Less Common / More Sense
Editors Note: Less Common / More Sense is a magazine that explores the art created by the students and alumni of the University of the Arts London. For the first time, in line with the magazines vision, student submissions and student led work from all six colleges are represented. Some of Europe’s best colleges in art and design are represented through this publication, such as Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art and also London College of Fashion, London College of Communication and of course Central Saint Martins. All students from these colleges can submit work, with their ideas for content or their art, whatever shape that may take both visually or textually. It’s as simple as emailing the editor. To our readers, this publication gives a taste of the creative talent that this University develops and to our students, this publication is an opportunity to engage a platform for your art.
Caron Geary Lorenzo c-Type Print (2006)
Ronan Haughton Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Portraits We are Less Common Music The Horrors & Faris Badwan — Interview The Foals — Interview A life In the Day of Lady Lloyd
4 – 9
10 –15 16 –17 18 –19
Fashion Omar Kashoura’s Spring / Summer collection 20 –21
Fiction Knee Deep In Knee’s — Short story
Essay Vanishing Points — Writing on photography 32 –33 Icon Amazing Grace
Education Hamish Muir — Interview
36 –39 40 –43 44 –47
Culture Photography by Hans Lo
Review Cut Up
Cover Catch me before I fall by Caron Geary
Portfolio Photography, painting & sculpture
Insert Publish or be damned
Colophon Credits and contact details
Design Dreamer — A pictorial guide to dreaming
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Photography: Bernhard Deckert Interviews: Lars Laemmerzahl
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Elin, 25, Sweden, BA GMD/ Illustration, LCC :
“Am I? I take that as a compliment” MORE SENSE / 05
From: Japan Age: 30 Course: FDA Styling, LCF Lives: Tufnell Park Who is your muse? I like Hugh Grant in Notting Hill. Tell us about life before LCF? I worked as an electrician at an automobile parts manufacturer in Japan. And after you finish uni? Hopefully, I want to take some experience as a stylist in here and later work in Europe, N.Y or Japan. Why are you less common? A change of career at my age is unusual, but I want to try something different because my life is just one time.
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INA From: Norway Age: 24 Course: BA Fashion Photography, LCF Lives: Whitechapel What are you researching? I am researching pictures by various photographers. Favourite books? Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth, One Flew Over the Cuckooâ€™s Nest, fairy tales, Kafka. Where can you be found on a Saturday Night? Brick Lane. Why are you less common? Thiny Asian looking Norwegian with ridiculous ideas.
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VISHAL From: Leicester Age: 20 Course: BA Fine Art, Wimbledon Lives: Tooting Tell us about your painting? I am painting from a photograph I got via an SMS sent to my phone. I asked everyone in my phonebook to send me a picture of themselves as to restrict my control over the subjects. Favourite artists? Frank Auerbach, Jenny Saville Paul Wright, Maya Kulenovic Alison Lambert. One thing that you would like to change about your college? The college open until late if not all night.
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Why are you less common?:
Sophie, 23, Bristol, BA Fine Art, Wimbledon:
Carl, 21, London, BA Illustration, Camberwell:
“Actually, I’m not!”
“I study illustration but want to direct films.”
Dan, 22, China, BA Design for Performance, CSM:
Fred, 22, London, BA Fine Art / New Media, Chelsea:
“I changed my hairstyle to one I don’t like.”
“Because I was born that way.” MORE SENSE / 09
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“I always carry a notebook with me”, says Faris Badwan, lead singer with rock band The Horrors. “But it’s for my drawings as much as writing down lyrics”.
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Faris, who until last summer studied illustration at Central Saint Martins, now leads the life of a rock star. Before Christmas the band toured Japan and were greeted like heroes. “I love Japan –they’re passionate about music, the food is amazing and the people so polite”, Faris says. Earlier last year, The Horrors completed a three–week tour of America with pit stops in Los Angeles and New York, where Faris, a six foot six skinny mod rocker with an uncontrollable hairdo, ended up in a stage fight with a punter. “It was no big deal”, he remembers. “A drunken guy tried to attack me and I defended myself. People thought he had red Halloween make-up on his face afterwards but it turned out to be real blood”. And that’s all Faris Badwan has got to say about that. Badwan is still on Saint Martins’ registry and is scheduled to return to college in the autumn. He doubts that will be the case though. “I want to finish my degree at one point but we’ve got too much going on at the moment”, he says. With an album out in March and extensive touring following that, he is probably right. But, as Faris points out, his art is a constant companion: “I’ve done as many drawings since I left Saint Martins as I would have done if I was still on the course”, he says and continues: “For me there is no clear distinction between my music and drawings – they inspire each other, my drawings illus-
trate the lyrics”. His first year at Saint Martins had a positive impact on Faris as an artist. “The best thing with art college is that you find your way of working. The result is what you make out of it. No one is chasing you so you have to put in an effort to accomplish something”, Faris says. Badwan’s art is tiny, almost minuscule. In his notebook, he scribbles messages, draws people, patterns and human figures. “At the moment I’m into squares and perspectives”, he says. He started sketching aged three and hasn’t stopped since. “What I wear is also important to me”, Faris says and recalls how he used to wear a bow tie as a young boy. “Clothes and art are both integral to my personality, it’s all about a sense of individuality”, he explains. In some quarters The Horrors are just as famous for their looks as their music. All band members sport impeccable monochrome outfits and breathtaking haircuts. “Image is very important to us and how we look is part of who we are as a band – just like when Oasis wear their parkas”, Faris says. “But sometimes the way we look hinders us. People think we’re not serious musicians because of our appearances, but this is what we wear all week long, what we’re comfortable in”. Faris Badwan is adamant that if people took time out to read his lyrics instead of staring at his extravagant outfits, they would see this is a band serious about music. “At the end of the day, music is more important than our image – you can’t see what we’re wearing when you listen to our records”. All the recent press exposure and hype
WWW.MYSPACE.COM / THEHORRORS
Text: David Hellqvist Photography: Dean Chalkley
surrounding The Horrors, and Faris in particular, is mostly positive he argues. “This is the first time a band that sounds and looks like us have been able to reach a wider audience”. But Faris is paying the price: “Being voted the second coolest person in rock by NME is just bullshit. The only reason Beth Ditto from Gossip won and I came second is because we’re different and controversial”, Faris snarls. He ads: “I prefer people to hate us than don’t care at all”. Badwan confesses to having lied about the history of The Horrors to other journalists. “But I’m telling you the truth now”, he says. “We didn’t meet in a butcher’s shop as I’ve said before. Tomethy Furse (bass player) and I met at a Halloween party and the rest were picked up at different garage clubs. No really, I’m not lying”, Faris assures. 2006 was a good year for The Horrors. Their first single, Sheena is a Parasite, got good reviews and Chris Cunningham directed the video, starring actress Samantha Morton. This year promises to beat that and many journalists put The Horrors on top of their lists of breakthrough artists of 2007. Faris, in the middle of mixing the first album, is already looking ahead. What’s on the horizon, I ask. “There will be lots of touring, I suppose. But I’m already thinking about album number two. I want it to be fucked up carnival music.” •
Album Strange House out in March MORE SENSE / 13
Faris Badwan Untitled Scans from Sketchbook
