Thursday, 22 January 2015

OUGD401 - Practical Work Research - Did postmodernity ever really end?

Are we living in a post-post modern era? Can we define movements at the moment? The two blogs below are two shining examples to me, that demonstrate the fact that postmodernism never really went today, and it's legacy and influence can still be felt across the creative spheres in 2015. I think that it is fair to say that the idea of postmodernity lives on, but postmodernity as a movement did slowly die at the end of the 20th century. It was fairly short lived, but it's memory lives on. The work of Pablo Abad and Chris Golden is distinctly chaotic and definitely not modernist in any sense of the word. Their work pops with colour and chaotic patterns. It has a sense of post-internet and vaporwave, but I wouldn't really class their work under those terms. It's unique, out of the box and challenging, embodying everything about postmodern work.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

OUGD401 - Practical Work Research - 'Post-Internet Art' Research

Post-post modernity is said to exist right now, we are living in this strange era where things are even more hard to define solidly. An art movement that I am interested in in 'Post-internet' and also Vapor Wave Aesthetics. For me this movement is significant in defining post modernity. The fact that work like this is still being produced indicated a profound and distinct influence of post-modernity ideologies on 21st century art and design and society. Post-modernity can mean a personal response to a post-modern society, the conditions in a society which make it post-modern or the state of being that is associated with a post-modern society. For me post-internet art is a direct extension of post-modernity, the two are linked and have evolved from each other. 

Just as twentieth-century modernism was in large part defined by the relationship between craft and the emergent technologies of manufacturing, mass media, and lensbased imagery, the most pressing condition underlying contemporary culture today—from artistic practice and social theory to our quotidian language—may well be the omnipresence of the internet. Though the terminology with which we describe these phenomena is still nascent and not yet in widespread use, this exhibition presents a broad survey of art that is controversially defined as “post-internet,” which is to say, consciously created in a milieu that assumes the centrality of the network, and that often takes everything from the physical bits to the social ramifications of the internet as fodder. From the changing nature of the image to the circulation of cultural objects, from the politics of participation to new understandings of materiality, the interventions presented under this rubric attempt nothing short of the redefinition of art for the age of the internet.

This understanding of the post-internet refers not to a time “after” the internet, but rather to an internet state of mind—to think in the fashion of the network. In the context of artistic practice, the category of the post-internet describes an art object created with a consciousness of the networks within which it exists, from conception and production to dissemination and reception. As such, much of the work presented here employs the visual rhetoric of advertising, graphic design, stock imagery, corporate branding, visual merchandising, and commercial software tools. Arranged along several thematic threads, this exhibition considers issues related to internet policy, mass clandestine surveillance and data mining, the physicality of the network, the post-human body, radicalized information dispersion, and the open source movement. It looks at changes taking place in the age of the ubiquitous internet, from information dispersion and artwork documentation to human language and approaches to art history.

'Post-internet' is a term that denotes a movement in arts, and criticism. It has emerged from Internet Art, however the movement has not been thoroughly defined. The term does not imply art after the internet has ceased to exist, but refers instead to society and modes of interaction following the widespread adoption of the internet. The term “post-internet” refers not to a time 'after' the internet, but rather to an internet state of mind...

The term has recently appeared in a variety of far-flung contexts: a talk at Frieze Art Fair, a forum at New York's Museum of Modern Art, a panel at the College Art Association conference. Unlike "Neo-Expressionism" or "Neo-Geo," "Post-Internet" avoids anything resembling a formal description of the work it refers to, alluding only to a hazy contemporary condition and the idea of art being made in the context of digital technology.

Supporters of Post-Internet art might say that it's not the gallery that really matters but the shot of the work there, like a shot staged in a photographer's studio. But staged photography often disguises the shoot's environment, or transforms it. Post-Internet art preserves the white cube to leech off its prestige. The same supporters might also say that Post-Internet art offers a critique of how images of art circulate online in service of the art market. But unless the artist does something to make the documentation strange and emphasize the difference between the work's presence online and its presence in the gallery it's hard to believe that anything close to a critique is happening.
Post-Internet art is in love with advertising, like a lot of art since Warhol, but it's the obsession with art-world power systems—as represented by the installation shot—that irks me the most about it. After a century that has witnessed art in newspapers, art on the radio, art in the mail, art on television and art on the Internet, here's a self-styled avant-garde that's all about putting art back in the rarefied space of the gallery, even as it purports to offer profound insights about how a vast, non-hierarchical communications network is altering our lives.

