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COMM2411 Assessment Task #3

DESIGN

Da Young (Lydia) Bang, Vina Kosasih, Victor Lau Wee Kiat


ARTEFACT 1: THIRD BEST CITY IN THE WORLD, MELBOURNE

Melbourne has retained its position as the third best city in the world to call home. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey ranked Melbourne, Vancouver and Vienna as the best cities for expatriates to live. Victorian Tourism Minister John Pandazopoulos said the award was based on a survey of a city's infrastructure, access, education levels, crime rate, focus on the environment, culture and events, its diversity and how connected it was with the rest of the world. Melbourne received the perfect one in each category. We would like to discuss the artefact in design industries’ point of view, because the artefact proves that Melbourne is designed to be a very livable city. A report written by Rob Adams in 2006 shows the draft urban design strategy towards a better ‘public Melbourne’. The strategy sets out to provide a vision and framework for urban design in Melbourne for the future. This report can be called as a seed of the artefact because these well-designed strategies for developing the city as a good public space are based on design, environmental, cultural and economic terms. That may have affected the city’s improvement into the top three cities on the ranking, as shown in the artefact. It is easy to feel attracted to the CBD with its laneways, graffiti, arcades, restaurants, bars and rooftops.

They can be said to reflect the well-developed design culture and personality of Melbourne. Also, there is a combination of music, art and food in these places so people can socialize or simply enjoy Melbourne’s urban and unique culture. Melbourne is not only a design city, it is also a livable city. According to an article, ‘Recognising tertiary students in Place making for Urban spaces’, by professor Ruth Fincher and Dr Kate Shaw, a senior urban designer from the city of Melbourne said the following “…From the city’s perspective what we are doing is creating what we believe to be good quality public space for everyone. I’ve certainly never looked at any of our briefs and said, ‘How can we make this space good for transient or transnational temporary students.’ We’re much more interested in just designing good public space for everyone.” (City of Melbourne Urban Designer, 31 May 2006). From this article we can see that Melbourne city is designed as a good public space for both the locals and visitors. Personally, as design students, we see Melbourne as a ‘design city’ and this article proves it. For instance, the city is placed in a clear grid so it is easy accessibility. The combination of both classic and modern style buildings also attracts people. This well-designed environment, which is a good public space for everyone, makes Melbourne a desirable place to live. Written by Da Young (Lydia) Bang S3206647


ARTEFACT 2: RALLY FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE RIGHTS! POSTER

“Urban art” is not evaluated only through its aesthetics, but also from the perspective of its connection with the environment it is in. Mendelker and Ewald (1997) argues the importance of street graphics as bridges of communication and also as the reflection of a city – being good indicators of the people’s thoughts, lifestyles, diversity, aesthetics, originality, sense of order, and vitality. In this artefact, the poster is a cheap black and white print pasted on a phone booth. It informs of a rally for same-sex marriage rights. This communicates to us, indicating the diversity of the people in Melbourne, their current laws, morals and personalities. Fooke mentions ‘WHERE the art is is as important as WHAT it is, and they evaluate an art object for its contribution to a space’ (1986, p. 6). Unintentional art such as promotional posters ‘give colour, texture and humour to urban places’. This explains the location of the rally poster - it would make no sense to place it in a suburban area where families reside. Also she states that these posters may change daily and are usually designed by unknown people. In the 90’s posters were regarded as an addition to the environment in order to achieve higher visual appeal. Now, the communicated information is the priority, and the visual aesthetics are secondary in importance. As shown in this artefact, the poster is printed in black and white, which is contrary to Fooke’s description of posters in the past where colour is an important asset to appeal. The changes in the city are reflected in urban art.

Furthermore, this poster may indirectly communicate the social diversity and open personality of the people in Melbourne. Thus these expressive forms of graphic design also define their perspective locations. Before 1973, artworks mostly function for aesthetic improvement and they were commonly seen in East Melbourne suburbs and in the public open space such as gardens, squares and parks. After 1973, however, there is a sharp increase in artworks installed in the CAD (Central Activity District) and they are located on the footpaths, rather than public open spaces. Shin (1999) explains that this indicates the movement of people from the suburbs to the city. It reflects the new lifestyle of a busy city life overriding the once popular relaxed suburban lifestyle. Relating this to the artefact, which is located on the main street of the city, one can imagine the city (especially Swanston Street) to be the centre of vital activities like rallies. An interesting point to note is the fact that Melbourne city was designed with the absence of a square or public space in fear of the possibility of it being used for riot or protests. However, as seen in this case, the poster has brought people together for a cause that opposes the initial goal set by authorities.

