinatorial environments, where the nature of context is in flux, there is an interest in poetic ambiguity. A number of factors contribute to this continuous state of shift. The experiential ReP work, entitled "The World Generator / The Engine of Desire" has revealed that each layer of content found within a work incorporating language, image, or sound elements becomes a potential shifting, accumulated field of focus. In ReP works, this shift is heightened by employing chosen poetic elements that exhibit a specific ambiguity, although such ambiguity can be said to be characteristic of language use in general. Historically we can point to Saussure as initiating the discussion related to the arbitrariness of the sign as described in his Course of General Linguistics compiled by students of his. In recombinant poetic works the "sign is arbitrary." (Saussure, 1983, p.67) The signifier may stay the same but the signified will shift in relation to context. In terms of change over time, Saussure states "whatever the factors involved in [the] change, whether they act in isolation or in combination, they always result in a shift in the relationship between the signal and the signification." (Saussure, 1983, p. 75) This "shift" is enhanced by employing poetic media-elements that exhibit specific ambiguity, thus I am not only exploring the qualities of textual shift as referred to by Saussure.
Recontextualisation of chosen and/or authored linguistic signs, leading to alternate readings, forms one example of the principle which enables the viewer to explore recombinant fields of meaning. Various aspects of condensed potential content are activated during navigation. In relation to this phenomena of shift, Andrew Brown contributes an interesting observation in his reading of Roland Barthes' autobiography: "Barthes himself refers in the text to the process of making an index: it involves working on and with names, revealing their arbitrariness, their limitations, and their power to frame reading and writing." (Brown, 1992) The nature of reframing or shift employed in recombinant poetic works has led me to formulate the concept of "oscillating meaning."
Yet such framing is employed in an extralinguistic manner within my techno-poetic mechanism.
In Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design, Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen talk about a relation between the visual image and writing as expressed by Barthes which is also relevant to this discussion.
We want to treat forms of communication treating visual images more seriously then they have hitherto been treated. We have come to this position because of the overwealming evidence of the importance of visual communication, and the staggering inability on all our parts to talk and think in a way seriously about what is actually communicated by means of images and visual design.
In doing so, we have to move away from the position which Roland Barthes took in his essay 'Rhetoric of the Image,' (1977). In this essay (and elsewhere, as in the introduction to Elements of Semiology, 1967) Barthes argued that the meaning of images (and of other semniotic codes, like dress, food, etc.) is always related to, and in a sense, dependent on, verbal text. By themselves, images are too 'polysemous', to open to a variety of possible meanings. To arrive at a definite meaning, language must come to the rescue. Visual meaning is too indefinite, it is a 'floating chain of signifieds'. Hence, Barthes said "in every society various techniques are developed intended to fix the floating chain of signifieds in such a way as to counter the terror of uncertain signs; the linguistic message is one of these techniques." (Barthes, 1977, p. 39) He distinguished between an image-text relation in which the verbal text extends the meaning of the image, or vice versa. As in the case, for example, of speech ballons in comic strips, and an image-text relation in which the verbal text elaborates the image, or vice versa. In the former case which he calls relay, new and different meanings are added to complete the image. In the latter case, the same meanings are restated in a different (e.g. more definite and precise) way, as in the case of , for example, when a caption identifies and/or interprets what is shown in a photograph. Of the two, elaboration is dominant. Relay, said Barthes, is 'more rare'. He distinguished two types of elaboration, one in which the verbal text comes first, so that the image forms an illustration of it, and one in which the image comes first, so that the text forms a more definite and precise restatement or 'fixing' of it (a relation he calls anchorage). (Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996, p. 16)
It is quite obvious that the notion of "anchorage" in the age of the hyper-link and virtual space, the morph etc., is no longer adequate to address the un-fixity of the recombinant sign. The metaphor of surfing often employed in the discussion of cyberspace navigation, is about mobility, passage, linkage, processes of association, 'lines of flight'(see Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p.21) and "relay." I am not suggesting that I want to destroy the precision of language-image relations. On the contrary I seek to observe their actual complexity, in relation to mutability in techno-poetic environments. In terms of media-elements within environments that are mutable or reconfigurable, no single media-element is potentially more important than another. In fact, various hyperlinks, virtual proximities, and/or trajectories through media, as chosen by an interactant, can potentially (if not willfully) shift the "anchorage."
