'How to be Great' is an ongoing project to collate all the manifestos ever.
I have also recorded it as a 3 hour and 58 minute self-help guide, which you can listen to here.
Do one thing at a time.
Know the problem.
Learn to listen.
Learn to ask questions.
Distinguish sense from nonsense.
Accept change as inevitable.
Say it simple.
Smile. (How to work better - Fischli/Weiss)
Allow events to change you.
Forget about good.
Process is more important than outcome.
Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
Everyone is a leader.
Don't be cool.
Ask stupid questions.
Stay up late.
Work the metaphor.
Be careful to take risks.
Make your own tools.
Stand on someone's shoulders.
Don't clean your desk.
Read only left-hand pages.
Make new words.
Think with your mind.
Organisation = liberty.
Don't borrow money.
Take field trips.
Make mistakes faster.
Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.
Explore the outer edge.
Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms.
Power to the people. (Incomplete Manifesto for Growth - Bruce Mau Design)
Yes to redefining virtuosity
Yes to conceptualizing experience, affects, sensation
Yes to materiality/body practice
Yes to investment of performer and spectator
Yes to expression
Yes to excess
Yes to “invention” (however impossible)
Yes to un-naming, decoding and recoding expression
Yes to non-recognition, non-resemblance
Yes to non-sense/illogic
Yes to organizing principles rather than fixed logic systems
Yes to moving the “clear concept” behind the actual performance of
Yes to methodology and procedures
Yes to animation
Yes to style as a result of procedure and specificity of a proposal.
Yes to complexity (Yes Manifesto - Mette Ingvartsen)
a little knowledge can go a long way
a lot of professionals are crackpots
a man can't know what it is to be a mother
a name means a lot just by itself
a positive attitude means all the difference in the world
a relaxed man is not necessarily a better man
a sense of timing is the mark of genius
a sincere effort is all you can ask
a single event can have infinitely many interpretations
a solid home base builds a sense of self
a strong sense of duty imprisons you
absolute submission can be a form of freedom
abstraction is a type of decadence
abuse of power comes as no surprise
action causes more trouble than thought
alienation produces eccentrics or revolutionaries
all things are delicately interconnected
ambition is just as dangerous as complacency
ambivalence can ruin your life
an elite is inevitable
anger or hate can be a useful motivating force
animalism is perfectly healthy
any surplus is immoral
anything is a legitimate area of investigation
artificial desires are despoiling the earth
at times inactivity is preferable to mindless functioning
at times your unconsciousness is truer than your conscious mind
automation is deadly
awful punishment awaits really bad people
bad intentions can yield good results
being alone with yourself is increasingly unpopular
being happy is more important than anything else
being judgmental is a sign of life
being sure of yourself means you're a fool
believing in rebirth is the same as admitting defeat
boredom makes you do crazy things
calm is more conductive to creativity than is anxiety
categorizing fear is calming
change is valuable when the oppressed become tyrants
chasing the new is dangerous to society
children are the most cruel of all
children are the hope of the future
class action is a nice idea with no substance
class structure is as artificial as plastic
confusing yourself is a way to stay honest
crime against property is relatively unimportant
decadence can be an end in itself
decency is a relative thing
dependence can be a meal ticket
description is more important than metaphor
deviants are sacrificed to increase group solidarity
disgust is the appropriate response to most situations
disorganization is a kind of anesthesia
don't place to much trust in experts
drama often obscures the real issues
dreaming while awake is a frightening contradiction
dying and coming back gives you considerable perspective
dying should be as easy as falling off a log
eating too much is criminal
elaboration is a form of pollution
emotional responses ar as valuable as intellectual responses
enjoy yourself because you can't change anything anyway
ensure that your life stays in flux
even your family can betray you
every achievement requires a sacrifice
everyone's work is equally important
everything that's interesting is new
exceptional people deserve special concessions
expiring for love is beautiful but stupid
expressing anger is necessary
extreme behavior has its basis in pathological psychology
extreme self-consciousness leads to perversion
faithfulness is a social not a biological law
fake or real indifference is a powerful personal weapon
fathers often use too much force
fear is the greatest incapacitator
freedom is a luxury not a necessity
giving free rein to your emotions is an honest way to live
go all out in romance and let the chips fall where they may
going with the flow is soothing but risky
good deeds eventually are rewarded
government is a burden on the people
grass roots agitation is the only hope
guilt and self-laceration are indulgences
habitual contempt doesn't reflect a finer sensibility
hiding your emotions is despicable
holding back protects your vital energies
humanism is obsolete
humor is a release
ideals are replaced by conventional goals at a certain age
if you aren't political your personal life should be exemplary
if you can't leave your mark give up
if you have many desires your life will be interesting
if you live simply there is nothing to worry about
ignoring enemies is the best way to fight
illness is a state of mind
imposing order is man's vocation for chaos is hell
in some instances it's better to die than to continue
inheritance must be abolished
it can be helpful to keep going no matter what
it is heroic to try to stop time
it is man's fate to outsmart himself
it is a gift to the world not to have babies
it's better to be a good person than a famous person
it's better to be lonely than to be with inferior people
it's better to be naive than jaded
it's better to study the living fact than to analyze history
it's crucial to have an active fantasy life
it's good to give extra money to charity
it's important to stay clean on all levels
it's just an accident that your parents are your parents
it's not good to hold too many absolutes
it's not good to operate on credit
it's vital to live in harmony with nature
just believing something can make it happen
keep something in reserve for emergencies
killing is unavoidable but nothing to be proud of
knowing yourself lets you understand others
knowledge should be advanced at all costs
labor is a life-destroying activity
lack of charisma can be fatal
leisure time is a gigantic smoke screen
listen when your body talks
looking back is the first sign of aging and decay
loving animals is a substitute activity
low expectations are good protection
manual labor can be refreshing and wholesome
men are not monogamous by nature
moderation kills the spirit
money creates taste
monomania is a prerequisite of success
morals are for little people
most people are not fit to rule themselves
mostly you should mind your own business
mothers shouldn't make too many sacrifices
much was decided before you were born
murder has its sexual side
myth can make reality more intelligible
noise can be hostile
nothing upsets the balance of good and evil
occasionally principles are more valuable than people
offer very little information about yourself
often you should act like you are sexless
old friends are better left in the past
opacity is an irresistible challenge
pain can be a very positive thing
people are boring unless they are extremists
people are nuts if they think they are important
people are responsible for what they do unless they are insane
people who don't work with their hands are parasites
people who go crazy are too sensitive
people won't behave if they have nothing to lose
physical culture is second best
planning for the future is escapism
playing it safe can cause a lot of damage in the long run
politics is used for personal gain
potential counts for nothing until it's realized
private property created crime
pursuing pleasure for the sake of pleasure will ruin you
push yourself to the limit as often as possible
raise boys and girls the same way
random mating is good for debunking sex myths
rechanneling destructive impulses is a sign of maturity
recluses always get weak
redistributing wealth is imperative
relativity is no boon to mankind
religion causes as many problems as it solves
remember you always have freedom of choice
repetition is the best way to learn
resolutions serve to ease our conscience
revolution begins with changes in the individual
romantic love was invented to manipulate women
routine is a link with the past
routine small excesses are worse than then the occasional debauch
sacrificing yourself for a bad cause is not a moral act
salvation can't be bought and sold
self-awareness can be crippling
self-contempt can do more harm than good
selfishness is the most basic motivation
selflessness is the highest achievement
separatism is the way to a new beginning
sex differences are here to stay
sin is a means of social control
slipping into madness is good for the sake of comparison
sloppy thinking gets worse over time
solitude is enriching
sometimes science advances faster than it should
sometimes things seem to happen of their own accord
spending too much time on self-improvement is antisocial
starvation is nature's way
stasis is a dream state
sterilization is a weapon of the rulers
strong emotional attachment stems from basic insecurity
stupid people shouldn't breed
survival of the fittest applies to men and animals
symbols are more meaningful than things themselves
taking a strong stand publicizes the opposite position
talking is used to hide one's inability to act
teasing people sexually can have ugly consequences
technology will make or break us
the cruelest disappointment is when you let yourself down
the desire to reproduce is a death wish
the family is living on borrowed time
the idea of revolution is an adolescent fantasy
the idea of transcendence is used to obscure oppression
the idiosyncratic has lost its authority
the most profound things are inexpressible
the mundane is to be cherished
the new is nothing but a restatement of the old
the only way to be pure is to stay by yourself
the sum of your actions determines what you are
the unattainable is invariable attractive
the world operates according to discoverable laws
there are too few immutable truths today
there's nothing except what you sense
there's nothing redeeming in toil
thinking too much can only cause problems
threatening someone sexually is a horrible act
timidity is laughable
to disagree presupposes moral integrity
to volunteer is reactionary
torture is barbaric
trading a life for a life is fair enough
true freedom is frightful
unique things must be the most valuable
unquestioning love demonstrates largesse of spirit
using force to stop force is absurd
violence is permissible even desirable occasionally
war is a purification rite
we must make sacrifices to maintain our quality of life
when something terrible happens people wake up
wishing things away is not effective
with perseverance you can discover any truth
words tend to be inadequate
worrying can help you prepare
you are a victim of the rules you live by
you are guileless in your dreams
you are responsible for constituting the meaning of things
you are the past present and future
you can live on through your descendants
you can't expect people to be something they're not
you can't fool others if you're fooling yourself
you don't know what's what until you support yourself
you have to hurt others to be extraordinary
you must be intimate with a token few
you must disagree with authority figures
you must have one grand passion
you must know where you stop and the world begins
you can understand someone of your sex only
you owe the world not the other way around
you should study as much as possible
your actions are pointless if no one notices
your oldest fears are the worst ones (Truisms Manifesto - Jenny Holzer)
We, the undersigned, are graphic designers, art directors and visual communicators who have been raised in a world in which the techniques and apparatus of advertising have persistently been presented to us as the most lucrative, effective and desirable use of our talents. Many design teachers and mentors promote this belief; the market rewards it; a tide of books and publications reinforces it.
Encouraged in this direction, designers then apply their skill and imagination to sell dog biscuits, designer coffee, diamonds, detergents, hair gel, cigarettes, credit cards, sneakers, butt toners, light beer and heavy-duty recreational vehicles. Commercial work has always paid the bills, but many graphic designers have now let it become, in large measure, what graphic designers do. This, in turn, is how the world perceives design. The profession's time and energy is used up manufacturing demand for things that are inessential at best.
Many of us have grown increasingly uncomfortable with this view of design. Designers who devote their efforts primarily to advertising, marketing and brand development are supporting, and implicitly endorsing, a mental environment so saturated with commercial messages that it is changing the very way citizen-consumers speak, think, feel, respond and interact. To some extent we are all helping draft a reductive and immeasurably harmful code of public discourse.
There are pursuits more worthy of our problem-solving skills. Unprecedented environmental, social and cultural crises demand our attention. Many cultural interventions, social marketing campaigns, books, magazines, exhibitions, educational tools, television programs, films, charitable causes and other information design projects urgently require our expertise and help.
We propose a reversal of priorities in favor of more useful, lasting and democratic forms of communication - a mindshift away from product marketing and toward the exploration and production of a new kind of meaning. The scope of debate is shrinking; it must expand. Consumerism is running uncontested; it must be challenged by other perspectives expressed, in part, through the visual languages and resources of design.
In 1964, 22 visual communicators signed the original call for our skills to be put to worthwhile use. With the explosive growth of global commercial culture, their message has only grown more urgent. Today, we renew their manifesto in expectation that no more decades will pass before it is taken to heart. (First things first 2000 a design manifesto)
We, the undersigned, are graphic designers, photographers and students who have been brought up in a world in which the techniques and apparatus of advertising have persistently been presented to us as the most lucrative, effective and desirable means of using our talents. We have been bombarded with publications devoted to this belief, applauding the work of those who have flogged their skill and imagination to sell such things as: cat food, stomach powders, detergent, hair restorer, striped toothpaste, aftershave lotion, beforeshave lotion, slimming diets, fattening diets, deodorants, fizzy water, cigarettes, roll-ons, pull-ons and slip-ons.
By far the greatest effort of those working in the advertising industry are wasted on these trivial purposes, which contribute little or nothing to our national prosperity.
In common with an increasing numer of the general public, we have reached a saturation point at which the high pitched scream of consumer selling is no more than sheer noise. We think that there are other things more worth using our skill and experience on. There are signs for streets and buildings, books and periodicals, catalogues, instructional manuals, industrial photography, educational aids, films, television features, scientific and industrial publications and all the other media through which we promote our trade, our education, our culture and our greater awareness of the world.
We do not advocate the abolition of high pressure consumer advertising: this is not feasible. Nor do we want to take any of the fun out of life. But we are proposing a reversal of priorities in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication. We hope that our society will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesmen and hidden persuaders, and that the prior call on our skills will be for worthwhile purposes. With this in mind we propose to share our experience and opinions, and to make them available to colleagues, students and others who may be interested. (First things first 1964 a manifesto)
The magic of a word—Dada—which has brought journalists to the gates of a world unforeseen,
is of no importance to us.
To put out a manifesto you must want: ABC
to fulminate against 1, 2, 3
to fly into a rage and sharpen your wings to conquer and disseminate little abcs and big abcs, to sign, shout, swear, to organize prose into a form of absolute and irrefutable evidence, to prove your non plus ultra and maintain that novelty resembles life just as the latest-appearance of some whore proves the essence of God. His existence was previously proved by the accordion, the landscape, the wheedling word. To impose your ABC is a natural thing—hence deplorable. Everybody does it in the form of crystalbluffmadonna, monetary system, pharmaceutical product, or a bare leg advertising the ardent sterile spring. The love of novelty is the cross of sympathy, demonstrates a naive je m'enfoutisme, it is a transitory, positive sign without a cause.
But this need itself is obsolete. In documenting art on the basis of the supreme simplicity: novelty, we are human and true for the sake of amusement, impulsive, vibrant to crucify boredom. At the crossroads of the lights, alert, attentively awaiting the years, in the forest. I write a manifesto and I want nothing, yet 1 say certain things, and in principle I am against manifestoes, as I am also against principles (half-pints to measure the moral value of every phrase too too convenient; approximation was invented by the impressionists). I write this manifesto to show that people can perform contrary actions together while taking one fresh gulp of air; I am against action; for continuous contradiction, for affirmation too, I am neither for nor against and I do not explain because I hate common sense. […]
Dada Means Nothing
If you find it futile and don't want to waste your time on a word that means nothing ... The first thought that comes to these people is bacteriological in character: to find its etymological, or at least its historical or psychological origin. We see by the papers that the Kru Negroes call the tail of a holy cow Dada. The cube and the mother in a certain district of Italy are called: Dada. A hobby horse, a nurse both in Russian and Rumanian: Dada. Some learned journalists regard it as an art for babies, other holy jesusescallingthelittlechildren of our day, as a relapse into a dry and noisy, noisy and monotonous primitivism. Sensibility is not constructed on the basis of a word; all constructions converge on perfection which is boring, the stagnant idea of a gilded swamp, a relative human product. A work of art should not be beauty in itself, for beauty is dead; it should be neither gay nor sad, neither light nor dark to rejoice or torture the individual by serving him the cakes of sacred aureoles or the sweets of a vaulted race through the atmospheres. A work of art is never beautiful by decree, objectively and for all. Hence criticism is useless, it exists only subjectively, for each man separately, without the slightest character of universality. Does anyone think he has found a psychic base common to all mankind? The attempt of Jesus and the Bible covers with their broad benevolent wings: shit, animals, days. How can one expect to put order into the chaos zara,that constitutes that infinite and shapeless variation: man? The principle: "love thy neighbor” is a hypocrisy. “Know thyself” is utopian but more acceptable, for it embraces wickedness.
No pity. After the carnage we still retain the hope of a purified mankind. I speak only of myself since I do not wish to convince, I have no right to drag others into my river, I oblige no one to follow me and everybody practices his art in his own way, if be knows the joy that rises like arrows to the astral layers, or that other joy that goes down into the mines of corpse-flowers and fertile spasms. Stalactites: seek them everywhere, in managers magnified by pain, eyes white as the hares of the angels.
And so Dada was born of a need for independence, of a distrust toward unity. Those who are with us preserve their freedom. We recognize no theory. We have enough cubist and futurist academies: laboratories of formal ideas. Is the aim of art to make money and cajole the nice nice bourgeois?Rhymes ring with the assonance of the currencies and the inflexion slips along the line of the belly in profile. All groups of artists have arrived at this trust company utter riding their steeds on various comets. While the door remains open to the possibility of wallowing in cushions and good things to eat.
Cubism was born out of the simple way of looking at an object: Cezanne painted a cup 20 centimeters below his eyes, the cubists look at it from above, others complicate appearance by making a perpendicular section and arranging it conscientiously on the side. (I do not forget the creative artists and the profound laws of matter which they established once and for all.) The futurist sees the same cup in movement, a succession of objects one beside the others and maliciously adds a few force lines. This does not prevent the canvas from being a good or bad painting suitable for the investment of intellectual capital. The new painter creates a world, the elements of which are also its implements, a sober,definite work without argument. The new artist protests: he no longer paints (symbolic and illusionist reproduction) but creates directly in stone, wood, iron, tin, boulders—locomotive organisms capable of being turned in all directions by the limpid wind of momentary sensation. All pictorial or plastic work is useless: let it then be a monstrosity that frightens servile minds, and not sweetening to decorate the refectories of animals in human costume, illustrating the sad fable of mankind. Philosophy is the question: from which side shall we look at life, God, the idea or other phenomena. Everything one looks at is false. I do not consider the relative result more important than the choice between cake and cherries after dinner. The system of quickly looking at the other side of a thing in order to impose your opinion indirectly is called dialectics, in other words, haggling over the spirit of fried potatoes while dancing method around it.If I cry out:
Ideal, ideal, ideal,
Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge,
Boomboom, boomboom, boomboom,
I have given a pretty faithful version of progress, law, morality and all other fine qualities that various highly intelligent men have discussed in so many books, only to conclude that after all everyone dances to his own personal boomboom, and that the writer is entitled to his zara, boomboom: the satisfaction of pathological curiosity a private bell for inexplicable needs; a bath; pecuniary difficulties; a stomach with repercussions in tile; the authority of the mystic wand formulated as the bouquet of a phantom orchestra made up of silent fiddle bows greased with filters made of chicken manure. With the blue eye-glasses of an angel they have excavated the inner life for a dime’s worth of unanimous gratitude. If all of them are right and if all pills are Pink Pills, let us try for once not to be right. Some people think they can explain rationally, by thought, what they think. But that is extremely relative. Psychoanalysis is a dangerous disease, it puts to sleep the anti-objective impulses of man and systematizes the bourgeoisie. There is no ultimate Truth. The dialectic is an amusing mechanism which guides us / in a banal kind of way / to the opinions we had in the first place. Does anyone think that, by a minute refinement of logic, he had demonstrated the truth and established the correctness of these opinions? Logic imprisoned by the senses is an organic disease. To this element philosophers always like to add: the power of observation. But actually this magnificent quality of the mind is the proof of its impotence. We observe, we regard from one or more points of view, we choose them among the millions that exist. Experience is also a product of chance and individual faculties. Science disgusts me as soon as it becomes a speculative system, loses its character of utility that is so useless but is at least individual. I detest greasy objectivity, and harmony, the science that finds everything in order. Carry on, my children, humanity . . .
Science says we are the servants of nature: everything is in order, make love and bash your brains in. Carry on, my children, humanity, kind bourgeois and journalist virgins . . .I am against systems, the most acceptable system is on principle to have none. To complete oneself, to perfect oneself in one's own littleness, to fill the vessel with one's individuality, to have the courage to fight for and against thought, the mystery of bread, the sudden burst of an infernal propeller into economic lilies. […]
Inability to distinguish between degrees of clarity: to lick the penumbra and float in the big mouth filled with honey and excrement. Measured by the scale of eternity, all activity is vain - (if we allow thought to engage in an adventure the result of which would be infinitely grotesque and add significantly to our knowledge of human impotence). But supposing life to be a poor farce, without aim or initial parturition, and because we think it our duty to extricate ourselves as fresh and clean as washed chrysanthemums, we have proclaimed as the sole basis for agreement: art. It is not as important as we, mercenaries of the spirit, have been proclaiming for centuries. Art afflicts no one and those who manage to take an interest in it will harvest caresses and a fine opportunity to populate the country with their conversation. Art is a private affair, the artist produces it for himself, an intelligible work is the product of a journalist, and because at this moment it strikes my fancy to combine this monstrosity with oil paints: a paper tube simulating the metal that is automatically pressed and poured hatred cowardice villainy. The artist, the poet rejoice at the venom of the masses condensed into a section chief of this industry, he is happy to be insulted: it is a proof of his immutability. When a writer or artist is praised by the newspapers, it is a proof of the intelligibility of his work: wretched lining of a coat for public use; tatters covering brutality, piss contributing to the warmth of an animal brooding vile instincts. Flabby, insipid flesh reproducing with the help of typographical microbes. We have thrown out the cry-baby in us. Any infiltration of this kind is candied diarrhea. To encourage this act is to digest it. What we need is works that are strong straight precise and forever beyond understanding. Logic is a complication. Logic is always wrong. It draws the threads of notions, words, in their formal exterior, toward illusory ends and centers. Its chains kill, it is an enormous centipede stifling independence. Married to logic, art would live in incest, swallowing, engulfing its own tail, still part of its own body, fornicating within itself, and passion would become a nightmare tarred with protestantism, a monument, a heap of ponderous gray entrails. But the suppleness, enthusiasm, eve n the joy of injustice, this little truth which we practice innocently and which makes its beautiful: we are subtle and our fingers are malleable and slippery as the branches of that sinuous, almost liquid plant; it defines our soul, say the cynics. That too is a point of view; but all flowers are not sacred, fortunately, and the divine thing in us is to call to anti-human action. I am speaking of a paper flower for the buttonholes of the gentlemen who frequent the ball of masked life, the kitchen of grace, white cousins lithe or fat. They traffic with whatever we have selected. The contradiction and unity of poles in a single toss can be the truth. If one absolutely insists on uttering this platitude, the appendix of a libidinous, malodorous morality. Morality creates atrophy like every plague produced by intelligence. The control of morality and logic has inflicted us with impassivity in the presence of policemen who are the cause of slavery, putrid rats infecting the bowels of the bourgeoisie which have infected the only luminous clean corridors of glass that remained open to artists.