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Text: Trisha Andres Photography: Robert Zhao The Foals are the most polite punkfunksters I’ve ever met. What kind of punk-funkster pulls out a chair for you, offers you tea, and apologises profusely when they inadvertently interrupt you in a conversation? That’s the Foals for you. They’re no fools too—they’ve just dropped out of Oxford Uni to pursue a career as the brainiest band in Britain specializing in accessible techno for kids who hate techno but love guitars. A member of Franz Ferdinand remarked, “They’re like an Afrobeat Don Caballero.” With so much hype already surrounding them, do they live up to their reputation? Trisha Andres talks to them about making it big, crazy house parties, and being covered in Shitdisco’s vomit.” Can you each please tell me your name and what you do? Guys: I’m Jimmy, I play guitar. I’m Jack, I play drums. I’m Edwin, I play keyboards. I’m Yannis, I play guitar and sing. I’m Walter, I play bass. How did you all meet? Yannis: Jack and I used to be in a band together in school and we used to play incredibly long and complicated songs to make each other laugh and to irritate a lot of people. We set out to trouble people. Then Jack and Walter met at art school. Jack: Walter would only join if Jimmy came with him. They came as a package. They were like buy one get one free. Edwin joined as a joke a couple of months ago. Yannis: Edwin had never really been in a band before. But we wanted another member who was a friend and was nice to be around and who had good personal hygiene than have some virtuoso we didn’t know. I hear most of you are from Oxford Uni. Did you drop out to form the band? Yannis: Walter, Jack, and I were all at university together and dropped out of Oxford after a year to form the band, basically. Edwin dropped out before for other reasons. And Jimmy actually has a degree in Geography. Jimmy: Yeah, I’m a qualified geographer. WWW.MYSPACE.COM /FOALS
How would you classify your music? Yannis: It’s like trying to make electronic music with organic instruments, like guitars. We try to make music that perhaps sounds often quite alien but sounding clearly like it’s a real band, that it’s live but creating something that’s above that. Slightly alien, strange, and fresh sounding, very clinical and precise. I guess that comes from techno but we don’t sound like techno at all. And write stuff that’s quite pop. It’s a nice challenge to make music that’s quite accessible but still quite complicated and fresh. Something that’s not just retro and hackneyed or that hasn’t exactly been done before. I know every band says that they don’t sound like other bands but in our case, I think that’s actually true. You signed a deal with Transgressive records just three months ago. How did that all happen? Yannis: Day one, I knew it was going to happen. (Boys laugh) Jack: We booked ourselves and went on a sleeping-in-the-back-of-our-van style 25-day tour in September. About eight days into it, we got a call from Tim from Transgressive Records who just got our demo we sent out before we left, saying, “This is amazing! Yeah, we’ll sign you.” We were like “Yeah, this is awesome!”” Then we had another 20 days of really crap shows before we got back. Jimmy: It still kind of feels unreal. We’re all kind of settling into it because this is what we do now, none of us has jobs. We have three or four days off in Brighton watching films and drinking then all of a sudden, we’re off another four days doing gigs. Jack: It’s still unbelievable to our friends and relatives. It’s not like we had records before. Tim and Toby just had faith in us in the beginning. We got signed before anyone knew us. So, by the time our record comes out, we would have been already doing this professionally for months without anyone actually knowing us. Do you all live together? We all live in Brighton together. We have a three-story house with an herb garden. Any outrageous fan stories yet? Yannis: It’s still an early stage and it hasn’t gone to the point that we actually have actual proper stalkers. But there are some creepy people. There
are slightly obsessive people who use us to get guest list places and free beer. But I think they actually like the band and are quite obsessive about it. When did you feel you’d hit it big? Jimmy: We were shocked when we saw ourselves on Teletext. Teletext was the highlight. They said we were like The Bravery meets Hoobastank. Tell us about the craziest house party you’ve done. Yannis: We’ve had some crazy house parties. We did one for this kid. We arrived at his house at 6 p.m. and there was just him, his mum, and a bowl of tuna pasta. There were these two girls who weren’t even watching. They were just standing outside. We played it all for him while he sat on the sofa with his mum beside him. Jack: There was another we did at my girlfriend’s house in Brighton. 50 people in the kitchen and everything was going wrong. Yannis was standing on top of a worktop. And I broke 50-quid worth of gin. We were just falling all over the place. We played the set a hundred times too fast. What has been your best show so far? Yannis: The best shows for us have been where there’s a lot of dancing, when we play to a crowd, clearly they don’t know who we are, and then by the end of the night, they’re all dancing. For us as musicians, that’s more rewarding and a bit more of a challenge. Recently, we’ve been able to play with other bands that we really like as well. We did a show at Canvas for the Adventures in the Beetroot Field and we played right after Shitdisco. Jack: It was weird playing at 3 a.m. very hung over. Yannis: Shitdsico played right before us and one guy vomited on my side of the stage. I was setting up my stuff and noticed that the floor was covered in vomit, and I was standing on it. That must have been quite gross. Yannis: Yeah, but I felt kind of honored that I was doused, blessed in Shitdisco’s vomit •
Catch the Foals live: 26 February Shepherds Bush Empire, London MORE SENSE / 17
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Lloyd Dixon, 20, is best known in London’s gay scene as Lady Lloyd and has been hosting nights in the most vibrant nightclubs. Musician and songwriter during the day, he turns into a glamorous drag-queen at night and is one of the key people running London’s nightlife. He lives in King’s Cross, London
Text: Julien Sauvalle Photography: Eoin Whelan I usually wake up in early afternoon and force myself up otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done. From my window I see King’s Cross station, and seconds away is the Scala, the venue that hosts Popstarz on Fridays. I’m at the door there every week. It’s London’s busiest pre-weekend night, and the biggest alternative gay club in town. Before going to work, I try to work on my musical projects. Music is the biggest part of my life. I grew up in Essex and moved to London when I was 16, as soon as I finished my school exams. I went to college at the Brit School in Croydon to study Music and Media. I started a band called Savage a little while back. We’ve had some media coverage, although mostly because of a story involving some celebrity’s boyfriend and me…but that’s another matter! The attention we had helped us to release a single straight away. I am the lead singer and I write most of the lyrics. My friend Tasty Tim is the producer. When I think it all started as a random drunken idea I’m amazed by how much we have accomplished so far. One of the tracks, “Gender Offender”, was written for me by Boy George, who has been a friend of Tim’s for years. I’m in the studio three times a week. It is pretty intense, but I enjoy it a lot. I see a career in music, but I’m not sure that the world is ready or interested in someone like me as a pop star. I’d rather try and see how things go on the London scene and see how far we can make it. I’m more interested in the song –writing side of it. It really is my passion, and I’m hoping that any recognition I will get from these songs will lead me to write for other people. In my “daylight life” I look very little like the drag look I pull out at night. No outrageous make-up, I really don’t think it’s necessary to go in to the corner shop! I still have a man’s WWW.POPSTARZ.ORG
body, and despite what people may think, I still want to be called a man. It’s a difficult thing to comprehend for some people, but I don’t want to change anything. I don’t want a set of tits; I don’t want to be a woman. Feeling comfortable with your own body is necessary for what I do. There is a lot of pressure in the scene to look good and a lot of gay men don’t feel good about themselves, but they shouldn’t listen to what anyone may say about their body. If you don’t like it, change it! I haven’t had anything done yet, but I’m all for plastic surgery and I will do it when I’ll start looking old.
