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Graphic Design Discourse: Evolving Theories, Ideologies, and Processes of Visual Communication

Graphic Design Discourse: Evolving Theories, Ideologies, and Processes of Visual Communication

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Graphic Design Discourse: Evolving Theories, Ideologies, and Processes of Visual Communication

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1,012 pages
10 hours
Dirilis:
Mar 20, 2018
ISBN:
9781616896720
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Buku

Deskripsi

If the aim of graphic design is to communicate meaning clearly, there's an irony that the field itself has struggled between two contradictory opposites: rote design resulting from a rigorous, fixed set of rules, and eccentric design that expresses the hand of the artist but fails to communicate with its audience. But what if designers focused on process and critical analysis over visual outcome? Through a carefully selected collection of more than seventy-five seminal texts spanning centuries and bridging the disciplines of art, architecture, design history, philosophy, and cultural theory, Graphic Design Discourse: Evolving Theories, Ideologies, and Processes of Visual Communication establishes a new paradigm for graphic design methodologies for the twenty-first century. This illuminating anthology is essential reading for practicing designers, educators, and students trying to understand how to design in a singular, expressive way without forgoing clear and concise visual communication.
Dirilis:
Mar 20, 2018
ISBN:
9781616896720
Format:
Buku

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Graphic Design Discourse - Princeton Architectural Press

Acknowledgments

PROCESS 0-1

Steff Geissbühler

Foreword

| Design Is Beautiful

Steff Geissbühler was a partner and principal at Chermayeff & Geismar Inc. for thirty years and the designer of some of the most memorable posters and corporate identity programs of the late twentieth century. He was awarded the American Institute of Graphic Arts Medal for his sustained contribution to design excellence and the development of the profession. He is also the recipient of the Federal Achievement Design Award.

I am a practicing graphic designer and problem solver. I am involved in every part of a design project, from research and analysis through thinking and sketching to design and execution; from developing a visual language and establishing specifications and guidelines to rolling out applications and programs. We designers communicate visually, no matter the language, country, or culture of our target audience. We like to think of what we do as being fluent in the universal language of graphic design. We are hired to speak for the client because we can interpret and translate the words into images, which in turn express what our client wants to say, project, or be.

This book is about revolutions leading to evolutions in design. The manifestos, philosophies, and writings included here are about change and progress. Most argue against the old and urge us to discard the former and embrace the new. We must… We can no longer… We reject… We are implored to destroy the cult of the past, and along with it ornamentation, decoration, and the unnecessary. But we are also pressed to return to craft and go back to purity and absolute clarity.

Modern design appeals for simplicity, immediacy, and economy of form and function. The story it tells must be abbreviated for a fast-moving world. Design becomes more abstract, mathematically constructed, organized, rational, standardized, and streamlined for mass production and consumption. Designers communicate using a shorthand of simple words and abbreviations. Designers are designing symbols, pictures, and visual codes for our audiences to express or communicate anything from facts to opinions and emotions.

But as design becomes more mechanized, it gets more predictable and sterile. And we come to realize that the hand, controlled by our brain, can give our communications more personality and character. There has been, and always will be, a demand for craft and illustration, a return to the hand-drawn and the handmade. The pendulum will always swing back to the human. Perhaps more than anything else, design is about rational thinking, innovation, meaningfulness, honesty, and, last but not least, beauty.

Graphic Design Discourse is an anthology of important historical documents that speak to our origins as designers, a collection of writings that have influenced the course and discourse of design. With the addition of his own brilliant texts and analysis, Henry Hongmin Kim has passed a tremendous assembly of critical thinking throughout the ages into the hands of professionals and students. It is a joy to revisit and understand the discourse we are building on today.

PROCESS 0-2

Henry Hongmin Kim

End of Design, Beginning of Process | ManifestoFM of ProcessAW Design

Graphic design is a problem-solvingMV methodology driven by analytical and structuralFS thinking. A graphic designer is not merely a utilitarian visual mechanic but a consilient,EW transdiscursive auteurRB MF2 of the desire of the other.JL Our creativity comes from a critical analysis of communication and prehensionAW processesAW through structuralFS and post-structuralRB MF understanding of discourses on ontology, epistemology,IK semiotics,RB and linguistics.FS

Confrontation,RD FM which is a process of radical doubtRD—antithesisGH against a generic thesisGH—leads us to a constructive and productive synthesis.GH The visual outcome is simply a natural result of this evolution, but it is neither what graphic design is nor what defines a graphic designer.