Let each man proclaim: there is a great negative work of destruction to be accomplished. We must sweep and clean. Affirm the cleanliness of the individual after the state of madness, aggressive complete madness of a world abandoned to the hands of bandits, who rend one another and destroy the centuries. Without aim or design, without organization: indomitable madness, decomposition. Those who are strong in words or force will survive, for they are quick in defense, the agility of limbs and sentiments flames on their faceted flanks.Morality has determined charity and pity, two balls of fat that have grown like elephants, like planets, and are called good. There is nothing good about them. Goodness is lucid, clear and decided, pitiless toward compromise and politics. Morality is an injection of chocolate into the veins of all men. This task is not ordered by a supernatural force but by the trust of idea brokers and grasping academicians. Sentimentality: at the sight of a group of men quarreling and bored, they invented the calendar and the medicament wisdom. With a sticking of labels the battle of the philosophers was set off (mercantilism, scales, meticulous and petty measures)
and for the second time it was understood that pity is a sentiment like diarrhea in relation to the disgust that destroys health, a foul attempt by carrion corpses to compromise the sun. I proclaim the opposition of all cosmic faculties to this gonorrhea of a putrid sun issued from the factories of philosophical thought, I proclaim bitter struggle with all the weapons of—Dadaist Disgust Every product of disgust capable of becoming a negation of the family is Dada; a protest with the fists of its whole being engaged in destructive action: Dada; know ledge of all the means rejected up until now by the shamefaced sex of comfortable compromise and good manners: Dada; abolition o/ logic, which is the dance of those impotent to create: Dada; of every social hierarchy and equation set up for the sake of values by our valets: Dada: every object, all objects, sentiments, obscurities, apparitions and the precise clash of parallel lines are weapons for the fight: Dada; abolition of memory: Dada; abolition of archaeology: Dada; abolition of prophets: Dada; abolition of the future: Dada; absolute and unquestionable faith in every god that is the immediate product of spontaneity: Dada; elegant and unprejudiced leap from a harmony to the other sphere; trajectory of a word tossed like a screeching phonograph record; to respect all individuals in their folly of the moment: whether it be serious, fearful, timid, ardent, vigorous, determined, enthusiastic; to divest one's church of eve ry useless cumbersome accessory; to spit out disagreeable or amorous ideas like a luminous waterfall, or coddle them—with the extreme satisfaction that it doesn't matter in the least—with the same intensity in the thicket of core's soul pure of insects for blood well-born, and gilded with bodies of archangels. Freedom: Dada Dada Dada, a roaring of tense colors, and interlacing of opposites and of all contradictions, grotesques, inconsistencies:
LIFE.(The Dada Manifesto - Tristan Tzara)
"It is no longer enough today to lock ourselves in our studios and produce culture. We must engage in our world in as many ways as possible. We need to ground our artistic production in the realities of our lives and those many others around us."
—Realizing The Impossible: Art Against Authority.
If graphic design is understood as the expression and reflection of a particular set of values, systems and interests, then most artistic practice today tends to express the interests of the class that controls and profits from society. It is these interests that dominate the standards of value in design, defines its emphasis, and excludes its more subversive, egalitarian alternatives. As a result, graphic design is the tool that communicates, beautifies and commodifies the interests of those in power. Its communicative strength is overwhelmingly used in an economic/commercial sense—consciously or unconsciously used to exploit; to raise profit margins and material wealth for the benefit of a select clientele. While graphic design sometimes lends its talents outside of the commercial realm in the form of an informative and communicative visual language, and in academic, self-authored, or research-based practices, the primary role of graphic design is that of the visual instrument of the powerful—the seller of sales, the convincer of consumers. Its strengths are employed by the corporate body (or state-sanctioned by capitalist/socialist totalitarian governments) in order to reinforce their position of power. And while design academia can wax poetic about the virtues of graphic design and its specialised visual language (conveniently side-stepping more tangible issues) the design industry practitioner, whether one chooses to acknowledge his/her role or not, must realise that their labour is nothing more than the harbinger of consumerism, used in the service of monolithic capitalism and all of its ails. Without the aid of graphic design, those who sustain the ills of society have no face, no visual identity, no point of reference, and most importantly, no effect.
While recognising in the libertarian tradition that no individual designer, group, institution or government has the right to define the role in which graphic design should play, it is important to encourage alternative design practices in an attempt to counter the exploitative position it has consciously stepped into. Analysis of the capacity inherent in design practices to alleviate current exploitation, and to aid in more alternative modes of social organisation is needed (and has begun in limited pockets of the design world). Design then, must explore the peripheral space outside of advertising totally devoid of any commercial use—or more specifically, for the movement towards a humane and libertarian society, that is to say, a more autonomous existence based on self-management, mutual aid, solidarity and direct participation and control over one's affairs. As the potential producer, educator and visual face of social change, graphic design could weld its creative future with more pressing concerns than market shares and profit margins.
"One cannot, in the nature of things, expect a little tree that has turned into a club to put forth leaves"
— Martin Buber
It is interesting to ponder the power graphic design holds within the current capitalist system. Corporates and their friends in government have all tapped into the powerful and almost unrivalled marketing resource that is graphic design. Better By Design, hand-in-hand with business interests, has marched towards a better future for consumerism. And no wonder—what other non-physical coercive technique can instill a company logo in the mind as early as two years old? Unchecked, the increasing role of graphic design as advertising's lackey will continue to have irreversible effect on our mental, visual and physical environment.
In 1964, and again in 2002, the concerns of above were brought forward in the form of the First Things First Manifesto, signed by designers, photographers, artists and visual practitioners interested in steering their skills along a more social and worthwhile path. "Unprecedented environmental, social and cultural crises demand our attention... charitable causes and other informational design projects urgently require our expertise and help." Calling for a shift in graphic design's priorities, the signatories of the manifesto recognised the potential for their skills to aid more humanitarian causes. The 2002 manifesto, as a tentative step in reviving Ken Garland's original ideas for today's practitioners, and as a step towards visual 'reform', is greatly noted. However, regardless of how well meaning and sincere the ideas brought forward in these documents were, it is necessary to critique their statements in more radical terms.
While proposing “a reversal of priorities in favour of more useful, lasting, and democratic forms of communication”, the manifesto falls short in recognising any kind of tangible, radical change. The First Things First Manifesto of 2002 fails to recognise that the 'uncontested' and 'unchecked' consumerism they wish to re-direct is so engrained in the social relations of capitalism that anything short of the complete transformation of those social relations will never effect true change. Proposing the shifting of priorities within the system rather than the shifting of the system itself—as history has proven in both state socialism and the farce of parliamentary democracy—will do nothing more than file down the rough edges of our chains. The fact that rampant globalisation and corporate hegemony go hand in hand with the current system is the real issue concerned graphic designs could be questioning. In fact these systems, "far from being a guarantee for the people, on the contrary, creates and safeguards the continued existence of a governmental aristocracy against the people."
With this in mind, the following text proposes to explore the graphic designer’s role (if any) in revolutionary, direct action towards the transformation of society, in specifically anarchist terms.
"It is said that an anarchist society is impossible. Artistic activity is the process of realising the impossible."
— Max Blechman, Toward an Anarchist Aesthetic.
The basic ideas of Anarchism have been misinformed, misinterpreted, and misunderstood throughout its existence. For many people, the anti-authoritarian stance of Anarchism coupled with negative press on the part of those threatened by it, associates it with chaos and disorder. However this is far from the truth.
Anarchist communism (or libertarian communism) is the belief that no one has the right to control or exploit another, and that coercive authrotiy (as opposed to voluntary association) is the mainstay of inequality—socially and economically. Anarchists strive for a social system of human beings living, interacting, and relating in a way that is the most fair, equal, and free of any kind of exploitation. This includes the many forms that oppression takes—economic or political, patriarchal or racial, and more.
"A mistaken, or more often, deliberately inaccurate interpretation alleges that the libertarian concept means the absence of all organisation. This is entirely false: it is not a matter of 'organisation' or 'nonorganisation', but of two different principles of organisation... of course, say the anarchists, society must be organised. However, it must be established freely, socially, and, above all, from below." The idea of non-hierarchical forms of organization are central to anarchism—only through direct action and self-management will we enjoy complete emancipation in our lives and the daily decisions that they entail. These ideas are far from utopian, as those who fear its potential would lead us to believe, and as the millions of men and women throughout history who have subscribed to, and lived out, anarchist ideas. They are no more utopian than the thought that far-removed, parliamentary 'representatives' can intimately
and effectively answer our many wants and needs as individuals and communities.
Anarchist communism is not a fixed, self-enclosed social system but rather a definite trend in the historic development of society, which, in contrast with the intellectual guardianship of all clerical and governmental institutions, strives for the free unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces in life. For anarchists, freedom is not an abstract philosophical concept, but a vital concrete possibility for every human being to bring to full development all the powers, capacities, and talents within them, and turn them to social account. The less this natural development of people is influenced by religious or political guardianship, the more efficient and harmonious human personality will become, the more it will become the measure of the intellectual culture of the society in which it has grown.
"As anarchists, we have seen our politics denigrated by other artists; as artists, we have had our cultural production attacked as frivolous by activists."
—Realising the Impossibe: Art Against Authority
It would be wrong to view this text as some kind of blueprint for anarchist design action. This is not a manifesto. Nor is it the justification for graphic design as a specialist, elitist profession to continue in its current form in the 'aid' of social change. As the early anarchist Proudhon wrote to Marx, "Let us not make ourselves the leaders of a new intolerance. Let us not pose as the apostles of a new religion, even if it be the religion of logic, of reason". And while there is a definite place for the graphic designer in an activist role, both in an educational and provocative sense, designers must not make the mistake of becoming some kind of vanguard group of directors. Whereas Marxism is often justified in both political and academic fields in this respect —defending the role of a necessary vanguard party to lead the ignorant masses to liberation—anarchism vehemently refutes and rejects this concept.
It is the responsibility of anyone with an understanding of visual communication to consider the effect their work has on the lives of others, especially the most marginalised, and the most oppressed. Instead, the design practitioner, through the basic act of joining their moral principles with their material production, should, and could, greatly contribute to the transformation of everyday life—towards a more just and humane society. The conscious graphic designer could instill in people's minds a broader sense of possibility, using the communicative powers of artistic imagery to empower, encourage and enrage. It is important to shift societies' many urgent concerns from the fringes and into the public realm, in a direct and unavoidable manner. However, purely negative and angst-ridden critique (while sometimes useful) can only go so far—it is the sense of positive possibilities that need to be associated with the ideas of revolutionary change. The marginality of alternative social relations must be overcome—its ideas rendered public, transparent, and shared.
Mainstream media do a rather convincing job of keeping our private critical thoughts isolated. It is an important task to illustrate that the critical and questioning ideas we may be having individually are, more often than not, shared by others, rather than letting them be diffused and disarmed by those in power through religion, politics, education, and popular media (including, of course, graphic design). Graphic design can publicly and prolifically become the visual manifestation of these shared ideas. "Ideally, art can inspire hope, encourage critical thinking, capture emotion, and stimulate creativity. It can declare another way to think about and participate in living. Art can document or challenge history, create a framework for social change, and create a vision of a more just world. When art is used in activism it provides an appealing and accessible entry point to social issues and radical politics". Graphic design can act as one catalyst for further involvement in social alternatives, and social struggle.
“Artists speak out against the war for one week but serve the capitalists all year.”
—Black Mask #4
However images alone are not enough. It is not just what the work of a designer says or does that perpetuates the dominant social relations of today, but how that work is made. Design is an overwhelmingly individual act. Yet further exploration of collective participation in the design process can set the basis for future non-hierarchal, collective organisation. Ways of working with others when making work could essentially form patterns and guides for the self organization of a more libertarian society. Therefore the act of making work could be as empowering as the visual message itself, pointing the way towards social relations on a more macro level. This exploration has exciting and liberating possibilities: "Anarchism is no patent solution for all human problems, no utopia of a perfect social order, as it has so often been called, since on principle it rejects all absolute schemes and concepts. It does not believe in any absolute truth, or in definite final goals for human development, but in an unlimited perfectibility of social arrangements and human living conditions, which are always straining after higher forms of expression…" Allowing anarchist inspired design to collectively explore and illustrate those 'higher forms of expression' can do nothing but broaden the scope and awareness of more just social relations between people.
1. In relation to the anarchist concept of 'no gods, no masters'—or, that ‘the exploitation of man by man and the dominion of man over man are inseparable, and each is the condition of the other’.
2. Design collectives such as Justseeds, The Street Art Workers, Drawing Resistance, the Beehive Collective, Paper Politics, Taring Padi, and the Prison Poster Project are just a few examples. See Realising the Impossible: Art Against Authority by Josh Macphee and Erik Reuland (AK Press, 2007).
3. A government initiative aimed at helping New Zealand companies 'increase their exports and profits through the better use of design in their products and services'. Check it out at www.betterbydesign.org.nz.
4. See Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (Penguin Books, 2002).
5. Michael Bakunin in Anarchism by Daniel Guerin (Monthly Review Press, 1970).
6. Voline in Anarchism by Daniel Guerin (Monthly Review Press, 1970).
7. Paraphrased from Rudolf Rocker's Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice (AK Press, 2004).
8. From Anarchism by Daniel Guerin (Monthly Review Press, 1970).
9. Colin Matthes, Realising the Impossible: Art Against Authority by Josh Macphee and Erik Reuland (AK Press, 2007).
10. Rudolf Rocker, Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice (AK Press, 2004). (This is not a manifesto - Jared Davidson (Garage Collective))
There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
There is no editing stage.
Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.
Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
Once you're done you can throw it away.
Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
Destruction is a variant of done.
If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
Done is the engine of more. (The cult of done manifesto - Bre Pettis and Kio Stark)
We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.
Courage, audacity, and revolt will be essential elements of our poetry.
Up to now literature has exalted a pensive immobility, ecstasy, and sleep. We intend to exalt aggresive action, a feverish insomnia, the racer’s stride, the mortal leap, the punch and the slap.
We affirm that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath—a roaring car that seems to ride on grapeshot is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.
We want to hymn the man at the wheel, who hurls the lance of his spirit across the Earth, along the circle of its orbit.
The poet must spend himself with ardor, splendor, and generosity, to swell the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements.
Except in struggle, there is no more beauty. No work without an aggressive character can be a masterpiece. Poetry must be conceived as a violent attack on unknown forces, to reduce and prostrate them before man.
We stand on the last promontory of the centuries!… Why should we look back, when what we want is to break down the mysterious doors of the Impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. We already live in the absolute, because we have created eternal, omnipresent speed.
We will glorify war—the world’s only hygiene—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman.
We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind, will fight moralism, feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice.
We will sing of great crowds excited by work, by pleasure, and by riot; we will sing of the multicolored, polyphonic tides of revolution in the modern capitals; we will sing of the vibrant nightly fervor of arsenals and shipyards blazing with violent electric moons; greedy railway stations that devour smoke-plumed serpents; factories hung on clouds by the crooked lines of their smoke; bridges that stride the rivers like giant gymnasts, flashing in the sun with a glitter of knives; adventurous steamers that sniff the horizon; deep-chested locomotives whose wheels paw the tracks like the hooves of enormous steel horses bridled by tubing; and the sleek flight of planes whose propellers chatter in the wind like banners and seem to cheer like an enthusiastic crowd. (Manifesto of Futurism - F.T. Marinetti)
Make your products live longer!
Things should be designed so that they can be repaired.
Repair is not replacement.
What doesn't kill it makes it stronger.
Repairing is a creative challenge.
Repair survives fashion.
To repair is to discover.
Repair - even in good times!
Repaired things are unique.
Repairing is about independence.
You can repair anything, even a plastic bag.
Stop recycling. Start Repairing. (Repair Manifesto - Platform 21)
We are still living under the reign of logic, but the logical processes of our time apply only to the solution of problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism which remains in fashion allows for the consideration of only those facts narrowly relevant to our experience. Logical conclusions, on the other hand, escape us. Needless to say, boundaries have been assigned even to ex- perience. It revolves in a cage from which release is becoming increasingly difficult. It too depends upon immediate utility and is guarded by common sense. In the guise of civilization, under the pretext of progress, we have suc- ceeded in dismissing from our minds anything that, rightly or wrongly, could be regarded as superstition or myth; and we have proscribed every way of seeking the truth which does not conform to convention. It would appear that it is by sheer chance that an aspect of intellectual life - and by far the most important in my opinion — about which no one was supposed to be concerned any longer has, recently, been brought back to light. Credit for this must go to Freud. On the evidence of his discoveries a current of opinion is at last developing which will enable the explorer of the human mind to extend his investigations, since he will be empowered to deal with more than merely summary realities. Perhaps the imagination is on the verge of recovering its rights. If the depths of our minds conceal strange forces capable of augmenting or conquering those on the surface, it is in our greatest interest to capture them; first to capture them and later to submit them, should the occasion arise, to the control of reason. The analysts themselves can only gain by this. But it is im- portant to note that there is no method fixed a priori for the execution of this enterprise, that until the new order it can be considered the province of poets as well as scholars, and that its success does not depend upon the more or less capricious routes which will be followed.
It was only fitting that Freud should appear with his critique on the dream. In fact, it is incredible that this important part of psychic activity has still attracted so little attention. (For, at least from man's birth to his death, thought presents no solution of continuity; the sum of dreaming moments - even taking into consideration pure dream alone, that of sleep - is from the point of view of time no less than the sum of moments of reality, which we shall confine to waking moments.) I have always been astounded by the extreme disproportion in the importance and seriousness assigned to events of the waking moments and to those of sleep by the ordinary observer. Man, when he ceases to sleep, is above all at the mercy of his memory, and the memory normally delights in feebly retracing the circumstance of the dream for him, depriving it of all actual consequence and obliterating the only determinant from the point at which he thinks he abandoned this constant hope, this anxiety, a few hours earlier. He has the illusion of continuing something worthwhile. The dream finds itself relegated to a parenthesis, like the night. And in general it gives no more counsel than the night. This singular state of affairs seems to invite a few reflections:
1. Within the limits to which its performance is restricted (or what passes for performance), the dream, according to all outward appearances, is continuous and bears traces of organization. Only memory claims the right to edit it, to suppress transitions and present us with a series of dreams rather than the dream. Similarly, at no given instant do we have more than a distinct representation of realities whose co-ordination is a matter of will.(1) It is important to note that nothing leads to a greater dissipation of the constituent elements of the dream. I regret discussing this according to a formula which in principle ex- cludes the dream. For how long, sleeping logicians, philosophers? I would like to sleep in order to enable myself to surrender to sleepers, as I surrender to those who read me with their eyes open, in order to stop the conscious rhythm of my thought from prevailing over this material. Perhaps my dream of last night was a continuation of the preceding night's, and will be continued tonight with an admirable precision. It could be, as they say. And as it is in no way proven that, in such a case, the 'reality' with which I am concerned even exists in the dream state, or that it does not sink into the immemorial, then why should I not concede to the dream what I sometimes refuse to reality - that weight of self-assurance which by its own terms is not exposed to my denial? Why should I not expect more of the dream sign than I do of a daily increasing degree of consciousness? Could not the dreams as well be applied to the solution of life's fundamental problems? Are these problems the same in one case as in the other, and do they already exist in the dream? Is the dream less oppressed by sanctions than the rest? I am growing old and, perhaps more than this reality to which I believe myself confined, it is the dream, and the detachment that I owe to it, which is ageing me.
2 I return to the waking state. I am obliged to retain it as a phenomenon of interference. Not only does the mind show a strange tendency to disorientation under these conditions (this is the clue to slips of the tongue and lapses of all kinds whose secret is just beginning to be surrendered to us), but when function- ing normally the mind still seems to obey none other than those suggestions which rise from that deep night I am commending. Sound as it may be, its equilibrium is relative. The mind hardly dares express itself and, when it does, is limited to stating that this idea or that woman has an effect on it. What effect it cannot say; thus it gives the measure of its subjectivism and nothing more. The idea, the woman, disturbs it, disposes it to less severity. Their role is to isolate one second of its discappearance and remove it to the sky in that glorious acceleration that it can be, that it is. Then, as a last resort, the mind invokes chance - a more obscure divinity than the others - to whom it attributes all its aberrations. Who says that the angle from which that idea is presented which affects the mind, as well as what the mind loves in that woman's eye, is not precisely the same thing that attracts the mind to its dream and reunites it with data lost through its own error? And if things were otherwise, of what might the mind not be capable? I should like to present it with the key to that passage.
3 The mind of the dreaming man is fully satisfied with whatever happens to it. The agonizing question of possibility does not arise. Kill, plunder more quickly, love as much as you wish. And if you die, are you not sure of being roused from the dead? Let yourself be led. Events will not tolerate deferment. You have no name. Everything Is inestimably easy.
What power, I wonder, what power so much more generous than others confers this natural aspect upon the dream and makes me welcome unreservedly a throng of episodes whose strangeness would overwhelm me if they were hap- pening as I write this? And yet I can believe it with my own eyes, my own ears. That great day has come, that beast has spoken.
If man's awakening is harsher, if he breaks the spell too well, it is because he has been led to form a poor idea of expiation.
4 When the time comes when we can submit the dream to a methodical examination, when by methods yet to be determined we succeed in realizing the dream in its entirety (and that implies a memory discipline measurable in generations, but we can still begin by recording salient facts), when the dream's curve is developed with an unequalled breadth and regularity, then we can hope that mysteries which are not really mysteries will give way to the great Mystery. I believe in the future resolution of these two states -- outwardly so contradic- tory -- which are dream and reality, into a sort of absolute reality, a surreality, so to speak, I am aiming for its conquest, certain that I myself shall not attain it, but too indifferent to my death not to calculate the joys of such possession.
They say that not long ago, just before he went to sleep, Saint-Pol-Roux placed a placard on the door of his manor at Camaret which read: THE POET WORKS.
There is still a great deal to say, but I did want to touch lightly, in passing, upon a subject which in itself would require a very long exposition with a dif- ferent precision. I shall return to it. For the time being my intention has been to see that justice was done to that hatred of the marvellous which rages in certain men, that ridicule under which they would like to crush it. Let us resolve, therefore: the Marvellous is always beautiful, everything marvellous is beautiful. Nothing but the Marvellous is beautiful.
... One night, before falling asleep, I became aware of a most bizarre sentence, clearly articulated to the point where it was impossible to change a word of it, but still separate from the sound of any voice. It came to me bearing no trace of the events with which I was involved at that time, at least to my conscious knowledge. It seemed to me a highly insistent sentence - a sentence, I might say, which knocked at the window. I quickly took note of it and was prepared to disregard it when something about its whole character held me back. The sentence truly astounded me. Unfortunately I still cannot remember the exact words to this day, but it was something like: 'A man is cut in half by the window'; but it can only suffer from ambiguity, accompanied as it was by the feeble visual representation of a walking man cut in half by a window perpendicular to the axis of his body. ^ It was probably a simple mat- ter of a man leaning on the window and then straightening up. But the window followed the movements of the man, and I realized that I was dealing with a very rare type of image. Immediately I had the idea of incorporating it into my poetic material, but no sooner had I invested it with poetic form than it went on to give way to a scarcely intermittent succession of sentences which surprised me no less than the first and gave me the impression of such a free gift that the control which I had had over myself up to that point seemed illusory and I no longer thought of anything but how to put an end to the interminable quarrel which was taking place within me.(3)
Totally involved as I was at the time with Freud, and familiar with his methods of examination which I had had some occasion to practise on the sick during the war, I resolved to obtain from myself what one seeks to obtain from a patient - a spoken monologue uttered as rapidly as possible, over which the critical faculty of the subject has no control, unencumbered by any reticence, which is spoken thought as far as such a thing is possible. It seemed to me, and still does - the manner in which the sentence about the man cut in two came to me proves it - that the speed of thought is no greater than that of words, and that it does not necessarily defy language or the moving pen. It was with this in mind that Philippe Soupault (with whom I had shared these first conclusions) and I undertook to cover some paper with writing, with a laudable contempt for what might result in terms of literature. The ease of realization did the rest. At the end of the first day we were able to read to each other around fifty pages obtained by this method, and began to compare our results. Altogether, those of Soupault and my own presented a remarkable similarity, even including the same faults in construction: in both cases there was the illusion of an extra- ordinary verve, a great deal of emotion, a considerable assortment of images of a quality such as we would never have been capable of achieving in ordinary writing, a very vivid graphic quality, and here and there an acutely comic passage. The only difference between our texts seemed to me essentially due to our respective natures (Soupault's is less static than mine) and, if I may hazard a slight criticism, due to the fact that he had made the mistake of distributing a few words in the way of titles at the head of certain pages — no doubt in the spirit of mystification. On the other hand, I must give him credit for maintaining his steadfast opposition to the slightest alteration in the course of any passage which seemed to me rather badly put. He was completely right on this point, of course.(4) In fact it is very difficult to appreciate the full value of the various elements when confronted by them. It can even be said to be impossible to appreciate them at the first reading. These elements are outwardly as strange to you who have written them as to anyone else, and you are naturally distrustful of them. Poetically speaking, they are especially endowed with a very high degree of immediate absurdity. The peculiarity of this absurdity, on closer examination, comes from their capitulation to everything — both inad- missible and legitimate - In the world, to produce a revelation of a certain number of premises and facts generally no less objective than any others.