“...I CAN BE AS VILE TO PEOPLE AS I WANT, AND I EVEN GET ENCOURAGED TO THAT” Eventually I need to get ready for the night ahead of me. It takes me more than two hours to become Lady Lloyd. I’m inspired by whoever I find glamorous. If I see nice make-up I’ll keep the picture and reproduce it. I have dedicated my life to glamour, so to be able to wear what I like and look exactly how I want to is a pleasure. It is very important when you’re a drag-queen to be unique and stand out from the lot. I am particularly proud of my hair. I think I’m one of the only drag-queens in London with real hair. When I’m ready I leave home and I head to the club where I work that night. I started hosting about a year and a half ago when Dusty O, my best friend who works as a DJ, asked me to be at the door on a new night she was starting. I was obsessed with disco dancing and was losing my daytime job in a salon because I was always late or hungover, so working in clubs was an obvious choice. The best thing about my job is that I get to
do exactly what I want for the most part. I hate being told what to do and I really struggle with authority. Here I can be as vile to people as I want, and I even get encouraged to that. Where else could you toss a drink over someone who said the wrong thing to you without getting sacked? I definitely consider it a real job though. People think I don’t do much, but they don’t realise how difficult it is to perform six times a week. On my days off I try to go back to Essex and visit my parents. They are totally okay with what I am doing. My mum loves all my outfits and my dad has never made any remarks about anything. The only one that thinks I’m a complete freak is my sister, we really don’t get along. Having such supportive parents was a great help when I got bullied at school. I was called names, and I even got beaten up quite badly once. However these experiences never really affected me, I somehow learnt to take it in my stride and grew up more mature. I played up to it and became more camp just for the laugh! I think these kids probably learned from me too. At the end of the night I get a cab home, do my skincare routine, and finally spend some quality time with my boyfriend. I suppose a certain type of people would never consider going out with someone that looks like me, which I understand. I’m not to everyone’s liking! But he doesn’t only like me because of my looks, he also sees the nice person I am. He enjoys being with me, and at the end of the day I am nothing but a man in the bedroom. I love him for sure, and I think about him from the minute I wake up to the moment I close my eyes •
Popstarz is at the Scala every Friday MORE SENSE / 19
O Styling: Semra Russel
Clothes by: Omar Kashoura
Photos by: Alex Klesta
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Grooming: John Christopher
Model: Rob Moore at Select
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Photography: Hans Lo
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Char and Rocksteady Hans
Adam and Emily
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Cover: Caron Geary — Catch me before I fall
Dave Baby c-Type Print (2006)
Lorenzo c-Type Print (2006)
Text and Photography: Caron Geary It is a particularly British or English tradition to ‘sweep things under the carpet’; pretending situations are fine when they are clearly not. Children tend to act more honestly, until they are socialised into behaving otherwise and part of this work is a response to that stiff upper lip tradition of carrying on regardless, in the face of adversity, sometimes to the point of defying all logic. These images are not the result of capturing, minor, every day moments, the banal or the domestic, nor do they attempt to reveal ‘true to life’ or ‘realistic’ aspects of a person’s character. These collaborative performances act as metaphors for life’s more extreme experiences and our responses to them; how we choose or are forced to deal with adverse situations that we are often powerless to change or control. When we are faced with particularly difficult, upsetting or disturbing situations we choose a diverse range of ways in which we deal with that pressure. These measures range from finding solace in the form of drug taking, losing yourself in the world of music, clubbing or other hedonistic pursuits, giving up all sense of responsibility leaving god or fate to work it all out for us; whilst others battle on regardless determined to overcome the obstacle,
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whether they are realistically able to or not. Within these theatrical ‘family’ studio portraits of close friends and relatives, day and night are reversed, interiors become confused with exteriors and awkwardness gives rise to humour. The intention was not to present my relations and close friends in the most flattering, composed way, but to set up situations whereby composure and self-control become more difficult to achieve or maintain, conflicting with the desire to keep things hidden. I have chosen not to describe or allude to situations my subjects have experienced, or how they dealt with their specific situations. I advised everyone to wear what they wanted, and explained they would be referred to by their first names only in connection with their portraits. They were also told that the initial idea derived from a couple of years of dealing with situations that I had found challenging, which they were also aware of. They are not acting, but rather reacting to the staged situations in which they are placed. Any interpretation remains ambiguous and inconclusive •
In memory of Thomas Tomkins 28th November 1920–8th April 2005 †
Sienna c-Type Print (2006)
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Design: Dreamer Family Members of the Dreamer
Baby Girl Ethnic Female
Ethnic characters are defined specifically by their nationality or regional belonging. They are not familiar to the dreamer.
Mother of Dreamer
Father of Dreamer Baby Boy
Parents of Dreamer
Group of Animals
Animals are not classified by identity or gender.
Daughter of Dreamer
Son of Dreamer
Characters Characters consist of people, animals or imaginary figures. The term character refer both to an individual person, animal, creature and also to a group of such individuals. Therefore, a couple or a crowd is also called a character.
Individual Stranger Female
The dreamer is a prominent factor in almost every dream therefore the dreamer does not need to code him/herself for character. A dreamer can be coded when there is an emotion expressed, an activity or an interaction that is encountered or simply any other situations where the dreamer’s presence is influential.
A crowd where all the characters are unfamiliar.
Group Familiar Female/Male A crowd of more than two individuals that are known to the dreamer.
Teenager Male Group of Immediate Family Members
Referring to a group of immediate family members. E.g. Mother, father and sister. Adult Female New Appearance
Characters such as Snow White, Santa Clause, John F. Kennedy as well as an imaginary sibling are fictional, nonexistent figures belonging to but not present in the waking world. Relatives
Creature Characters that cannot be classified as either human or animal.
Characters who are not immediate family members but are related by blood, marriage or adoption. E.g. Grandmother, Grandfather, Aunt, Uncle, Nephew, Niece, Cousin, Brother-in-law, Stepmother, Foster father, Ex-husband, Ex-wife, Half-brother, Half-sister
Adult Male New Appearance
Group of Males
A star is a character that is prominent. The star is well known by her/his status but who is not known personally by the dreamer.
Occupational characters are those who are unfamiliar that have a designated occupation, either as a profession, as a hobby or as a non-sanctioneed pursuit. Examples as a profession are doctor, judge, teacher, army officer, waitress etc. Hobby are stamp collector, golfer, hunter etc. Non-sanctioned pursuit are gangster and prostitute.
Text and Illustration: Eren Butler Everyone dreams and everyone must surely have at least one dream that they can still remember. But what do we dream about? Are they mostly fearful or happy? There are dreams that we can remember now and there are thousands of others that we will never remember again. 90% of our dream memory fades even after ten minutes of wakefulness. Although we spend about 90 minutes a day and 6 years of our lives dreaming, dreams remain the least explored experience in our lives. My Dream Coding Booklet is a pictorial coding system, adapted from Calvin S. Hall and Robert Van de Castle’s categorical coding system, which captures the essentials of a night’s dream content. Easy-to-draw pictograms allow dream details to be transcribed quickly in a concise format. Patterns for each individual emerge as the dreamer collects encoded memories over a period of time. The pictorial dream codes are designed to allow the frequency and consistency of dream elements to be easily read off the page and then analysed.
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Teenager Female Wife/Lover
Individual Familiar Male
An individual familiar character is one who is described as somebody that the dreamer is currently, or was formerly acquainted with. The dreamer will often refer to them by their name. Even though a character may qualify for another sub-group, if they are known they should always be coded first for familiarity.
Group of Females
Brother of Dreamer
Within dreams characters can undergo change in their sex, identity or age. When this happens, both their original form and their changed form is coded.
A crowd where some characters are familiar and others are unfamiliar.
Individual Familiar Female
Metamorphoses A change from Female to Male
Group Stranger Female/Male Dreamer Female
Sister of Dreamer
Individual Stranger Male
Characters that are not familiar to the dreamer and the dreamer is confident that he/she has become acquainted with the character for the first time in the dream is coded as a stranger.
Although most of us enjoy our dreams, the emotions connected to them may be surprising. According to researchers, dreams usually contain more aggression than friendliness, more misfortune than good fortune, and more negative than positive emotions. People have trouble recognizing the true content of their dreams, compelling us to produce a record, and, in a sense, communicate with ourselves. The pictorial coding system allows you to outline the plot and feeling within each dream by jotting down the pictograms from left to right on a single line immediately upon awakening. Basic actions, emotions, and events are captured through a synthesis of 110 pictograms, 4 directional symbols and 2 punctuation marks. The codes intuitively suggest the dreams elements they represent, allowing the system to be learned rapidly. When at least 100 dreams have been coded, you can visit the extensive dream archive on dreambank.net to compare your statistics to normative expectations and witness the similarities and differences you share with other dreamers •
Institutional buildings are composed of buildings that are utilized for social purposes. These buildings are often supported by taxes or external endorsement. This includes; hospital, infirmary, prison, court house, government building, military building, and buildings for religious purposes. Additionally, smaller units of these buildings such as surgery room or cell is also coded as institutional.