The processAW itself cannot be a solution either. The solution is the visual outcome, the signifier.FS Design is language,FS visual language. Thus, execution requires craftsmanshipJT built upon a strong syntactical foundation.MV Like language, design cannot exist in a vacuum; like language, design is a social phenomenon.JB

Thinking without pragmaticsMV cannot be considered design.

A design without thinking is just visual rubbish.

Screw design thinkers.

Screw visual polluters.MV

It is all about process!AW

Our faith in an engineeredJT processAW of dissection and construction lets us approach every step of a creative challenge with passion, enthusiasm, and excitement. We can imagine our life in the continuous thrall of a Stendhal syndrome of our own making, an essentialGH superject.AW

StructuralMF ProcessAW Designers of the World, Unite!KM

Graphic Design DiscourseVM

2017

Everything is design.

We design everything.

Design is everything.

Deucalion and Pyrrha, engraving by Virgil Solis

Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book I, 347–415. Fol. 7v, image 11. 1563

PROCESS 0-3

Henry Hongmin Kim

Introduction

| Graphic Design Discourse

Phrenology diagram

People’s Cyclopedia of Universal Knowledge1883

Process

The aim of graphic design is simple: graphic design is visual communication. And yet, in spite of the relatively straightforward goal of communicating information, the field of graphic design has struggled to situate itself between two aesthetic antipodes. On the one hand, graphic design tends toward the studio arts. Such design unabashedly bears the eccentric mark of an individual designer. At its extreme, this mode of graphic design can fail to successfully—that is, unambiguously—communicate with its audience. On the other hand, graphic design can be rigorously systematized and eschew the authorial imprint in favor of clear, objective information. At its most extreme, structural graphic design becomes rote and predictable, the bland output of an algorithmic design vending machine.

Modernism provided a gospel for the age of information and communication after the Industrial Revolution. The modernist doctrine has proved to be a universally sophisticated approach, enabling design to traverse cultures, but it can also limit a designer’s aesthetic. In reaction, postmodern designers sought ways of embedding their aura into their work by circumventing the structural foundations of modernist design.

Over the years, designers have claimed various new roles, with a strong emphasis today on design thinking. However, a designer is typically also able to practice skilled craftsmanship based on design principles. In the age of information, graphic designers must be all things—thinker and technician, problem solver and practitioner. We must be goal oriented and process driven. However, our role hinges on our ability to not only produce successful outcomes but also to think rationally, to argue reasonably, and to give shape to the desire of others within a given system. We are not studio artists; we are engineers of communication. We create not because we are creative but because we are radical believers in the value of a structurally sound and well-delivered message.

If we allow ourselves to submit to confrontation as a method of truth finding—if we allow our ideas to be challenged and negated ad infinitum—we will discover a positive means of systematically yielding a productive synthesis. No designer is an island; our dominion is found in the act of letting go and trusting the process—a process that is always heteronomous and never solitary, one that should stand upon the shoulders of sound theoretical discourse. We are collaborators, transdiscursive authors, and engineers. Graphic design is in its infancy. Therefore, we must take this opportunity to define our identity, as it will shape our influence moving forward.

Is it possible to design information in an expressive way without undermining the design’s purpose—clear and concise visual communication based on an intelligent structural methodology and a coherent visualization process? Before considering this approach, we must glean insights from the history, theory, and discourse of design.

Graphic Design Discourse

Most existing design theory or history books present either (1) the overarching personal view of a single author, (2) a collection of essays by several designers, or (3) a single author’s interpretation of texts from other disciplines, such as semiotics or linguistics, considered within design pragmatics. Graphic Design Discourse is a collection of discourses—canonical ideologies and practices that have been observed, gathered, and recorded to provide a new generation of designers with a collection of interpretative teachings—a design(ed) doctrine.

Graphic Design Discourse presents a chronological progression of in-depth theories to create a sophisticated dialogue. Over five hundred articles and books by philosophers, designers, architects, artists, and critics were reviewed, and over seventy texts have been selected and arranged based on the evolution of design discourse throughout history. Graphic Design Discourse groups articles into seven categories. Each section presents another approach to design, another moment in its evolution. Processes serve as individual anchor points, chronologically ordered, secured by the designers and philosophers who conceived them, and organized into accessible sections to be devoured. A new anchor acts as a turn of prehension relative to the previous point, allowing for the evolution of design history through a wider process of deduction. Thus, an individual design methodology should be a deductive process, and not an inductive process drenched in generalized empirical knowledge. Each process is extremely important to understanding how we as designers have landed in our current position. Without the anchor points we would free fall; with them we have the ability to strengthen our resolve and to push design into the future.