Thus, content is always potential content in such works, arising during use. The notion that poetic elements carry a series of alternating potential meanings, is central to the poetic strategies employed in my recombinant works. Ushenko presents two differeing kinds of literature in his book The Field Theory of Meaning; a "Literature of Knowledge," one that seeks to alleviate ambiguity as well as a "Literature of Power," one that embraces such ambiguity. The following is an example of what Ushenko sees as problematic in his "Literature of Knowledge" - a form of scientific nomenclature:
To begin with examples, we obviously cannot specify-and, therefore, do not understand- the meaning of such a word as "vice," since such words are in different contexts with altogether different meanings. The word "vice" may mean a vise, i.e. a tool for holding an object tight, but it may mean a fault or depravity, and it may mean what is mean by the phrase "instead of." It would not help us to observe that such a word as "vice" is a homonym which telescopes within the same visual pattern several different words, each of which is a carrier of a distinct unambiguous meaning. In the first place, unaided by context, the reader cannot tell which of the several alternative meanings he is supposed to choose. And, second, even if an arbitrary choice were allowed- in disregard of the already accepted requirement for objective and communicable meanings- the choice would not provide for an altogether ambiguous word. (Usenko, 1958, p. 29 - 30)
In counterdistinction to Ushenko, I am very much interested in the nature of ambiguity as a poetic vehicle. I am also interested in how meaning is emergent over time, within particular contexts. By intentionally loading a system with a resonant selection of specific ambiguous words, each with multiple potential meanings, one can experientially observe how the meaning is emergent in relation to context with a ReP work. This functions as an artistic constraint. Instead of saying this word is meaningless, I would say that it simultaneously carries all of its potential meanings in a state of suspended animation. It is this nature that enables Usenko to list his different potential readings of the word. If it was meaningless, he could find no such definition. Thus as a context arises, we search through our memory of useage patterns, and apply that which is most appropriate. It is human nature to try to find meaning within an exchange. This is the nature of association and understanding.
In terms of pictorial elements, I am intentionally loading the system with computer-graphic objects that will suggest alternate readings of particular juxtaposed words over time, thus an emergent, time-based context of potential meaning is generated. It is
important to recognise this in terms of the cut / copy / paste world of postmodernism. Snippets of information are constantly encountered in hypertexts. We do not begin with the assumption that they are meaningless, we seek the construction of the context to narrow the meaning - to specify it. This is especially true in the employment of pun which "vice" can potentially function as.
Usenko above is talking about his "literature of knowledge," one that seeks to alleviate ambiguity. He later speaks of the "Literature of Power" which is more in line with my project:
But I would rather wave the point in order to call attention to the fact that the ambiguity of a pun, which is a species of aesthetic ambivalence, is not the objectional ambiguity of a single informative word. The objectionalble ambiguity is a cause of mental confusion. The words of a pun are used with with a definite meaning in the sense that they are used with a definite double meaning. The mind grasps both components of a double meaning without confusing them. (Ushenko, 1958, p.36 & 37)
It is this sense of multiple meaning that I am interested in, which shows Ushenko to be slightly contradictory in terms of his discussion of fields of meaning. It is the operative nature of the media in ReP works that enables the viewer to experientially generate context. Ushenko states:
In the literature of power there is much to be said in favor of the extreme contextualists position. In the course of reading a poem context may compel us to revise our original understanding of certain lines.(Ushenko, 1958, p47)
It is this very aspect of observing the nature of context construction that Recombinant Poetic mechanism seeks to make observable in an experiential manner.
Where Usenko speaks of the sentence as a unit of meaning he is takling about " Literature of Knowledge." and not about the "Literature of Power" as he calls it. In poetic space a single word can carry potential meaning. In fact if we are to make an analogy to atoms, then I would suggest that even letters can carry potential meaning arrived at in the mind of the viewer. We can look toward Saussure for an example of this. Saussure recognised in a formal manner the ambiguity inherent to the use of language. His studies into the anagram, suggest that the letters of a word, when reorganised through external processes, can have bearing on the layering of meaning in an individual term. This, we most note is a re-combinational, time-based organisation. Thus if we are to take the "Field" analogy from physics, I think it necessary to extend the analogy to subatomic realm. The question is, how do we deal with the fact that the word is always either energy or matter. We are then speaking about both an actual field in Physics layered together with and propogating a conceptual field in Linguistics. One could ask how these two different kinds of fields intermingle with each other. Such a question is outside of the scope of this paper.
It is my contentention that all language depends on context for understanding. In the use of language, it is not only the notion that we "revise" our understanding - we actually augment or layer it with previous understandings derived from alternate contexts. We could say that thought is a kind of summing and cross referencing of the useage of all words, images, sounds and sensations from all past contexts or patterns of use that are made available to us through memory. Ushenko suggests the following:
In a literary piece, at any rate, a dynamic image does not vanish into nothingness but escapes the specification test of objectivity through fading out of focus but not without reverberations in the successors to imaginal prominence which, therefore, whould be said to preserve its presence even though in a virtual or attenuated mode." (Usenko, 1958, p.135)
This notion of a persistance of "presence" takes on an interesting role in the volatile electronic environment that characterises Recombinant Poetics.