Residential Residential buildings are composed of buildings or parts of buildings dedicated for people to live in. This includes; house, apartment, bungalow, cottage, dormitory, hotel, hostel, inn, mansion, palace etc.
Vocational Vocational buildings are composed of buildings dedicated to a particular occupation or employment such as manufacturing, business transactions or education. This includes buildings such as; factory, store, office, school etc.
Details include the smaller units of a building other than a room, such as, window, door,, floor, ceiling, walls, fireplace, staircase etc. Additionally, those part of the building that can be viewed from the outside are also included, such as, roof, chimney, balcony, fire escape, shutters, columns etc.
Street Food All types of food or drink regardless of its context and type. This includes food whether in a grocery store shelf, stored in a container, in a refrigerator or served on a plate. It does not include any type of growing food.
Building materials include those objects that are utilized for the construction of buildings. This includes; boards, bricks, cement, concrete blocks, wood, steel, plaster etc.
All forms of roadways in which a person can travel through such as, highway, road, path, sidewalk, bridge, intersection etc.
Head All parts of the head also including throat, tongue, teeth, beard, beak and horn.
Tools Tools, machinery and machinery parts, such as, hammer, nail, saw, screwdriver, shovel, rake, lawn mower, medical machines, jack lever etc. that are used most often for vocational activities.
All land areas that are restricted by some form of boundary such as city village, park, cemetery, farm, campus, military camp etc.
Extremities Finger, hand, elbow, toe, foot, knee and claw.
Nature All outdoor natural objects formed by nature such growing vegetables and fruits, plants, mountain, cliffs, cave, swamps, lakes, oceans, sun, moon, stars, mineral products, soil, mud, sand, diamonds, gems etc.
Torso All parts of the torso including terms such as body, build and physique.
This includes; gun, knife, sword, grenade, missiles or bomb, as well as, tanks and bombers.
Entertainment buildings are dedicated for leisure activities, entertainment or sports. This includes; restaurants, bar, nightclub casino, movie theater, theater, museum, art gallery, bowling alley, gymnasium, indoor swimming pool and indoor ice skating rink. Recreation rooms within a Residential setting will be coded as Residential rather than as Entertainment.
Household objects include those objects that are an essential part of a household setting. This includes furniture; chair, table, couch, bed. Furnishings; rug, curtains, lamp and mirror. Appliances; refrigerator, washing machine, stove, vacuum cleaner. Other objects; sheets, light bulb, detergent, clock, silverware, cooking utensils, bottle, garbage can etc.
Recreation Musical instruments, sports objects such as, basketball, soccer ball, tennis racquet, fishing pole etc; object used in playing games such as, cards and dice; toys such as; dolls, miniature cars etc.
All wearable garments such as outdoor clothing, underwear, footwear as well as buttons, pockets, zipper and accessories such as handbag, cane, wristwatch, jewelry, eyeglasses etc.
Communication All forms of visual, auditory, and written communication such as TV, film, photograph, camera, telephone, radio, computer, typewriter, book, magazine, postcard, letter, pen, pencil, paper etc.
Travel All forms of transportation such as car, bus, boat, plane, truck, train, subway, bicycle, motorcycle, roller-blades. Also, parts of these objects, steering wheel, motor, brakes, windshield etc. Additionally, object associated with travel such as luggage, airport, train station, ticket are included.
Internal body parts, both bony and visceral. Also body secretions such as blood, saliva and pus.
$ Money Coins, currency, checks, stocks, bonds, bills, receipts, price tags, piggy banks, wallets, gambling chips etc.
Organs related to reproduction and excretion; vagina, clitoris, uterus,menstru al blood, pubic hair, nipples, buttocks, penis, testicles, semen, urine and feces.
Activities Characters, whatever their role, usually participate in a form of activity performed by a character alone, together or in an interaction with other characters. Certain aspects of Social Interactions also constitute a form of activity. For this reason, a physical activity or a verbal expression coded in Social Interactions will also be coded as an Activity.
Physical Voluntary movement of the whole body or a part of a body within a limited spatial area. It is important that the activity does not entail change or movement in physical location. Examples are; picking up the phone, putting make-up on, brushing hair, dressing, stretching, sitting down, getting up, writing etc.
Verbal Any type of vocalization. This includes; singing, saying hello, having an argument, shouting, whispering etc.
Thinking Any type of prolonged intentional thinking that involves the deliberate continued mental effort that is goal-directed or has a problem-solving nature. This includes verbs such as, contemplate, review, concentrate, reflect on, meditate on, dwell on, puzzle over, ponder etc. Sudden puzzlement without continued contemplation cannot be coded, such as, “I think we had dessert after dinner” or “I didn’t recognize her.” Additionally, wishes, feelings and sensations cannot be coded for Thinking.
Movement Voluntary movements that enable a character to change his/her physical location by means of self-propelled movement of his/her muscular power. Examples are; walking, running, swimming, climbing etc.
Location Change Movements that enable a character to change his/her physical location by means other than self-propelled muscular activity. The change in location may occur by way of transportation vehicles such as, car, plane or boat. The character may also change in location without voluntary movements, such as, falling or being dragged. However, as long as there is a change in location, the activity can be coded. If a character abruptly arrives at a different scene, without means of traveling, the event cannot be coded.
Expressive Communication Non-verbal activities associated with emotional states that are not under voluntary control. This includes, laughing, smiling, crying, frowning, gasping, drooling .
Visual Any type of seeing activity that the character engages in is coded. This includes verbs such as, view, see, glimpse, inspect, notice, read, peek etc.
Auditory Any type of hearing or listening activity that the character engages in is coded.
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Text: Aaron Hubbard Photography: Guy Archard It was a Tuesday when I met her. She was drowning. I waded in up to my knees when I realised that I was wearing clothes. A pale man looked over at me and complimented my calf muscles with his eyes. I was in a flirtatious mood so I showed him my backbone. The girl was still drowning. By the time I got out to her I was out of breath. She was full of breath, but her breath was covered with water. I found it very hard to press her stomach and swim at the same time. I decided to give her a piggyback instead. As I pulled her onto the shore the pale man showed me his naval. It was perfectly shaped. I couldn’t pump the water out of the girl’s lungs. I decided to make an incision in her chest. Using a straw, I began to suck the water out. The man took a photo of my lips. He remarked that I looked like a nice person. It was around that time that the girl died. The pale man felt sorry for her. He told me that she died a virgin. I put a post-it note on her face so that people could know she’s dead. With a marker pen I wrote ‘She can’t breath’. The pale man smelt the pen. When I arrived home I turned the TV on. It was projecting the Trivial Pursuit world championship. I wanted the second player to win. The pale man dragged the girl’s body 30 / LESS COMMON
in and put it on the beanbag. He reminded me that I left my clothes at the beach. I took the girls clothes off and put them on my persons. The pale man took a picture of her bruised breasts. I wrote ‘alliteration’ on her left breast and ‘proliferation’ on her right one. She didn’t notice because she was dead. The pale man put the girls index finger in my ear. I reminded him that we had scheduled sex for five o’clock. He promised me he wouldn’t be late. The finger was warm. I woke up sweating. I thought it was a cliché, so I went back to sleep, hoping to wake up smoking. I awoke the second time by a knocking at the door. The pale man entered and asked me if dead girls can get pregnant. I lit a cigarette and hummed the theme tune to my favourite movie. It’s the one with the clever lines about burgers. The clock told me that the time was almost 5 o’clock. I thanked the clock for telling me then informed the pale man. He smiled then ran off. I got undressed and searched for a coin. The pale man came back in with a spatula and asked me what a ‘mudblood’ was. I found a coin and offered it to the pale man. He gestured for me to go first. Heads. The coin landed on heads. I knelt down on my knees. My knees reminded me that they had been in water earlier on today, but that time they were wearing clothes •
Guy Archard Untitled (2006)
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Essay: Vanishing Points — Living with the image In the climax to Richard Sarafian’s 1971 film Vanishing Point we witness the protagonist, Kowalski, reach the terminal end point of his quest as his car explodes in a blaze of glory into a blockade of stationary cop cars. Kowalski appears driven by an intensity that goes far beyond his given task; his true pursuit remains a mystery. The film is likewise driven by a neurotic tension that seems to emphasise the intensity of the character’s pursuit, contrasting a remarkable stillness in the landscape that the character passes through, with incessant jump cuts, close-ups and exhilarating action sequences[…] This article is a meditation on the place of the ‘image’, or ‘representation’ within our contemporary cultural context, using these terms in their loosest possible sense. Generally speaking, I am referring to the types of images / representations that we are fed with in the course of our daily lives, that are imbedded within our collective consciousness, and which form terms of expression within our common cultural language. Thus, I am applying the term ‘image’ to photographs in advertisements and in magazines, as well as the depictions within films and in literature, and the mythologies of our songs. The ‘image’, for me, often embodies the dreams, aspirations and desires of human-beings, and can be read as the collective consciousness of beings without stable grounds; the basis of whose realities, identities, and very essence of being, are given form through the expressions of their culture. This is what the image represents for me and continues to represent even, and arguably increasingly so, as the very ground on which these represented forms are based, is eroded away in a climate of negativity and cynical outlook. Perhaps then, it is time we started seeing our images / representations in more positive terms, for these empty tropes or material bi-products of our advanced-capitalist, post-modern condition can also be read as catering to our deep inner need for representation, and as a counter or supplement to our subjective realities: as manifestations of our inner needs.