Graphic Design Discourse is not a proclamation of a singular truth but an analysis of multiple understandings. As graphic designers, we must consider our role in this process more critically; we must broaden our scope of knowledge and develop a clear theoretical understanding of what it means to communicate.

Graphic Design Discourse is the manifestation of the pursuit of unity in knowledge—concrescence among philosophers, academics, and designers. It is a collection of expansive discourses that will guide us to a more critical and learned understanding of what we do and what our role in society will be in the future. We are not spontaneous beings: nothing is natural; everything is designed. It is our responsibility to fully understand the breadth and influence of our field and to, in turn, derive our creativity from a comprehensive understanding of the discourse that surrounds it.

We believe that this is the right moment to create the ultimate canon of design theory and discourse in order to ensure a bright future for design and design education.

PROCESS 1

Disruption of Convention

| Against Humanism

Traditional forms of art—including painting, sculpture, and architecture—have been integral to human civilization since its inception. They defined and advanced human creativity through centuries of evolving discourse, theory, and ideology. In comparison, the history of graphic design as a discrete field is infinitesimal. After the long development of traditional art forms over thousands of years, graphic design—unfathomable prior to the advent of the printing press and mass communication—emerged as one of the most advanced forms of visual communication and expression.

1-1

F. T. Marinetti

The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism

1909

we intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876–1944) was an Italian poet, editor, and art theorist. He was a founder of Futurism, which rejected the past and celebrated industry, machinery, speed, violence, and youth. The Futurist movement came to be considered a turning point in the advancement of modernism in art and design. Marinetti’s Futurist manifesto first appeared as the preface to a 1909 volume of his poems. It was published later that year in the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dell’Emilia and the French newspaper Le Figaro.

We had stayed up all night, my friends and I, under hanging mosque lamps with domes of filigreed brass, domes starred like our spirits, shining like them with the prisoned radiance of electric hearts. For hours we had trampled our atavistic ennui into rich oriental rugs, arguing up to the last confines of logic and blackening many reams of paper with our frenzied scribbling.

An immense pride was buoying us up, because we felt ourselves alone at that hour, alone, awake, and on our feet, like proud beacons or forward sentries against an army of hostile stars glaring down at us from their celestial encampments. Alone with stokers feeding the hellish fires of great ships, alone with the black spectres who grope in the red-hot bellies of locomotives launched on their crazy courses, alone with drunkards reeling like wounded birds along the city walls.

Suddenly we jumped, hearing the mighty noise of the huge double-decker trams that rumbled by outside, ablaze with colored lights, like villages on holiday suddenly struck and uprooted by the flooding Po and dragged over falls and through gorges to the sea.

Then the silence deepened. But, as we listened to the old canal muttering its feeble prayers and the creaking bones of sickly palaces above their damp green beards, under the windows we suddenly heard the famished roar of automobiles.

Let’s go! I said. Friends, away! Let’s go! Mythology and the Mystic Ideal are defeated at last. We’re about to see the Centaur’s birth and, soon after, the first flight of Angels!…We must shake at the gates of life, test the bolts and hinges. Let’s go! Look there, on the earth, the very first dawn! There’s nothing to match the splendor of the sun’s red sword, slashing for the first time through our millennial gloom!

We went up to the three snorting beasts, to lay amorous hands on their torrid breasts. I stretched out on my car like a corpse on its bier, but revived at once under the steering wheel, a guillotine blade that threatened my stomach.

The raging broom of madness swept us out of ourselves and drove us through streets as rough and deep as the beds of torrents. Here and there, sick lamplight through window glass taught us to distrust the deceitful mathematics of our perishing eyes.

I cried, The scent, the scent alone is enough for our beasts.

And like young lions we ran after Death, its dark pelt blotched with pale crosses as it escaped down the vast violet living and throbbing sky.

But we had no ideal Mistress raising her divine form to the clouds, nor any cruel Queen to whom to offer our bodies, twisted like Byzantine rings! There was nothing to make us wish for death, unless the wish to be free at last from the weight of our courage!

And on we raced, hurling watchdogs against doorsteps, curling them under our burning tires like collars under a flatiron. Death, domesticated, met me at every turn, gracefully holding out a paw, or once in a while hunkering down, making velvety caressing eyes at me from every puddle.

Let’s break out of the horrible shell of wisdom and throw ourselves like pride-ripened fruit into the wide, contorted mouth of the wind! Let’s give ourselves utterly to the Unknown, not in desperation but only to replenish the deep wells of the Absurd!

