Category Archives: culture

Innovations in Art and Design Series

Innovations in Art and Design series from Routledge:

Network Art: Practices and Positions (2005)

Invisible Connections: Dance, Choreography and Internet Communities (2005)

Thinking Through Art: Reflections on Art as Research (2005)

New Practices – New Pedagogies: A Reader (2005)

New Visions In Performance (2004)

Digital Creativity: A Reader (2002)

Posted in art, culture, design, education, history, media, theory

Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means

By Siegfried Zielinski (2006)
Drawing on original source materials, Zielinski explores the technology of devices for hearing and seeing through two thousand years of cultural and technological history. He discovers the contributions of “dreamers and modelers” of media worlds, from the ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles and natural philosophers of the Renaissance and Baroque periods to Russian avant-gardists of the early twentieth century. “Media are spaces of action for constructed attempts to connect what is separated,” Zielinski writes. He describes models and machines that make this conncection: including a theater of mirrors in sixteenth-century Naples, an automaton for musical composition created by the seventeenth-century Jesuit Athanasius Kircher, and the eighteenth-century electrical tele-writing machine of Joseph Mazzolari, among others. Uncovering these moments in the media-archaeological record, Zielinski says, brings us into a new relationship with present-day moments; these discoveries in the “deep time” media history shed light on today’s media landscape and may help us map our expedition to the media future.

Posted in art, culture, history, media, technology, theory

Ray Johnson: Correspondences

By Donna De Salvo and Catherine Gudis (1999)
In 1995, the resolutely reclusive Ray Johnson reemerged into the spotlight when he died in a mysterious and spectacular way, leading to the discovery of thousands of works of art in his house. Drawing upon this vast trove, Donna De Salvo, the Wexner Center’s Curator at Large, has organized Ray Johnson: Correspondences, the first comprehensive exhibition to be mounted (with the complete cooperation of the artist’s estate).

Like Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Jasper Johns, and later Andy Warhol and Jim Rosenquist, Johnson combined the signs and symbols of contemporary culture with the lessons of abstraction to develop a new lexicon of forms. A pioneer in the use of ‘found’ images and techniques of mechanical reproduction, Johnson created in 1955 what may have been the first informal happening.

Johnson first created ‘mail art’ in the fifties. These were part collage, part manifesto, part parody; he often instructed recipients to ‘add to’, ‘return to’, or ‘send to’, spawning an interactive art form, a continuous happening, that pre-figured electronic mail. Johnson was the nerve center of this pre-digital netscape that spread around the nation and, eventually, the world, which continues to flourish today.

By the eighties, Johnson was a legend in the artistic community. Ray Johnson: correspondences, offers the first opportunity for in-depth examination of the work of an artist who reflected and dissected many of the aesthetic, cultural, and theoretical preoccupations of the last forty years; a figure whose impact and influence will finally be made known.

Posted in art, biography, culture, design, exhibition, language, media, semiotics, typography

Critical Vehicles: Writings, Projects, Interviews

By Krzysztof Wodiczko (1999)
Krzysztof Wodiczko, one of the most original avant-garde artists of our time, is perhaps best known for the politically charged images he has projected onto buildings and monuments from New York to Warsaw–images of rockets projected onto triumphal arches, the image of handcuffed wrists projected onto a courthouse facade, images of homeless people in bandages and wheelchairs projected onto statues in a park from which they had been evicted. Critical Vehicles is the first book in English to collect Wodiczko’s own writings on his projects. Wodiczko has stated that his principal artistic concern is the displacement of traditional notions of community and identity in the face of rapidly expanding technologies and cultural miscommunication. In these writings he addresses such issues as urbanism, homelessness, immigration, alienation, and the plight of refugees. Fusing wit and sophisticated political insight, he offers the artistic means to help heal the damages of uprootedness and other contemporary troubles.

Posted in architecture, art, culture, design, interview, media, philosophy, politics, technology

Inside Design Now: The National Design Triennial

By Donald Albrecht, Ellen Lupton, Mitchell Owens, and Susan Yelavich (2003)
Inside Design Now takes the pulse of American design in the new millennium, providing a fascinating tour of cutting-edge trends in architecture, interiors, landscape, fashion, graphics, and new media.
Featuring eighty emerging and established designers – including 2 x 4, Mike Mills, Peter Eisenman, Fuse Project, Tod Machover, Paula Scher, Jennifer Siegal, and Isaac Mizrahi – Inside Design Now illustrates the most innovative and provocative thinking in design today. Each designer’s work is presented with a double-page spread and a series of full-color images. Essays explore the role of the designer in today’s culture, contemporary ideas of beauty and functionality, and what the future holds in the realm of design. Sensuous materials, lush patterns, and exquisite details come together with new technologies, pop imagery, and fresh approaches to scale, color, and construction in the works reproduced in this volume.

