Monthly Archives: February 2013

Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.

begin anywhere

I’ve been doing some research around the area of growth recently and came across Bruce Mau’s ‘Incomplete Manifesto for Growth’, i thought he makes some very good and very appropriate points. Take a read, its pretty long, but stay with it, learn some stuff and grow along with it.

Clarence.

Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.

Allow events to change you.
You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

Forget about good.
Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you’ll never have real growth.

Process is more important than outcome.
When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.

Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

Go deep.
The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.

Capture accidents.
The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.

Study.
A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.

Drift.
Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.

Begin anywhere.
John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

Everyone is a leader.
Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.

Harvest ideas.
Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas to applications.

Keep moving.
The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.

Slow down.
Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.

Don’t be cool.
Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.

Ask stupid questions.
Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.

Collaborate.
The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.

____________________.
Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.

Stay up late.
Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you’re separated from the rest of the world.

Work the metaphor.
Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.

Be careful to take risks.
Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.

Repeat yourself.
If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.

Make your own tools.
Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.

Stand on someone’s shoulders.
You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.

Avoid software.
The problem with software is that everyone has it.

Don’t clean your desk.
You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.

Don’t enter awards competitions.
Just don’t. It’s not good for you.

Read only left-hand pages.
Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our “noodle.”

Make new words.
Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.

Think with your mind.
Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.

Organization = Liberty.
Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between “creatives” and “suits” is what Leonard Cohen calls a ‘charming artifact of the past.’

Don’t borrow money.
Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.

Listen carefully.
Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.

Take field trips.
The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment.

Make mistakes faster.
This isn’t my idea — I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.

Imitate.
Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You’ll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.

Scat.
When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else … but not words.

Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.

Explore the other edge.
Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.

Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms.
Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces — what Dr. Seuss calls “the waiting place.” Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference — the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals — but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.

Avoid fields.
Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.

Laugh.
People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I’ve become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.

Remember.
Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.

Power to the people.
Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.

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Print is not dead.

Print is not deadprint is not dead 2print is not dead 1

“The method of the medium is the message”

The works above have been created by design agency, Music. Successfully shifting the focus from the message to the way the message is conveyed in order to reiterate that same message. Instead of printing the designs onto a range of papers, Music created five screens to advertise the Leeds Print Festival this January. Very simple, but lovely.

Clarence.

Found Footage.

Check out the new Bonobo song, its lovely and comes with a real nice video compiled up of found footage from 1962 about consumerism, super nice.

Clarence.

The Curated Object.

the curated object 1The Curated object

Micah Lexier’s (the artist who wrote the article in my last post) collection of objects on view for the month of January.

Micah Lexier: Twelve of One

January to December, 2010
First Installation: 
January 6, 2010

A year-long exhibition consisting of twelve consecutive vitrine displays, each lasting one month, each changed at the beginning of the month, starting January 2010. The displays consist of a selection of items including stationery, street finds, the backs of things, altered books, coins, packaging, printed cardboard, metal objects, forms, measuring devices, games, labels, and other printed materials. A boxed collection of twelve pamphlets has been produced in a signed and numbered edition of fifty, plus 10 artist’s proofs.

Micah Lexier is a Toronto based artist. He curates occasionally and collects often – generally items made of paper, including out-of-print conceptual art documents, printed cardboard boxes, and various items found on the street. He has a deep interest in measurement, numbers, and the kinds of casual marks we make in our day-to-day lives. Lexier has presented over 90 solo exhibitions, participated in over 150 group exhibitions and produced a dozen public commissions.

I really like the images above, and that he has simply just displayed found items to make something new and lovely.

Clarence.

Kelly Mark.

kellymarkbutter knivesbutter kives 5butter knives 3I really should

Just found this really interesting article (below) about Kelly Mark, a Canadian artist, by another artist, Micah Lexier. I thought it was really lovely and made me really interested in Marks work, all of her pieces seem to have some sort of intrinsic concept or purpose, which i really love. She seems to have an obsession with collecting and documenting, which is really nice and has made me want to start documenting/recording again. The Three knife images above seem to be her collection of butter knives, reflecting from her time as a waitress, at each exhibition the knives were displayed differently according to the site, which i think is a really lovely idea, i like the idea of your work being able to change, or become adaptable over time. I dont particularly like the final image named, ‘I really should’- this being simply a list of how she could self improve, however i just thought it was odd as i remember one bored lecture on my foundation i scribbled across a whole page of things “i want”- or wanted in my sketch book, with very similar things, freaky, alas i dont think i have the book anymore, or probably do under loads of clutter.