The words were scarcely out of my mouth when I spun my car around with the frenzy of a dog trying to bite its tail, and there, suddenly, were two cyclists coming towards me, shaking their fists, wobbling like two equally convincing but nevertheless contradictory arguments. Their stupid dilemma was blocking my way—Damn! Ouch!…I stopped short and to my disgust rolled over into a ditch with my wheels in the air…

O maternal ditch, almost full of muddy water! Fair factory drain! I gulped down your nourishing sludge; and I remembered the blessed black breast of my Sudanese nurse…When I came up—torn, filthy, and stinking—from under the capsized car, I felt the white-hot iron of joy deliciously pass through my heart!

A crowd of fishermen with handlines and gouty naturalists were already swarming around the prodigy. With patient, loving care those people rigged a tall derrick and iron grapnels to fish out my car, like a big beached shark. Up it came from the ditch, slowly, leaving in the bottom, like scales, its heavy framework of good sense and its soft upholstery of comfort.

They thought it was dead, my beautiful shark, but a caress from me was enough to revive it; and there it was, alive again, running on its powerful fins!

And so, faces smeared with good factory muck—plastered with metallic waste, with senseless sweat, with celestial soot—we, bruised, our arms in slings, but unafraid, declared our high intentions to all the living of the earth:

Manifesto of Futurism

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 aggressive 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.

It is from Italy that we launch through the world this violently upsetting incendiary manifesto of ours. With it, today, we establish Futurism, because we want to free this land from its smelly gangrene of professors, archaeologists, ciceroni and antiquarians. For too long has Italy been a dealer in second-hand clothes. We mean to free her from the numberless museums that cover her like so many graveyards.

Museums: cemeteries!…Identical, surely, in the sinister promiscuity of so many bodies unknown to one another. Museums: public dormitories where one lies forever beside hated or unknown beings. Museums: absurd abattoirs of painters and sculptors ferociously slaughtering each other with color-blows and line-blows, the length of the fought-over walls!

That one should make an annual pilgrimage, just as one goes to the graveyard on All Souls’ Day—that I grant. That once a year one should leave a floral tribute beneath the Gioconda, I grant you that…But I don’t admit that our sorrows, our fragile courage, our morbid restlessness should be given a daily conducted tour through the museums. Why poison ourselves? Why rot?

And what is there to see in an old picture except the laborious contortions of an artist throwing himself against the barriers that thwart his desire to express his dream completely?…Admiring an old picture is the same as pouring our sensibility into a funerary urn instead of hurtling it far off, in violent spasms of action and creation.

Do you, then, wish to waste all your best powers in this eternal and futile worship of the past, from which you emerge fatally exhausted, shrunken, beaten down?

In truth I tell you that daily visits to museums, libraries, and academies (cemeteries of empty exertion, Calvaries of crucified dreams, registries of aborted beginnings!) are, for artists, as damaging as the prolonged supervision by parents of certain young people drunk with their talent and their ambitious wills. When the future is barred to them, the admirable past may be a solace for the ills of the moribund, the sickly, the prisoner…But we want no part of it, the past, we the young and strong Futurists!

So let them come, the gay incendiaries with charred fingers! Here they are! Here they are!…Come on! Set fire to the library shelves! Turn aside the canals to flood the museums!…Oh, the joy of seeing the glorious old canvases bobbing adrift on those waters, discolored and shredded!…Take up your pickaxes, your axes and hammers and wreck, wreck the venerable cities, pitilessly!

The oldest of us is thirty: so we have at least a decade for finishing our work. When we are forty, other younger and stronger men will probably throw us in the wastebasket like useless manuscripts—we want it to happen!

They will come against us, our successors, will come from far away, from every quarter, dancing to the winged cadence of their first songs, flexing the hooked claws of predators, sniffing doglike at the academy doors the strong odor of our decaying minds, which will have already been promised to the literary catacombs.

But we won’t be there…At last they’ll find us—one winter’s night—in open country, beneath a sad roof drummed by a monotonous rain. They’ll see us crouched beside our trembling aeroplanes in the act of warming our hands at the poor little blaze that our books of today will give out when they take fire from the flight of our images.

They’ll storm around us, panting with scorn and anguish, and all of them, exasperated by our proud daring, will hurtle to kill us, driven by a hatred the more implacable the more their hearts will be drunk with love and admiration for us.

Injustice, strong and sane, will break out radiantly in their eyes.

Art, in fact, can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice.

