"Distance is a condition of knowledge : it allows you to focus on units that are much smaller or much larger than the text: devices, themes, tropes—or genres and systems. And if, between the very small and the very large, the text itself disappears, well, it is one of those cases when one can justifiably say, Less is more. If we want to understand the system in its entirety, we must accept losing something.”
— Franco Moretti, Conjectures on World Literature
"The avant-garde artist who categorically refused to participate in political discourse and tried to isolate himself by accentuating his individuality was coopted by liberalism, which viewed the artist’s individualism as an excellent weapon with which to combat soviet authoritarianism. The depoliticization of the avant-garde was necessary before it could be put to political use, confronting the avant-garde with an inescapable dilemma.” (143 Guilbaut)
"I like spam, loitering, and promiscuity as concepts because they make us rethink the types of contact that can happen. Spam can reach out to people and say, “I care about you enough to put you at risk; I like you so much that you’re on my list.”
"These algorithms also will sometimes recommend materials they know you won’t like in order to make you feel like you’re not being interpellated. Disidentification makes us feel singular. Moments of identification are not necessarily the most important; it’s actually moments of disidentification that nevertheless produce action."
"Movies and radio need no longer pretend to be art. The truth that they are just business is made into an ideology in order to justify the rubbish they deliberately produce."
"in mass art, from the consciousness of the production team. Not only are the hit songs, stars, and soap operas cyclically recurrent and rigidly invariable types, but the specific content of the entertainment itself is derived from them and only appears to change."
"The deceived masses are today captivated by the myth of success even more than the successful are. Immovably, they insist on the very ideology which enslaves them."
"The ossified forms - such as the sketch, short story, problem film, or hit song - are the standardized average of late liberal taste, dictated with threats from above. The people at the top in the culture agencies, who work in harmony as only one manager can with another, whether he comes from the rag trade or from college, have long since reorganized and rationalized the objective spirit."
The self-aggrandizement of digital product designers we already have today is located firmly within the profit-drive, pro-capital mentality—it is a pride about doing things that are unethical. If anything, thinking about and attempting to take responsibility for ethical action in their work should force designers to reconsider their own self-importance precisely because these systems are so difficult to challenge. – toby shorin
Excerpts from Graphic Design in the Postmodern Era, by Jeffrey Keedy
“Perhaps the Internet will simply co-opt graphic design, incorporating it into its operating system. Maybe graphic design will cease to exist as a discreet practice and just become another set of options on the menu. Or is graphic design just a lubricant that keeps everything on the info highway moving - are we just greasing the wheels of capitalism with style and taste? If graphic designers play a major role in building the bridge to the twenty-first century, will they be recognized for their efforts? Do you remember typesetters?”
“Although intuition is a satisfactory explanation for a five-year-old’s crayon abstractions, it’s a bit weak for describing the computer-graphic-multinational-imperialism that is reshaping our global culture. Intuition is a generic term for a perceptive insight that is arrived at without using a rational process. It is a way of saying “educated guess” without defining the education of the “guesser.” That one’s source of inspiration could be unknowable, or at least indescribable, after the death of the author, and at the end of history, is understandable in these postmodern times. But the unwillingness of graphic designers to recognize their indebtedness to history, education, and their peers is not. At this juncture in its history, graphic design practice needs a more rigorous and responsible discourse. Maybe we should leave “instincts” and “intuition” to our furry friends; then we could reinstate history, education and current practice as our center for critical reflection, discourse, and inspiration.”
“Graphic designers are caught up in a media stream that is very wide and fast, but not very deep. The only way to navigate in it is to go faster or slower than the stream. To go faster you must be at the forefront of technology and fashion, both of which are changing at an unprecedented rate. To go slower you need an understanding of context through history and theory. Graphic designers are predisposed to going faster or slower according to their experience and inclination, but mostly they are getting swept along in the currents of pop mediocrity.”
“How we communicate says a lot about who we are. Looking at much of today’s graphic design one would have to conclude that graphic designers are twelve-year-olds with an attention deficit disorder. Designers today are representing our present era as if they were using a kaleidoscope to do it. Or more precisely, a constantly mutating digital collage machine, filled with a bunch of old “sampled” parts from the past, and decorated with special effects. Ultimately what we are left with is a feeling of aggravated and ironic nostalgia. This electronic Deja-vu-doo is getting old, again.”