In homage to Guillaume Apollinaire - who died recently, and who appears to have consistently obeyed a similar impulse to ours without ever really sacrificing mediocre literary means - Soupault and I used the name SURREALISM to designate the new mode of pure expression which we had at our disposal and with which we were anxious to benefit our friends. Today I do not believe anything more need be said about this word. The meaning which we have given it has generally prevailed over Apollinaire's meaning. With even more justification we could have used SUPERNATURALISM, employed by Gerard de Nerval in the dedication of Filles de Feu.(5) In fact, Nerval appears to have possessed to an admirable extent the spirit to which we refer. Apollinaire, on the other hand, possessed only the letter of surrealism (which was still imper- fect) and showed himself powerless to give it the theoretical insight that engages us. Here are two passages by Nerval which appear most significant in this regard:
'I will explain to you, my dear Dumas, the phenomenon of which you spoke above. As you know, there are certain story-tellers who cannot invent without identifying themselves with the characters from their imagination. You know with what conviction our old friend Nodier told how he had had the misfortune to be guillotined at the time of the Revolution; one became so convinced that one wondered how he had managed to stick his head back on.'
'... And since you have had the imprudence to cite one of the sonnets composed in this state of SUPERNATURALIST reverie, as the Germans v/ould say, you must hear all of them. You will find them at the end of the volume. They are hardly more obscure than Hegel's metaphysics or Swedenborg's MEMORABLES, and would lose their charm in explication, if such a thing were possible, so concede me at least the merit of their expression . . .'(6)
It would be dishonest to dispute our right to employ the word SURREALISM in the very particular sense in which we intend it, for it is clear that before we came along this word amounted to nothing. Thus I shall define it once and for all:
SURREALISM, noun, masc., Pure psychic automatism by which it is intended to express, either verbally or in writing, the true function of thought. Thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations.
ENCYCL. Philos. Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of association heretofore neglected, in the omnipotence of the dream, and in the disinterested play of thought. It leads to the permanent destruction of all other psychic mechanisms and to its substitution for them in the solution of the principal problems of life.(First Surrealist Manifesto - Andre Breton)
Begin with ideas
Ad-lib and make things up
Eliminate superfluous elements
Make something difficult look easy
Be first or last
Believe complex ideas can produce simple things
Trust the process
Allow concepts to determine form
Reduce material and production to their essence
Sustain the integrity of an idea
Propose honesty as a solution (Manifesto by Daniel Eatock)
Automated content layout
Differentiated by content
A4 of websites (Indexhibit manifesto by Daniel Eatock and Jeffrey Vaska)
Beyond Action and Reaction we would establish ourselves.
We start from opposite statements of a chosen world. Set up violent structure of adolescent clearness between two extremes.
We discharge ourselves on both sides.
We fight first on one side, then on the other, but always for the SAME cause, which is neither side or both sides and ours.
Mercenaries were always the best troops.
We are primitive Mercenaries in the Modern World.
Our Cause is NO-MAN'S.
We set Humour at Humour's throat. Stir up Civil War among peaceful apes.
We only want Humour if it has fought like Tragedy.
We only want Tragedy if it can clench its side-muscles like hands on its belly, and bring to the surface a laugh like a bomb. (Blast Manifesto - Wyndham Lewis)
As individuals who expand the edges of maps and find new territories versatilists:
Artfully challenge current wisdom and knowledge.
Inspire others to perceive situations in new and creative ways.
Create future realities that are positive and inclusive.
Catalyse the best in the individuals around them.
Are deep specialists and broadly connected.
Remain humble to the global community they serve.
Deliver!(The Versatilist Manifesto - Denis Manderino)
Filming must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in. If a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found.
The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. Music must not be used unless it occurs within the scene being filmed, i.e., diegetic.
The camera must be a hand-held camera. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. The film must not take place where the camera is standing; filming must take place where the action takes place.
The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable (if there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).
Optical work and filters are forbidden.
The film must not contain superficial action (murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden (that is to say that the film takes place here and now).
Genre movies are not acceptable.
The film format must be Academy 35 mm.
The director must not be credited. (The vow of chastity: Dogme Manifesto - Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg )
Hippocratic Before Socratic.
Stop Making crap.
Systems Before Artefacts.
Teach Sustainability Early.
Screws Better Than Glues.
Design for Impermanence.
Balance Before Talents.
Metrics Before Magic.
Climates Before Primates.
Context Before Absolutely Everything. (1000 Words: A Manifesto for Sustainability in Design - Allan Chochinov)
Typography is a tool of communication. It must be communication in its most intense form. The emphasis must be on absolute clarity since this distinguishes the character of our own writing from that of ancient pictographic forms. Our intellectual relationship to the world is individual-exact (e.g., this individual-exact relationship is in a state of transition toward a collective-exact orientation). This is in contrast to the ancient individual-amorphous and later collective-amorphous mode of communication. Therefore priority: unequivocal clarity in all typographical compositions. Legibility-communication must never be impaired by an a priori esthetics. Letters may never be forced into a preconceived framework, for instance a square.
The printed image corresponds to the contents through its specific optical and psychological laws, demanding their typical form. The essence and the purpose of printing demand an uninhibited use of all linear directions (therefore not only horizontal articulation). We use all typefaces, type sizes,
geometric forms, colors, etc. We want to create a new language of typography whose elasticity, variability; and freshness of typographical composition is exclusively dictated by the inner
law of expression and the optical effect.The most important aspect of contemporary typography is
the use of zincographic techniques, meaning the mechanical production of photoprints in all sizes. What the Egyptians started in their inexact hieroglyphs whose interpretation rested on tradition and personal imagination, has become the most precise expression through the inclusion of photography into the typographic method. Already today we have books (mostly scientific ones) with precise photographic reproductions; but these photographs are only secondary explanations of the text. The latest development supersedes this phase, and small or large photos are placed in the text where formerly we used inexact, individually interpreted concepts and expressions. The objectivity of photography liberates the receptive reader from the crutches of the author’s personal idiosyncrasies and forces him into the formation of his own opinion.It is safe to predict that this increasing documentation through photography will lead in the near future to a replacement of literature by film. The indications of this development are apparent already in the increased use of the telephone which
makes letterwriting obsolete. It is no valid objection that the production of films demands too intricate and costly an apparatus. Soon the making of a film will be as simple and available as now printing books.An equally decisive change in the typographical image will occur in the making of posters, as soon as photography has replaced posterpainting. The effective poster must act with immediate impact on all psychological receptacles. Through an expert use of the camera, and of all photographic techniques, such as retouching, blocking, superimposition, distortion, enlargement, etc., in combination with the liberated typographical line, the effectiveness of posters can be immensely enlarged.The new poster relies on photography, which is the new storytelling device of civilization, combined with the shock effect of new typefaces and brilliant color effects, depending on the desired intensity of the message.The new typography is a simultaneous experience of vision and communication. (The New Typography - Laszlo Moholy-Nagy)
I COMBAT AND DESPISE:
All the pseudo-architecture of the avant-garde, Austrian, Hungarian, German and American;
All classical architecture, solemn, hieratic, scenographic, decorative, monumental, pretty and pleasing;
The embalming, reconstruction and reproduction of ancient monuments and palaces;
Perpendicular and horizontal lines, cubical and pyramidical forms that are static, solemn, aggressive and absolutely excluded from our utterly new sensibility;
The use of massive, voluminous, durable, antiquated and costly materials.
That Futurist architecture is the architecture of calculation, of audacious temerity and of simplicity; the architecture of reinforced concrete, of steel, glass, cardboard, textile fiber, and of all those substitutes for wood, stone and brick that enable us to obtain maximum elasticity and lightness;
That Futurist architecture is not because of this an arid combination of practicality and usefulness, but remains art, i.e. synthesis and expression;
That oblique and elliptic lines are dynamic, and by their very nature possess an emotive power a thousand times stronger than perpendiculars and horizontals, and that no integral, dynamic architecture can exist that does not include these;
That decoration as an element superimposed on architecture is absurd, and that the decorative value of Futurist architecture depends solely on the use and original arrangement of raw or bare or violently colored materials;
That, just as the ancients drew inspiration for their art from the elements of nature, we—who are materially and spiritually artificial—must find that inspiration in the elements of the utterly new mechanical world we have created, and of which architecture must be the most beautiful expression, the most complete synthesis, the most efficacious integration;
That architecture as the art of arranging forms according to pre-established criteria is finished;
That by the term architecture is meant the endeavor to harmonize the environment with Man with freedom and great audacity, that is to transform the world of things into a direct projection of the world of the spirit;
From an architecture conceived in this way no formal or linear habit can grow, since the fundamental characteristics of Futurist architecture will be its impermanence and transience. Things will endure less than us. Every generation must build its own city. This constant renewal of the architectonic environment will contribute to the victory of Futurism which has already been affirmed by words-in-freedom, plastic dynamism, music without quadrature and the art of noises, and for which we fight without respite against traditionalist cowardice. (Manifesto of FFuturist Architecture - Antonio Sant'Elia)
We are with those who seek to overthrow of an old and inhuman system within which you, worker of the soil, produce riches for the overseer and politician, while you starve. Within which you, worker in the city, move the wheels of industries, weave the cloth, and create with your hands the modern comforts enjoyed by the parasites and prostitutes, while your own body is numb and cold. Within which you, Indian soldier, heroically abandon your land and give your life in the eternal hope of liberating your race from the degradations and misery of centuries.
Not only the noble labor but even the smallest manifestations of the material and spiritual vitality of our race spring from our native midst. Its admirable, exceptional, and peculiar ability to create beauty — the art of the Mexican people — is the highest and greatest spiritual expression of the world-tradition which constitutes our most valued heritage. It is great because it surges from the people; it is collective, and our own aesthetic aim is to socialize artistic expression, to destroy bourgeois individualism.
We repudiate the so-called easel art and all such art which springs from ultra-intellectual circles, for it is essentially aristocratic.
We hail the monumental expression of art because such art is public property.
We proclaim that this being the moment of social transformation from a decrepit to a new order, the makers of beauty must invest their greatest efforts in the aim of materializing an art valuable to the people, and our supreme objective in art, which is today an expression for individual pleasure, is to create beauty for all, beauty that enlightens and stirs to struggle. (Manifesto of the Painters’ Union - Taller de Grafica Popular)
Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally-friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible. (Ten Principles for good design - Dieter Rams)
We dedicate ourselves to supporting the unique culture of the communities in which we live and work.
We refuse to create design that furthers the creation of a global corporate monoculture. (Designers against modernculture - Another Limited Rebellion design)
Meaningful and specific parts lists shall be included.
Cases shall be easy to open.
Batteries should be replaceable.
Special tools are allowed only for darn good reasons.
Profiting by selling expensive special tools is wrong and not making special tools available is even worse.
Torx is OK; tamperproof is rarely OK.
Components, not entire sub-assemblies, shall be replaceable.
Consumables, like fuses and filters, shall be easy to access.
Circuit boards shall be commented.
Power from USB is good; power from proprietary power adapters is bad.
Standard connecters shall have pinouts defined.
If it snaps shut, it shall snap open.
Screws better than glues.
Docs and drivers shall have permalinks and shall reside for all perpetuity at archive.org.
Ease of repair shall be a design ideal, not an afterthought.
Metric or standard, not both.
Schematics shall be included. (The Maker's Bill of Rights - Make:)
Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
When in doubt, just take the next small step.
Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
Pay off your credit cards every month.
You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
Overprepare, then go with the flow.
Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
The most important sex organ is the brain.
No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
Always choose life.
Forgive everyone everything.
What other people think of you is none of your business.
Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
Believe in miracles.
God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.
Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
The best is yet to come.
No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift. (50 Life Lessons - Regina Brett )
Don't work with assholes.
Only accept work that challenges you and you can build up a relation to.
Don't work 'for' people but 'with'.
Be honest to your client and yourself.
Keep on searching and exploring.
Quit when you don't have fun anymore. (The rules of Hort - Eike Konig)
Don't ask for permission.
Don't stop. (Don't - Michael Mulvey)
Stuckism is the quest for authenticity. By removing the mask of cleverness and admitting where we are, the Stuckist allows him/herself uncensored expression.
Painting is the medium of self-discovery. It engages the person fully with a process of action, emotion, thought and vision, revealing all of these with intimate and unforgiving breadth and detail.
Stuckism proposes a model of art which is holistic. It is a meeting of the conscious and unconscious, thought and emotion, spiritual and material, private and public. Modernism is a school of fragmentation — one aspect of art is isolated and exaggerated to detriment of the whole. This is a fundamental distortion of the human experience and perpetrates an egocentric lie.
Artists who don’t paint aren’t artists.
Art that has to be in a gallery to be art isn’t art.
The Stuckist paints pictures because painting pictures is what matters.
The Stuckist is not mesmerised by the glittering prizes, but is wholeheartedly engaged in the process of painting. Success to the Stuckist is to get out of bed in the morning and paint.
It is the Stuckist’s duty to explore his/her neurosis and innocence through the making of paintings and displaying them in public, thereby enriching society by giving shared form to individual experience and an individual form to shared experience.
The Stuckist is not a career artist but rather an amateur (amare, Latin, to love) who takes risks on the canvas rather than hiding behind ready-made objects (e.g. a dead sheep). The amateur, far from being second to the professional, is at the forefront of experimentation, unencumbered by the need to be seen as infallible. Leaps of human endeavour are made by the intrepid individual, because he/she does not have to protect their status. Unlike the professional, the Stuckist is not afraid to fail.
Painting is mysterious. It creates worlds within worlds, giving access to the unseen psychological realities that we inhabit. The results are radically different from the materials employed. An existing object (e.g. a dead sheep) blocks access to the inner world and can only remain part of the physical world it inhabits, be it moorland or gallery. Ready-made art is a polemic of materialism.
Post Modernism, in its adolescent attempt to ape the clever and witty in modern art, has shown itself to be lost in a cul-de-sac of idiocy. What was once a searching and provocative process (as Dadaism) has given way to trite cleverness for commercial exploitation. The Stuckist calls for an art that is alive with all aspects of human experience; dares to communicate its ideas in primeval pigment; and possibly experiences itself as not at all clever!
Against the jingoism of Brit Art and the ego-artist. Stuckism is an international non-movement.
Stuckism is anti ‘ism’. Stuckism doesn’t become an ‘ism’ because Stuckism is not Stuckism, it is stuck!
Brit Art, in being sponsored by Saachis, main stream conservatism and the Labour government, makes a mockery of its claim to be subversive or avant-garde.
The ego-artist’s constant striving for public recognition results in a constant fear of failure. The Stuckist risks failure wilfully and mindfully by daring to transmute his/her ideas through the realms of painting. Whereas the ego-artist’s fear of failure inevitably brings about an underlying self-loathing, the failures that the Stuckist encounters engage him/her in a deepening process which leads to the understanding of the futility of all striving. The Stuckist doesn’t strive — which is to avoid who and where you are — the Stuckist engages with the moment.
The Stuckist gives up the laborious task of playing games of novelty, shock and gimmick. The Stuckist neither looks backwards nor forwards but is engaged with the study of the human condition. The Stuckists champion process over cleverness, realism over abstraction, content over void, humour over wittiness and painting over smugness.
If it is the conceptualist’s wish to always be clever, then it is the Stuckist’s duty to always be wrong.
The Stuckist is opposed to the sterility of the white wall gallery system and calls for exhibitions to be held in homes and musty museums, with access to sofas, tables, chairs and cups of tea. The surroundings in which art is experienced (rather than viewed) should not be artificial and vacuous.
Crimes of education: instead of promoting the advancement of personal expression through appropriate art processes and thereby enriching society, the art school system has become a slick bureaucracy, whose primary motivation is financial. The Stuckists call for an open policy of admission to all art schools based on the individual’s work regardless of his/her academic record, or so-called lack of it.
We further call for the policy of entrapping rich and untalented students from at home and abroad to be halted forthwith.
We also demand that all college buildings be available for adult education and recreational use of the indigenous population of the respective catchment area. If a school or college is unable to offer benefits to the community it is guesting in, then it has no right to be tolerated.
Stuckism embraces all that it denounces. We only denounce that which stops at the starting point — Stuckism starts at the stopping point! (The stuckists manifesto - Billy Childish and Charles Thomson)
Remodernism takes the original principles of Modernism and reapplies them, highlighting vision as opposed to formalism.
Remodernism is inclusive rather than exclusive and welcomes artists who endeavour to know themselves and find themselves through art processes that strive to connect and include, rather than alienate and exclude. Remodernism upholds the spiritual vision of the founding fathers of Modernism and respects their bravery and integrity in facing and depicting the travails of the human soul through a new art that was no longer subservient to a religious or political dogma and which sought to give voice to the gamut of the human psyche.
Remodernism discards and replaces Post-Modernism because of its failure to answer or address any important issues of being a human being.
Remodernism embodies spiritual depth and meaning and brings to an end an age of scientific materialism, nihilism and spiritual bankruptcy.
We don't need more dull, boring, brainless destruction of convention, what we need is not new, but perennial. We need an art that integrates body and soul and recognises enduring and underlying principles which have sustained wisdom and insight throughout humanity's history. This is the proper function of tradition.
Modernism has never fulfilled its potential. It is futile to be 'post' something which has not even 'been' properly something in the first place. Remodernism is the rebirth of spiritual art.
Spirituality is the journey of the soul on earth. Its first principle is a declaration of intent to face the truth. Truth is what it is, regardless of what we want it to be. Being a spiritual artist means addressing unflinchingly our projections, good and bad, the attractive and the grotesque, our strengths as well as our delusions, in order to know ourselves and thereby our true relationship with others and our connection to the divine.
Spiritual art is not about fairyland. It is about taking hold of the rough texture of life. It is about addressing the shadow and making friends with wild dogs. Spirituality is the awareness that everything in life is for a higher purpose.
Spiritual art is not religion. Spirituality is humanity's quest to understand itself and finds its symbology through the clarity and integrity of its artists.
The making of true art is man's desire to communicate with himself, his fellows and his God. Art that fails to address these issues is not art.
It should be noted that technique is dictated by, and only necessary to the extent to which it is commensurate with, the vision of the artist.
The Remodernist's job is to bring God back into art but not as God was before. Remodernism is not a religion, but we uphold that it is essential to regain enthusiasm (from the Greek, en theos to be possessed by God).
A true art is the visible manifestation, evidence and facilitator of the soul's journey. Spiritual art does not mean the painting of Madonnas or Buddhas. Spiritual art is the painting of things that touch the soul of the artist. Spiritual art does not often look very spiritual, it looks like everything else because spirituality includes everything.
Why do we need a new spirituality in art? Because connecting in a meaningful way is what makes people happy. Being understood and understanding each other makes life enjoyable and worth living.(Remodernism manifesto - Billy Childish and Charles Thomson)
Students should be inspired by and study the artists who they love as this is their gift to us to help us develop our own vision. (In Japanese there is a single word for to learn and to copy).
The language of the visionary artist is by nature always subjective, limited and partial, this is its power not its weakness. Personal truth, sought for with integrity, communicates to the inner world of us all and therefore contains the whole.
Objectivity is only useful in discerning the truth of our subjectiveness.
The naming of names and the demarcation of the arts.
Sculptors who don't sculpt aren't sculptors.
Freedom through limitation. Honouring our limitations. Integrity of materials is depth. Rather than being a limit, the limitations of a medium are a liberation from limitation. We must be limited to gain freedom.
Addiction to the unlimited is the worst limitation of all. That's why we have fifty-five terrestrial television stations all broadcasting crap, 60,000,000 cars all driving bumper to bumper to nowhere and an identikit fast food outlet on every street corner of every town of the world.
Technique is not a goal in itself, it is a means of portraying the vision. The danger of distraction by the technical, the formal and the material, is that their reality acts as a block to the artist's inner vision, because it fools you in to believing that you insight when all you have is a conjuring trick. What is conventionally considered a skill can in fact be a handicap.
To paint important pictures the artist has to be unafraid of being unimportant. The spiritual artist has to have the guts to search for God, fail, search, fail and look again.
Artist are often very flawed people. In fact it is essential to be flawed because if you are not flawed you are deceiving yourself, which is the biggest flaw of all. To deal honestly with ourselves and thereby raise consciousness is not an easy task. The first stage of growth is being realistic about who we are, what we are and where we are now. We have to be able to accept our feelings. If we feel inadequate, weak, angry, pathetic, proud, bumptious or self righteous, we start there and paint it. It is not a problem to feel these things. It means that you are a normal well balanced human being.
It is possible not to believe in God and be more spiritual than somebody who does believe in God.
Making a picture is an act of faith. Faith is not knowing that God exists or that everything is going to be comfortable and cosy. Faith entails bravery. Faith is found and lost again and again. Faith means that we try to deal with ourselves and life fairly and honestly especially when we don't think that we're quite up to it.
It can be very tempting, especially for the contemporary artist, to hide behind his or her precious style and become stuck. An extreme example of this is in the ironic copying of a previous work by another artist, which is then claimed as 'new' original work. This is of course completely different to the traditional practice of copying the work of the masters in order to learn. It is also different to an interpretation of a previous work, whether in homage or as satire. Through the sincere copying of work out of respect we can gain insight into the shared dilemma of being a human being with shared challenges, problems, fears, hopes and limitations.
The Remodernist accepts everything in life but only for exactly what it is, not more and yet not less. Everything has its function and its purpose.
The spiritual must be connected with the everyday. An idea that is not properly manifest remains a fantasy.
Art can no longer be funny little games that you can't see because they're not really there.
The spiritual artist, the Remodernist, must walk along the road, go to the seaside, buy ice creams, bonk and jump naked from a bush. In fact they carry on exactly as they were doing before, but with a new perception.
The soul of art is integrity.
Remodernism advocates an art that is the first kind of art that man did - cave painting.