The oldest of us is thirty: even so we have already scattered treasures, a thousand treasures of force, love, courage, astuteness, and raw will-power; have thrown them impatiently away, with fury, carelessly, unhesitatingly, breathless, and unresting…Look at us! We are still untired! Our hearts know no weariness because they are fed with fire, hatred, and speed!…Does that amaze you?

It should, because you can never remember having lived! Erect on the summit of the world, once again we hurl our defiance at the stars!

You have objections?—Enough! Enough! We know them…We’ve understood!…Our fine deceitful intelligence tells us that we are the revival and extension of our ancestors—Perhaps!…If only it were so!—But who cares? We don’t want to understand!…Woe to anyone who says those infamous words to us again!

Lift up your heads!

Erect on the summit of the world, once again we hurl defiance to the stars!

1-2

Umberto Boccioni

Futurist Painting: Technical Manifesto

1910

destroy the cult of the past, the obsession with the ancients, pedantry and academic formalism

Umberto Boccioni (1882–1916) was an Italian painter and sculptor. As one of the leading figures of Italian Futurism, he created dynamic and frenetic compositions that helped define the Futurist aesthetic. His manifesto for painters was first published as a leaflet in the Futurist magazine Poesia. In addition to Boccioni, the artists Gino Severini, Luigi Russolo, Carlo Carrà, and Giacomo Balla signed and endorsed it.

TO THE YOUNG ARTISTS OF ITALY!

The cry of rebellion which we utter associates our ideals with those of the Futurist poets. These ideals were not invented by some aesthetic clique. They are an expression of a violent desire which boils in the veins of every creative artist today.

We will fight with all our might the fanatical, senseless and snobbish religion of the past, a religion encouraged by the vicious existence of museums. We rebel against that spineless worshipping of old canvases, old statues and old bric-a-brac, against everything which is filthy and worm-ridden and corroded by time. We consider the habitual contempt for everything which is young, new and burning with life to be unjust and even criminal.

Comrades, we tell you now that the triumphant progress of science makes profound changes in humanity inevitable, changes which are hacking an abyss between those docile slaves of past tradition and us free moderns, who are confident in the radiant splendor of our future.

We are sickened by the foul laziness of artists, who, ever since the sixteenth century, have endlessly exploited the glories of the ancient Romans.

In the eyes of other countries, Italy is still a land of the dead, a vast Pompeii, white with sepulchres. But Italy is being reborn. Its political resurgence will be followed by a cultural resurgence. In the land inhabited by the illiterate peasant, schools will be set up; in the land where doing nothing in the sun was the only available profession, millions of machines are already roaring; in the land where traditional aesthetics reigned supreme, new flights of artistic inspiration are emerging and dazzling the world with their brilliance.

Living art draws its life from the surrounding environment. Our forebears drew their artistic inspiration from a religious atmosphere which fed their souls; in the same way we must breathe in the tangible miracles of contemporary life—the iron network of speedy communications which envelops the earth, the transatlantic liners, the dreadnoughts, those marvelous flights which furrow our skies, the profound courage of our submarine navigators and the spasmodic struggle to conquer the unknown. How can we remain insensible to the frenetic life of our great cities and to the exciting new psychology of night-life; the feverish figures of the bon viveur, the cocotte, the apache and the absinthe drinker?

We will also play our part in this crucial revival of aesthetic expression: we declare war on all artists and all institutions which insist on hiding behind a façade of false modernity, while they are actually ensnared by tradition, academicism and, above all, a nauseating cerebral laziness.

We condemn as insulting to youth the acclamations of a revolting rabble for the sickening reflowering of a pathetic kind of classicism in Rome; the neurasthenic cultivation of hermaphroditic archaism which they rave about in Florence; the pedestrian, half-blind handiwork of ’48 which they are buying in Milan; the work of pensioned-off government clerks which they think the world of in Turin; the hotchpotch of encrusted rubbish of a group of fossilized alchemists which they are worshipping in Venice. We are going to rise up against all superficiality and banality—all the slovenly and facile commercialism which makes the work of most of our highly respected artists throughout Italy worthy of our deepest contempt.

Away then with hired restorers of antiquated incrustations. Away with affected archaeologists with their chronic necrophilia! Down with the critics, those complacent pimps! Down with gouty academics and drunken, ignorant professors!

Ask these priests of a veritable religious cult, these guardians of old aesthetic laws, where we can go and see the works of Giovanni Segantini today. Ask them why the officials of the Commission have never heard of the existence of Gaetano Previati. Ask them where they can see Medardo Rosso’s sculpture, or who takes the slightest interest in artists who have not yet had twenty years of struggle and suffering behind them, but are still producing works destined to honor their fatherland?