I’m trying to articulate what a lot of people feel: The impossibility of believing in anything, but wanting to believe in something. —Mike Nelson¹ It seems that I am continuously searching, often subconsciously, to try to locate the fictional within my own reality; always being drawn to those images, details or effects that trigger a sense of recognition of something experienced before on a grander scale (like in the movies or in songs). It’s a feeling of seeing or touching upon something that has been given a kind of mythical status, of standing outside or apart from reality. When I travelled to America for the first time, my senses were overwhelmed by a strange feeling of distant familiarity (familiarity once removed), as these symbolic forms became materialised, like mythical apparitions. Often, it is the things that we are furthest from, that we are attracted to most of all, like for instance, the unattainable girl/boy in our high school class that most of us could only dream of approaching; the fantasy was sustained by a certain 32 / LESS COMMON
degree of separation. So, this distance is not only physical but also psychological and is reinforced through the very media forms that project their subjects into our individual realities (stereotypes are formed this way). Things become more attractive this way, when viewed afar, just like in the magazines, in our memories of home, or those thoughts of someone far away that we care for. A degree of separation is then a necessary factor within our romance with the image. For me, this can be all in the details– i.e. a subtle colour-bias, a soft focus, air-brushed highlights, a touch of melodrama, a special effect —the specific features that work to separate the subject from the context of my own immediate reality. As Dick Hebdige said of the post-modern condition, all we are now left with is a ‘“fascination” with mirrors, Icons, surfaces.’ ² And so we remain – our senses open to the effects, but simultaneously distant and detached. But then, it is never enough to admire from a distance when the intensity of our fascination drives us towards a closeness that is unattainable from any point of separation. My desire is always to get closer, to consume the objects of my affections, to give myself over fully to these images, to take them inside; to touch that cold, hard, chrome surface, to feel the gentle warmth of her breath (it’s the details that really get me). I am always searching to draw out the real from within the fictive – like a touch of genuine passion within the unfaltering choreographed performance of the girl in the porno. Similarly, I go to the cinema so as to experience the spectacle right up close, to become a part of the magnificent non-reality. I’m seeking a quiet and intimate closeness, my satisfaction guaranteed through a sense of inclusion. If I can’t achieve this closeness physically and absolutely, then at best I want it alluded to: A substitute or metaphorical closeness; closeness implied through excess. And so I repeat, collect, accumulate and reproduce just so that I can get that little bit closer to the core of the representation – closeness implied. Is this desire or pursuit then a definitive feature of our contemporary human condition: a longing for closeness, depth, wholeness (all things connected), fullness, transparency (clarity), something more than what we have in the here and now? Is it a lack also that drives us towards the extremes of representation – by way of excessive reproduction, image saturation and hyper-real effects – pushing us ever closer to the limits of our representative capacities? Perhaps our im-
ages work to cover the emptiness or nothingness that lies beneath the surface – our dead centre. The desperation within these attempts should act as the ultimate giveaway, but they are never going to be questioned by a captive audience, dazzled by the effects. Our passive response and our obvious need for these representations can surely be seen to convey a sense of longing for something more – an attempt to outdo reality and the absence within. From their outset, media like photography and film, and even stories and songs (folklore) have allowed for the human to represent something far outside of their immediate realities, to represent their dreams and to depict the impossible. And so what happens if we get there, right up close, since some degree of distance is a requirement of the representation’s being - its very lifeblood? In some ways, we are like the moth; always being pulled towards the dead centre, the source, the pulsating heart. As the moth is consumed in a blaze of white, electric heat does it at once discover sheer ecstasy in death – a sense of wholeness or fulfilment - or at the last and final moment the hard realisation of being so treacherously deceived by an illusion? Can we avoid the same fate as of the moth, or will we experience the same shattering of our senses, preconceptions and our identities, as everything we once deemed solid and true falls apart beneath us? Arguably, our desires can only be satisfied through exhaustion and implosion as we exceed our limit point of representation in our pursuit of closeness and clarity. Perhaps like Kowalski in Vanishing Point, we are driven by intensity - an undefined and unknown need - towards dramatic annihilation, as a point of departure from the here and now: a beautiful and spectacular oblivion. But I can’t help but wonder whether, supposing that we get to that limit point and we touch the surface and expose the vacuity within, we will have really exhausted our forms of representation. Perhaps there is some new dimension yet to be discovered, and this progression will initiate new readings and new meanings within the familiar expressions and terms of our common cultural language. Perhaps we are even approaching a point where the meaning and signification of the representation will implode in on itself, and where the image loses it’s primary function, that of representation. There are already signs of this, whereby the image (by this I mean primarily the photograph) has come to represent, over it’s original ties to an existent reality, the status of itself as image – detached from reality and it’s original significations.
Take for example the most famous image of Ché Guevara, or Warhol’s Marilyn: The excessive reproduction of these images has guaranteed their detachment from the real subjects that they once signified. It is arguable then that while reproduction initially works to establish the iconic status of such images as these, excessive reproduction will eventually work to erode this status, giving them instead a status as pure image without signification. It is all too easy to interpret this shift in purely negative terms, as a dire consequence of our post-modern condition - a schizophrenic evaporation of all meaning, and the truth and value we once bestowed upon our ‘objective reality’. However, it may be the case that something positive can also emerge from this process of degeneration - a kind of rebirth or regeneration, our old terms given new life from the embers of a worn out language. In a romantic spirit, one can foresee the beautiful moment whereby the image loses it’s rational function of representing a specific aspect of an existing reality, as a whole world of readings are opened up to the viewer, limited only by the scope of their own subjective projections, rather than the predetermined connotations of the terms of our inherited common language. But still, the question remains whether an image can really achieve complete separation from its origin – and sever completely its ties with a specific reality, since this is ultimately what secures its role. If this time comes to pass, it is questionable whether such empty tropes – pure and empty signifiers without a given signification – could retain any of the qualities in abstract form as they were able to possess in their primarily figurative form. And so we remain, for now, somewhere in-between here and that vanishing point where all forms of representation, their signification and the truth-values that they uphold, disappear. The ground beneath us is loose, but we can admire the scenery - endless sunsets, and spectacular effects - without losing complete control. For now we continue, like Kowalski, driven by an incomprehensible intensity in our desire to drive towards our final destination, not knowing what awaits us somewhere on that distant point on the horizon • Norman Wilcox
Still taken from the film Vanishing Point, 1971, Dir R. Sarafin 1) Mike Nelson, in Art Now, Volume 2: Taschen 25th Aniversary Edition, Cologne: Taschen, 2005. 2) Dick Hebdige, Hiding in the Light: On Images and Things, London: Comedia, 1988. MORE SENSE / 33
Found by Hazel Allsmarrem 34 / LESS COMMON
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“I don’t know, I dont really understand the design profession any more.”