There's a promise of broad social commentary in the term "Post-Internet," but as "Competing Images" demonstrates, it takes real people to bring this implicit commentary to life. Without an external impurity like the human body, Post-Internet defaults to an art about the presentation of art, playing to the art-world audience's familiarity with the gallery as a medium or environment for art, as well as with the conventions of presenting promotional materials online.

Some examples of post-internet art:
'Gloss' by Daif King
 'Image Objects' by Artie Vierkant, 2011
Digital image from Kari Altmann’s project “Hhellblauu,” 2008
Rachel de Joode: Oblique Sensual Object, 2013
A sculptural work from Oliver Laric's Icon (Utrecht) project
post internet
Example of a layout from a popular fashion zine named 'Polyester' 

OUGD401 - Essay Research - Postmodernity

Of all movements in art and design history, post-modernism is perhaps the most controversial. This era defies definition; an unstable mix of the theatrical and theoretical, post-modernism was a visually thrilling multifaceted style that ranged from the colourful to the ruinous, the ludicrous to the luxurious.

Post-modernism was a drastic departure from modernism’s utopian visions, which had been based on clarity and simplicity. The modernists wanted to open a window onto a new world; post-modernism's key principles were complexity and contradiction. If modernist objects suggested utopia, progress and machine-like perfection, then the post-modern object seemed to come from a dystopian and far-from-perfect future. Designers salvaged and distressed materials to produce an aesthetic of urban apocalypse.

As the 1980's approached, post-modernism went into high gear. What had begun as a radical fringe movement became the dominant look of the ‘designer decade’. Vivid colour, theatricality and exaggeration: everything was a style statement. Whether surfaces were glossy, faked or deliberately distressed, they reflected the desire to combine subversive statements with commercial appeal. The most important delivery systems for this new phase in post-modernism were magazines and music. The work of Italian designers – especially the groups Studio Alchymia and Memphis – travelled round the world through publications like Domus. Meanwhile, the energy of post-punk subculture was broadcast far and wide through music videos and cutting-edge graphics.

Of all the essay questions on offer, 'To what extent has post-modernism impacted graphic design' enticed me the most. My own style and graphic design practice is influenced greatly by this movement, and I admire everything it set out and continues to do. That is why I really want to look at this essay question in depth.

I really want to see through research if post-modernism in fact ever went away, because a lot of creative's debate that post-modernism ended in the early 00's/ It is fair to say that post-modernism is extremely to define and pin down and this is why some people say that we are currently living in a 'post-post-modernist' world. I aim to investigate this through my research as well.

Work by designers/artists such as David Carson really capture my imagination. Post-modernist graphic design pushes the rules out of the window and really abstracts and breaks down the barriers between art and design, I love it. 

OUGD401 - COP - Mind Mapping and Hypothesis

Today I produced an in depth mind map of information surrounding the topic of post-modernism, which I have selected to investigate for my context of practice essay and supporting body of visual research. I had to consider following points:

  • Context - what spawned this movement and what did it aim to do?
  • Historical background - what was going on in the world of art and design at the time? What was going on in the world in general at the time?
  • Visual nature - what visual components make something post-modern? Are there any trademarks?
  • Aesthetic nature and style
  • Technology - production methods, materials, point in time, how did this shape the movement? 
  • Visual language - communication, tone of voice, concepts
  • Ideologies - politics, social and moral and theoretical considerations
  • Identity of the designers and visual artists, design companies etc - what were they attempting to portray and communicate
  • Values and ethics surrounding the designs - corporate identities, visual identities

This exercise was helpful in gathering my ideas together and finding out what interests me most about post-modernism and where I want to direct my research and investigation.

Essay question: How has post-modernism impacted graphic design?