Posted in architecture, art, culture, design, exhibition, media, technology, typography

Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Culture

Edited by Russell Ferguson, Martha Gever, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and Cornel West (1990)
Out There addresses the question of cultural marginalization – the process through which various groups are excluded from access to and participation in the dominant culture. It is a wide-ranging anthology that juxtaposes diverse points of view on issues of gender, race, sexual preference, and class. It takes up the fundamental issues raised when we attempt to define concepts such as “mainstream” and “minority,” and it opens up new ways of thinking about culture and representation in our society.

Posted in art, culture, exhibition, feminism, history, politics, theory

The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths

By Rosalind Krauss (1985)
In this challenging collection of fifteen essays, most of which originally appeared in October, Krauss explores the ways in which the break in style that produced postmodernism has forced a change in our various understandings of twentieth-century art, beginning with the almost mythic idea of the avant-garde. Krauss uses the analytical tools of semiology, structuralism, and poststructuralism to reveal new meanings in the visual arts and to critique the way other prominent practitioners of art and literary history write about art. In two sections, “Modernist Myths” and “Toward Postmodernism,” her essays range from the problem of the grid in painting and the unity of Giacometti’s sculpture to the works of Jackson Pollock, Sol Lewitt, and Richard Serra, and observations about major trends in contemporary literary criticism.

Posted in art, culture, history, theory

Obey the Giant: Life in the Image World

By Rick Poyner (2001)
Design critic Rick Poynor explores the thinking behind contemporary visual culture – intriguing and fascinating appraisal. In the twenty-first century, commerce and culture are ever more closely entwined. This new collection of essays by design critic Rick Poynor takes a searching look at visual culture to discover the reality beneath the ultra-seductive surfaces. Poynor explores the thinking behind the emerging resistance to commercial rhetoric among designers, and offers critical insights into the changing dialogue between advertising and design. Other essays address the topics of visual journalism; brands as religion; the new solipsism; graphic memes; the pleasures of imperfect design; and the poverty of “cool”. Around the world, many are now waking up to the dominance of huge corporations – invariably expressed by visual means. This pointed and provocative counterblast arrives at a moment when critical responses are vital if this mono-culture is to be challenged. It offers inspirational evidence of alternative ways of engaging with design, and it will appeal to any reader with a questioning interest in design, advertising, cultural studies, media studies, and the visual arts.

Posted in art, culture, design, media, semiotics

Yes Yes Y’All: An Oral History of Hip-Hop’s First Decade

Edited by Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn (2002)
Based on the “Hip-Hop Nation” exhibit at Seattle’s Experience Music Project and the project’s ongoing Oral History Program, this history of the beginnings of hip-hop in 1970s New York City is a lavishly illustrated and lovingly compiled homage to the many artists who contributed to the birth of what soon became and remains today, more than 25 years later a worldwide cultural institution. Editors Fricke and Ahearn (director of the hip-hop film Wild Style) weave the insights and attitudes of nearly 100 of the key players into a multihued and multiracial tapestry that illustrates what the excitement of that era and its music was all about. Since the hip-hop style was first developed in the Bronx borough of New York City as a dance-floor alternative to the then-prominent “disco” sound, the oral narrative is dominated by the voices of well-known DJs: Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash. But much of the success of the book is derived from its exploration of the roots of other related hip-hop trends: how the massive new styles of graffiti were both a response to urban violence as well as a way to provoke the interest of downtown New York avant-garde artists; how the competitive world of break dancing was rooted in the rapidly changing and fading gang culture of the Bronx; and how many women were far more active and influential in all types of hip-hop styles than was obvious or recognized at the time. This is an excellent documentation of how early hip-hop expressed “a balance between pain and the celebration of music and movements.”

Posted in art, culture, exhibition, history, interview, language, music

Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein

By John Corbett (1994)
Using obscure and familiar figures from around the world as touchstones for portraits, interviews, and essays, Corbett roams an incredible breadth of musical territory: blues and jazz, contemporary classical, funk and rap, free improvisation, rock, and reggae. His true talent becomes clear as he exits surface terrain to guide the reader through a labyrinth of philosophical and intellectual thought amid the musical landscape. His interview techniques (particularly with Cage), breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding, and use of words in a way that imparts wisdom and provokes deep thought all shine. This work shows Corbett to be an important writer of our time; recommended for serious musicians and all others who enjoy the “outside.”

Posted in culture, history, interview, music, theory