These paid critics have other interests to defend. Exhibitions, competitions, superficial and never disinterested criticism, condemn Italian art to the ignominy of true prostitution.

And what about our esteemed specialists? Throw them all out. Finish them off! The Portraitists, the Genre Painters, the Lake Painters, the Mountain Painters. We have put up with enough from these impotent painters of country holidays.

Down with all marble-chippers who are cluttering up our squares and profaning our cemeteries! Down with the speculators and their reinforced-concrete buildings! Down with laborious decorators, phoney ceramicists, sold-out poster painters and shoddy, idiotic illustrators!

These are our final CONCLUSIONS:

With our enthusiastic adherence to Futurism, we will:

Destroy the cult of the past, the obsession with the ancients, pedantry and academic formalism.

Totally invalidate all kinds of imitation.

Elevate all attempts at originality, however daring, however violent.

Bear bravely and proudly the smear of madness with which they try to gag all innovators.

Regard art critics as useless and dangerous.

Rebel against the tyranny of words: Harmony and good taste and other loose expressions which can be used to destroy the works of Rembrandt, Goya, Rodin…

Sweep the whole field of art clean of all themes and subjects which have been used in the past.

Support and glory in our day-to-day world, a world which is going to be continually and splendidly transformed by victorious Science.

The dead shall be buried in the earth’s deepest bowels! The threshold of the future will be swept free of mummies! Make room for youth, for violence, for daring!

1-3

Antonio Sant’Elia

Manifesto of Futurist Architecture

1914

words-in-freedom, plastic dynamism, music without quadrature and the art of noises, and for which we fight without respite against traditionalist cowardice

Antonio Sant’Elia (1888–1916) was an architect and the originator of Futurism in architecture. He realized almost no built works but is known for his bold architectural drawings, which envisioned an industrialized and technologically advanced city of monolithic skyscrapers. The Manifesto of Futurist Architecture was published in August 1914, the year he met Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.

No architecture has existed since 1700. A moronic mixture of the most various stylistic elements used to mask the skeletons of modern houses is called modern architecture. The new beauty of cement and iron are profaned by the superimposition of motley decorative incrustations that cannot be justified either by constructive necessity or by our (modern) taste, and whose origins are in Egyptian, Indian or Byzantine antiquity and in that idiotic flowering of stupidity and impotence that took the name of NEOCLASSICISM.

These architectonic prostitutions are welcomed in Italy, and rapacious alien ineptitude is passed off as talented invention and as extremely up-to-date architecture. Young Italian architects (those who borrow originality from clandestine and compulsive devouring of art journals) flaunt their talents in the new quarters of our towns, where a hilarious salad of little ogival columns, seventeenth-century foliation, Gothic pointed arches, Egyptian pilasters, rococo scrolls, fifteenth-century cherubs, swollen caryatids, take the place of style in all seriousness, and presumptuously put on monumental airs. The kaleidoscopic appearance and reappearance of forms, the multiplying of machinery, the daily increasing needs imposed by the speed of communications, by the concentration of population, by hygiene, and by a hundred other phenomena of modern life, never cause these self-styled renovators of architecture a moment’s perplexity or hesitation. They persevere obstinately with the rules of Vitruvius, Vignola and Sansovino plus gleanings from any published scrap of information on German architecture that happens to be at hand. Using these, they continue to stamp the image of imbecility on our cities, our cities which should be the immediate and faithful projection of ourselves.

And so this expressive and synthetic art has become in their hands a vacuous stylistic exercise, a jumble of ill-mixed formulae to disguise a run-of-the-mill traditionalist box of bricks and stone as a modern building. As if we who are accumulators and generators of movement, with all our added mechanical limbs, with all the noise and speed of our life, could live in streets built for the needs of men four, five or six centuries ago.

This is the supreme imbecility of modern architecture, perpetuated by the venal complicity of the academies, the internment camps of the intelligentsia, where the young are forced into the onanistic recopying of classical models instead of throwing their minds open in the search for new frontiers and in the solution of the new and pressing problem: THE FUTURIST HOUSE AND CITY. The house and the city that are ours both spiritually and materially, in which our tumult can rage without seeming a grotesque anachronism.

