FUSE'98 afterthoughts / nachgedanken
[to jutta nachtwey, editor, PAGE]
irgendwie laesst mich die fuse nicht los. mit meinem frz. freund erik adigard (der fuers etapes graphiques ueber fuse schreibt) bin ich immer noch am diskutieren wie 2 alte existentialisten. weil er noch am schreiben ist, hab ich ihm neue gedanken als antwort auf seine geschickt, und dachte, die interessieren dich vielleicht auch.
natuerlich lassen wir den page-artikel jetzt so wie er ist. aber der letzte satz ganz unten, der haette mir frueher kommen sollen. der fasst eins der hauptprobleme dieser fuse zusammen: sie war eigentlich nur eine praesentation der widersprueche heutiger kommunikation.
(eigentlich haette es eine woche spaeter eine fuse-2 geben muessen, in der sich nach dieser bedenkzeit die referenten gegenseitig in wortduellen die koepfe einschlagen, bis sie zu fuer uns nutzbaren "d'accord"s kommen.
aber vielleicht kommen die leser auch so drauf...)
[to erik adigard, m.a.d.]
just had an interesting conversation with my brother. he's an engineer and does not know fuse, but somehow we got to my point about the lecturers: how every generation tries to reinvent the wheel.
he thinks it has to be that way: our current knowledge is accumulated from 5000 years. from the year 0 to 1000 knowledge only doubled, but in our century alone, it multiplied by 20. that is too fast, because our instincts are still 2 million years old. this discrepancy is getting too big, and dangerous. so sometimes it's better to forget and reinvent. at least, an interesting thought...
the whole "intuition" thing is like that. dada, surrealism, automatic writing, fluxus etc. have all displayed some unfinished process to the public - as provocation by artists, but not as the result of an assignment.
we're only designers; intuition can only be one of many methods (and one of the last ones), but not really a result that can be used by people. basically, it turns out to be a lot of stimulation, until people get tired of it.
so, intuition is a "how", but not a "what". funny that neville said that we should move away from the "how" and towards the "what" - but the whole conference circled around the "how".
[and erik a.'s response to my thoughts with taro yamamoto [adobe tokyo]:]
This is a wonderful POV! and I think there is a story behind your "making" theory. Now that we are working with computers, this "language of the creation" is becoming defused. I think this is a whole new discussion. I also like your reference to "radix". It makes me think that designers are just like farmers, they intuitvely know that they have to plough the land before they can begin to grow stuff. Perhaps we are genetically coded to make revolutions. They are dangerous but our culture does not know of many other ways. We kill our parent's theories and we keep what can be reused. Then later, when they have truly become irrelevent, we bring those theories back as style. The next trend in design is going to be conservative. Not because it should, but because the Fuse generation is unknowingly dictating it. I think Brody and Co. know this, they are trying to avoid it but I don't think they can change the patterns of history.
[to joan spiekermann, fontshop]
i hope you're o.k. with my fuse-article. even without knowing the backstage details from you, and before i heard how it got bashed in quick critiques on the web, i simply tried to remain fair: report and question rather than "state". after all, fuse asked us to think a little longer - the first message ignored by the audience's tv mentality.
have you seen the article of the berliner tagesspiegel? i found it an unbelievably vicious bashing, based on sometimes wrong quotations. the author wrote to boast his own aggressive writing style, and left us no space to make up our own opinion.
i'd be happy to discuss more about fuse anytime, since my article was cut down from 4 times more writing. i can send you my whole script, english or german. fuse made me think a whole lot; including disagreements too, but after reflecting more than the rest. i owe that responsability to the readers, and luckily, page has a larger distribution area than the tagesspiegel.
after all, i realized that the dialog desired by neville is actually happening - i've exchanged numerous opinions with erik adigard for instance; he's writing for "etapes graphiques".
that neville! at his leave, i asked him: so, what IS
your definition of "intuition"?
he said: my name is joachim... and smiled and waved bye-bye
[exchange of thoughts on FUSE 98 with taro yamamoto at adobe tokyo]
Dear Mr. Mueller-Lance,
You wrote: Malcolm Garrett is right? "True invention is a myth. All art is theft--without reference and past things nothing can be created."