It is quite obvious that the apparent material winners in this world are not necessarily finding happiness and are in fact often just getting unhappier. People think materialism is going to solve all their problems but the real problem isn't material and neither is the solution. Turning everything in the world into a commodity is not the most intelligent way of finding happiness. Materialism with no thought of consequence makes bigger problems than the small ones it solves.
The spiritual path means by definition that we often experience ourselves as not measuring up. But that doesn't mean that we lose heart - far from it. This not measuring up is how we actually relate to the truth of who we are. Conceptualism short circuits this natural organic process, which is the actual beauty and worth of art, and replaces it with instant gratification and the silliness of its clever ideas.
Modern art, over the course of its development, has increasingly followed the letter of the law but not the spirit. Art theorists have made observations on historical art. These observations have been turned into definitions. These definitions have been wilfully and perversely misinterpreted by art reductionists, who appear no more than overgrown children seeking to outwit parental rules, and with as little foresight of the consequences of their actions as infants playing at the edge of cliff.
Let us consider the integral value of two different approaches to art. Without financial and critical reward is it conceivable that Damien Hirst would have stayed at home for 20 years pickling sheep in his bedroom? I think we can confidently say no to this question. This is because his work is not about taxidermy, art or meaning. The purpose of such a fashion/fetish object for its creator is the attention, adulation and financial gain that it commands.
At the other end of the spectrum is the example of Vincent van Gogh whose work was fuelled by an intense love and philosophy, a burning desire to contribute through the expression of his vision for the benefit of humanity. He worked and studied for many years in relative obscurity to find the means of expressing this vision. Van Gogh didn't give up on painting because his work was a commercial disaster. He continued because the communicating of personal and universal truth is the real value and reward of art.
The rational and the material (traditionally male characteristics) have triumphed over feeling and intuition (traditionally associated with the female). Women have quite rightly deplored the male chauvinism rampant in our society and so, as sensitive artists, do we. We likewise deplore the women who have assumed and exhibited the worst aspects of this male chauvinism in life and in an art which only too obviously manifests its barrenness. The only point of feminism is in achieving equal recognition for the male and the female.
It is time for art to grow up.
Artists are only artists when they are doing art. They are not an artist when the wake up in the morning. They are not an artist when they water flowers, or get drunk and swear on channel 4.
In truth you can't be what you do: you can only do what you do and be what you are. What you are is you. Someone who believes that they are what they do is either a madman or a fool. What happens to someone who smugly considers themselves to be a car driver and loathes pedestrians, when they have to get out of their car and walk down the road? We are not anything we do, but human beings who do things. It is a lack of self confidence and an inflated ego (two states that always accompany each other) that creates this need for a label in substitute for character.
Joseph Beuys, the artist who shares the anti-establishment establishment's accolade of being anti-establishment (along with all Brit Artists), is cited as a genius for stating that all people are really artists. The Stuckists claim their right to the title of genius by proclaiming that all people are brain surgeons.
The title of artist is one that has to be earned through doing art for more than five minutes. Crap builders are not known as builders - they are known as crap.
The main point is that there is a reason for doing art: so that man communicates with him/herself, his/her fellows and thereby participates in the universal creative process.
True art is not the exhibition of existing objects but the transcendence of them through interpretation in another medium. This is the difference between life and art. Some people say that life and art are the same, in which case art is redundant as we already have life. This position is patently absurd. No one would sensibly suggest that Van Gogh's bed is of equal value to, or greater value than, his painting of it. This clearly illustrates the lie to the found object as art.
All things are qualitatively different. A shoe is not art because of its inherent shoeyness and usefulness as a kind of 'foot-glove'. Like wise a blancmange isn't a shoe. This isn't a dilemma for most people and, until relatively recently, was not a problem for artists. Certainly it is not an oversight by God. Actually it is because of the great benevolence of existence: grass isn't a star system and a mountain isn't a pear tree. All things have there own organic pattern which is to be celebrated in art.
Remodernism celebrates diversity and de-centralisation. Rather than a bland uniform art, designed for easy global consumption, Remodernisim respects the diverse artistic traditions of the world.
There is the outward journey into the world and there is the inner journey into the self. Both are equally important and actually the same thing.
The apparent solidities and separations of the material world are, as Einstein pointed out, "an illusion, albeit a stubborn one" - with which it is best to co-operate (rather than attempting to walk through walls). The artist, like any other human being, lives in the world of form and has to act according to the principles of nature.
Some people manage to understand that everything isn't really anything but then make the mistake of thinking it doesn't matter what you do.
Art is of most value when it is still wet on the canvas. The drier the paint becomes and the higher the financial value rises, the less true value the painting holds. The primary revelation is the most powerful connection to the whole.
Most artists are stupid and don't have many ideas. On the rare occasions that they do have an idea the novelty of it strikes them with such force that they attribute great value to it, such value in fact that they consider it to be the justification of a 'conceptual work of art'. They fail to realise that what for them is a blinding revelation appears as a crushing cliché to the rest of us.
The artist must take the right course, which may not be the course that we thought was the right one. It may mean being humble enough to appear pompous, arrogant, silly, and sentimental and courageous enough to accept our own confusion and ignorance and not be afraid of the simplicity of love.
People who do not know history have no sense of where they fit into anything and remain forever dazzled by the contemporary and the ephemeral.
Artists of today would be horrified if they had to create to the demands of church or state yet they are quite happy to kow-tow to the demands of a gallery, a critic or especially an advertising agency for the promotion of alcohol.
Art, undertaken with love and respect, brings renewed awareness of the colours and miracle of nature and heightens our connection to life and the divine.
Creativity is the most essential ingredient for a happy and healthy society and differentiates the human soul from that of a potato. (Handy hints manifesto, part of Stuckists manifesto - Billy Childish and Charles Thomson)
The Stuckists are anti-anti-art.
Conceptual art (and its parochial manifestation as Brit Art) is based on and justified by the art of Marcel Duchamp.
The art of Marcel Duchamp is not art. It is anti-art by intent and effect.
To justify anti-art there must be the existence of art.
Duchamp's work was a protest against the stale, unthinking artistic establishment of his day.
Today's art is anti-art.
Today's art is not art. Its working methodology is to think of something which is not art and to call it art. This is exactly Duchamp's ideology.
(Conceptualism is so called not because it generates a plethora of concepts, but because it never manages to progress beyond one single concept, namely Duchamp's original thought.)
The great (but wholly unintentional) irony of Post Modernism is that it is a direct equivalent of the conformist, unoriginal establishment that Duchamp attacked in the first place.
The principle of anti-art is meaningless in the absence of art to be anti.
The only viable innovation today is the true Duchampian path of anti-pretentious, self-congratulatory, claustrophobic, talentless artistic conformism, e.g. the Saatchi Gallery.
The Stuckists are the true inheritors of the spirit of what needs to be done.
Anti-anti-art is for art. (Anti-anti art manifesto - Billy Childish and Charles Thomson)
Good taste is fascism. "Either all are special or none."
It is the artist's responsibility to smash style.
Artistic talent is the only obstacle.
We must embrace the unacceptable in all spheres.
We use the tough language that only children can bear.
Art is made to impress, but we are not in awe.
Artists don't laugh in case the mob should discover that they are pathetic.
Western art has been stupefying its audience into taking the position of an admiring doormat. We, at Group Hangman however, intend to wipe our mud-encrusted boots on the face of conceptual balderdash.
Fashion and its role in art. The artist as social terrorist or on the pay-roll of the conservatives and the Saatchi's ?
Art can achieve nothing.
The negative and bogus posture of being positive. To like something or 'be positive' has always been held up as a laudable attribute. We, at Group Hangman however, believe that it takes consciousness and intelligence to dislike something. As if being a fan of some moronical half-wit artist or musician is an achievement. How often in life have we met 'a fan' who by their violent devotion to the god-like status of their chosen infatuation is really only puffing up their own shabby ego and trying to allude to some vast expansion of their pathetic brain.
The conceptual artist arrives on the scene and frozen with fear, like some anal retard, is too scared to transmute their ideas into paint and commence a string of unacceptably pathetic canvasses and thereby experience themselves as crap. It is essential for every artist to paint a succession of unacceptably bad paintings. (Group Hangman manifesto, Communication 0001- Billy Childish)
The inheritance of sexual neurosis: the curse of impotency and the deafening applause of society.
Parents and the distruction of creativity: The castration of offspring and the fear of sincerity: The mother as heinous spider and the father in rabid fear of his daughters sexuel organs.
It is the artist duty to explore and display his/her sexuel neurosis in the market place.
The librel as passive fascist in fear of expression, sexuality and the shadow.
The curse of impotency, artistic and sexual.
The innocent have become implicated. "Either all are guilty or none!"
The role of of the pornography in modern sex: Toppling the Goddess from her pedestel and dragging her through the dirt.
All publicity is bad publicity.
Under no circumstances should the artist ever justify him/her self!
The artist must allways indevouir to understand the threads of implication and, when nessissary, be prepaiereid to stand guilty infront of a baying and pious public.
The artist in his pathetic attempts to become the phallus of creation.
All crimes aganst the life, liberty and sex will be forgiven. (Group Hangman manifesto, Communication 0002- Billy Childish)
The true artist, by nature, is always an amateur and never a professional.
In a world populated be experts the artist must be a forever moving target.
The professional's violence against creativity and his rewards for his cowardice must be exposed and finally ridiculed.
The professional is weak because of his need to be respected, honoured and adored. The true artist, on the other hand, must have the courage to remain unimpressive, shallow and obvious.
The lie of originality, the ignorance of its champions and the intrinsic honesty of plagiarism.
The inherent provincialism of professionals and the intrinsic cosmopolitanism of the amateur.
It is the professional's obsession with good taste that obliterates all creativity. It is actually this fear of life itself that forces the professional to become a neurotic expert and crush the intrepid amateur.(Group Hangman manifesto, Communication 0003- Billy Childish)
The artist creates, the critic bleats.
The critic is in search of certainty and the artist is in search of uncertainty.
It is the artist duty to explore and display his/her sexual neurosis in the market place.
It is the critics wish to always be correct, where as it is the artist duty to always be wrong.
The critic as disapproving parent, in fear for his job, his mortgage and his resulting hatred of creativity and sex.
The critic at lunch and at rest, but still somehow odious.
The critic as hideous parasite, caught luncheoning on the neck of art and grinning through the fat and blood.
The role of the critic in modern art: His desire to fondle and be fondled.
Under no circumstances should the artist ever stroke the vile critic, even when being stroken.
Be ware! The odious critic will not only scoff the rose but will also devour the shit it grows in!
The critic must be forced to his knees and made to apologise in public for his deceitfulness and the error of his ways. (Group Hangman manifesto, Communication 0004- Billy Childish)
In a civerlised socioty art should come before a frightend tutors morgage.
The male tutor and the distruction of creativity: Our sons and daughters at the mercy of the fragile ego's of aspiring and often failed artists. Rather than seeing their role as one of fatherly compassion and understanding the ever fearfull tutor first castrates any male students, who he persives as compertion, befor indevering to bed the daughters of the pathetic middle classes.
The tutor in fear of his job, his motgage and his desperate, and often commicel, atempts to apear librel and broad minded.
Without a single teaching qulification, the pathtic art student graduates, and then with no life experence takes his official and indoctrinated views on art and stuffs them down the throats of another hungry generation of middle class children. With no other aim or benifit than the fear and the ability to say yes to the pathetic system.
The curse of education, the artists right to remain ignorent and the librels burried, yet violent, anger.
The innocent have become implicated. "Either all are guilty or none!"
The role of of the pornography in modern sex: Toppling the Goddess from her pedestel and dragging her through the dirt.
The artist must allways indevouir to understand the threads of implication and, when nessissary, be prepaiereid to stand guilty infront of a baying and pious public.
Under no circumstances should the artist ever justify him/her self!
All crimes aganst the life, liberty and sex will be forgiven. not ony denies an art froam for those deamed to unitelgent to benifit from from particapating in the culturel debate. (Group Hangman manifesto, Communication 0005- Billy Childish)
It is only possible to win by failing.
In a world motivated by the lie of success the true artist must always endeavour to fail.
The true artist doesn't fail in the same dumb way as the compulsive individual, who in his continual striving for success inadvertently fails. The true artist fails mindfully and willfully. And whereas the failure of the compulsive individual invariably brings about sadness and self loathing, the failure of the true artist propels him ever onwards towards the true understanding of the futility of all striving.
Success is pathetic because of its need to be respected, honoured and adored. Failure, on the other hand, is glorious in its courage to be loathed, hated and despised.
The lie of success, the ignorance of its champions and the intrinsic honesty of failure.
Rather than being a pathway to a pathetic career in the arts, personal expression should instead allow the artist to experience him/herself as crap.
It is the societies obsession with success that leads to the stillbirth of all creativity.(Group Hangman manifesto, Communication 0006- Billy Childish)
It is time for art to grow up. Against the bloodlessness of art. (Group Hangman manifesto, Communication 0007- Billy Childish)
art taught to under 18's crushes creativity; its always skills over ideas, if your art is pretty you get praise, this although is not embracing conceptual art.
teachers treat real ideas and emotions like they are dangerous
We hate over clean, sterile, uncomfortable uncreative art rooms with hard plastic tables
Teenagers are not all ‘emo artists’ we don’t all draw pictures of our slit wrists , we can express emotions better than that, we are the future artists. We don't listen when society or whoever tells us how to feel, and how to express our feelings
'We still understand and appreciate the integrity of art and we wont let that disappear, we want to educate people our age so there’s less danger of saatchi wasting his money in years to come, like an untreated cockroach infestation it'll just grow unless we do something about it
We encourage people our age to appreciate art more instead of being something almost ‘embarrassing’, its a healthy way to express your emotions and something to do, a possible way to distract them from their materialistic lifestyle. Instead of the importance media has approached us with of being obsessed with the way be dress and look. Even when this does happen and the person feels ‘creative’ it can lead to shit conceptual art. Medias impact on teenagers and children is killing the individual. Grouping together and being ‘emo’ or ‘indie’ or a ‘goth’ doesn’t make you individual.
Art is not a stupid whore to be taken advantage of, and exploited for purposes like extreme financial gain, and media attention. We believe that young people should be taught to respect art now, to keep art from being treated like a stupid whore in the future. We respect art, and understand it's importance. We deeply love what we do.
The understanding and ideas of art are not taught properly and lead to intollerance and right wing views, due to this many kids grow up thinking that art is 'boring' or 'easy', this too can be to blame for daily mail reading parents (or generally ones who are too right wing) and right wing or really lazy art teachers . (The underage stuckists manifesto - Liv Soul and Rebekah Maybury)
There is an old and a new consciousness of the age. The old one is directed towards the individual. The new one is directed towards the individual. The struggle of the individual against the universal may be seen both in the world war and in modern art.
The war is destroying the old world with its content: individual predominance in every field.
The new art has brought to light that which is contained in the new consciousness of the age: a relationship of equality between the universal and the individual.
The new consciousness of the age is prepared to realise itself in everything, including external life.
Tradition, dogmas and the predominance of the individual stand in the way of this realisation.
Therefore the founders of the new culture call upon all who believe in reform of art and culture to destroy these obstacles to development, just as in the plastic arts - by doing away with natural form - they have eliminated that which stood in the way of pure artistic expression, the logical conclusion of every artistic concept.
The artists of today, all over the world, impelled by one and the same consciousness, have taken part on the spiritual plane in the world war against the domination of individualism, of arbitrariness. They therefore sympathise with all who are fighting spiritually or materially for the formation of an international unity in life, art and culture.
The organ, De Stijl, founded for this purpose, seeks to contribute towards setting the new conception of life in a clear light. (De Stijl Manifesto - Theo Van Doesburg)
Due to the fact that I have painted monochromes for fifteen years,
Due to the fact that I have created pictorial immaterial states,
Due to the fact that I have manipulated the forces of the void,
Due to the fact that I have sculpted with fire and with water and have painted with fire and with water,
Due to the fact that I have painted with living brushes — in other words, the nude body of live models covered with paint: these living brushes were under the constant direction of my commands, such as "a little to the right; over to the left now; to the right again, etc." By maintaining myself at a specific and obligatory distance from the surface to be painted, I am able to resolve the problem of detachment.
Due to the fact that I have invented the architecture and the urbanism of air — of course, this new conception transcends the traditional meaning of the terms "architecture and urbanism" — my goal from the beginning was to reunite with the legend of Paradise Lost. This project was directed toward the habitable surface of the Earth by the climatization of the great geographical expanses through an absolute control over the thermal and atmospheric situation in their relation to our morphological and psychical conditions.
Due to the fact that I have proposed a new conception of music with my "monotone-silence-symphony,"
Due to the fact that I have presented a theater of the void, among countless other adventures...
I would never have believed, fifteen years ago at the time of my earliest efforts, that I would suddenly feel the need to explain myself — to satisfy the desire to know the reason of all that has occurred and the even still more dangerous effect, in other words — the influence my art has had on the young generation of artists throughout the world today.
It dismays me to hear that a certain number of them think that I represent a danger to the future of art — that I am one of those disastrous and noxious results of our time that must be crushed and destroyed before the propagation of my evil completely takes over.
I regret to reveal that this was not my intention; and to happily proclaim to those who evince faith in the multiplicity of new possibilities in the path that I prescribe — Take care! Nothing has crystallized as yet; nor can I say what will happen after this. I can only say that today I am no longer as afraid as I was yesterday in the face of the souvenir of the future.
An artist always feels uneasy when called upon to speak of this own work. It should speak for itself, particularly when it is valid.
What can I do? Stop now?
No, what I call "the indefinable pictorial sensibility" absolutely escapes this very personal solution.
I think of those words I was once inspired to write. "Would not the future artist be he who expressed through an eternal silence an immense painting possessing no dimension?"
Gallery-goers, like any other public, would carry this immense painting in their memory (a remembrance which does not derive at all from the past, but is solely cognizant of the indefinable sensibility of man).
It is necessary to create and recreate a constant physical fluidity in order to receive the grace which allows a positive creativity of the void.
Just as I created a "monotone-silence-symphony" in 1947, composed in two parts, — one broad continuous sound followed by an equally broad and extended silence, endowed with a limitless dimension — in the same way, I attempt to set before you a written painting of the short history of my art, followed naturally by a pure and affective silence.
My account will close with the creation of a compelling a posteriori silence whose existence in our communal space, after all — the space of a single being — is immune to the destructive qualities of physical noise.
Much depends upon the success of my written painting in its initial technical and audible phase. Only then will the extraordinary a posteriori silence, in the midst of noise as well as in the cell of physical silence, operate in a new and unique zone of pictorial immaterial sensibility.
Having reached today this point in space and knowledge, I propose to gird my loins, then to draw back in retrospection on the diving board of my evolution. In the manner of an Olympic diver, in the most classic technique of the sport, I must prepare for my leap into the future of today by prudently moving backward, without ever losing sight of the edge, today consciously attained — the immaterialization of art.
What is the purpose of this retrospective journey in time?
Simply, I wish to avoid that you or I fall under the power of that phenomenon of dreams, which describes the feelings and landscapes provoked by our brusque landing in the past. This psychological past is precisely the anti-space that I put behind me during the adventures of these past fifteen years.
At present, I am particularly excited by "bad taste." I have the deep feeling that there exists in the very essence of bad taste a power capable of creating those things situated far beyond what is traditionally termed "The Work of Art." I wish to play with human feeling, with its "morbidity" in a cold and ferocious manner. Only very recently I have become a sort of gravedigger of art (oddly enough, I am using the very terms of my enemies). Some of my latest works have been coffins and tombs. During the same time I succeeded in painting with fire, using particularly powerful and searing gas flames, some of them measuring three to four meters high. I use these to bathe the surface of the painting in such a way that it registered the spontaneous trace of fire.
In sum, my goal is twofold: first of all, to register the trace of human sentimentality in present-day civilization; and then, to register the trace of fire, which has engendered this very same civilization — that of the fire itself. And all of this because the void has always been my constant preoccupation; and I believe that fires burn in the heart of the void as well as in the heart of man.
All facts that are contradictory are authentic principles of an explanation of the universe. Truly, fire is one of these principles, essentially contradictory, one from the other, since it is both the sweetness and torture that lies at the heart and origin of our civilization. But what stirs this search for feeling in me through the making of super-graves and super-coffins? What stirs this search in me for the imprint of fire? Why search for the Trace itself?
Because every work of creation, regardless of its cosmic place, is the representation of a pure phenomenology — all that is phenomena manifests itself. This manifestation is always distinct from form and it is the essence of the Immediate, the Trace of the Immediate.
A few months ago, for example, I felt the urge to register the signs of atmospheric behavior by recording the instantaneous traces of spring showers on a canvas, of south winds, and of lightning (needless to say, the last-mentioned ended in a catastrophe). For instance, a trip from Paris to Nice might have been a waste of time had I not spent it profitably by recording the wind. I placed a canvas, freshly coated with paint, on the roof of my white Citroën. As I drove down Route Nationale 7 at 100 kilometers an hour, the heat, the cold, the light, the wind, and the rain all combined to age my canvas prematurely; At least thirty to forty years were condensed into a single day. The only annoying thing about this project is that for the entire trip I was unable to separate myself from my painting.
My atmospheric imprints of a few months ago were preceded by vegetal imprints. After all, my aim is to extract and obtain the trace of the immediate from all natural objects, whatever their origin — be the circumstance human, animal, vegetable, or atmospheric.
I would like now, with your permission and close attention, to divulge to you possibly the most important and certainly the most secret phase of my art. I do not know if you are going to believe me — it is cannibalism. After all, is it not preferable to be eaten than to be bombed to death? I can hardly develop this idea that has tormented me for years. I leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions with regard to the future of art.
If we step back again, following the lines of my evolution, we arrive at the moment when I conceived of painting with the aid of living brushes. That was two years ago. The purpose of this was to be able to attain a defined and constant distance between myself and the painting during the time of creation.
Many critics claimed that by this method of painting I was doing nothing more than recreating the method that has been called "action painting." But now, I would like to make it clear that this endeavor is distinct from "action painting" in so far as I am completely detached from all physical work during the time of creation.
Just to cite one example of the anthropometric errors found within the deformed ideas spread by the international press — I speak of that group of Japanese painters who with great refinement used my method in a strange way. In fact, these painters actually transformed themselves into living brushes. By diving themselves in color and then rolling on their canvases, they became representative of ultra-action-painters! Personally, I would never attempt to smear paint over my body and thus to become a living brush; to the contrary, I would rather put on my tuxedo and don white gloves.
It would never cross my mind to soil my hands with paint. Detached and distant, the work of art must be completed under my eyes and under my command. As the work begins its completion, I stand there — present at the ceremony, immaculate, calm, relaxed, perfectly aware of what is taking place and ready to receive the art being born into the tangible world.
What directed me towards anthropometry? The answer can be found in the work that I made during the years 1956 to 1957 while I took part in that giant adventure, the creation of pictorial immaterial sensibility.
I had just removed from my studio all earlier works. The result — an empty studio. All that I could physically do was to remain in my empty studio and the pictorial immaterial states of creation marvelously unfolded. However, little by little, I became mistrustful of myself, but never of the immaterial. From that moment, following the example of all painters, I hired models. But unlike the others, I merely wanted to work in their company rather than have them pose for me. I had been spending too much time alone in the empty studio; I no longer wanted to remain alone with the marvelous blue void which was in the process of opening.