Many people argue that post-modernism had very little, if any, impact on Graphic Design practice since its inception in the mid 1940s. I aim to investigate within this essay the extent to which these views are true. Post-modernism within the realms of graphic art and communication is difficult to define. This is because the movement facilitated so much self expression, exploration and experimentation, resulting in a style that isn't as instantly 'recognisable' as say a piece of Bauhaus design. For me, this is what makes post-modernism so enticing and intriguing as an ideology and movement.

Post-modernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, post-modernism is highly sceptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the post-modern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Post-modernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.
Post-modernism is "post" because it is denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which will explain everything for everybody - a characteristic of the so-called "modern" mind. The paradox of the post-modern position is that, in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its scepticism, it must realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning. As the philosopher Richard Tarnas states, post-modernism "cannot on its own principles ultimately justify itself any more than can the various metaphysical overviews against which the post-modern mind has defined itself."

Thursday, 1 January 2015

OUGD401 - Study Task 04 - Structuring the Essay

Essay structure:

Many people argue that post-modernism has had very little, if any impact on Graphic Design practice since it first broke onto the scene in the 1970s. This movement is highly topical and has been the focus of much debate for at least 50 years. I aim to investigate within this essay the degree to which these views are true. Post-modernism within the realms of graphic art and communication is difficult to define. This is because post-modernist culture facilitated so much self expression, exploration and experimentation, resulting in a style that isn't as instantly 'recognisable' as say an example of highly modernist Bauhaus design. For me, this is what makes post-modernism so enticing and intriguing as a movement, ideology and philosophy. It is debated that postmodern style and culture died out in the early part of the 21st century, leaving us in a time now which apparently has even less direction and is even harder to define. I want to examine the idea that post-modernism in fact, never went away, to see if it is fair to say that we are currently experiencing a post-post modern era. I aim to investigate the extent to which post-modern ideologies and philosophies continue to consciously or subconsciously influence contemporary graphic design practice.

Introduction – explain what post-modernism is in the broad sense, touching on the wider art world not just graphic design, the theories, and philosophies, when the term was first coined etc. Why it happened, what caused it to happen? Why it is difficult to define as a movement, why some people believed it didn’t exist – begin to bring in the notion that it never ended and that in fact we are now living in a post-post modern time – Simulacra and Simulation – Jean Baudrillard – brief description of this theory; it seems that the genealogy of postmodern art can only be disconnected from the modern in theory. Theory is not in this sense a culmination but a negation, literally, an end of art. The extreme postmodern conclusion devised by Baudrillard introduces the theory of simulacrum. The representational image-sign goes through four successive historical phrases. He means that the border between art and reality has utterly vanished as both have collapsed into the universal simulacrum. This simulacrum is arrived at when the distinction between representation and reality – between signs and what they refer to in the real world – breaks down. Reality becomes redundant and we have reached a hyper-reality, in which images breed incestuously with each other without reference to reality or meaning. How is it possible to arrive at the nullification of reality, even in theory, and what is the genealogy of a theory that leads to such a radical conclusion?  The four main phases: 1) it’s a reflection of a basic reality 2) it masks and perverts a basic reality 3) it marks the absence of a basic reality 4) it bears no relation to any reality whatever – it is its own pure simulacrum.

Section one – describe the rise of post-modernism and the impact it had graphic design when it first ‘begun’

Section two – describe some of the processes and ethics surrounding post modernism and compare these to modernist ideologies and practices – here I can talk a lot about the concept of pastiche and simulacra

Section three – look in depth at a few significant artists/designers and describe their work in relation to the essay question – discuss stand alone pieces of work which are distinctly post modern and describe their significance

Section four – discuss theories of de-realization and hyper reality – the modern world uses this, therefore movements such as postmodernism are bound to exist as reactions to the chaos of the modern

Section five – discuss the extent to which postmodernism came to and end – here you can talk about post internet art and it’s ongoing presence in the world of art and design – remember to always contextualise and cross reference modernism, as after all, post modernism is always a reaction to the modern – is there now a hybrid of modern & post modern?

Section six - explain how we have arrived at current trends in graphic design with specific emphasis on post-internet art

Conclusion - a grand reading of a few key significant pieces of classic post-modern pieces of design and contrast them with contemporary favourites. In the conclusion you can be more opinionated in your tone of voice and really give your opinion on the matter