"With this conclusion I want to establish the analogy between the transformation of ambivalent being into unambiguous perceptual manifestation, on the one hand, and the transformation of the ambiguous words into the meaning of the statement, on the other. In both transformations, initial ambivalence or ambiguity goes with the excess of alternate sets of content, and the unambiguous result is obtained by the omission of alternatives or elimination of excess." (Ushenko, 1958, p.143)
Recombinant Poetics seeks to experientially manifest situations in which the properties or nature of this "excess" can be examined. It is the my contention that such excess is common to communication and thus the study of how it arises is central to a contemporary understanding of the function of language in differing contexts or contexts augemented by additional images, sounds and/or additional qualifying language. I find this especially relevant in regard to the fact that such "excessive" languge is commonly used in poetic construction. To this end Ushenko says the following:
Even ambiguity is in order provided it is contextually controlled and, therefore, causes no confusion; in an exposure of depth and complexity the text of a poem invites alternative interpretations to be played against one another. In short, in a setting of art, the contextually controlled dynamic concreteness of concepts is most conspicuous. (Ushenko, 1958, p.162)
It is this very nature of exploring the "contextually controlled dynamic" of a work of art which is extended via my computer- based mechanism. Thus moving through a series of meaning states the user of the system can witness how complex meanings are emergent through personal interaction with the context as well as through chance mediation and pre-programmed processes. One can metaphorically invoke Heisenberg here where the observer effects the observed. This can be taken on a subtle level or on the level of human understanding in terms of what the vuser brings to the conceptual / physical experience of such an environment.
Association and play by the viewer is central to the process of exploring the techno-poetic mechanism. As media-elements are combined, both in real time and through temporal arrangement, a depth of experience is generated. I have constructed this resonant depth as a set of potentials through a specific loading of the fields; it is completed within the experience of the viewer as they conceptually bridge, disrupt, position and navigate through exploration of the techno-poetic mechanism. Meaning/becoming in this work of art is temporary, mobile, contextual.
Each field as explored in the techno-poetic mechnism could be described as a content probability field. Probability fields have a potentiality of signification and are dependent on context for their "reading" or legibility. Thus the perception and activity of the user of the interactive techno-poetic system drives the potential signification of media-elements. This relation between vuser and inter-authored environment, forms an on-going process of meaning/becoming. This text functions as an initial linguistic frame or perspective as a means of approaching and observing such an elusive environment; one predicated by non-closure.
Such a conception of artistic expression is not anchored by language in that it includes and takes into consideration all of the media-elements described above, functioning in an inter-signifying manner. What is suggested through this paper is the need of the formulation of a contemporary theory of environmental meaning as related to meaning/becoming, as it is generated and explored within computer-based environments. Such a theory is beyond the scope of this paper. This paper functions as an elaborate seed node... pointing toward the generation of an extremely complex, emergent inter-operative field of fields. An emergent field of meaning/becoming that enables the examination this conflation of language modes through an authored Recombinant Poetic work of art.
*Pragmatics traces its illustrious ancestry to the pre-socratic Greek dialecticians, then via Aristotle to Locke, Kant and Peirce, eventually to 19th Century phenomenologists, and --last but not least--to Ludwig Wittgenstein. In cognitive psychology, pragmatics underlies figure-ground perception, primed storage and malleable recall, attended ('context-scanning') information processing, and flexible ('prototype') categorization. In linguistics, pragmatics animates the study of contextual meaning and metaphoric extension, frame semantics and the semiotics of grammar-in-discourse, the sociology of language, and the acquisition of communicative competence. In anthropology, pragmatics is reflected in the exploration of cultural relativity, ethnomethodology and in cross-cultural cognition. (Giv—n, 1989, Preface)
Friday, March 14, 2008
Link via Debbie Millman ( thank you )
Friday, January 25, 2008
"Some consequences of 4 incapacities."
de / by Charles S. Peirce
1. Nu avem putere de introspectie, dar orice cunoastere a lumii exterioare deriva din rationamante ipotetice.
1. We have no power of Introspection, but all knowledge of the internal world is derived by hypothetical reasoning from our knowledge of external facts.
2. Nu avem putere de intuitie, ci orice cunoastere e determinata de cunostiinte anterioare.
2. We have no power of Intuition, but every cognition is determined logically by previous cognitions.
3. Nu avem putere de gandire fara semne.
3. We have no power of thinking without signs.
4. Nu avem nicio conceptie despre ceea ce este absolut incognoscibil.
4. We have no conception of the absolutely incognizable.
A more in depth view of this topic on this site dedicated to Peirce and his lifetime research.
Questioning the question itself would be an answer if an answer could really exist without the question.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
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It's now the middle of winter, but the buds are already there which will start to grow in the spring. How do they know when to start growing? All multicellular organisms grow until they reach maturity: how do their cells know when to stop reproducing?
