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ARTH 211 Design History: Week 1 Lecture and Reading Notes

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by: Evelyn Li

ARTH 211 Design History: Week 1 Lecture and Reading Notes ARTH 211

Marketplace > University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign > Art History > ARTH 211 > ARTH 211 Design History Week 1 Lecture and Reading Notes
Evelyn Li
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About this Document

Since the first class of the week was not a lecture, these notes only cover one lecture. This document also contains notes on the Haiven and Szenasy readings but NOT the Marx reading.
Design History Survey
Class Notes
Design, history, ethics, obsolescence, Plagiarism, Morris, Fairey




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Evelyn Li on Saturday August 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ARTH 211 at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign taught by Weissman in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 396 views. For similar materials see Design History Survey in Art History at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


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Date Created: 08/27/16
LECTURES 8.24.16 ➢ Terms ○ Planned obsolescence ○ Commodity fetishism ○ Arts and Crafts Movement (~1880-1914) ○ 19th century design reform movement ➢ Names ○ Shepard Fairey ○ Brooks Stevens ○ Karl Marx ○ William Morris ○ John Ruskin ○ Gustav Stickley ○ A.W.N. Pugin ➢ Palm Beach County Florida Ballot Design Disaster (2000 Presidential Election) ○ Al Gore vs. George W. Bush (Bush won) ○ If Gore had won FL, he would have won the electoral vote and become President ■ Older citizens complained that they couldn’t tell who they were voting for because of the design flaws on the ballot (confusing lines, alignment, fill-in bubbles, columns, etc.) ■ Statistics showed that the results weren’t consistent with the demographic thus validating these complaints ➢ OJ Simpson ○ Accused of killing his wife ○ Time Magazine cover ■ His skin was darkened to make him look more sinister (racial implications) ■ “Photo Illustration” (as opposed to just a photograph) ➢ Photo Manipulation ○ National Geographic cover (1982) ■ Cropped ■ Everything was moved closer together ■ They called it “retroactive repositioning of the photographer” (instead of just photoshopped) but later stated that it was a mistake and they wouldn’t do it again ➢ Plagiarism ○ Shepard Fairey, Obama “Hope” poster ■ Fairey did not have the rights to use the photo of Obama in his design ■ Mannie Garcia, the original photographer, sued Fairey ■ Fairey even denied using Garcia’s photo (later admitted he lied) ■ Fairey lost ➢ Planned Obsolescence ○ Refers to annual or seasonal production of new colors, patterns, and forms that make existing industrial products appear outmoded and encourage the consumer to purchase the latest and most fashionable ○ “..instilling in the buyer the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary.” ~ Brooks Stevens, 1954 ○ “Our whole economy is based on planned obsolescence...we make good products, we induce people to buy them, and then the next year we deliberately introduce something that will make these products old-fashioned, out of date, obsolete” ~ Brooke Stevens ➢ William Morris (1832-1896) ○ A writer and designer ○ Most well-known for designing wallpaper ○ Lived/worked during the 2nd Industrial (Technological) Revolution when mass production was just beginning ○ Interested in recapturing the unity and work of human hands that’s broken by industrialism ➢ Karl Marx and Commodity Fetishism ○ “A commodity is..a mysterious thing, simply because in it the social character of men’s labour appears to them as an objective character stamped upon the product of that labour; because the relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labour.” ~ Marx ○ Social relations disappear in the production of a commodity; it just magically appears for the consumer ○ Human labor becomes invisible ○ Commodity ferishism is the failure to recognize that objects for sale (commodities) are made by actual people embedded in a series of social relationships (between workers, with bosses etc.) and that objects do not simply or magically appear fully formed. ➢ William Morris Ideology ○ Incompatibility with new, shiny, produced things and morality ○ Importance of modest living ○ Machine-made things are dehumanizing, dull, and lack individuality ➢ Arts and Crafts ○ Designers rebel against capitalism but capitalism needs designers ○ Designers blame machines for bad design ○ Gustav Stickley ■ Little ornamentation ■ Straight lines READINGS Haiven, “Privatizing Creativity: The Ruse of Creative Capitalism”  “The New Hype about Creativity” o Creativity is becoming “big business” (the past 20-30 years) as competition grows o Governments also use creativity as a means to “economic growth and social prosperity” (i.e. creating new jobs) o But not everyone can be an artist in the economy so the call to creativity leaves out the call for “equality, decent/meaningful work, social care and compassion, and social justice” o The problem with the new hype around creativity is that it individualizes it to be the private property one of one person, but in reality it is a “social, socialized, and socializing phenomenon.” We do it together; it is a collaborative process.  “The Creation of Creativity” o Started with Western European worldview (due to imperialism) that dictated that they (white men) were the pinnacle of creativity o “Creative” was hardly a term; most people weren’t considered artists, they were considered skilled craftspeople o “Creative genius” came about in the 1700s-1800s with the rise of “culture” which was expressed by the individual through the purchase of fine/distinct commodities  “The Creative Commodity” o The 20th century saw what historian Walter Benjamin called the “Age of Mechanical Reproduction” when “culture-as-commodity” become available to everyone, not just the rich o The industrialization lessened the opportunity for social creativity and increased the popularity of commodified culture o Only a few were considered to be artistic, gifted geniuses; not only that but creativity was being controlled by large corporations who produced cheap films, music, and books. o The creativity of ethnic minorities were often stolen by white men  “The Rise of ‘Creative Capitalism’” o Rebellion arose to this cultural system in the 50s, 60s, and 70s resulted in the ideology that “everyone is creative” o This idea however promoted and intensified individualistic creativity and was taken advantage of by a capitalist system that colonized and commodified creativity under the “free market” o Creativity is key to big corporations who use it as motivation for their workers--in concept but not actually in practice (i.e. Subway’s so-called “Sandwich Artists”)  “The Passion of the Creative Class” o Working in the creative sector these days is hard to come by (unpaid internships, supplemental jobs) o Art is often shared for free because people enjoy making that type of “content” (videos, fan fiction, blogs, photography, etc.) -- yet internet service providers like Google and Facebook make huge amounts of money off all that “free” labor. o “Creative destruction” = “the way competition forces companies to constantly reinvent themselves or go under, the way the incessant drive towards profit forces innovation and dynamism” o This destruction leaves people without jobs when companies fail and the environment suffering from companies making almost identical products in the heat of competition o This creative capitalism system focuses on profit over compassion and is destroying our lives, our planet, and hopes for a decent future  “Creating a Different World” o “Real creativity is the ability to change the world together.” o Creative genius is real, but it occurs in community and collaboration as manifestations of their time and place (things creative now may not have been considered creative 50 years ago) and never in isolation o Creative people can only exist in a social environment o It is true that “everyone is creative” but we need to have a society that values everyone’s creativity not just the creativity of a few celebrities o You can be creative under capitalism, but capitalism is flawed because of its utilization of exploitation and unjust division of labor o “Equality and autonomy are the real conditions of creativity”  “Struggles For and Against Creativity” o The fight against creative capitalism is similar to other endeavors to defeat capitalism in other areas, yet it’s hard to organize when you are encouraged to see yourself as a creative free agents or empowered individuals o With the crisis the economy is in, creativity has less room to express itself if it doesn’t make someone a profit--it’s risky o The problem with individual creativity is that we fail to embrace creative difference; and even when we do, they fail to make a noticeable change in society and satisfy themselves with small spaces of limited creativity o “Creative cities” fuel capitalistic corporations to build expensive art facilities and enforce “creative gentrification” in neighborhoods yet driving out the character and creativity of these places in the process of doing so o In the end, “we need to focus on making it clear that real, deep creativity can never be achieved as an individual possession but is always a collective process, bound up with values of equality, social justice and community.” Szenasy, “Ethical Design Education: Confessions of a Sixties Idealist” (170-173)  Szenasy teaches a class on ethics and design o “...[it’s] all about responsibility, to the planet, to the regions we live in, to the community, to the profession, to the client, and to the self.”  Sustainability is crucial  How can designers become active participants in this world?  William Morris o “Morality of materials” o The importance of “human touch in an industrialized world” and looking back to medieval times to “reclaim human creativity” o Designers as advocates for social/economic change (like Morris challenged the Industrial Revolution)  Helping other people brings joy and and fulfillment way beyond our expectations  Responsible designers connect with humanity (like Henry Dreyfuss)  “Perhaps when we understand that good design is responsible design, we will no longer need to rely on clumsy, descriptive words. We’ll just call it design--a noble and necessary human activity.”


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