Photography: Ann Dahlberg
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Education: Hamish Muir — Interview Lurking at the back of the Information Design studio with the photographer, Ann, I start to feel a bit guilty about us being here. The art director wants a shot of Hamish with his back to the camera and he’s consciously moved to a position where we can work without getting in his way too much whilst he teaches. The class has been asked if anyone looked at a piece of A1 before starting work on the latest project. No hands go up, but someone quips that they looked at a piece of A2. ‘Why only A2? Why not look at A1?’ The student answers that she already had an A2 poster on the wall so just imagined what it looks like from that. The class seems distracted – which might, or might not, have something to do with the photographer crouching down behind Hamish. He glances backwards as Ann moves to her left to try another shot before turning toward the class again. Ann finishes the roll of film and we decide that perhaps we should leave him to it, quietly slipping out of the studio with our things
Deliberately unassuming An hour or so earlier and we’re standing in the Information Design studio having just been told that Hamish Muir has gone to a meeting and won’t be back until two. Just as I’m wondering whether it is actually Thursday or whether perhaps he’s had a change of heart I spot him unlocking his office door. ‘I’m glad you found me,’ he says after I’ve explained who we are. ‘I was just about to look at my diary to see where I was supposed to be.’ Hamish is known for his involvement with 8vo, a studio that produced typographically-led work from the early 1980s to its close in 2001. During that time they were responsible for some groundbreaking design work – billing systems for Thames Water and Powergen; posters and records for Factory; Octavo, the international journal of typography – although if asked about it the members of 8vo would perhaps not be too happy with this prefix. Along with Mark Holt (another member of the 8vo studio) he recently authored and designed 8vo – On the outside, a ‘deliberately unassuming book’ that documents the process of 8vo throughout its 17-year existence. Whilst reading it I began to get the impression that Hamish wasn’t too keen to spend so much time writing and talking about 8vo, and he seems slightly relieved when I mention that I don’t want to spend too much time talking about his work with the studio. ‘It would be nice to leave it behind in a way, but it’s a bit of a ball and chain in some ways.’ But do you find that it is the work of 8vo that you are mostly known for? ‘Well yeah, because it’s what I did. The work I’ve done since then… well I haven’t done a great deal of work because I’ve spent more time teaching than doing. At the moment I’m doing full-time teaching but my intention was not to teach full-time. I’m more interested in working with students than attending committee meetings and writing course documents so I’ll be quite relieved when I go back to being a point 5. But I think there’s an interesting balance between teaching and work really, and I’m happy to do both. I think I’d like to do more design work than I do but I’m quite busy I suppose.’ WWW.HAMISHMUIR.COM
What about the apparent lack of output from the members of 8vo – was it a deliberate decision or something that just happened as they moved onto other things?’ It’s probably something to do with age. Design is a young person’s game really. It seems that people – either individuals or small design groups - have shorter and shorter lifespans. 8vo lasted for 17 or 18 years, but I think the life expectancy of your average design company is probably more like two or three before the next generation of people come along who can do things better and cheaper. “I don’t know, I don’t really understand the design profession any more” If you look at graphic design magazines it would certainly suggest that the lifespan of a studio is shortening. A studio or an individual might have work featured in an issue in November and six months later, flicking through that issue - by now quite old in terms of turnover of design culture - you wonder about what happened to them. Clients are always looking for the ‘next big thing’, whatever that might be. ‘It’s interesting that you mentioned clients because I think clients are the problem in a way. There are no clients any more, there are just people with shopping lists and they just want the latest thing for the best price.’ So perhaps that might explain the trend towards more illustrative work, towards– Yes.
I explain about Si Scott and the BBC programme The Art of Drawing and the opening sequence of him hand-lettering the title on a glass table, and how since then it seems to have gone slightly out of control. Hamish replies: ‘I really don’t understand the curlywurly graphics. It’s incredibly flat and boring in a way. The notion of texture and pattern were an anathema to me, personally, as a designer – I was always into structure and form. It’s probably just a “thing” that we’re going through; a phase. If you look back at the surface say of the sixties it was very bubbly and frothy and psychedelic, but there were still people doing serious, structured design work. So maybe this curlywurly stuff is the froth of now.’ And the more interesting stuff is being tucked away? ‘Or maybe it’s just not happening. It sounds a horribly oldfashioned thing to say but when I left art school design was quite an interesting profession in that you could foresee a career but I just don’t know now whether the same is true. We seem to be educating so many people to do so many different things in both the visual and the liberal arts. Meanwhile our scientists and mathematicians are decreasing every year in terms of number of people going to university to do physics or mathematics. They’re even having trouble recruiting teachers who can teach to A-level standard in schools. It’s like the value of things has disappeared, that everything’s about… But then everybody always says that, older people always look back and say “oh it wasn’t like that in my day” so I’m being as old-fogeyish as 50-year old people. > 30 years ago.’ MORE SENSE / 37
All surface no depth There seems to be a certain slant towards making things look pretty on the surface with no real depth. I mention an email in which someone said something about not knowing much about design but of course liking things to look pretty. Hamish laughs. ‘Yes, that’s a very good way of describing it. I think as well it’s almost like – who coined that phrase “pop will eat itself?” – but that whole notion of graphic design is this self- consuming thing which is just about the surface’. Perhaps part of the problem is to do with the way design is taught. Nick Bell brought this up at the Eye ‘Burning Issues’ forum in late 2006, commenting that he thought the problem with teaching design was that it’s done in art colleges and – particularly in Britain – seems to revolve around Modernism and Post-Modernism. Perhaps teaching designers in art colleges isn’t the right way? ‘I don’t really agree with that. Art colleges were very good for design. Studio groups of 30 would stay in the same place week upon week and learn from each other and they would wait for the tutors to come around. They would have a desk and a wall space to put their stuff up. I know we can’t do that any more. But art school was very competitive. It was really ruthless – there was no explanation, you just got chucked out if you were crap, so there was this notion that you had to be one, interested; two, have a modicum of talent; three, be willing to work. ‘Now we’re teaching a backpack generation. People turn up for a couple of hours a week with everything they own in terms of their work in a rucksack. They dump it on the table, talk to you for an hour, then they go away and you don’t see them again for another week. That’s the teaching method. But the results keep getting better so the system is proved to work and therefore the adage is less teaching, more learning. So cut the number of hours and the results will carry on getting better. Maybe it does work, I don’t know. But it seems very sad that we are not really engendering that kind of creative atmosphere. ‘I don’t think really that design teaching has moved on from when it used to be studio focused. We’re trying to deliver to a new group of people, to a new audience using an old model. But I think if you remodelled it and made it more general – about the things that really matter like approach, problem-solving, research methodology – and you almost took away the end result from it so it wasn’t about surface; it was about actually making graphic design. We’re still basing what we do on a very old idea of what graphic design is.’ So perhaps we need to redefine what we think graphic design is? Or rather, universities and art colleges need to think about what design teaching is. But what about other colleges around the world – have the Swiss schools or the American schools got a better grasp of what it is? ‘I know a bit about the design education system in Switzerland. Until just few a years ago they still had the small group studio model – highly competitive, very difficult to get