This is the kind of question addressed by Werner R. Loewenstein in The Touchstone of Life: Molecular Information, Cell Communication and the Foundations of Life. It's a cause for celebration when a specialist like Loewenstein can present the gist of a lifetime's research to a general audience as he does here. I've been taking it in small doses (a few pages per day), and i don't expect to retain many of the details—and anyway, in a field moving as fast as this one, the details are subject to change. But some central principles persist, and some of those coincide with basic themes of my work in progress, Turning Words.
Turning Words is about guidance systems, and Loewenstein's book reaffirms that living beings are self-guiding systems, perfused at every level with what he calls cybernetic loops. These loops are the keys to self-organizing and self-regulating processes, and Loewenstein shows in some detail how they work at the cellular level. I think it's worthwhile to investigate whether they also work at higher levels, in the psychological and social domains.
Cell populations, or (on a larger scale) organs of a body, do not regulate themselves by electing a legislature, still less by recognizing the authority of a monarch. They don't obey any central command hierarchy; instead, they self-regulate by means of cybernetic loops. The signals meaningful to them arise among themselves, almost anywhere, and propagate by intercellular communication.
Here's where the coincidence comes in: i'm also reading presently Paul Hawken's recent book, Blessed Unrest. Hawken describes the rise of a new kind of social ‘movement’, one which promotes social and environmental justice without relying on charismatic leadership, central command structures or ideological consensus. This movement is totally decentralized, and yet can act with great singleness of purpose and power when circumstances make this possible, because each ‘cell’ in the movement is organically in touch with many others.
A sure sign of maturity in any organism is that it stops growing. The growth process is self-regulating; the breakdown of growth control is the disease we call cancer. The corporate structures which currently dominate the political economy of our planet are addicted to ‘growth’ as measured by the movement of money and assets. In organic terms, they are dedicated to prolonging the stage of immaturity, and that is why they afflict the planetary ecosystem just as cancer afflicts an individual body. (The corporate connection with cancer is not only analogical but causal as well, by the way: most of the known carcinogens in the environment are of corporate origin.)
All of this suggests that what humanity needs in order to wake from the long corporate-industrial-consumer trance is a decentralized communication network, which will clue us in to our common interests in the same way that a body knows that it's time to stop growing. This way the human race might just have a chance to reach maturity.
Via GNOXIC blog
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
This is actually an excerpt of a letter I wrote to someone about the fact of writing letters and what it means for me, re-discovering it after (sorry to say) almost 18 years when I wrote an I-love-you-letter as a secret admirer and never received any response from the girl of my [then]dreams.
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it's almost a dying habbit being replaced with nicely designed outlook templates or even worse - the functional look of webmails and Yahoo!Emoticons. It's almost as having your true identity hidden even from yourself, forgetting who you really are, replacing the Nerve and the Instant with predefined "eror" correcting automatisations. Not to sound like a conspiracy lunatic against humanity as we know it today, I really do want to sound happy because This is how I feel right now after I could give (in (real)writing) a piece of me and received a piece of somebody else, and that felt fantastic.
I would like to keep writing to you and others as well, even if I won't receive any response, but I definitely want to taste this more and also know myself better while doing this. Hopefully this will make everybody else happy at least as much as I am. (RE)discovering a human(e) approach towards communication was A very happy moment for Myself.
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Thank you again and I also congratulate myself for writing a letter... I'll surely do it again and also recommend it with warmth to everybody reading this.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
"A scripture is a text which challenges the reader to live up to the standard of an ideal reader.
The ideal reader has to believe that the text is a sign of the truth. This truth is then the object which the reader aims to see through the sign. Or as Wittgenstein might say, it's the object of the language-game of reading. By an observer of this process, the reader's faith in the sign as representative of the truth could be called a heuristic device; but for the participant, the reader entering into dialogue with the text, this faith must be a genuine belief—in other words, it must actually guide the reader's conduct. She must dedicate herself to learning something new from the text, not reading into it something she already knows or believes.
However, when we reflect on the logic or semiotic of the reading process, it is clear that the real meaning of the text is its interpretant, i.e. the new sign generated in the mind of the reader by the process itself. This is the ‘sequel’ which is ‘of all books the most indispensable part’, as Thoreau said in the passage i quoted here last week, in the ‘Earwaves’ post. And of course this is not the end of the process: the immediate interpretant (the new sign) must generate another interpretant, and somewhere along the line this must affect the practice (behavior) of the interpreter, which ideally carries the whole community forward, toward the ultimate confluence of life and truth. The meaning of the text thus includes what Peirce called the ‘logical’ and ‘ultimate’ interpretants as well as the immediate.
Summing up, then, the ‘meaning’ of the scriptural sign is its object from the participant's point of view and its interpretant from the observer's point of view.
What then does the object of the sign look like from the observer's perspective? I'll take up that question next time."
...via Intimologies Blog