Though seemingly strange, remember that I was perfectly aware of the fact that I experienced none of that vertigo, felt by all my predecessors, when they found themselves face to face with the absolute void that is, quite naturally, true pictorial space.
But how long could my security in this awareness endure?
Years ago, the artist went directly to his subject, worked outdoors in the country, had his feet firmly planted on the ground — it was healthy.
Today, easel-painters have become academics and have reached the point of shutting themselves in their studios in order to confront the terrifying mirrors of their canvases. Now the reason I was pushed to use nude models is all but evident: it was a way of preventing the danger of secluding myself in the overly spiritual spheres of creation, thus breaking with the most basic common sense repeatedly affirmed by our incarnate condition.
The shape of the body, its lines, its strange colors hovering between life and death, hold no interest for me. Only the essential, pure affective climate of the flesh is valid.
Having rejected nothingness, I discovered the void. The meaning of the immaterial pictorial zones, extracted from the depth of the void which by that time was of a very material order. Finding it unacceptable to sell these immaterial zones for money, I insisted in exchange for the highest quality of the immaterial, the highest quality of material payment — a bar of pure gold. Incredible as it may seem, I have actually sold a number of these pictorial immaterial states.
So much could be said about my adventure in the immaterial and the void that the result would be an overly extended pause while steeped in the present elaboration of a written painting.
Painting no longer appeared to me to be functionally related to the gaze, since during the blue monochrome period of 1957 I became aware of what I called the pictorial sensibility. This pictorial sensibility exists beyond our being and yet belongs in our sphere. We hold no right of possession over life itself. It is only by the intermediary of our taking possession of sensibility that we are able to purchase life. Sensibility enables us to pursue life to the level of its base material manifestations, in the exchange and barter that are the universe of space, the immense totality of nature.
Imagination is the vehicle of sensibility!
Transported by (effective) imagination we attain life, that very life which is absolute art itself.
Absolute art, what mortal men call with a sensation of vertigo the summum of art, materializes instantaneously. It makes its appearance in the tangible world, even as I remain at a geometrically fixed point, in the wake of extraordinary volumetric displacements with a static and vertiginous speed.
The explanation of the conditions that led me to pictorial sensibility is to be found in the intrinsic power of the monochromes of my blue period of 1957. This period of blue monochromes was the fruit of my quest for the indefinable in painting, which Delacroix the master could already intimate in this time.
From 1946 to 1956, my monochrome experiments, tried with various other colors than blue, never allowed me to lose sight of the fundamental truth of our time — namely that form, henceforth, would no longer be a simple linear value, but rather a value of impregnation. Once, in 1946, while still an adolescent, I was to sign my name on the other side of the sky during a fantastic "realistico-imaginary" journey. That day, as I lay stretched upon the beach of Nice, I began to feel hatred for birds which flew back and forth across my blue sky, cloudless sky, because they tried to bore holes in my greatest and most beautiful work.
Birds must be eliminated.
Thus, we humans will have acquired the right to evolve in full liberty without any physical and spiritual constraint.
Neither missiles nor rockets nor sputniks will render man the "conquistador" of space.
Those means derive only from the phantom of today’s scientists who still live in the romantic and sentimental spirit of the XIX century.
Man will only be able to take possession of space through the terrifying forces, the ones imprinted with peace and sensibility. He will be able to conquer space — truly his greatest desire — only after having realized the impregnation of space by his own sensibility. His sensibility can even read into the memory of nature, be it of the past, of the present and of the future!
It is our true extra-dimensional capacity for action!
If proofs, precedents or predecessors are needed, let me then cite Dante, who in the Divine Comedy, described with absolute precision what no traveler of his time could reasonably have discovered, the invisible constellation of the Northern Hemisphere known as the Southern Cross;
Jonathan Swift, in his Voyage to Laputa, gave the distances and periods of rotation of the satellites of Mars though they were unknown at the time;
When the American astronomer, Asoph Hall, discovered them in 1877, he realized his measurements were the same as those of Swift. Seized by panic, he named them Phobos and Deimos, Fear and Terror! With these two words — Fear and Terror — I find myself before you in the year 1946, ready to dive into the void.
Long Live the Immaterial! (The Chelsea Hotel Manifesto - Yves Klein)
I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something
other than sit on its ass in a museum.
I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given
the chance of having a starting point of zero.
I am for an art that embroils itself with the everyday crap & still comes
out on top.
I am for an art that imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary, or
violent, or whatever is necessary.
I am for all art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists
and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse
and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.
I am for an artist who vanishes, turning up in a white cap painting
signs or hallways.
I am for art that comes out of a chimney like black hair and scatters
in the sky.
I am for art that spills out of an old mans purse when he is bounced
off a passing fender.
I am for the art out of a doggys mouth, falling fi ve stories from the roof.
I am for the art that a kid licks, after peeling away the wrapper.
I am for an art that joggles like everyone’s knees, when the bus
traverses an excavation.
I am for art that is smoked, like a cigarette, smells, like a pair of shoes.
I am for art that fl aps like a fl ag, or helps blow noses, like a handkerchief.
I am for art that is put on and taken off , like pants, which develops
holes, like socks, which is eaten, like a piece of pie, or abandoned with
great contempt, like a piece of shit.
I am for art covered with bandages, I am for art that limps and rolls
and runs and jumps. I am for art that comes in a can or washes up on
I am for art that coils and grunts like a wrestler. I am for art that sheds
I am for art you can sit on. I am for art you can pick your nose with
or stub your toes on.
I am for art from a pocket, from deep channels of the ear, from the
edge of a knife, from the corners of the mouth, stuck in the eye or worn
on the wrist.
I am for art under the skirts, and the art of pinching cockroaches.
I am for the art of conversation between the sidewalk and a blind
man’s metal stick.
I am for the art that grows in a pot, that comes down out of the skies
at night, like lightning, that hides in the clouds and growls. I am for art
that is fl ipped on and off with a switch.
I am for art that unfolds like a map, that you can squeeze, like your
sweetys arm, or kiss, like a pet dog. Which expands and squeaks, like
an accordion, which you can spill your dinner on, like an old tablecloth.
I am for an art that you can hammer with, stitch with, sew with, paste
with, fi le with.
I am for an art that tells you the time of day, or where such and such
a street is.
I am for an art that helps old ladies across the street.
I am for the art of the washing machine. I am for the art of a government
check. I am for the art of last wars raincoat.
I am for the art that comes up in fogs from sewer-holes in winter. I
am for the art that splits when you step on a frozen puddle. I am for the
worms art inside the apple. I am for the art of sweat that develops
between crossed legs.
I am for the art of neck-hair and caked tea-cups, for the art between
the tines of restaurant forks, for the odour of boiling dishwater.
I am for the art of sailing on Sunday, and the art of red and white
I am for the art of bright blue factory columns and blinking biscuit
I am for the art of cheap plaster and enamel. I am for the art of worn
marble and smashed slate. I am for the art of rolling cobblestones and
sliding sand. I am for the art of slag and black coal. I am for the art of
I am for the art of scratchings in the asphalt, daubing at the walls. I
am for the art of bending and kicking metal and breaking glass, and
pulling at things to make them fall down.
I am for the art of punching and skinned knees and sat-on bananas. I
am for the art of kids smells. I am for the art of mama-babble.
I am for the art of bar-babble, tooth-picking, beerdrinking, egg-salting,
in-sulting. I am for the art of falling off a barstool.
I am for the art of underwear and the art of taxicabs. I am for the art
of ice-cream cones dropped on concrete. I am for the majestic art of
dog-turds, rising like cathedrals.
I am for the blinking arts, lighting up the night. I am for art falling,
splashing, wiggling, jumping, going on and off .
I am for the art of fat truck-tyres and black eyes.
I am for Kool-art, 7-UP art, Pepsi-art, Sunshine art, 39 cents art, 15 cents
art, Vatronol art, Dro-bomb art, Vam art, Menthol art, L & M art, Ex-lax
art, Venida art, Heaven Hill art, Pamryl art, San-o-med art, Rx art, 9.99
art, Now art, New art, How art, Fire sale art, Last Chance art, Only art,
Diamond art, Tomorrow art, Franks art, Ducks art, Meat-o-rama art.
I am for the art of bread wet by rain. I am for the rat’s dance between
I am for the art of fl ies walking on a slick pear in the electric light. I
am for the art of soggy onions and fi rm green shoots. I am for the art
of clicking among the nuts when the roaches come and go. I am for the
brown sad art of rotting apples.
I am for the art of meowls and clatter of cats and for the art of their
dumb electric eyes.
I am for the white art of refrigerators and their muscular openings
I am for the art of rust and mould. I am for the art of hearts, funeral
hearts or sweetheart hearts, full of nougat. I am for the art of worn
meathooks and singing barrels of red, white, blue and yellow meat.
I am for the art of things lost or thrown away, coming home from
school. I am for the art of cock-and-ball trees and fl ying cows and the
noise of rectangles and squares. I am for the art of crayons and weak
grey pencil-lead, and grainy wash and sticky oil paint, and the art of
windshield wipers and the art of the fi nger on a cold window, on dusty
steel or in the bubbles on the sides of a bathtub.
I am for the art of teddy-bears and guns and decapitated rabbits,
exploded umbrellas, raped beds, chairs with their brown bones broken,
burning trees, fi recracker ends, chicken bones, pigeon bones and boxes
with men sleeping in them.
I am for the art of slightly rotten funeral fl owers, hung bloody rabbits
and wrinkly yellow chickens, bass drums & tambourines, and plastic
I am for the art of abandoned boxes, tied like pharaohs. I am for an
art of watertanks and speeding clouds and fl apping shades.
I am for US Government Inspected Art, Grade A art, Regular Price
art, Yellow Ripe art, Extra Fancy art, Ready-to-eat art, Best-for-less art,
Ready-to-cook art, Fully cleaned art, Spend Less art, Eat Better art, Ham
art, pork art, chicken art, tomato art, banana art, apple art, turkey art,
cake art, cookie art. (I am for an art...manifesto - Claes Oldenburg)
We will glorify war—the world’s only hygiene—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman.” Marinetti, “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism”
Humanity is mediocre. The majority of women are neither superior nor inferior to the majority of men. They are all equal. They all merit the same scorn.
The whole of humanity has never been anything but the terrain of culture, source of the geniuses and heroes of both sexes. But in humanity as in nature there are some moments more propitious for such a flowering. In the summers of humanity, when the terrain is burned by the sun, geniuses and heroes abound.
We are at the beginning of a springtime; we are lacking in solar profusion, that is, a great deal of spilled blood.
Women are no more responsible than men for the way the really young, rich in sap and blood, are getting mired down.
It is absurd to divide humanity into men and women. It is composed only of femininity and masculinity. Every superman, every hero, no matter how epic, how much of a genius, or how powerful, is the prodigious expression of a race and an epoch only because he is composed at once of feminine and masculine elements, of femininity and masculinity: that is, a complete being.
Any exclusively virile individual is just a brute animal; any exclusively feminine individual is only a female.
It is the same way with any collectivity and any moment in humanity, just as it is with individuals. The fecund periods, when the most heroes and geniuses come forth from the terrain of culture in all its ebullience, are rich in masculinity and femininity.
Those periods that had only wars, with few representative heroes because the epic breath flattened them out, were exclusively virile periods; those that denied the heroic instinct and, turning toward the past, annihilated themselves in dreams of peace, were periods in which femininity was dominant.
We are living at the end of one of these periods. What is most lacking in women as in men is virility.
That is why Futurism, even with all its exaggerations, is right.
To restore some virility to our races so benumbed in femininity, we have to train them in virility even to the point of brute animality. But we have to impose on everyone, men and women who are equally weak, a new dogma of energy in order to arrive at a period of superior humanity.
Every woman ought to possess not only feminine virtues but virile ones, without which she is just a female. Any man who has only male strength without intuition is only a brute animal. But in the period of femininity in which we are living, only the contrary exaggeration is healthy: we have to take the brute animal for a model.
Enough of those women whose “arms with twining flowers resting on their laps on the morning of departure” should be feared by soldiers; women as nurses perpetuating weakness and age, domesticating men for their personal pleasures or their material needs! … Enough women who create children just for themselves, keeping them from any danger or adventure, that is, any joy; keeping their daughter from love and their son from war! … Enough of those women, the octopuses of the hearth, whose tentacles exhaust men’s blood and make children anemic, women in carnal love who wear out every desire so it cannot be renewed!
Women are Furies, Amazons, Semiramis, Joans of Arc, Jeanne Hachettes, Judith and Charlotte Cordays, Cleopatras, and Messalinas: combative women who fight more ferociously than males, lovers who arouse, destroyers who break down the weakest and help select through pride or despair, “despair through which the heart yields its fullest return:’Let the next wars bring forth heroines like that magnificent Catherine Sforza, who, during the sack of her city, watching from the ramparts as her enemy threatened the life of her son to force her surrender, heroically pointing to her sexual organ, cried loudly: “Kill him, I still have the mold to make some more!”
Yes, “the world is rotting with wisdom,” but by instinct, woman is not wise, is not a pacifist, is not good. Because she is totally lacking in measure, she is bound to become too wise, too pacifist, too good during a sleepy period of humanity. Her intuition, her imagination are at once her strength and her weakness.
She is the individuality of the crowd: she parades the heroes, or if there are none, the imbeciles.
According to the apostle, the spiritual inspirer, woman, the carnal inspirer, immolates or takes care, causes blood to run or staunches it, is a warrior or a nurse. It’s the same woman who, in the same period, according to the ambient ideas grouped around the day’s event, lies down on the tracks to keep the soldiers from leaving for the war or then rushes to embrace the victorious champion.
So that is why no revolution should be without her. That is why, instead of scorning her, we should address her. She’s the most fruitful conquest of all, the most enthusiastic, who, in her turn, will increase our followers.
But no feminism. Feminism is a political error. Feminism is a cerebral error of woman, an error that her instinct will recognize.
We must not give woman any of the rights claimed by feminists. To grant them to her would bring about not any of the disorders the Futurists desire but on the contrary an excess of order.
To give duties to woman is to have her lose all her fecundating power. Feminist reasonings and deductions will not destroy her primordial fatality: they can only falsify it, forcing it to make itself manifest through detours leading to the worst errors.
For centuries the feminine instinct has been insulted, only her charm and tenderness have been appreciated. Anemic man, stingy with his own blood, asks only that she be a nurse. She has let herself be tamed. But shout a new message at her, or some war cry, and then, joyously riding her instinct again, she will go in front of you toward unsuspected conquests.
When you have to use your weapons, she will polish them.
She will help you choose them. In fact, if she doesn’t know how to discern genius because she relies on passing renown, she has always known how to rewarm the strongest, the victor, the one triumphant by his muscles and his courage. She can’t be mistaken about this superiority imposing itself so brutally.
Let woman find once more her cruelty and her violence that make her attack the vanquished because they are vanquished, to the point of mutilating them. Stop preaching spiritual justice to her of the sort she has tried in vain. Woman, become sublimely injust once more, like all the forces of nature!Delivered from all control, with your instinct retrieved, you will take your place among the Elements, opposite fatality to the conscious human will. Be the egoistic and ferocious mother, jealously watching over her children, have what are called all the rights over and duties toward them, as long as they physically need your protection.
Let man, freed from his family, lead his life of audacity and conquest, as soon as he has the physical strength for it, and in spite of his being a son and a father. The man who sows doesn’t stop on the first row he fecunds.
In my Poems of Pride and in Thirst and Mirages, I have renounced Sentimentalism as a weakness to be scorned because it knots up the strength and makes it static.
Lust is a strength, because it destroys the weak, excites the strong to exert their energies, thus to renew themselves. Every heroic people is sensual. Woman is, for them, the most exalted trophy.
Woman should be mother or lover. Real mothers will always be mediocre lovers, and lovers, insufficient mothers, through their excess. Equal in front of life, these two women complete each other. The mother who receives the child makes the future with the past; the lover gives off desire, which leads toward the future.
Woman who retains man through her tears and her sentimentality is inferior to the prostitute who incites her man, through braggery, to retain his domination over the lower depths of the cities with his revolver at the ready: at least she cultivates an energy that could serve better causes.
Woman, for too long diverted into morals and prejudices, go back to your sublime instinct, to violence, to cruelty.
For the fatal sacrifice of blood, while men are in charge of wars and battles, procreate, and among your children, as a sacrifice to heroism, take Fate’s part. Don’t raise them for yourself, that is, for their diminishment, but rather, in a wide freedom, for a complete expansion.Instead of reducing man to the slavery of those execrable sentimental needs, incite your sons and your men to surpass themselves.You are the ones who make them. You have all power over them. You owe humanity its heroes. Make them! (The Manifesto of Futurist Woman(Response to F.T. Marinetti) - Valentine de Saint Point)
BECAUSE us girls crave records and books and fanzines that speak to US that WE feel included in and can understand in our own ways.
BECAUSE we wanna make it easier for girls to see/hear each other's work so that we can share strategies and criticize-applaud each other.
BECAUSE we must take over the means of production in order to create our own moanings.
BECAUSE viewing our work as being connected to our girlfriends-politics-real lives is essential if we are gonna figure out how we are doing impacts, reflects, perpetuates, or DISRUPTS the status quo.
BECAUSE we recognize fantasies of Instant Macho Gun Revolution as impractical lies meant to keep us simply dreaming instead of becoming our dreams AND THUS seek to create revolution in our own lives every single day by envisioning and creating alternatives to the bullshit christian capitalist way of doing things.
BECAUSE we want and need to encourage and be encouraged in the face of all our own insecurities, in the face of beergutboyrock that tells us we can't play our instruments, in the face of "authorities" who say our bands/zines/etc are the worst in the US and
BECAUSE we don't wanna assimilate to someone else's (boy) standards of what is or isn't.
BECAUSE we are unwilling to falter under claims that we are reactionary "reverse sexists" AND NOT THE TRUEPUNKROCKSOULCRUSADERS THAT WE KNOW we really are.
BECAUSE we know that life is much more than physical survival and are patently aware that the punk rock "you can do anything" idea is crucial to the coming angry grrrl rock revolution which seeks to save the psychic and cultural lives of girls and women everywhere, according to their own terms, not ours.
BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-heirarchical ways of being AND making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.
BECAUSE doing/reading/seeing/hearing cool things that validate and challenge us can help us gain the strength and sense of community that we need in order to figure out how bullshit like racism, able-bodieism, ageism, speciesism, classism, thinism, sexism, anti-semitism and heterosexism figures in our own lives.
BECAUSE we see fostering and supporting girl scenes and girl artists of all kinds as integral to this process.
BECAUSE we hate capitalism in all its forms and see our main goal as sharing information and staying alive, instead of making profits of being cool according to traditional standards.
BECAUSE we are angry at a society that tells us Girl = Dumb, Girl = Bad, Girl = Weak.
BECAUSE we are unwilling to let our real and valid anger be diffused and/or turned against us via the internalization of sexism as witnessed in girl/girl jealousism and self defeating girltype behaviors.
BECAUSE I believe with my wholeheartmindbody that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will change the world for real. (Riot Grrrl Manifesto - The Riot Grrrl Movement)
Always be looking. (notice the ground beneath your feet)
Consider everything alive and animate.
Everything is interesting. (look closer)
Alter your course often.
Observe for long durations (and short ones)
Notice the stories going on around you.
Notice patterns. Make Connections.
Document your findings (your field notes) in a variety of ways.
Create a personal dialogue with your environment. Talk to it.
Trace things back to their origins.
Use all of the senses in your investigations. (How to be an explorer of the world -Keri Smith)
FUCK COMMITTEES (I believe in lunatics)
It’s about the struggle between individuals with jagged passion in their work and today’s faceless corporate committees, which claim to understand the needs of the mass audience, and are removing the idiosyncrasies, polishing the jags, creating a thought-free, passion-free, cultural mush that will not be hated nor loved by anyone. By now, virtually all media, architecture, product and graphic design have been freed from ideas, individual passion, and have been relegated to a role of corporate servitude, carrying out corporate strategies and increasing stock prices. Creative people are now working for the bottom line.
Magazine editors have lost their editorial independence, and work for committees of publishers (who work for committees of advertisers). TV scripts are vetted by producers, advertisers, lawyers, research specialists, layers and layers of paid executives who determine whether the scripts are dumb enough to amuse what they call the ‘lowest common denominator’. Film studios out films in front of focus groups to determine whether an ending will please target audiences. All cars look the same. Architectural decisions are made by accountants. Ads are stupid. Theater is dead.
Corporations have become the sole arbiters of cultural ideas and taste in America. Our culture is corporate culture.
Culture used to be the opposite of commerce, not a fast track to ‘content’- derived riches. Not so long ago captains of industry (no angels in the way they acquired wealth) thought that part of their responsibility was to use their millions to support culture. Carnegie built libraries, Rockefeller built art museums, Ford created his global foundation. What do we now get from our billionaires? Gates? Or Eisner? Or Redstone? Sales pitches. Junk mail. Meanwhile, creative people have their work reduced to ‘content’ or ‘intellectual property’. Magazines and films become ‘delivery systems’ for product messages.
But to be fair, the above is only 99 percent true.
I offer a modest solution: Find the cracks in the wall. There are a very few lunatic entrepreneurs who will understand that culture and design are not about fatter wallets, but about creating a future. They will understand that wealth is means, not an end. Under other circumstances they may have turned out to be like you, creative lunatics. Believe me, they’re there and when you find them, treat them well and use their money to change the world. (FUCK COMMITTEES An essay - Tibor Kalman)
A new modernity is emerging, reconfigured to an age of globalisation – understood in its economic, political and cultural aspects: an altermodern culture.
Increased communication, travel and migration are affecting the way we live.
Our daily lives consist of journeys in a chaotic and teeming universe.
Multiculturalism and identity is being overtaken by creolisation: Artists are now starting from a globalised state of culture.
This new universalism is based on translations, subtitling and generalised dubbing.
Today’s art explores the bonds that text and image, time and space, weave between themselves
Artists are responding to a new globalised perception. They traverse a cultural landscape saturated with signs and create new pathways between multiple formats of expression and communication. (Altermodern Manifesto - Nicolas Bourriaud)
No plan survives first contact with the enemy.
Sometimes being dumb is the only smart alternative.
Shy people are secretly egoists.
Nothing is real.
Everything you see is a dream you project onto the world.
Children live out their parents unconscious.
The only animals that suffer from anxiety are the ones that associate with humans.
I don’t trust people who are very articulate.
The only way to be sane is to embrace your insanity.
When you feel guilty about being sad, remember Walt Disney was a manic depressive.
Everything I said, could be totally wrong. (Humans Manifesto - Mike Mills)
Everything is transient. Everything is a process not an object. (Humans Manifesto 02 - Mike Mills)
Be more positive.
Try to stop anthropomorphizing the animals I know, or at least do it less.
Play games that require abandon.
Get better at maintaining relationships with friends.