The problem posed in Futurist architecture is not one of linear rearrangement. It is not a question of finding new moldings and frames for windows and doors, of replacing columns, pilasters and corbels with caryatids, flies and frogs. Neither has it anything to do with leaving a façade in bare brick, or plastering it, or facing it with stone or in determining formal differences between the new building and the old one. It is a question of tending the healthy growth of the Futurist house, of constructing it with all the resources of technology and science, satisfying magisterially all the demands of our habits and our spirit, trampling down all that is grotesque and antithetical (tradition, style, aesthetics, proportion), determining new forms, new lines, a new harmony of profiles and volumes, an architecture whose reason for existence can be found solely in the unique conditions of modern life, and in its correspondence with the aesthetic values of our sensibilities. This architecture cannot be subjected to any law of historical continuity. It must be new, just as our state of mind is new.

The art of construction has been able to evolve with time, and to pass from one style to another, while maintaining unaltered the general characteristics of architecture, because in the course of history changes of fashion are frequent and are determined by the alternations of religious conviction and political disposition. But profound changes in the state of the environment are extremely rare, changes that unhinge and renew, such as the discovery of natural laws, the perfecting of mechanical means, the rational and scientific use of material. In modern life the process of stylistic development in architecture has been brought to a halt. ARCHITECTURE NOW MAKES A BREAK WITH TRADITION. IT MUST PERFORCE MAKE A FRESH START.

Calculations based on the resistance of materials, on the use of reinforced concrete and steel, exclude architecture in the classical and traditional sense. Modern constructional materials and scientific concepts are absolutely incompatible with the disciplines of historical styles, and are the principal cause of the grotesque appearance of fashionable buildings in which attempts are made to employ the lightness, the superb grace of the steel beam, the delicacy of reinforced concrete, in order to obtain the heavy curve of the arch and the bulkiness of marble.

The utter antithesis between the modern world and the old is determined by all those things that formerly did not exist. Our lives have been enriched by elements the possibility of whose existence the ancients did not even suspect. Men have identified material contingencies, and revealed spiritual attitudes, whose repercussions are felt in a thousand ways. Principal among these is the formation of a new ideal of beauty that is still obscure and embryonic, but whose fascination is already felt even by the masses. We have lost our predilection for the monumental, the heavy, the static, and we have enriched our sensibility with a taste for the light, the practical, the ephemeral and the swift. We no longer feel ourselves to be the men of the cathedrals, the palaces and the podiums. We are the men of the great hotels, the railway stations, the immense streets, colossal ports, covered markets, luminous arcades, straight roads and beneficial demolitions.

We must invent and rebuild the Futurist city like an immense and tumultuous shipyard, agile, mobile and dynamic in every detail; and the Futurist house must be like a gigantic machine. The lifts must no longer be hidden away like tapeworms in the niches of stairwells; the stairwells themselves, rendered useless, must be abolished, and the lifts must scale the lengths of the façades like serpents of steel and glass. The house of concrete, glass and steel, stripped of paintings and sculpture, rich only in the innate beauty of its lines and relief, extraordinarily ugly in its mechanical simplicity, higher and wider according to need rather than the specifications of municipal laws. It must soar up on the brink of a tumultuous abyss: the street will no longer lie like a doormat at ground level, but will plunge many stories down into the earth, embracing the metropolitan traffic, and will be linked up for necessary interconnections by metal gangways and swift-moving pavements.

THE DECORATIVE MUST BE ABOLISHED. The problem of Futurist architecture must be resolved, not by continuing to pilfer from Chinese, Persian or Japanese photographs or fooling around with the rules of Vitruvius, but through flashes of genius and through scientific and technical expertise. Everything must be revolutionized. Roofs and underground spaces must be used; the importance of the façade must be diminished; issues of taste must be transplanted from the field of fussy moldings, finicky capitals and flimsy doorways to the broader concerns of BOLD GROUPINGS AND MASSES, AND LARGE-SCALE DISPOSITION OF PLANES. Let us make an end of monumental, funereal and commemorative architecture. Let us overturn monuments, pavements, arcades and flights of steps; let us sink the streets and squares; let us raise the level of the city.

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.

AND PROCLAIM:

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.

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Tristan Tzara

Dada Manifesto

1918

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

Tristan Tzara (1896–1963) was a French-Romanian writer, poet, playwright, literary critic, performance artist, and founding member of Dada, an international avant-garde and anti-establishment art movement that developed in response to the horrors of World War I.

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 crystalbluff-madonna, 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 I say certain things, and in principle I am against manifestos, 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—this is a word that throws up ideas so that they can be shot down; every bourgeois is a little playwright, who invents different subjects and who, instead of situating suitable characters on the level of his own intelligence, like chrysalises on chairs, tries to find causes or objects (according to whichever psychoanalytic method he practices) to give weight to his plot, a talking and self-defining story.