Take a read below, its really interesting.

Clarence.

“Kelly Mark Made This”
By Micah Lexier

I have the unique distinction – or so Kelly Mark claims – of being the very first person to have purchased her work. One day in 1997 Christina Ritchie and I drove out to Dundas, Ontario to do a studio visit with her. This was my first meeting with Kelly – Christina had met her several years before in Halfiax when she was a student at NSCAD. I was blown away by everything that Kelly showed us that day and I felt deeply connected to the kind of work she was making. At one point during the visit Kelly pulled a small, engraved block of aluminium out of her pocket to show us. It was a work in progress called Object Carried For One Year – a simple rectangular block of aluminium that Kelly had been carrying in her pocket for almost an entire year. It was the perfect object. It was small but made of a very durable material. It was a simple geometric shape but it was subtlely marked up with scratches that bore the tale of having been carried around. It was solid but light. It was everything I valued in an object and I fell in love with it immediately. I was overcome with the feeling that I had to have that object – that it belonged with me – and right there and then I asked Kelly if she would consider selling it to me. She said that the year was not yet up, but when it was, she would let me buy it. A little while later I got a call from Kelly stating that the price would be $1,200. She explained that the price represented $100 for each month of the work’s gestation. It was a lot of money for me at the time but I felt it was fair and I loved her pricing logic. It became the first of three works by Kelly Mark that I own.
The second work that came to live with me is a pencil drawing entitled Dixon (Until Series), named after the brand of pencil that Kelly used to create the drawing. It is one of three related works that Kelly made in 1997, each using and named after a different brand of pencil. On a large sheet of paper Kelly started the drawing – a dense depositing of graphite – roughly in the centre of the page and didn’t stop until all the pencil lead had been totally used up. What I love about this piece is its sense of equivalency. The work is both a drawing and a demonstration. We all know what a pencil looks like but by dispensing it all on a single page we are presented with its equivalent in drawing form – a rich, dense, beautifully unpretentious shape.
The third work, and most recent addition, is one that was completed in 2000, but I only saw for the first time in the fall of 2007 at a wonderful exhibition entitled Goin’ Postal, that Miles Collyer organized for Art Metropole. Again, the moment I saw it I knew it belonged with me. Goin’ Postal was an exhibition of works that had gone (or were made to go) through the postal system. Kelly exhibited a work entitled Boomerang, which consisted of a grouping of 114 empty envelopes displayed in a vitrine. To make the work, Kelly typed the work BOOMERANG on a letter-size piece of paper. She folded that piece of paper and placed it in a standard #10 (business) envelope. She put her name and address as both the sender and the receiver and mailed the letter to herself on August 26, 1998. At the time she started the project Kelly lived right beside a mailbox and so the work acknowledges (and celebrates) the fact that the starting point and the ending point of the letter’s journey were almost identical. When this first envelope arrived at her studio a few days later, she opened it, removed the letter, put it into a new envelope, and addressed it to herself. She then mailed this second envelope from the same mailbox as the first and when this envelope arrived she repeated the process. This continued until May 2000 when the 115th envelope never arrived at her studio -– thus bringing the work to a close. This is a classic Kelly Mark work – it is a simple idea based on something observed in daily life, religiously carried out until the work reaches its inevitable conclusion. One of my favourite aspects of this project is that the only two items that are missing are the very first thing she made (the letter with the word BOOMERANG typed on it) and the very last thing (the final envelope).
Besides collecting Kelly Mark’s work, I once made a Kelly Mark work. Every year the Ontario College of Art and Design hosts a fundraising event in which they send artists postcard-sized pieces of paper and ask them to make a work for the front of the card. The cards are exhibited anonymously so we are specifically asked not to sign the front. Only after the buyer purchases the work are they allowed to turn the card over and see who made it. A few years ago when OCAD sent me the cards I wrote “KELLY MARK MADE THIS” on the front and signed it with my name on the back. I told Kelly about this a little while ago and was relieved that she thought it was funny. I only hope the purchaser of the card felt the same way.
Micah Lexier, 2008

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