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into the courses – and once you were there you really had to work, they didn’t carry anybody at all. But they’re moving now towards an American/British model because they need to increase their numbers to support the courses because the funding’s dried up.’ But surely the teaching would suffer? Swiss schools have such a reputation for the quality of their design education. Perhaps this is just a London phenomenon but I get the sense of a general apathy surrounding studying design. It’s almost as if you’re still in secondary school – teacher sets the homework for the weekend, you do what’s required and then go out to play. Students have been studying for three, four years for a BA – why spend that much time looking at a subject you have no real enthusiasm for? ‘Well yes, it’s the kind of subject that rewards passion, really. You have to care about it. I think if you want to be good at something, anything – it doesn’t matter whether it’s music or graphic design or writing or painting, whatever it is, even catching fish – you have to put your heart into it. Perhaps it’s the fault of the teachers or the system or the government or the students or everybody all together. Maybe we’re not creating an environment in which people can be anything other than apathetic. One of the things I’m struggling with at the moment is what people who enter the course think graphic design is. I want to know what they think graphic design is.’ Maybe that’s where the fault lies. Maybe tutors and course leaders should be asking what students expect the course to be; what students hope to get out of the course. ‘Or even what they want to do. Maybe this is where the curlywurly stuff actually comes from. If you ask somebody who’s just done A-levels and a Foundation course and day one, year one, of a BA in graphic design who their favourite graphic designer is they’re probably not going to say Josef MüllerBrockmann or Wolfgang Weingart. They might say David Carson – or actually, it’s quite interesting if you get them to name a graphic designer. A lot of them can’t. Which I don’t necessarily think is a problem. But if you go into a graphic design bookshop most of the books I don’t recognise as graphic design, they’re about other stuff – street art. But that’s really interesting when you start to look at it because the best stencil graphics are just like really inventive single-colour silkscreen printing. What can you do with something that you cut out of the material through which you can spray paint? And so it’s all about inventiveness, it’s about the classic idea of “give me the freedom of a tight brief” – was it David Ogilvy who said that?’ But we’re trying to teach what we think graphic design is. History in graphic design is important because really it’s very young, it’s a hundred years old – or less than, depending on what you say is the start as a discipline. It’s all to do with this lifespan thing; everything changes so quickly. When I was a student I started my BA course in ’76. We were still referencing stuff from the fifties and sixties and it was still current – it wasn’t history, it was part of what were doing and involved with. But I suspect now that even work from three years ago is seen as history and graphic design is only the last year to students. Maybe that’s over-exaggerating.’
Pictures of graphic design But Hamish may well be right about this. I mention an article I read a few weeks ago, quite possibly on one of the thousands of ever-updating design blogs. A designer was really impressed by the freshness of the work of someone who had contacted them to ask for a placement. He was asked to come in for a chat, and at some point was asked where he found his influences. He answered that he flipped through design magazines every month and saw what he liked and what was current, and that was what influenced him. The designer was rather disappointed because it was all down to surface and aesthetic. ‘So graphic design is now – anything that was before is reference-able.’ Exactly. Even if it’s three weeks, a month, or even yesterday. Writing this now, five days after I spoke to Hamish, I wonder whether design has lost sight of itself. I remember a conversation I had last year with Zak Kyes where he commented that Britain seems to have only just discovered Post-Modernism; which might go some way to explaining the explosion in curlywurly graphics. It’s probably not quite as simple as that though… ‘ If that was really the case you’d expect graphic design to be a lot more interesting in terms of the way it looks, perhaps. I don’t know. There’s this awful feeling of fogeyism, of getting old.’ He laughs. ‘But you can’t escape from it. You start to do what your parents did, you say, “It weren’t like that in my day, standards are slipping”. But it’s not true. Every year people get better at it.’ But although technically the work is superb, there doesn’t really appear to be anything ‘interesting’ happening (I say this, and realise immediately that I’m going to have to elaborate on what I mean by ‘interesting’). I don’t mean something that is necessarily visually interesting, but more under-the-surface interesting. Work that intelligently solves problems seems to be lacking at the moment – you flick through Grafik or Creative Review and it all looks rather nice but it’s a CD cover, or it’s a book cover but underneath there’s… not always much. ‘It’s almost like pictures of graphic design. People are making graphics about graphics about graphics. They’re making graphics which references other graphic design that doesn’t necessarily reference the problem in hand or doesn’t come from an analysis of the problem at hand. It’s going back to your point about surface again – everything tends to froth up to the same kind of level for a particular period of time, in a particular way and there’s not really much differentiation any more between content, context, or audience. So people know what things will look like before they do them. They’re going to do a “one of those” rather than saying, “I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do so I’m going to first of all find out what the problem is, then my interaction with that problem will lead to the starting point for something which will grow into a visual response to this communication problem.’ So perhaps we, as designers, have a problem with communicating what it is exactly that design is. I should have said that in the studio • M.B
Hamish Muir and Mark Holt On the Outside Lars Müller Publishers (Scan from book) Read it!
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Review: Cut Up — Open Spaces I
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Review: Cut Up — Open Spaces II CutUp loosen the solidified map of the city, unbolting ads from bus shelters, re-pasting billboards in small pieces, and shifting the play of lights on the pavement. Taking influence from surrealist movements, namely the Situationist Internationale, Fluxus, Dada, and the Lettrists, CutUp stage interventions in the codes, rhythms, signs and structures of the city. “Our aim is to introduce elements of disquiet in the urban environment, commenting on the systems and structures that determine our existence in the modern metropolis. We want to make people notice the mental environment that they live in – that the controlled visual environment of the city directly affects how people feel and think. We are interested in the fixtures of a city, its’ street furniture, the wallpaper and how it can be played with and altered. The city is our playground and to play means deliberately breaking the rules and inventing your own, to free creative activity from restrictions, to design aesthetic and revolutionary actions that undermine or elude social control.” Billboards are a public space for the dissemination of messages. In the system of the city there is a code as to how these spaces are used; what has been lost through billboards’ projections of mass mediated images is the idea that public spaces are shared. CutUp attempt to interrupt this code. Advertising posters are sliced into small blocks, recycled into their original components of coloured paper and restructured through the use of pixel macros into new images. The communicative value of billboards and bus stop posters amounts to more than just the intended function to advertise; it becomes a marker which defines the exterior inhabited landscape and affects our interior environments. The dislocation, disjuncture, relocation, and re-structuring of meaning that takes place in CutUp’s work is an attempt to reconnect, to dis-alienate oneself with the built environment of the city, where images and buildings direct our movements and thoughts, where we step into a collective gaze that locates us as co-ordinates in the city’s composition of reality. CutUp have compared their work with billboards to that of tableau painting, the original purpose of which was to provide a window into another world. The billboard has served as a window into an alternate reality of desire, of wealth, prestige, and comfort. Through these mass mediated images, these public signs, ideals and fantasies of what it means to have nice hair, a car, a strong drink, etc., the city is marked with hyper-dreams, the dreams of no-one and everyone. Advertising’s effect can be, beyond adding to our interpretive tools, a replacement of our interpretive tools. The categories of public space that advertising creates are troubling because of their ubiquitous nature, appealing to anyone, yet intent on promoting images of an idealised lifestyle. By using images of those branded as disaffected, or isolated social pariahs, like young people labeled by Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, the man that held himself hostage, or simply faces bearing aggressive expressions, CutUp attempt to bring a reality overlooked by capitalist promotions to the public sphere. Through using the materials on the street, the images, colours, and light that make up the urban environment, and placing these undesirable images in the space structured to invoke our desires, the passer-by is invited to contemplate their surroundings rather than passively absoring the surrounding messages. 42 / LESS COMMON