Every spectator is a plotter, if he tries to explain a word (to know!). From his padded refuge of serpentine complications, he allows his instincts to be manipulated. Whence the sorrows of conjugal life.

To be plain: The amusement of redbellies in the mills of empty skulls.

DADA DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING

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 Jesuscallingthelittlechildrenuntohims 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 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 he 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 mangers 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 after riding their steeds on various comets. While the door remains open to the possibility of wallowing in cushions and good things to eat.

Here we are dropping our anchor in fertile ground.

Here we really know what we are talking about, because we have experienced the trembling and the awakening. Drunk with energy, we are revenants thrusting the trident into heedless flesh. We are streams of curses in the tropical abundance of vertiginous vegetation, resin and rain is our sweat, we bleed and burn with thirst, our blood is strength.

Cubism was born out of the simple way of looking at an object: Cézanne painted a cup 20 centimetres 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.

A painting is the art of making two lines, which have been geometrically observed to be parallel, meet on a canvas, before our eyes, in the reality of a world that has been transposed according to new conditions and possibilities. This world is neither specified nor defined in the work, it belongs, in its innumerable variations, to the spectator. For its creator it has neither case nor theory. Order=disorder; ego=non-ego; affirmation=negation: the supreme radiations of an absolute art. Absolute in the purity of its cosmic and regulated chaos,

eternal in that globule that is a second which has no duration, no breath, no light and no control. I appreciate an old work for its novelty. It is only contrast that links us to the past. Writers who like to moralise and discuss or ameliorate psychological bases have, apart from a secret wish to win, a ridiculous knowledge of life, which they may have classified, parcelled out, canalised; they are determined to see its categories dance when they beat time. Their readers laugh derisively, but carry on: what’s the use?

There is one kind of literature which never reaches the voracious masses. The work of creative writers, written out of the author’s real necessity, and for his own benefit. The awareness of a supreme egoism, wherein laws become significant. Every page should explode, either because of its profound gravity, or its vortex, vertigo, newness, eternity, or because of its staggering absurdity, the enthusiasm of its principles, or its typography. On the one hand there is a world tottering in its flight, linked to the resounding tinkle of the infernal gamut; on the other hand, there are: the new men. Uncouth, galloping, riding astride on hiccups. And there is a mutilated world and literary medicasters in desperate need of amelioration.

I assure you: there is no beginning, and we are not afraid; we aren’t sentimental. We are like a raging wind that rips up the clothes of clouds and prayers, we are preparing the great spectacle of disaster, conflagration and decomposition. Preparing to put an end to mourning, and to replace tears by sirens spreading from one continent to another. Clarions of intense joy, bereft of that poisonous sadness. DADA is the mark of abstraction; publicity and business are also poetic elements.

I destroy the drawers of the brain, and those of social organisation: to sow demoralisation everywhere, and throw heaven’s hand into hell, hell’s eyes into heaven, to reinstate the fertile wheel of a universal circus in the Powers of reality, and the fantasy of every individual.

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 shout:

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 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.

Dadaist Spontaneity

What I call the I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude of life is when everyone minds his own business, at the same time as he knows how to respect other individualities, and even how to stand up for himself, the two-step becoming a national anthem, a junk shop, the wireless transmitting Bach fugues, illuminated advertisements for placards for brothels, the organ broadcasting carnations for God, all this at the same time, and in real terms, replacing photography and unilateral catechism.

Active Simplicity

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 diarrhoea. 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 centres. 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 grey entrails. But suppleness, enthusiasm and even the joy of injustice, that little truth that we practise as innocents and that makes us beautiful: we are cunning, and our fingers are malleable and glide like the branches of that insidious and almost liquid plant; this injustice is the indication of our soul, say the cynics. This is also a point of view; but all flowers aren’t saints, luckily, and what is divine in us is the awakening of anti-human action. What we are talking about here is a paper flower for the buttonhole of gentlemen who frequent the ball of masked life, the kitchen of grace, our white, lithe or fleshy girl cousins. They make a profit out of what we have selected. The contradiction and unity of opposing poles at the same time may be true. IF we are absolutely determined to utter this platitude, the appendix of libidinous, evil-smelling morality. Morals have an atrophying effect, like every other pestilential product of the intelligence. Being governed by morals and logic has made it impossible for us to be anything other than impassive towards policemen—the cause of slavery—putrid rats with whom the bourgeois are fed up to the teeth, and who have infected the only corridors of clear and clean 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 defence, 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 quarrelling 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 diarrhoea in relation to the disgust that destroys health, a foul

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