Look at how I’m not fully conscious of my real life, admit that I’m groping in the dark, overwhelmed by the consequences of my acts and that at every moment I’m faced with outcomes I did not intend. (Humans Manifesto 03 - Mike Mills)
Animal rights is the movement to protect animals from being used or regarded as property by human beings. It is a radical social movement insofar as it aims not only to attain more humane treatment for animals, but also to include species other than human beings within the moral community by giving their basic interests—for example, the interest in avoiding suffering—the same consideration as those of human beings. The claim is that animals should no longer be regarded legally or morally as property, or treated as resources for human purposes, but should instead be regarded as persons. (Humans Manifesto 04 - Mike Mills)
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 realized 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 recognized 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 energized or less energized. 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 realized 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 realize 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 marvelous 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 behavior. 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 skeptical and questioning all deeply held beliefs is essential. Of course we must know the difference between skepticism 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 realization 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 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 marvelous 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 behavior 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. (Ten things I have learned - Milton Glaser)
Consume vs. Create
“Man—man and woman—can create by planting seeds, by producing material objects, by creating art, by creating ideas, by loving one another. In the act of creation man transcends himself as a creature, raises himself beyond the passivity and accidentalness of his existence into the realm of purposefulness and freedom ... To create presupposes activity and care. It presupposes love for that which one creates. How then does man solve the problem of transcending himself, if he is not capable of creating, if he cannot love? There is an answer to this need for transcendence: if I cannot create life, I destroy it. To destroy life makes me also transcend it ... Thus the ultimate choice for man, inasmuch as he is driven to transcend himself, is to create or destroy, to love or to hate.”
Erich Fromm, the psychoanalyst and social philosopher, writing in his book The Sane Society, captured this struggle between create and consume, and how it is at the heart of our identity as human beings. “Consume” is a more polite word than “destroy” —but unabated consumption does lead to destruction.
If you have ever baked a cake from scratch, you will know the sense of satisfaction that you feel— deciding what to make, gathering together the ingredients, mixing it all together, putting it in the oven, waiting for the magic to happen and the cake to emerge, all the while filling the kitchen with a tantalizing smell. And maybe you’ve had a child helping you, or you remember being that child, standing on a chair to carefully stir the mixture, knowing that your reward will come at the end when you are allowed to lick the spoon.
Why are people so impressed when something is homemade? I think that it is because they recognize the time, the effort and the care—in short, the love—that has gone into making it. You have not just walked into a supermarket, pulled it off the shelf or out of the freezer, heard the barcode ping as it goes through the checkout and decanted it from box to plate.
There is something of what William Morris called “The Beauty of Life” within the homemade cake, some of that energy being passed from one individual to another. In production and consumption mode, there is no room for this passing on, of sharing of human energy. It is a one-way, linear street. It is not organic.
If we choose to be Creativists then we are choosing to accept responsibility for our own lives— while also choosing to value and be part of the life all around us.
Be Two years ago, I had four sessions with a life coach. One of the first exercises that she asked me
to do was to list out ten things that I either wanted to be, to do or to have.
I considered the question carefully, and then wrote my list of ten on a scrap piece of paper in pencil on the tube on the way home. I still have the list. All of the items on my list were something to be:
At the next session, I explained my list to Cheryl, my coach. I said to her that I thought if that I was “being” all of things on the list, then all of things that I wanted to do and have would flow from there.
I couldn’t see any other way to approach it.
Perhaps my focus on “being” was a realisation that I wasn’t being authentic to myself at the time— that I needed to get back to basics, to build new foundations before moving on to construct a whole new life. There was no point saying that I wanted to have a fabulous house in the country, for example, if I couldn’t first be me.
Although I didn’t express it in these terms at the time, deep down inside me I realised that I needed to connect with myself first of all. I needed to be living my values.
Unconsciously, I recognised that I needed to give shape to myself inside, to define and then express what I looked like inside, before I could then define myself outwardly, by what I do and have.
As Creativists, to “be” who we are is most important, so that we are in a position where we are able to create—and not be defined by the “have” of the Consumer.
Alone vs. Together
In the ‘80s and ‘90s, individualism became the norm—it was every man for himself. And I think that this is one area in which there has been visible shift in recent years towards recognizing that we are, in fact, better together. This shift has been facilitated by the advent and popularization of technologies that enable collaboration online. You only have to look at the success of Open Source technologies such as Linux and collaborative projects such as Wikipedia to see people’s desire to contribute their creativity to a common cause for the common good—and the power of the results that can be achieved.
Yet, such openness hasn’t pervaded all parts of society, and that is the next challenge—to take the spirit of collaboration and creativity that has worked so well in the online world and translate it into society at large, including government. It is not just about working as one individual versus working as a group of individuals—it is a mentality, an attitude. Many groups, including in some cases governments, have the attitude that “we are in this alone,” no one understands us—and because we are alone, we have to fight harder to defend our corner. An alternative approach would be to find out what we have in common with other people, and work together to achieve shared goals. Working together will be more effective in the long run than going it alone. To me, it seems that the choice is whether we can choose to create together or consume alone.
Fear vs. Faith
Fear is rampant in our society. You only have to open the pages of a newspaper or turn on the
nightly news to see stories full of fear—crime, terrorism, the economy. There is a frequent lament, ”Where are the good news stories?”
The pervasiveness of fear affects us both as individuals and as a society. Just over a year ago, I was made redundant from my job in a design agency, hit like so many others by the recession. I was in the fortunate position to be able to take some time off as I didn’t have dependents, but fear could so easily have derailed me. I could have chosen not to go to Bali for a month, and I might not have started writing again. I could have chosen not to go to work in a ski resort, and I wouldn’t have pushed at what my definition of freedom was. I am grateful to have been supported by friends who helped me to see my fears as hollow, and who encouraged me to have my faith in myself.
One example of fear versus faith in society can be seen in the different attitudes towards climate change. There are environmental campaigners who campaign on the basis of doom and gloom, that the end of the world is coming—which only serves to paralyze people with fear at the hugeness of the problem. Another approach, characterized by movements such as Transition Towns, are based on faith—faith that together we can meet the challenges and, indeed, achieve a better quality of life in the process. One of the key elements of this approach is creating a positive vision to move towards. With a positive vision in mind and a practical framework to achieve it, faith enables action.
The choice is to create with faith—or consume in fear.
Certainty vs. Uncertainty
Bertrand Russell, in his introduction to his History of Western Philosophy, wrote: “To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it.”
I read these words earlier this year as I was travelling to France on my way to being a chalet chef. During my time in France, I was asked numerous times, “So, what are you going to do next?” I would reply with something along the lines of, “I don’t know. If I’ve learnt anything in the past few months it is that it doesn’t do to plan too far ahead.” If I was feeling so inclined and/or I thought my audience would be sympathetic, I would add (I paraphrase) “It is important to have a big vision that you are working towards, but not be prescriptive about the how. The how will work itself out if you believe in your vision and act in accordance with it.”
Nonetheless, whilst believing this on an intellectual level, I didn’t really believe it in my bones. I continued to struggle with embracing uncertainty, particularly when I returned home from France six weeks early with my leg in a cast, the result of a broken ankle. What would I do now?
How would I earn my living? Our society conditions us for certainty. I began to think that I needed to get a permanent job. A permanent job would give me certainty. Why did I think that? I had recently been made redundant at a so-called “permanent” job. I began to ask myself instead, “What does it feel like to embrace uncertainty?” And when I learned to do so, I opened the door to a new, more peaceful relationship with life—one in which I did not have to have everything planned out before I took the first step. I was happy to be open to invitations and explore what happened next, whilst keeping a clear sight of who I am and what my end goal is.
I believe that being able to live with more uncertainty would be beneficial to society too. Given the uncertainty of the times that we live in, this might seem like a counter-intuitive thing to say. But at the moment, our governments are focused on getting back to a state of “certainty” as quickly as possible. What if, instead, governments embraced uncertainty as an opportunity for change, to find a new way of approaching issues, of creating solutions?
Uncertainty allows us the space to experiment, to create something new and different. If we stick with certainty, then we can only have more of what we’ve already got.
Movement vs. Stillness
Our lives are full of movement. In Western, urban society, we are constantly on the go. iPhones and Blackberries mean that we are continually in touch. Our lives are full—or we fill our lives. There is never enough time. Even when we sit still, we crave movement around us—movement in the form of pictures on the TV or music on the stereo.
But we need to sit still. To think. To be. To be at peace.
And then we will be ready to really move again. Not in a headless chicken dance, but in a controlled, powerful, deliberate, free-flowing dance.
I now try to meditate twice a day for twenty minutes—and to carry this stillness with me into the rest of the day, in the core of me, no matter what I am doing. With stillness, I am in a place where I can be open to connect with other people and make creative connections. I love to move too—to run, to cycle, to swim—and as I do so, ideas and lines of poetry sometimes drift into my head from my unconscious. Movement has become its own meditation.
It’s a hard choice to make, yet one of the easiest. To bring the balance of stillness into our lives. To give ourselves the stillness to create.
Decide vs. Choose
I didn’t use to make much distinction between the words “choose” and “decide.” Then I came across the etymology of “decide.” Decide comes from the Latin “decidere,” which literally means “to cut off.” It also happens to have in it the root “-cide,” as in homicide, suicide. This led me to think “What is it that we are killing off when we decide?” For a person such as me, who used to be prone to indecision, this could be seen as a neat get-out clause from having to make a decision.
However, in the place of “deciding,” I have opted to choose. To choose comes from the Old English “ceosan,” meaning “to choose, taste, try” and comes from the same family tree as the word “gusto”.
So which would you prefer to do? Decide, which has in-built connotations of violence, or choose, which is about giving things a go, enjoying it? In the moment of choosing, you are not killing off any options, you are just selecting a particular path to explore.
Next time you have to make a decision, first think about what you are going to choose. To choose is to make a positive choice about a road that you are going to try out. It may be a seemingly small point, the difference between two words, but the words that we use when talking—to ourselves and to others—create our story.
Decide to consume? Choose to create? It’s your choice—or decision.
Political vs. Personal
On the journey of developing my ideas and seeking to express them in writing, I have kept coming across one fundamental dilemma: Should I write about my experiences from a personal perspective or a political perspective? They seem to me so inextricably intertwined. In the end, I have chosen to combine the two (or at least seek to). “The personal is political” as a friend reminded me. Hearing the phrase again, I realized that I didn’t know where it originated from. Research revealed that it originated in the feminist movement in the 1960s. A paper written by Carol Hanisch, “The Personal is Political,” was published in 1969 and was part of popularizing the phrase. The paper states that “personal problems are political problems. There are no personal solutions
at this time. There is only collective action for a collective solution.”
The Creativist belief is rooted in actively shaping and creating our futures. In political terms, this takes the form of a community working together, advocating a positive vision for the future and moving towards that, rather than adversarial mud-slinging and grumbling about what is wrong. It is about putting our human needs at the heart of what we do, human needs from a psychological perspective, not just a material one. Erich Fromm summarized these needs as: “the need for relatedness, transcendence, rootedness, the need for a sense of identity and the need for a frame of orientation and devotion.” These human needs have been largely ignored in the prevailing political system, in which the needs of feeding the consumption machine have been put first.
Many people are choosing to ignore the political because they think it has nothing to do with them. How about if we choose, once again, to make the personal political?
Answers vs. Questions
“Lead with questions not answers.” So says Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, in the context of organizational leadership. I believe that it applies as much to shaping our own lives. If we lead our lives with answers, then we have a fixed view in mind, which can cause us to be blinkered and miss opportunities. If we lead our lives with questions, we are setting the framework that we wish to explore. The promise of certainty, of answers that we can consume, is what we are led to expect.
This begins at school where, for the most part, we are fed answers and not taught to ask questions. There is an example of a school in Chicago taking a different approach, in which whole lessons are set aside for the pupils to ask questions that determine the structure of the lesson.
The questions that we ask can shape the structure of our very lives. About three years ago, I came across Gandhi’s saying: “It is not that our problems are too big. It is that they are not big enough.” This resonated with me, putting my small problems into perspective, and leading me to the question, “What is the big problem that I am going to take on in the world?” This question got me thinking and exploring, until I gradually began living the answer. As the poet, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote:
“Do not search now for the answers which cannot be given you because you could not live them. It is a matter of living everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, one distant day, live right into the answer.”
A Consumer seeks the finiteness of answers; a Creativist revels in the infiniteness of questions.
Consumer or Creativist?
In the above examples, I have touched on how I am using these pairs to take control of my life, and to lead a more authentic life, one that is driven from the inside rather than led from the outside.
On a cold winter morning at the beginning of last year, I happened to glance at my bookshelf and see a slim volume by George Orwell, entitled Why I Write. I had been thinking about this question, and so I took the book out from where it had been nestling. On the first page where these words:
“From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Between the ages of about seventeen and twenty-four I tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books.”
The phrase “outraging my true nature” really struck me in the gut. This is what I had been doing by not allowing this part of myself to be. And, maybe, that is what we are doing on a wider basis, as a society—outraging our true nature by putting consumption above creativity.
Thomas Berry, the ecologist and cultural historian, said in his book, The Great Work: Our Way into the Future, “What is needed is something beyond existing traditions to bring us back to the most fundamental aspect of the human: giving shape to ourselves.” I know that I am at the beginning of a journey, and I know it to be an exciting one. I am learning what the choices that we make are, knowingly or unknowingly, that determine the course of our lives—and how we give shape to ourselves, and in turn, shape the world around us. I invite you to consider what being Creativist could mean to you in your life, and to share your journey with others (The Creativist Manifesto - Olivia Sprinkel)
Kill your TV.
Play a Kazoo.
Small is beautiful.
Love your town.
Keep it wonky.
Champion the underdog.
Grow your community.
Love all the people.
Life is sweet.
Be Kind. (Kill your TV - Aardvark on Sea)
An honest ego in a healthy body.
An eye to see nature.
A heart to feel nature.
Courage to follow nature.
The sense of proportion (humor).
Appreciation of work as idea and idea as work.
Fertility of imagination.
Capacity for faith and rebellion.
Disregard for commonplace (inorganic) elegance.
Instinctive cooperation. (The Architect - Frank Lloyd Wright)
The greatest innovations appear to come from those that are self-reliant. Individuals who go right to the edge and do something worth talking about. Not solo, of course, but as instigators of a team. In two words: don’t settle.
The greatest marketers do two things: they treat customers with respect and they measure.
The greatest salespeople understand that people resist change and that ‘no’ is the single easiest way to do that.
The greatest bloggers blog for their readers, not for themselves.
There really isn’t much a of ‘short run’. It quickly becomes yesterday. The long run, on the other hand, sticks around for quite a while.
The internet doesn’t forget. And sooner or later, the internet finds out.
Everyone is a marketer, even people and organizations that don’t market. They’re just marketers who are doing it poorly.
Amazing organizations and people receive rewards that more than make up for the effort required to be that good.
9. There is no number 9.
Mass taste is rarely good taste. (Unforgivable Manifesto- Seth Godin)
Reduce: The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.
Organize: Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.
Time: Savings in time feel like simplicity.
Learn. Knowledge makes everything simpler.
Differences: Simplicity and complexity need each other.
Context: What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.
Emotion: More emotions are better than less.
Trust: In simplicity we trust.
Failure: Some things can never be made simple.
The One: Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.(The laws of simplicity- John Maeda)
Get up early (five o’clock).
Go to bed early (nine to ten o’clock).
Eat little and avoid sweets.
Try to do everything by yourself.
Have a goal for your whole life, a goal for one section of your life, a goal for a shorter period and a goal for the year; a goal for every month, a goal for every week, a goal for every day, a goal for every hour and for every minute, and sacrifice the lesser goal to the greater.
Keep away from women.
Kill desire by work.
Be good, but try to let no one know it.
Always live less expensively than you might.
Change nothing in your style of living even if you become ten times richer. (Rules for Life- Leo Tolstoy)
“work” is the transfer of energy.
WE LIKE TO TRANSFER OUR ENERGY
into something creative and inspiring.
POWERFUL DREAMS INSPIRE POWERFUL ACTIONS
THAT CAN CHANGE OUR WORLD
YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO
If you are active, it will lead to something,
something you can work with.
FOLLOW YOUR HEART OR IT WILL FOREVER REMIND YOU
THAT SOMETHING IS MISSING.
THE WORLD IS YOUR PLAYGROUND – NOT YOUR PRISON
Work on what you love and share it with the world.
You are responsible for the talent
that has been entrusted to you, go work with it.
WHAT YOU DO EVERY DAY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT WHAT YOU DO ONCE IN A WHILE.
When you do what you love EVERY DAY if you get up and you’re EXCITED about what you do,
IT’S GOOD FOR EVERYONE.
HAVE A VISION TO STRIVE FOR
DREAM, CREATE, INSPIRE.
What you make is important. (Work is not a job Manifesto- Sophie Pester and Catharina Bruns)
This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over analyzing, life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once, seize them. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them so go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion. (Holstee Manifesto- Holstee)
Drink FRESH water and as much water as you can. Water flushes unwanted toxins from your body and keeps your brain sharp.
A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress.
Do one thing a day that scares you.
Listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.
Write down your short and long-term GOALS four times a year. Two personal, two business and two health goals for the next 1, 5 and 10 years. Goal setting triggers your subconscious computer.
Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle setbacks.
Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.
That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least.
Stress is related to 99% of all illness.
Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.
The world is changing at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement changes will leave you 2 steps behind. DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW!
Friends are more important than money.
Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment. Living in the moment could be the meaning of life.
Take various vitamins. You never know what small mineral can eliminate the bottleneck to everlasting health.
Don’t trust that an old age pension will be sufficient.
Visualize your eventual demise. It can have an amazing effect on how you live for the moment.
The conscious brain can only hold one thought at a time. Choose a positive thought.
Live near the ocean and inhale the pure salt air that flows over the water, Vancouver will do nicely. (Oh how I agree with this one WHOLE HEARTEDLY. I love the ocean and it’s therapeutic effect on me)
Observe a plant before and after watering and relate these benefits to your body and brain.
Practice yoga so you can remain active in physical sports as you age.
Dance, sing, floss and travel.
Children are the orgasm of life. Just like you did not know what an orgasm was before you had one, nature does not let you know how great children are until you have them.
Successful people replace the words ‘wish’, ‘should’ and ‘try’, with ‘I will‘.
Creativity is maximized when you’re living in the moment.
Nature wants us to be mediocre because we have a greater chance to survive and reproduce. Mediocre is as close to the bottom as it is to the top, and will give you a lousy life.
lululemon athletica creates components for people to live longer, healthier and more fun lives. If we can produce products to keep people active and stress-free, we believe the world will become a much better place.
Do not use cleaning chemicals on your kitchen counters. Someone will inevitably make a sandwich on your counter.
SWEAT once a day to regenerate your skin.
Communication is COMPLICATED. We are all raised in a different family with slightly different definitions of every word. An agreement is an agreement only if each party knows the conditions for satisfaction and a time is set for satisfaction to occur.
What we do to the earth we do to ourselves.
The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness. (The Lululemon Manifesto - Lululemon)
Stop sounding vague enough to seem helpful without really being useful.
Do as much as you read.
You're probably going to fail.
Be Passionate, think tactically.
Actually Fucking do something.
Turn off the TV.
Turn on your brain.
Put down the donut.
Make some mistakes.
Kill off Platitudes.
Get back to work. (The Passive Aggressive Manifesto - Michael Schechter)
Put down the remote, get off the couch and do something from your right brain terrain. "But I can't draw, write or play an instrument!" you shout hopelessly. Rubbish! You may not be Picasso or Mozart, but you don't have to be , just create to create. Create to remind yourself you're still alive. Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a little more about yourself. If you have no desire to create, more power to ya...but for all you frustrated right-brainers trapped in the rigid planes of your left brain, there is hope. Use this manifesto as a call to action and rise up and join those who rejoice in the solace of their right brain terrain.
"Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up" Pablo Picasso. We know that training the right brain with music and art has a positive impact on the left brain. Yet today in art curriculums in schools across this great nation are being stripped away or severely diminished due to misappropriated or mismanaged education budgets. While math, science and reading are vital, creativity should be equally revered and studied. "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift." Albert Einstein.
We've been conditioned to believe that the only prosperous and respectable career choices reside in the left brain- while right-brainers have more influence on society than ever before. Every day frustrated left-brainers clock in and out of life to never discover the expanses of the right hand side of the brain. It's never too late for closet right-brainers to free themselves from the shackles of convention for the boundless exploits of the unfamiliar. "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln.
(Right brain terrain Manifesto - Frederic Terral)
Sometimes if you want something to exist you have to make it yourself. (Arts emergency manifesto)
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
Working software over comprehensive documentation.
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
Responding to change over following a plan. (Agile Manifesto - Agile Software development)
Good Design exists to champion design and creativity that is created both sustainably and has a positive social impact. It is an advocate for those who challenge the status quo and present new ways of doing and seeing.
Our mission is to inspire a future where all design is created with both sustainability and social impact at the heart of the design process. These considerations should be as important as the font picked, the colour used and the style created. They should not be considered the reserve of ’green’ or ‘sustainable’ design but instead sit alongside all major design decisions with equal weight when creating what we understand as simply good design.
Good Design takes a holistic approach to the meaning of the word design. It is as much about designing new systems, business models and services as it is about beautification and desirability.
It is about inspiring people to create real tangible solutions to the problems we face as a society. It’s about seeing sustainability as a creative opportunity not a limitation. It’s about doing more with less and believing in better.
Good Design is hope made visible. ('Hope made visible manifesto' - Good Design)
You're a Writer.
Claim the title.
Writers write, so make time for it every day.
Set realistic goals.
Embrace the ecstasy of writing.
Read, Read, Read, Read, Read, Read, Read.
Follow your heart, not the market.
Don't just start stories. Finish them.
Learn the rules.
Follow the Rules.
Break the rules.
Constructive criticism: Solicit, Accept, Manage.
Put your ego in your back pocket and sit on it.
Writing is a journey, not a destination.
Enjoy the scenery.
Give back to the writing community.
Remember you are the master of inspiration, not its slave.
Set your stories free. Send them into the world.
Don't slack on the hard stuff: Outline, Research, Rewrite.
Build a lifestyle that nurtures and supports your writing.
LOVE WHAT YOU DO. WRITE WITH JOY. (A Wordplayer's manifesto - Wordplay)
Do good work.
Every problem has a solution.
Less is always an opinion.
Don't be afraid to say no.
Be perfectly clear.
Never Lie. (Manifesto - Joseph Barone)
Count your blessings.
Cut your TV viewing by half.
Smile and say hello to a stranger.
Phone a friend.
Have a good laugh at least once a day.
Every day make sure you give yourself a treat.
Daily kindness. (The Happiness Manifesto - BBC)
To be happy, you need to consider feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, and an atmosphere of growth.
One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
The days are long, but the years are short.
You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy.
Your body matters.
Happiness is other people.
Think about yourself so you can forget yourself.
“It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” — G. K. Chesterton
What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you, and vice versa.
Best is good, better is best.
Outer order contributes to inner calm.
Happiness comes not from having more, not from having less, but from wanting what you have.
You can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do.
You manage what you measure.
“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” — Robert Louis Stevenson (The Happiness Manifesto - The Happiness project)
PEOPLE have been THINKING too long that ART is a PRIVILEGE of the MUSEUMS and the RICH. ART IS NOT BUSINESS!