Written by Vina Kosasih S3230059


ARTEFACT 3: HUMMINGBIRD STREET ART VIEWED FROM HAYWARD LANE

The artifact was drawn on a building on Hayward Lane and can be seen from the corner of Hayward Lane to La Trobe Street and features a hummingbird spreading its wings, ready to take flight. This artifact is considered street art and not another form of graffiti, termed “tagging”. The difference between street art and tagging is the quality and objective of the piece; street art is usually created to enhance the visual quality of its surroundings. Tagging involves spraying of names, words or tags, and is usually used by gangs or individuals to announce their presence in the area. In her journal article, Associate Professor of History Sarah Schrank (2004), documents Los Angeles’s troubling journey to become an art city in the U.S.A and the role public art played aesthetically in bringing about the changes in the system. A direct parallel can be drawn between Los Angeles and Melbourne, both cities somewhat owe their international recognition as centers of art from the art on their streets. Melbourne’s street art has its origins from New York hip hop graffiti, which features its own form of tagging and mural spraying (MacDowall, 2006), and its widespread popularity has encouraged famous international writers to contribute to Melbourne’s street art scene. An absence of public space has encouraged societal expression and opinions may have also helped in this form of expression’s growth in popularity. Tolerance and acceptance toward street art’s aesthetics as well as the popularity of street art in Melbourne’s due to its lack of public space has supported Melbourne’s image as art capital of Australia.

Stewart’s (2008) article discusses about the misunderstanding of graffiti and street art as vandalism by authorities as well as how it challenges governments to present methods in dealing with this cultural anomaly. Stewart mentions that walking through Melbourne’s laneways, itself an unplanned and disordered element from the city grid, he experienced another world that existed from the one normally walked through. Perhaps due to a lack of public space, graffiti has thrived in Melbourne’s alleyways because the alleys are an uncontrolled element of space away from the authorities and has encouraged the growth of this diverse form of expression. This symbiotic relationship gave new meaning and breathed life to Melbourne’s otherwise bland and laneways, giving it a higher purpose besides being Melbourne’s shortcuts and dark haunts. That’s Melbourne is a campaign by the City of Melbourne to promote Melbourne city as a tourism destination for festivals, events, entertainment, shopping and nightlife. The website thatsmelbourne.com.au registers thousands of visitors everyday making it an important platform for the campaign’s objective to promote Melbourne’s sights and sounds. The website page mentions Melbourne as one of the world’s great street art capitals, and informs visitors of the locations where they can view legal street art. The recognition of street art only in a controlled environment with the involvement of permits, creates a sense of stress over whether Melbourne considers graffiti as a cultural artifact or something that has to be controlled.

Written by Victor Lau Wee Kiat S3269173


REFERENCE LIST

Adams, R 2006, ‘Draft Urban Design Strategy Towards A better Public Melbourne’, Agenda Item 5.5 in Melbourne, 6 June 2006. D.R. Mendelker & W.R. Ewald 1997, ‘The Purpose of Street Graphics’, in Street Graphics and the Law, edn. D.R. Mendelker & W.R. Ewald, American Planning Association, Chicago, pp. 1 - 11. Fooke, M 1986, ‘Towards The Human Design Of Cities’ in Places for People, Urban Spaces in Victoria, Ed. A.Latreille, Victorian State Urban Arts Unit, Victoria, pp. 6 - 29. J. Tsutsumi 2005, ‘Urban Restructuring process in the CBD of Melbourne, AustraliaIs the development a kind of globalization in a particular way?’, Ehime University, Matsuyama, Japan. UNESCO Observatory, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne Refereed E-Journal. 1 (2), 86 - 107. 20 (4),471 — 484 R. Fincher & K. Shaw 2007, ‘Recognising tertiary students in Place making for Urban spaces’, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. Shin, D 1999, ‘Its Typology and Planning ‘, Public Art in the City of Melbourne, vol. 1, no.1, pp. 55 – 59, 17 April 2010, D Square. Schrank, S 2004,” The Art of the City: Modernism, Censorship, and the Emergence of Los Angeles’s Postwar Art Scene”. American Quarterly . 56 (3), 663 - 691. That’s Melbourne City, “Street Art” (under List of Events - Public Art). Available: http://www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/Placestogo/PublicArt/Pages/StreetArt.aspx. Last accessed 15 April 2010.

Da Young (Lydia) Bang, Vina Kosasih, Victor Lau Wee Kiat


Design