I think this is correct in the paradoxical sense that only when one reaches a point where he/she perfectly understands what this thesis means, it becomes possible for him/her to betray the past and create something, and at the point, he/she will not find any need even to mention it, because it's just natural for him/her, and silence will suppress any chats on things like intuition/non-intuition. For him/her whether it is creation or not, whether it is intuitive or not does not make any sense. I guess good typography appears in this way.
your thoughts on malcolm garrett's thesis match my own thoughts in an interesting way. you speak in a different way, but i think i relate -
let's see if i understand:
>I think this is correct in the paradoxical sense that
only when one reaches
>a point where he/she perfectly understands what this thesis means, it
>becomes possible for him/her to betray the past and create something
it seems paradoxical, but is not. we need to communicate to others; therefore we need to use elements which have similar meaning to all of us. those elements are from the PAST, of course - our languages, spoken, written, symbolic, developed slowly by millions of people before us.
we learned them so we could begin to speak. then, we change words and symbols, to make them express better what we alone want to say. then we invent and add new elements, but they will have to function in the same context. this context, our world and our life within it, also changes and influences what we want to say next. but our work will also change the context, the world. progress and evolution are a play of mutual reactions between the world (the total of individuals) and each single individual alone.
maybe we can betray the past a little bit. but every radical new creation is only "radical" in comparison to what exists. the word comes from latin "radix" = the root. going back to a root, turning it upside down, and growing something out of the other end. but the root was there; it is all of us.
>at the point, he/she will not find any need even to
mention it, because
>it's just natural for him/her, and silence will suppress any chats on
>things like intuition/non-intuition.
for the artist, art is not fancy, it's his normal life. he knows he's never finished. only the chicken that lays its first egg makes noise about it. (myself too, when i start something that's new to me...)
new ideas come from new problems. they are not solutions. they cannot predict all consequences, and will create new problems. and then, new ideas. insofar, art is not always theft; good art is an honest reaction, knowing that it's bound into the present, but with the desire to be more, to reach into past and future in two different appropriate ways. to include human essence, and speak to human essence.
>For him/her whether it is creation or
>not, whether it is intuitive or not does not make any sense.
exactly. but the desire to improve things, to find something new and worth to try, must certainly be there. just like the philosopher, scientist or engineer. they are all creative in this humble sense.
the beginner is impressed by the achievements he sees. therefore, he also wants to impress. in his young life, everybody only gave him rules. it is natural that he looks for recipes now, on how to impress. "intuition" appears not like another rule, but encouragement to use his feelings, which are still strong and honest. it has magic.
for the older designer or artist, intuition is just one of many things that happen during the progress of a work. what is intuition anyway? for the student, a gut feeling. for the professional, a blend between experience, feeling, experiment and observation at the same time. they have all influenced each other in years. the "how" becomes smaller, as your influence on "what" you can say grows.
the design process is important for us, but the audience expects results. however, to understand us, the audience should get an idea of the process. it seems not difficult: many artists leave traces of the "making", to keep their work transparent to curious viewers. calligraphic fonts are fashionable in california: people want to see what the artist did! even in mincho or gothic, you can still see that the lines originally came from a human hand.
but that is still only on the surface. i found much more interesting what i saw at my visit: the skeletons which will work for both mincho and gothic. the tables of similar-character families. when you work on a computer, why not "show the computer" sometimes? not the computer "look", but its concept. we are only at the beginning of something interesting.
- if you like my thoughts, please share them with others. i would be curious about reactions and questions.
Thank you for you kind reply.
> context, the world. progress and evolution are a
play of mutual reactions
> between the world (the total of individuals) and each single individual alone.
Yes, but even a single small event of the mutual reaction generates diversities in both sides of the reaction (viz. both reactors), because the reactors have also been created with diversities in the past generations of mutual interactions. Differnt kinds and levels of artistic tendencies and creations are generated in such mutual relationships. Tendencies (viz. patters) are inevitable, randomness is inevitable, both devlolution and evolutions are inevitable, also changes are inevitable, in this complex non-deterministic (and thermodynamic?) process between us all, as in other phenomena in the universe.
> ideas. insofar, art is not always theft; good art
is an honest reaction,
> knowing that it's bound into the present, but with the desire to be more,
> to reach into past and future in two different appropriate ways. to include
> human essence, and speak to human essence.
I agree. The will to purify and improve ourselves changes us, extends our view, and eventually makes us create (or more correctly speaking, leads us to) something that we can not expect from what the word "improve" or "learn from the past" usually implies. Still it can be an improvement.
> the design process is important for us, but the audience
> however, to understand us, the audience should get an idea of the process.
In one sense, the audience can really appreciate the designer's results, only when the audience shares the core of the vision with the designer's, not only the process of designing.
> concept. we are only at the beginning of something interesting.
As always, it is easy to take anything interesting just superficially. It is also easy to to make something interesting an entrance to more profound thoughts and findings. It's up to ourselves.
e-mail conversations with
jutta nachtwey /page,
erik adigard /m.a.d.,
joan spiekermann /fontshop international,
taro yamamoto /adobe tokyo