It does not belong to banks and fancy investors
ART IS FOOD. You can’t EAT it BUT it FEEDS you.
ART has to be CHEAP and available to EVERYBODY.
It needs to be EVERYWHERE because it is the INSIDE of the WORLD.
ART SOOTHES PAIN!
Art was up sleepers!
ART FIGHTS AGAINST WAR AND STUPIDITY!
ART SINGS HALLELUJA!
ART IS FOR KITCHENS!
ART IS LIKE GOOD BREAD!
Art is like green trees!
Art is like white clouds in blue sky!
ART IS CHEAP!
HURRAH! (Why Cheap Art? Manifesto - Bread and Puppet Glover)
Communicate who you are in all you do.
Style is multidimensional.
Authenticity is energizing, economical, and efficient.
Accentuate the positive.
People are like snowflakes—uniquely beautiful because of the details.
Pay attention to what attracts you.
Working from the outside in can create deep transformation.
Feel free to change.
True style is not dependent on wealth, and wealth does not necessarily create taste.
Cheap is expensive in the long run.
Use your best every day.
Choose from your heart, and your life will fill up with things you love.
It’s always a good time to be yourself.
Only love is free—everything else costs.
Creativity + restraint = beauty.
Contrast makes things interesting.
Living is sensual.
Make more choices—moment to moment, day to day. (Style Manifesto - Carrie and Danielle)
We don’t do good work.
Good work is not enough; we need to do great work.
We invent new tools.
That may mean throwing out the old toolbox.
We need inspiration to inspire.
Share your experiences, ideas, failures, successes.
We tolerate failure.
Failure is part of the process.
Collaboration does not mean consensus.
We generate ideas.
Idea generation is not idea selection. (The EdenSpiekermann Manifesto)
The audience for graphic design is the same audience that will have seen the latest alien movie and the hottest music video with special effects that are absolutely dazzling. How can a graphic designer compete with this magic? We don’t have the technology or the budgets, or the time. If we want to attract attention to our work, we have to go to the other extreme. We have to go to reality! We must take a careful look at the real world and, in effect, say to our audience, “Look! have you ever noticed this before? Even though it was right under your nose.” That, to me, is more exciting than the most amazing special effects. And there’s another thing about the situation today that graphic designers must recognize. Before computers, the production of printed matter was in the hands of designers and printers. Most clients had only the vaguest idea how it was produced. And they were prepared to pay well for their logos, newsletters, brochures and other business paper.
Now, for very little money, it’s possible to buy a program which allows anyone with a computer to produce most of the stuff for the average business. The mystique has finally gone out of ordinary design and print. These programs fit words and images into slick professional looking formats. And for low–end commercial needs, that’s perfectly fine. So, if a typist can do much of the work previously done by well–paid specialists, what’s left for the designer? Designers have to do things that a typist with a computer can’t do. This means that they have to be problem solvers, if they are to survive. And, unfortunately, thinking is not the designer’s first love. They love choosing colors, pushing type and shapes around, drawing in a particular style and imposing the latest graphic tricks on their next job, regardless of whether they are appropriate or not.
They get these tricks from the culture. Most designers spend their time trying to emulate what’s supposed to be hot, what’s current, what’s trendy. But just think, if we want to do something the computer in the hands of a non–designer can’t do, something that’s original, how can we rely on what the culture tells us? (The culture tells all of us the same thing.)
A few mega–corporations inflict this culture on us. Their virtual monopoly of TV, fashion, pop and rock‘n’roll music, cable, theatre, magazines and film, etc., is designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator which, in turn, allows them to merchandise the most stuff: Obama action figures and Kelly Clarkson t–shirts, for example. Of course, the establishment allows just enough high culture to prove that they’re not only Philistines. How can you extricate yourself from this avalanche of white–bread, so that you can be an original thinker? First purge your mind of as much cultural baggage as possible. When you get a job, regardless of how familiar the subject, resist any temptation to think you know enough about it, and that you’re ready to design. Assume that all of the information and imagery was supplied by the culture, that none of the information or imagery is original.
Research the subject as if you know nothing about it. And don’t stop until you have something interesting, or even better, something original to say. That’s the most likely way of producing an original image. The design process can begin only after you are satisfied with the statement. Listen to the statement. It will design itself. Well, almost. As there are trillions of images assaulting your audience, competing for their attention, the least you can do is not have the words and images in your design competing with each other. Take a statement like, “we cure cancer for one dollar.” It isn’t necessary to make those words look interesting. They are interesting. If you try to make interesting words look interesting, the way they look competes with their meaning. Also. if you want to draw attention to an interesting image, the words that accompany it shouldn’t be unusual. Design is problem–solving. Most designers are not very interested in problem–solving. They’re more interested in producing work that looks good. That’s like the mathematician who, before knowing the problem, knows that the answer is 128. Designers who know their solution must consist of lots of white space, and a particular typeface, etc., before they know the problem, are just like the mathematician who knows that the answer is 128. What is good design is what communicates best in an original way, even though it doesn’t conform to our preconceptions of good design. No image or color or typeface is always good or always bad. What makes it good is if it’s the best image or color or typeface that says exactly what you want to say. Otherwise forget it. All the best. Bob Gill (Otherwise Forget it - Bob Gill)
I believe that, whatever design problem you need to solve, you should face it with rationality, logic and careful analysis if you want to get to the right idea.
Graphic design is always a synthetic work: you need to reduce and remove until you reach the core of the message. When you work with typography and lettering, the essential goal is to obtain the best possible legibility.
To achieve this result, it is fundamental to know typography and its history. The computer has become an essential tool but its undisputed utility and versatility cannot replace knowledge. As extraordinary as this instrument can be, you need deep roots and the ability to express yourself even with the simplest tools—such as a pencil—in order to use it correctly.
A good software does not necessarily create good graphics.
Graphics is not an independent art, but a service. To obtain a correct result, you need to put yourself on the side of the observer, on the side of the public.
A good designer is the one who offers a good service through communication, not the one who wants to surprise at any cost, neither the one who wants to show how good he is.
A designer is good if he can solve a problem, if he puts forward a useful solution.
I believe that these rules could be a good start for a career in design. (Credo - Bob Noordal)
"Applied Art" is the title which the Society has chosen for that portion of the arts which I have to speak to you about. What are we to understand by that title? I should answer that what the Society means by applied art is the ornamental quality which men choose to add to articles of utility. Theoretically this ornament can be done without, and art would then cease to be "applied" - would exist as a kind of abstraction, I suppose. But though this ornament to articles of utility may be done without, man up to the present time has never done without it, and perhaps never will; at any rate he does not propose to do so at present, although, as we shall see presently, he has got himself into somewhat of a mess in regard to his application of art. Is it worth while for a moment or two considering why man has never thought of giving up work which adds to the labour necessary to provide him with food and shelter, and to satisfy his craving for some exercise of his intellect? I think it is, and that such consideration will help us in dealing with the important question which one more I must attempt to answer, "What is our position towards the applied arts in the present, and what have we to hope for them and from them in the future?"
Now I say without hesitation that the purpose of applying art to articles of utility is twofold: first, to add beauty to the results of the work of man, which would otherwise be ugly; and secondly, to add pleasure to the work itself, which would otherwise be painful and disgustful. If that be the case, we must cease to wonder that man should always have striven to ornament the work of his own hands, which he must needs see all round about him daily and hourly; or that he should have always striven to turn the pain of his labour into a pleasure wherever it seemed possible to him.
Now as to the first purpose: I have said that the produce of man's labour must be ugly if art be not applied to it, and I use the word ugly as the strongest plain word in the English language. For the works of man cannot show a mere negation of beauty; when there are not beautiful they are actively ugly, and are thereby degrading to our manlike qualities; and at last so degrading that we are not sensible of our degradation, and are therefore preparing ourselves for the next step downward. The active injury of non-artistic human work I want especially to fix in your minds; so I repeat again, if you dispense with applying art to articles of utility, you will not have unnoticeable utilities, but utilities which will bear with them the same sort of harm as blankets infected with the small-pox or the scarlet-fever, and every step in your material life and its "progress" will tend towards the intellectual death of the human race.
Of course you will understand that in speaking of the works of man, I do not forget that there are some of his most necessary labours to which he cannot apply art in the sense wherein we are using it; but that only means that Nature has taken the beautifying of them out of his hands; and in most of these cases the processes are beautiful in themselves if our stupidity did not add grief and anxiety to them. I mean that the course of the fishing-boat over the waves, the plough-share driving the furrow for next year's harvest, the June swathe, the shaving falling from the carpenter's plane, all such things are in themselves beautiful, and the practice of them would be delightful if man, even in these last days of civilization, had mot been so stupid as to declare practically that such work (without which we should die in a few days) is the work of thralls and starvelings, whereas the work of destruction, strife, and confusion, is the work of the pick of the human race - gentlemen to wit.
But if these applied arts are necessary, as I believe they are, to prevent mankind from being a mere ugly and degraded blotch on the surface of the earth, which without him would certainly be beautiful, their other function of giving pleasure to labour is at least as necessary, and, if the two functions can be separated, even more beneficent and indispensable. For if it be true, as I know it is, that the function of art is to make labour pleasurable, what is the position in which we must find ourselves without it? One of two miseries must happen to us: either the necessary work of our lives must be carried on by a miserable set of helots for the benefit of a few lofty intellects; or if, as we ought to do, we determine to spread fairly the burden of the curse of labour over the whole community, yet there the burden will be, spoiling for each one of us a large part of that sacred gift of life, every fragment of which, if we were wise, we should treasure up and make the most of (and allow other to do so) by using it for the pleasurable exercise of our energies, which is the only true source of happiness.
Let me call your attention to an analogy between the function of the applied arts and a gift of Nature without which the world would certainly be much unhappier, but which is so familiar to us that we have no proper single word for it, and must use a phrase; to wit, the pleasure of satisfying hunger. Appetite is the single word used for it, but is clearly vague and unspecific: let us use it, however, now we have agreed as to what we mean by it.
By the way, need I apologize for introducing so gross a subject as eating and drinking? Some of you perhaps will think I ought to, and are looking forward to the day when this function also will be civilized into the taking of some intensely concentrated pill once a year, or indeed once in a life-time, leaving us free for the rest of our time to the exercise of our intellect - if we chance to have any in those days. From this height of cultivated aspiration I respectfully beg to differ, and in all seriousness, and not in the least in the world as a joke, I say that the daily meeting of the house-mates in rest and kindness for this function of eating, this restoration of the waste of life, ought to be looked on as a kind of sacrament, and should be adorned by art to the best of our powers: and pray pardon me if I say that the consciousness that there are so many people whose lives are so sordid, miserable, and anxious, that they cannot duly celebrate this sacrament, should be felt by those that can, as a burden to be shaken off by remedying the evil, and not by ignoring it. Well now, I say, that as eating would be dull work without appetite, or the pleasure of eating, so is the production of utilities dull work without art, or the pleasure of production; and that it is Nature herself who leads us to desire this pleasure, this sweetening of our daily toil. I am inclined to think that in the long-run mankind will find it indispensable; but if that turn out to be a false prophecy, all I can say is that mankind will have to find out some new pleasure to take its place, or life will become unendurable, and society impossible. Meantime it is reasonable and right that men should strive to make the useful wares which they produce beautiful just as Nature does; and that they should strive to make the making of them pleasant, just as Nature makes pleasant the exercise of the necessary functions of sentient beings. To apply art to useful wares, in short, is not frivolity, but a part of the serious business of life.
Now let us see in somewhat more detail what applied art deals with. I take it that it is only as a matter of convenience that we separate painting and sculpture from applied art: for in effect the synonym for applied art is architecture, and I should say that painting is of little use, and sculpture of less, except where their works form a part of architecture. A person with any architectural sense really always looks at any picture or any piece of sculpture from this point of view; even with the most abstract picture he is sure to think, How shall I frame it, and where shall I put it? As for sculpture, it becomes a mere toy, a tour de force, when it is not definitely a part of a building, executed for a certain height from the eye, and to be seen in a certain light. And if this be the case with works of art which can to a certain extent be abstracted from their surroundings, it is, of course, the case a fortiori with more subsidiary matters. In short, the complete work of applied art, the true unit of the art, is a building with all its due ornament and furniture; and I must say from experience that it is impossible to ornament duly an ugly or base building. And on the other hand I am forced to say that the glorious art of good building is in itself so satisfying, that I have seen many a building that needed little ornament, wherein all that seemed needed for its complete enjoyment was some signs of sympathetic and happy use by human beings: a stout table, a few old-fashioned chairs, a pot of flowers will ornament the parlour of an old English yeoman's house far better than a wagon-load of Rubens will ornament a gallery in Blenheim Park.
Only remember that this forbearance, this restrain in beauty, is not by any means necessarily artless: where you come upon an old house that looks thus satisfactory, while no conscious modern artist has been at work there, the result is caused by unconscious unbroken tradition: in default of that, in will march that pestilential ugliness I told you of before, and with its loathsome pretence and hideous vulgarity will spoil the beauty of a Gothic house in Somersetshire, or the romance of a peel-tower on the edge of a Scotch loch; and to get back any of the beauty and romance (you will never get it all back) you will need a conscious artist of to-day, whose chief work, however, will be putting out the intrusive rubbish and using the white-washing brush freely.
Well, I repeat that the unit of the art I have to deal with is the dwelling of some group of people, well-built, beautiful, suitable to its purpose, and duly ornamented and furnished so as to express the kind of life which the inmates live. Or it may be some noble and splendid building, built to last for ages, and it also duly ornamented so as to express the life and aspirations of the citizens: in itself a great piece of history of the efforts of the citizens to raise a house worthy of their noble lives, and its mere decoration an epic wrought for the pleasure and education, not of the present generation only, but of many generations to come. This is the true work of art - I was going to say of genuine civilization, but the word has been so misused that I will not use it - the true work of art, the true masterpiece, of reasonable and manly men conscious of the bond of true society that makes everything each man does of importance to every one else.
This is, I say, the unit of the art, this house, this church, this town-hall, built and ornamented by the harmonious efforts of a free people: by no possibility could one man do it, however gifted he might be: even supposing the director or architect of it were a great painter and a great sculptor, an unfailing designer of metal work, of mosaic, of woven stuffs and the rest - though he may design all these things, he cannot execute them, and something of his genius must be in the other members of the great body that raises the complete work: millions on millions of strokes of hammer and chisel, of the gouge, of the brush, of the shuttle, are embodied in that work of art, and in every one of them is either intelligence to help the master, or stupidity to foil him hopelessly. The very masons laying day by day their due tale of rubble and ashlar may help him to fill the souls of all beholders with satisfaction, or may make his paper design a folly or a nullity. They and all the workmen engaged in the work will bring that disaster about in spite of the master's mighty genius, unless they are instinct with intelligent tradition; unless they have that tradition, whatever pretence of art there is in it will be worthless. But if they are working backed by intelligent tradition, their work is the expression of their harmonious co-operation and the pleasure which they took in it: no intelligence, even of the lowest kind, has been crushed in it, but rather subordinated and used, so that no one from the master designer downwards could say, This is my work, but every one could say truly, This is our work. Try to conceive, if you can, the mass of pleasure which the production of such a work of art would give to all concerned in making it, though years and years it may be (for such work cannot be hurried); and when made there it is for a perennial pleasure to the citizens, to look at, to use, to care for, from day to day and year to year.
Is this a mere dream of an idealist? No, not at all; such works of art were once produced, when these islands had but a scanty population, leading a rough and to many (though not to me) a miserable life, with a "plentiful lack" of many, nay most, of the so-called comforts of civilization; in some such way have the famous buildings of the world been raised; but the full expression of this spirit of common and harmonious work is given only during the comparatively short period of the developed Middle Ages, the time of the completed combination of the workmen in the gilds of craft.
And now if you will allow me I will ask a question or two, and answer them myself.
1. Do we wish to have such works of art? I must answer that we here assembled certainly do, though I will not answer for the general public.
2. Why do we wish for them? Because (if you have followed me so far) their production would give pleasure to those that used them and those that made them: since if such works were done, all work would be beautiful and fitting for its purpose, and as a result most labour would cease to be burdensome.
3. Cam we have them now as things go? Can the present British Empire, will all its power and all its intelligence, produce what the scanty, half-barbarous, superstitious, ignorant population of these islands produced with no apparent effort several centuries ago? No; as things go we cannot have them; no conceivable combination of talent and enthusiasm could produce them as things are.
Why? Well, you see, in the first place, we have been engaged for at least one century in loading the earth with huge masses of "utilitarian" buildings, which we cannot get rid of in a hurry; we must be housed, and there are our houses for us; and I have said you cannot ornament ugly houses. This is a bad hearing for us.
But supposing we pulled these utilitarian houses down, should we build them up again much better? I fear not, in spite of the considerable improvement in taste which has taken place of late years, and of which this Congress is, I hope, an indication amongst others.
If the ugly utilitarian buildings abovesaid were pulled down, and we set about building others in their place, the new ones would assuredly be of two kinds: one kind would be still utilitarian in fact, though they might affect various degrees and kinds of ornamental style; and they would be at least as bad as those which they replaced, and in some respects would be worse than a good many of the older ones; would be flimsier in building, more tawdry, and more vulgar than those of the earlier utilitarian style. The other kind would be designed by skilful architects, men endowed with a sense of beauty, and educated in the history of past art, and they would doubtless be far better in form than the utilitarian abortions we have been speaking of; but they would lack the spirit of the older buildings of which I have spoken above. Let that pass for the moment. I will recur to it presently.
For one thing I am sure would immediately strike us in our city rebuilt at the end of the nineteenth century. The great mass of building would be of the utilitarian kind, and only here and there would you find an example of the refined and careful work of the educated architects - the Eclectic style, if you will allow me so to call it. That is all our rebuilding would come to; we should be pretty much where we are now, except that we should have lost some solid straightforwardly ugly buildings, and gained a few elegantly eccentric ones, "not understanded of the people."
How is this? Well, the answer to that question will answer the "why" of a few sentences back.
The mass of our houses would be utilitarian and ugly even if we set about the work of housing ourselves anew, because tradition has at last brought us into the plight of being builders of base and degrading buildings, and when we want to build otherwise we must try to imitate work done by men whose traditions led them to build beautifully; which I must say is not a very hopeful job.
I just said now that those few refined buildings which might be raised in a rebuilding of our houses, or which, to drop hypothesis, are built pretty often now, would lack, or do lack, the spirit of the medieval buildings I spoke of. Surely this is obvious: so far from being works of harmonious combination as effortless as any artistic work can be, they are, even when most successful, the result of a contrast conflict with all the traditions of the time. As a rule the only person connected with a work of architecture who has any idea of what is wanted in it is the architect himself; and at every turn he has to correct and oppose the habits of the mason, the joiner, the cabinet-maker, the carver, etc., and to try to get them to imitate painfully the habits of the fourteenth-century workmen, and to lay aside their own habits, formed not only from their own personal daily practice, but from the inherited turn of mind and practice of body of more than two centuries at least. Under all these difficulties it would be nothing short of a miracle if those refined buildings did not proclaim their eclecticism to all beholders. Indeed, as it is, the ignorant stare at them wondering; fools of the Podsnap breed laugh at them; harsh critics pass unkind judgments on them. Don't let us be any of these: when all is said they do much credit to those who have designed them and carried them out in the teeth of such prodigious difficulties; they are often beautiful in their own eclectic manner: they are always meant to be so: shall we find fault with their designers for trying to make them different from the mass of Victorian architecture? If there was to be any attempt to make them beautiful, that difference, that eccentricity, was necessary. Let us praise their eccentricity and not deride it, we whose genuine tendency is to raise buildings which are a blot on the beautiful earth, an insult to the common sense of cultivated nineteenth-century humanity. Allow me a parenthesis here. When I look on a group of clean well-fed middle-class men of that queer mixed race that we have been in the habit of calling the Anglo-Saxon (whether they belong to the land on this side of the Atlantic or the other); when I see these noble creatures, tall, wide-shouldered, and well-knit, with their bright eyes and well moulded features, these men full of courage, capacity, and energy, I have been astounded in considering the houses they have thought good enough for them, and the pettiness of the occupations which they have thought worthy of the exercise of their energies. To see a man of those inches, for example, bothering himself over the exact width of a stripe in some piece of printed cloth (which has nothing to do with its artistic needs) for fear it might not just hit the requirements of some remote market, tyrannized over by the whims of a languid creole or a fantastic negro, has given me a feeling of shame for my civilized middle-class fellow-man, who is regardless of the quality of the wares which he sells, but intensely anxious about the profits to be derived from them.
This parenthesis, to the subject of which I shall presently have to recur, leads me to note here that I have been speaking chiefly about architecture, because I look upon it, first as the foundation of all the arts, and next as an all-embracing art. All the furniture and ornament which goes to make up the complete unit of art, a properly ornamented dwelling, is in some degree or other beset with the difficulties which hamper nowadays the satisfactory accomplishment of good and beautiful building. The decorative painter, the mosaicist, the window-artist, the cabinet-maker, the paper-hanging-maker, the potter, the weaver, all these have to fight with the traditional tendency of the epoch in their attempt to produce beauty rather than marketable finery, to put artistic finish on their work rather than trade finish. I may, I hope, without being accused of egotism, say that my life for the last thirty years has given me ample opportunity for knowing the weariness and bitterness of that struggle.
For, to recur to my parenthesis, if the captain of industry (as it is the fashion to call a business man) thinks not of the wares with which he has to provide the world-market, but of profit to be made from them, so the instrument which he employs as an adjunct to his machinery, the artisan, does not think of the wares which he (and the machine) produces as wares, but simply as livelihood for himself. The tradition of the work which he has to deal with has brought him to this, that instead of satisfying his own personal conception of what the wares he is concerned in making should be, he has to satisfy his master's view of the marketable quality of the said wares. And you must understand that this is a necessity of the way in which the workman works; to work thus means livelihood for him; to work otherwise means starvation. I beg you to note that this means that the realities of the wares are sacrificed to commercial shams of them, if that be not too strong a word. The manufacturer (as we call him) cannot turn out quite nothing and offer it for sale, at least in the case of articles of utility; what he does do is to turn out a makeshift of the article demanded by the public, and by means of the "sword of cheapness," as it has been called, he not only can force the said makeshift on the public, but can (and does) prevent them from getting the real thing; the real thing presently ceases to be made after the makeshift has been once foisted on to the market.
Now we won't concern ourselves about other makeshifts, however noxious to the pleasure of life they may be: let those excuse them that profit by them. But if you like to drink glucose beer instead of malt beer, and to eat oleo-margarine instead of butter; if these things content you, at least ask yourselves what in the name of patience you want with a makeshift of art!
Indeed I began by saying that it was natural and reasonable for man to ornament his mere useful wares and not to be content with mere utilitarianism; but of course I assumed that the ornament was real, that it did not miss its mark, and become no ornament. For that is what makeshift art means, and that is indeed a waste of labour.