These images are also drilled into pieces of wood, which are placed into the backlit advertising frames on bus shelters. The illuminated experience of store windows, the hypnotic glare of neon signs, docile supermarket lighting, and controlling traffic signals are invoked in the performative process of fixing the pieces in. As the original ad in the shelter is removed, the backlight floods the street, creating a momentary theatre. While putting up the altered image, which is now organised and orchestrated in such a way that it appears dance-like in their filmed evidence, they work during normal working hours and wear yellow workman’s jackets. This gives them the appearance of authority, so they have a right to alter these public-message-spaces, in the eyes of passers by. By working during the day they appear to be doing a regulated job. Indeed, the only time that they were “caught” was while trying to remove some pieces from a work they already put up, while not wearing jackets, in the middle of night. Police stopped them because they were “vandalizing somebody’s artwork”. The style of CutUp’s billboards reflects a trendy, edgy advertising campaign. So much so that CutUp have had offers from a subdivision of a major media company. They replied a prompt and firm “No” to this request. Constructed with the signs of capitalism, the altered images are absorbed back into the constantly adapting semiological environment of the city. Every neologism that we develop is predicated on the past. Every work refers to another, without which, the signaling work would have no meaning. The city knows its own. “The city grew up organically. It’s based on the boundaries of fields. Its just like you are in the country. It’s just the difference between solid and not solid. By the end of next year over 50% of the world’s population will be living in cities. What we find interesting is the urbanisation of the globe as people are gradually moving away from a rural environment and expanding into a bricks and mortar living environment, which has implications for the way people act and interact with each other. The systems of the city are very closed already. It’s something that’s already there. And we think that what we’re trying to do is interrupt that slightly, and chip away at it, the way your existence is framed in architecture and there’s no choice in that, and how the routes that you choose to take are predetermined for you.” Most of the members of CutUp grew up in suburban or rural environments and on moving to London they were struck by the systematic nature of the city and its programs to direct mental and physical movement through pathways with solid boundaries, as opposed to the self-regulating nature of the countryside. The brief existence of the works, often papered over by new advertisements within a couple of days, and the use of only found materials echo the way in which a child’s play in the countryside makes little lasting mark; similarly by playing with the non-static and quickly changing elements of the city, the mark that the city actually retains is negated. Hours of tedious work are subject to the city’s rhythms and codes, as it is these codes that are the medium of the work. “The Lettrists were interested in “getting lost in the city”, in drifting though the city and reading it like the pages of a book. We are interested in these artists and writers because they are concerned with the city as being part of the
person who lives in it. We are also influenced by our everyday lives, our emotional struggles and how the urban environment shapes them.” The idea of the constitution of the city is changing. The dense networks of solid living spaces and hard surfaced pathways that facilitate easier access to production and commercial centres also incorporate new spaces for expression. The city as an ideal collective of communicating people is reflected in virtual cyberspace networks where there is limitless space for manipulating, expressing, and communicating ideas. CutUp have compared these virtual networks as resembling the utopian city of Constant Nieuwenhuys, with its moveable walls and labyrinthine endless possibilities. Constant, the Dutch artist cum virtual architect and a founding member of the Situationist International in the 1950s, saw technology as creating a society of play. Once in place, the virtual city’s work would be accomplished through automated processes, and humans would only be creative, momentary and spontaneous architects. In a virtual world, one would choose which environment to stay in, and which to bypass; one could change all aspects of that environmentthe colours, dimensions, smells, tastes, and sounds. The processes of mechanisation and technological advancement that initiated the creation of cities also led, in the early years of the twentieth century, to the devastating, systematic murder of millions of people, alongside the increasing alienation of members of society, fulfilling roles on the assembly line of modernity. The systems of differentiation and categorisation that led to the development of Europe’s urban administrative centres of trade, science, and enlightenment advanced the ability of authority to predict and control nature, technology, trade, and humans. Post-World War Two Europe became the breeding ground for surrealist art movements because of this disenchanted humanism. The ideals of progress led to horror, yet one way to break up these hegemonic visions of society was through play, an “innocent” destruction.“Our work now is more construction through destruction rather than reordering through disorder”. Mass media forms the building blocks of the new urban edifice, and it is through using images and acts of destruction that the group is currently finding a means of interrupting an ideal of creativity that relies on the false pretences of a glorious capitalism. Wooden constructions with images of housing estates drilled into them are burned from the inside out. Slides of a progressively blackened out billboard creates a non-space, an anti-statement, a blank canvas, an erasure of the past. Commercials are refitted frame by frame to represent collapsing buildings. The act of installation, or be it deconstruction, overrides the actual images presented. Although meticulously constructed through a tedious, mechanical, and systematic method of reorganising thousands of squares or drilled holes using pixel macros, the technological systems used by CutUp are employed so as to invite play, response, and consideration. By toying with the use of public space in the city, CutUp use the signs of the collective to deliver alternative messages, rarefied through time and limited location, appropriating the space of the almost interchangeable advertisement of desire, and showing instead the face of something that is less desirable, feared, and unknown • ALISSA MOXLEY
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Guy Archard Block Greece (2006)
Guy Archard Deer (2006)
Guy Archard Block Greece (2006)
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Roman Caesar Untitled Perception of Perspective (2006)
Roman Caesar Untitled Perception of Perspective (2006)
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Matthew La Croix Dog Oil on Canvas (2006)
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Toby Christian Drawing on a photocopy of Berniniâ€™s Ecstacy of St Teresa (2006)
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Colophon Less Common / More Sense #8 Publisher The Studentsâ€™ Union University of the Arts London 65 Davies Street London W1K 5DA
Contributors Camberwell College of Arts
Wimbledon College of Art
Hans Lo BA Graphic Design Robert Zhao BA Photography
Toby Christian BA Fine Art: Sculpture
Editor Ronan Haughton
Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
Art Director Lars Laemmerzahl
Hazel Allsmarrem BA Graphic Design Faris Badwan BA Illustration Omar Kashoura MA Menswear
Get Involved Visit lesscommon.org or send examples of your work to Ronan Haughton email@example.com You must be a student or alumni of the University of the Arts London to submit your work.
Co-ordinator of Journalism Jaco Marais Production Advisor Guy de Villiers Advertising Todd Henshaw firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)20 7514 6270 Thanks To Afterall Big Issue Charles Baker Nicki Bidder Andrew Corrigan Dazed and Confused Andy Fraser of Some Friendly PR Ian Giles Marmalade Meat Magazine Amelie Hentschel Nick Hayes Oliver Hogan Pablo Lafuente Lady Lloyd Laura Martin of Scruffy Bird Management Hamish Muir Jenny Nash Jade Tomlin Caspar Williamson
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Chelsea College of Art and Design Matthew La Croix BA Fine Art London College of Communication Guy Archard BA Photography M.B BA Typography Eren Butler Post-graduate diploma in design for Visual Communication Roman Caesar BA Photography Ann Dahlberg BA Photography Bernhard Deckert MA Photography Caron Geary Professional Photography Practice David Hellqvist FDA Journalism Aaron Hubbard MA Screenwriting Julien Sauvalle BA Journalism Anant Sharma BA Journalism Jessica Stanley BA Journalism Danielle Robinson BA Journalism Norman Wilcox BA Photography London College of Fashion Trisha Andres MA Fashion Journalism
Other Contributors Dean Chalkley John Christopher Alex Klesta Rob Moore Alizza Moxley Semra Russel Eoin Whelan Grace Jones Fonts Sabon FS Lola Black Boton Edit Printers Stephens & George, England. Copyright 2007 The Studentsâ€™ Union, University of the Arts London and the authors. No article may be reproduced or altered in any form without the written permission of the editor(s). The views expressed by the contributors/writers are not necessarily those of the editor(s), the publishers or the University of the Arts London.
Published on Sep 17, 2009
The 8th Issue of the award-winning student-led magazine of the Students' Union University of the Arts London (SUARTS - www.suarts.org)