Try to understand what I mean: you want a ewer and basin, say: you go into a shop and buy one; you probably will not buy a merely white one; you will scarcely see a merely white set. Well, you look at several, and one interests you about as much as another - that is, not at all; and at last in mere weariness you say, "Well, that will do"; and you have your crockery with a scrawl of fern leaves and convolvulus over it which is its "ornament." The said ornament gives you no pleasure, still less any idea; it only gives you an impression (a mighty dull one) of bedroom. The ewer also has some perverse stupidity about its handle which also says bedroom, and adds respectability: and in short you endure the said ornament, except perhaps when you are bilious and uncomfortable in health. You think, if you think at all, that the said ornament has wholly missed its mark. And yet that isn't so; that ornament, that special form which the ineptitude of the fern scrawl and the idiocy of the handle has taken, has sold so many dozen or gross more of that toilet set than of others, and that is what it is put there for; not to amuse you, you know it is not art, but you don't know that it is trade finish, exceedingly useful - to everybody except its user and its actual maker.
But does it serve no purpose except to the manufacturer, shipper, agent, shopkeeper, etc.? Ugly, inept, stupid, as it is, I cannot quite say that. For if, as the saying goes, hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue, so this degraded piece of trade finish is the homage which commerce pays to art. It is a token that art was once applied to ornamenting utilities, for the pleasure of their makers and their users.
Now we have seen that this applied art is worth cultivating, and indeed that we are here to cultivate it; but it is clear that, under the conditions above spoken of, its cultivation will be at least difficult. For the present conditions of life in which the application of art to utilities is made imply that a very serious change has taken place since those works of co-operative art were produced in the Middle Ages, which few people I think sufficiently estimate.
Briefly speaking, this change amounts to this, that Tradition has transferred itself from art to commerce - that commerce which has now embraced the old occupation of war, as well as the production of wares. But the end proposed by commerce is the creation of a market-demand, and the satisfaction of it when created for the sake of the production of individual profits: whereas the end proposed by art applied to utilities, that is, the production of the days before commerce, was the satisfaction of the genuine spontaneous needs of the public, and the earning of individual livelihood by the producers. I beg you to consider these two ideas of production, and you will then see how wide apart they are from one another. To the commercial producer the actual wares are nothing; their adventures in the market are everything. To the artist the wares are everything; his market he need not trouble himself about; for he is asked by other artists to do what he does do, what his capacity urges him to do.
The ethics of the commercial person (squaring themselves of course to his necessities) bid him give as little as he can to the public, and take as much as he possibly can from them: the ethics of the artist bid him put as much of himself as he can in every piece of goods he makes. The commercial person, therefore, is in the position, that he is dealing with a public of enemies; the artist, on the contrary, with a public of friends and neighbours.
Again, it is clear that the commercial person must chiefly confine his energies to the war which he is waging; the wares that he deals in must be made by instruments - as far as possible by means of instruments without desires or passions, by automatic machines, as we call them. Where that is not possible, and he has to used highly-drilled human beings instead of machines, it is essential to his success that they should imitate the passionless quality of machines as long as they are at work; whatever of human feeling may be irrepressible will be looked upon by the commercial person as he looks upon grit or friction in his non-human machines, as a nuisance to be abated. Need I say that from these human machines it is futile to look for art? Whatever feelings they may have for art they must keep for their leisure - that is, for the very few hours in the week when they are trying to rest after labour and are not asleep; or for the hapless days when they are out of employment and are in desperate anxiety about their livelihood.
Of these men, I say, you cannot hope that they can live by applying art to utilities: they can only apply the sham of it for commercial purposes; and I may say in parenthesis, that from experience I can guess what a prodigious amount of talent is thus wasted. For the rest you may consider, and workmen may consider, this statement of mine to be somewhat brutal: I can only reply both to you and to them, that it is a truth which it is necessary to face. It is one side of the disabilities of the working class, and I invite them to consider it seriously.
Therefore (as I said last year at Liverpool), I must turn from the great body of men who are producing utilities, and who are debarred from applying art to them, to a much smaller group, indeed a very small one. I must turn to a group of men who are not working under masters who employ them to produce for the world-market, but who are free to do as they please with their work, and are working for a market which they can see and understand, whatever the limitations may be under which they work: that is, the artists.
They are a small and a weak body, on the surface of things obviously in opposition to the general tendency of the age; debarred, therefore, as I have said, from true co-operative art; and as a consequence of this isolation heavily weighted in the race of success. For co-operative tradition places an artist at the very beginning of his career in a position wherein he has escaped the toil of learning a huge multitude of little matters, difficult, nay impossible to learn otherwise: the field which he has to dig is not a part of a primeval prairie, but ground made fertile and put in good heart by the past labour of countless generations. It is the apprenticeship of the ages, in short, whereby an artist is born into the workshop of the world.
We artists of to-day are not so happy as to share fully in this apprenticeship: we have to spend the best part of our lives in trying to get hold of some "style" which shall be natural to us, and too often fail in doing so; or perhaps oftener still, having acquired our "style," that is, our method of expression, become so enamoured of the means, that we forget the end, and find that we have nothing to express except our self-satisfaction in the possession of our very imperfect instrument; so that you will find clever and gifted men at the present day who are prepared to sustain as a theory, that art has no function but the display of clever executive qualities, and that one subject is as good as another. No wonder that this theory should lead them into the practice of producing pictures which we might pronounce to be clever, if we could understand what they meant, but whose meaning we can only guess at, and suppose that they are intended to convey the impression on a very short-sighted person of divers ugly incidents seen through the medium of a London fog.
Well I admit that this is a digression, as my subject is Applied Art, and such art cannot be applied to anything; and I am afraid, indeed, that it must be considered a mere market article.
Thus we artists of to-day are cut off from co-operative tradition, but I must not say that we are cut off from all tradition. And though it is undeniable that we are out of sympathy with the main current of the age, its commercialism, yet we are (even sometimes unconsciously) in sympathy with that appreciation of history which is a genuine growth of the times, and a compensation to some of us for the vulgarity and brutality which beset our lives; and it is through this sense of history that we are united to the tradition of past times.
Past times: are we reactionists, then, anchored in the dead past? Indeed I should hope not; nor can I altogether tell you how much of the past is really dead. I see about me now evidence of ideas recurring which have long been superseded. The world runs after some object of desire, strives strenuously for it, gains it, and apparently casts it aside; like a kitten playing with a ball, you say. No, not quite. The gain is gained, and something else has to be pursued, often something which once seemed to be gained and was left alone for a while. Yet the world has not gone back; for that old object of desire was only gained in the past as far as the circumstances of the day would allow it to be gained then. As a consequence the gain was imperfect; the times are now changed, and allow us to carry on that old gain a step forward to perfection: the world has not really gone back on its footsteps, though to some it has seemed to do so. Did the world go back, for instance, when the remnant of the ancient civilizations was overwhelmed by the barbarism which was the foundation of modern Europe? We can all see that it did not. Did it go back when the logical and orderly system of the Middle Ages had to give place to the confusion of incipient commercialism in the sixteenth century? Again, ugly and disastrous as the change seems on the surface, I yet think it was not a retrogression into prehistoric anarchy, but a step upward along the spiral, which, and not the straight line, is, as my friend Bax puts it, the true line of progress.
So that if in the future that shall immediately follow on this present we may have to recur to ideas that to-day seem to belong to the past only, that will not be really a retracing of our steps, but rather a carrying on of progress from a point where we abandoned it a while ago. On that side of things, the side of art, we have not progressed; we have disappointed the hopes of the period just before the time of abandonment: have those hopes really perished, or have they merely lain dormant, abiding the time when we, or our sons, or our sons' sons, should quicken them once more?
I must conclude that the latter is the case, that the hope of leading a life ennobled by the pleasurable exercise of our energies is not dead, though it has been for a while forgotten. I do not accuse the epoch in which we live of uselessness: doubtless it was necessary that civilized man should turn himself to mastering nature and winning material advantages undreamed of in former times; but there are signs in the air which show that men are not so wholly given to this side of the battle of life as they used to be. People are beginning to murmur and say: "So we have won the battle with nature; where then is the reward of victory? We have striven and striven, but shall we never enjoy? Man that was once weak is now most mighty. But his increase of happiness, where is that? who shall show it to us, who shall measure it? Have we done more than change one form of unhappiness for another, one form of unrest for another? We see the instruments which civilization has fashioned; what is she going to do with them? Mare more and more and yet more? To what avail? If she would but use them, then indeed were something done. Meantime what is civilization doing? Day by day the world grows uglier, and where in the passing day is the compensating gain? Half-conquered nature forced us to toil, and yet for more reward than the sustenance of a life of toil; now nature is conquered, but still we force ourselves to toil for that bare unlovely wage: riches we have won without stint, but wealth is as far from us as ever, or it may be farther. Come then, since we are so mighty, let us try if we can not do the one thing worth doing; make the world, of which we are part, somewhat happier."
This is the spirit of much that I hear said about me, not by poor or oppressed men only, but by those who have a good measure of the gains of civilization. I do not know if the same kind of feeling was about in the earlier times of the world; but I know that it means real discontent, a hope, partly unconscious, of better days: and I will be bold to say that the spirit of this latter part of our century is that of fruitful discontent, or rebellion; that is to say, of hope. And of that rebellion we artists are a part; and though we are but few, and few as we are, mere amateurs compared with the steady competency of the artists of bygone times, yet we are of some use in the movement towards the attainment of wealth, that is toward the making of our instruments useful.
For we, at least, have remembered what most people have forgotten amongst the ugly unfruitful toil of the age of makeshifts, that it is possible to be happy, that labour may be a pleasure; nay, that the essence of pleasure abides in labour if it be duly directed; that is if it be directed towards the performance of those functions which wise and healthy people desire to see performed; in other words, if mutual help be its moving principle.
Well, since it is our business, as artists, to show the world that the pleasurable exercise of our energies is the end of life and the cause of happiness, and thus to show it which road the discontent of modern life must take in order to reach a fruitful home, it seems to me that we ought to feel our responsibilities keenly. It is true that we cannot but share in the poverty of this age of makeshifts, and for long I fear we can be little but amateurs. Yet, at least each in his own person, we may struggle against makeshifts in art. For instance, to press a little home on ourselves, if drawing is our weak point, let us try to improve ourselves on that side, and not proclaim that drawing is nothing and tone is everything. Or if we are bad colourists, let us set to work and learn, at least, to colour inoffensively (which I assure you can be learned), instead of jeering at those who give us beautiful colour habitually and easily. Or of we are ignorant of history, and without any sense of romance, don't let us try to exalt those deficiencies into excellences by maintaining the divinity of the ugly and the stupid. Let us leave all such unworthy shabbinesses to the Philistines and pessimists, who naturally want to drag everybody down to their level.
In short, we artists are in this position, that we are the representatives of craftsmanship which has become extinct in the production of market wares. Let is therefore do our very best to become as good craftsmen as possible; and if we cannot be good craftsmen in one line, let us go down to the next, and find our level in the arts, and be good in that; if we are artists at all, we shall be sure to find out what we can do well, even if we cannot do it easily. Let us educate ourselves to be good workmen at all events, which will give us real sympathy with all that is worth doing in art, make us free of that great corporation of creative power, the work of all ages, and prepare us for that which is surely coming, the new co-operative art of life, in which there will be no slaves, no vessels to dishonour, though there will necessarily be subordination of capacities, in which the consciousness of each one that he belongs to a corporate body, working harmoniously, each for all, and all for each, will bring about real and happy equality. (The arts and crafts of to-day - William Morris)
Away with the sourpusses, the wailing Willies, the sobersides, the brow furrowers, the eternally serious, the sweet-sour ones, the forever important!
'Important! Important!' This damned habit of acting important! Tombstone and cemetery façades in front of junk shops and old clothes stores! Smash the shell-lime Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns, demolish the pinheads! Down with the 'respectability' of sandstone and plate-glass, in fragments with the rubbish of marble and precious wood, to the garbage heap with all that junk!
'Oh, our concepts: space, home, style!' Ugh, how these concepts stink! Destroy them, put an end to them! Let nothing remain! Chase away their schools, let the professorial wigs fly, we'll play catch with them. Blast, blast! Let the dusty, matted, gummed up world of concepts, ideologies and systems feel our cold north wind! Death to the concept-lice! Death to everything stuffy! Death to everything called title, dignity, authority! Down with everything serious!
Down with all camels that won't go through the eye of a needle, with all worshippers of Mammon and Moloch! 'The worshippers of force must knuckle under to force!' We are sick of their bloodsucking - caterwauling in the early light.
In the distance shines our tomorrow. Hurray, three times hurray for our kingdom without force! Hurray for the transparent, the clear! Hurray for purity! Hurray for crystal! Hurray and hurray again for the fluid, the graceful, the angular, the sparkling, the flashing, the light - hurray for everlasting architecture! (Down with Seriousism - Bruno Tout)
Through the influence of the media and technology on our world, our lives are increasingly characterized by speed and constant change. We live in a dynamic, data-driven society that is continually sparking new forms of human interaction and social contexts. Instead of romanticizing the past, we want to adapt our way of working to coincide with these developments, and we want our work to reflect the here and now. We want to embrace the complexity of this landscape, deliver insight into it and show both its beauty and its shortcomings.
Our work focuses on processes rather than products: things that adapt to their environment, emphasize change and show difference.
Instead of operating under the terms of Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Media Art or Sound Design, we want to introduce Conditional Design as a term that refers to our approach rather than our chosen media. We conduct our activities using the methods of philosophers, engineers, inventors and mystics.
The process is the product.
The most important aspects of a process are time, relationship and change.
The process produces formations rather than forms.
We search for unexpected but correlative, emergent patterns.
Even though a process has the appearance of objectivity, we realize the fact that it stems from subjective intentions.
Logic is our tool.
Logic is our method for accentuating the ungraspable.
A clear and logical setting emphasizes that which does not seem to fit within it.
We use logic to design the conditions through which the process can take place.
Design conditions using intelligible rules.
Avoid arbitrary randomness.
Difference should have a reason.
Use rules as constraints.
Constraints sharpen the perspective on the process and stimulate play within the limitations.
The input is our material.
Input engages logic and activates and influences the process.
Input should come from our external and complex environment: nature, society and its human interactions. (Conditional design manifesto - Luna Maurer, Edo Paulus, Jonathan Puckey, Roel Wouters)
Form Follows Function
Start with a Question
Interactivity is Key
Cite your Source
The power of Narrative
Do not glorify Aesthetics
Look for Relevancy
Aspire for Knowledge
Avoid gratuitous visualizations (Information Visualisation Manifesto - Manuel Lima)
We are living in an age where millions of colours became 256. Difference is the enemy. Generic culture hypnotises us all into generic patterns, where control is visibly invisible. Danger is replaced by fear. New means upgrade. Risk is obsolete. Art made money stupid, and money made us fools. We welcome no_use, no_function and no_fear. Anarchy, crash and burn, the new awaits.
From Learning to Earning, and now to Yearning, we have forgotten why we are here. We have lost touch with what made us tick, the fire of creative possibility that once consumed us from within.
Revolutionary thought is but a distant memory. I grew up as part of a generation that thought it could help improve society; that our sole function was to be conscious and to spread that consciousness through creative awareness, exploration, observation and questioning.
This generation was replaced by the Thatcher/Reagan paradigm of Culture=Money. Thinkers became earners, Creatives became entertainers, and a whole dumbed-down generation now feels entitled to success and profit without having to work or think too much.
We are now left with a spiritual hollowness. The belief systems of consumption and commodity have been exposed as empty. Revolution is a distant echo lost in the white noise, and religion has been largely subsumed by globalisation. Virtual experiences have replaced human touch. Analogue culture is now the exotic.
We have managed to create for our children, perhaps for the first time in history, a future which is less hopeful than the one we live in today.
The house of credit cards has now collapsed. For 25 years we have been in a state of Deep Freeze. We have somehow denied ourselves permission to remember what it was like before the Big Bang of banking deregulation. Schools became businesses and hospitals became profit centres. Art for art’s sake was sacrificed for entertainment and bums on seats. Ideas became clichŽs and anything different was viewed with suspicion and disdain.
We have traded Freedom for Peace. What we need is Liberation.
Free Me From Freedom
As the Lehman Brothers collapsed, so a new era is signalled and the baton is passed on again. Mankind has the opportunity now to reclaim the cultural high-ground and risk something new, a creative breach in the barrier of exclusion that can allow some real growth and evolution, like a bright light shining through the cracks of a crumbling wall.
The line of Dangerous Ideas had been interrupted and the path can be found again.
When was the last time you encountered any culture that you can say was really dangerous, that actually challenged anything? (Anti-Design Festival Manifesto)
A designer does not have the luxury of cynicism.
It is easier to react than to create.
You must keep moving away from what you know.
A designer's gotta have the guts to be truthful at all times.
People don't fund problems, they fund solutions.
Many believe the world just is. Designers believe we can make the world be.
It can be helpful to think about an idea from a point of view that makes no sense.
Through the act of making things, we discover ideas.
When you're totally unqualified for a job, that's when you do your best work.
The goal is to be an expert coming out, not going in.
To bring about real change, you have to kiss a lot of frogs.
When the world isn't working well, you have the makings of a great design project. (The Glimmer Manifesto - Warren Berger)
GO BEYOND THE POST-WAR LEGACY OF INNOVATION
PRINCIPLES, NOT MODELS
IN PRAISE OF ‘USELESS’ RESEARCH
INNOVATION IS HARD WORK
FOR SUCCESS, EXPECT LOTS OF FAILURES
REGARD CHANCE AND SuRPRISE AS ALLIES
INNOVATION DEMANDS LEADERSHIP
INNOVATION IS EVERYBODY’S RESPONSIBILITY
TRUST THE PEOPLE, NOT REGULATION
THINK GLOBAL, ACT GLOBAL
THE SPIRIT OF INNOVATION KNOWS NO LIMITS
BY, WITH, AND FOR HUMANITY (Big Potatoes: The London Manifesto for Innovation)
Always take risks. It is easy to learn and then repeat exactly what you have learned. However, you will not grow that way. I can see value in the regurgitation of knowledge if you are a lawyer, but I have a hard time with it as a design student or a creative professional. You should be pushing yourself and you should be taking risks, especially in school. Big risks. Trying what may not work. Asking questions that may not have answers. Seeing if what you throw against the wall sticks. In my experience, taking risks in school has always paid off big time.
Be aggressive. There are many opportunities available while in design school. For example: collaborative projects, extracurricular activities, and freelance work. These opportunities will not always come to you, you must go get them. Every school has a publications department that designs and produces internal and external collateral. There is no reason that you should not be the person designing these projects. Make contacts and ask for work. If you are talented and a little lucky, you will get it.
Be aggressive in terms of your academics as well. There are two kinds of design professors at school: pushers and pullers. Some professors will push their knowledge on you. Others will make you pull what you need from them. Ask questions of both. Challenge their statements. Ask for precedents. Beyond the curriculum of the class, ask your favorite faculty who they know that needs an intern (because they do know people, I assure you). Ask faculty if they need any assistance with their own work. Find out which exhibits they enjoyed at local museums. It is very important that as a design student you do not sit back and let things happen to you. Be aggressive and create your own luck and opportunities.
Break the rules. I lecture to my students that they should “fuck the rules” as long as they have a good reason. I have consistently found that the students who are conservative, stay inside the lines and try to appeal to the teacher, are the students who do the most predictable work. Not bad work, just predictable. Defying the rules forces you to stray from the path of least resistance and ultimately make work that is more interesting, more meaningful and more fun to create.
But, that does not mean just be a contrarian for its own sake. It does not mean ignore any and all guidelines. It means take the requirements into consideration and break past them with good reasons and solid ideas. Breaking the rules just to be different is foolish, breaking the rules because you have a much better idea is smart.
Look at everything. Dismiss nothing. Each designer is born from a unique experience. Classmates in the same program will have different educations depending on which teachers they have, what field trips they take, and what books they pick up. As a designer you need to always be looking at the world around you. You need to see everything—the kind of detailed seeing taught in freshman drawing classes—not just looking, but really seeing. You need to be an observer as well as a maker. You should rid yourself of any preconceptions of what is and is not worthy of your attention. Everything has potential to be interesting and influential. Not everything will be, but the more you see the better your chances are at seeing something that will be useful to you.
Be obsessive. The saying goes that “necessity is the mother of invention.” I concur, but I think for designers the saying should be obsession is the mother of invention. Obsession is what drives you to explore and find out as much as possible about something that interests you. I do not mean that being clinically obsessive/compulsive is something to aspire to—I have been told that is neither fun or interesting—but I do mean you need to be intensely immersed and engaged in what you are doing. This obsession can move you past understanding and awareness into a translative process where you will start to make things. We are usually taught that obsession is unhealthy, and in some cases that is true. When it comes to how a designer looks at the world, obsession can provide an incredible explosion of ideas as you become so engrossed in something you start to reinvent it inside your head. Obsession can often help you to move through the threshold between thinking and making. You should never hold back your excitement about something that interests you, and by the same token, you should not hesitate to be obsessive about many things since you never know where your interests will lead.
Be uncomfortable. Comfort is tremendously overrated, especially as a designer. You know you can skew some type, add some color, toss in an image and make a decent piece of design. Maybe it’s not great, but it’s good enough. It is easy to get into the habit of making the kind of work you are comfortable making. Truly great, interesting, inspiring design comes not from comfort but from discomfort. It comes from the fear that what you are doing might really suck, but it also might just be brilliant. Discomfort makes you reexamine what you think you know and how you think things should work. Being uncomfortable helps you make decisions from the gut, it makes you push harder and take more risks. Grabbing that fear, holding onto that uncomfortable, scary place lets you push past expectations and into the unknown—into a process of discovery as opposed to regurgitation.
Be opinionated. You should have opinions about design and the world around you. Preferably, you should have strong opinions. Ideally, you should have strong and informed opinions. Every great designer I have ever met has an active stance on design, they do not passively allow work to wash over them. They have opinions about what they see. Having opinions means engaging in some kind of internal analysis of the work you see and formulating a response to it. As an educator I do this constantly in the classroom, and I try to do it constantly in the professional world as well. Opinions about design force you to pick a side, and define what kind of designer you are.
There are plenty of designers out there who punch a clock in the morning, mindlessly flow some text into InDesign all day, and then leave at five and don’t think about design until the next morning. There are designers who casually ignore art and design while they look for the next reality show on TV. Then there are the other designers who make more design in their spare time. Their idea of a good time is to look at typography or experiment with painting or photography. These are designers who are fully immersed in working visually, designers who are actively engaged in becoming better at what they do every day.
Be a cop. They say that when you are a police officer you are on duty 24/7/365. Cops always look at their surroundings from a cop’s perspective. They notice things others do not. They act as a cop would in an emergency situation whether or not they are in uniform. Most cops I have met and read about always carry their firearms and badge, even while on vacation. It is not something they turn off at the end of their shift.
A designer needs to act like a cop. When you are a designer, you are a designer 24/7/365. Always noticing, always observing, always designing, even if only in your head. Carrying a camera with you at all times is a good habit—capture interesting details you come across, not just because you have an assignment due, but because it is in your nature as a visual artist to observe and process the world around you. Inspiration comes from everywhere and nowhere, all at the same time.
One of the greatest things about being a designer is that you do not finish your design education when you leave design school. You continue learning for the rest of you life, and you should carry these ideas with you as you develop and mature into a creative professional. (Design Education Manifesto - Mitch Goldstein)