I might as well talk in 🔺▪️🔶🔳⬛️◽️🔸🔻because
the rest just doesn’t really get through*
A new medium
It is near impossible to explain the significance of language since we are simply unable to comprehend the vast pool of purposes that it is used for by people, a pool that is only expanding throughout the course of time. Unfortunately, the structural and systematic approach that we are traditionally taught to perceive and use language with is, at times, unable to fully reflect all of the psychological and sociological needs we have in the process of our communication (ed. Lyons, 1971).
It is for these reasons, that many people throughout history (such as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Stephane Mallarme, William S. Burroughs, John Cage to name a few) had sought to challenge the traditional notion and understanding of language because they could not be content with the thought that the current mode of communication is all there is and there is nothing that could be done to expand it. They realized, that their inner worlds, as well as the ever-changing outside world, are simply too complex to be translated into such a “primitive” structure as the conventional form of our languages. The experiments undertaken by these numerous writers and poets included bending and breaking grammatical and semantical rules in an effort to reinvent literature and change the way we perceive information. The increasingly progressive treatment of text gave birth to many new literary movements, which undoubtedly left impacts on the way we share things with each other (eds. Dworkin & Goldsmith, 2011). However, it seems that despite all of these extensive changes, people were still left craving for a way to expand their set of communication skills. To find another medium that would perhaps be able to embrace the more ambiguous and murky parts of our communication or be able to transcend all language barriers and allow us to clearer shape our messages. The medium that they turned to were images.
It is important to mention, that the desire to communicate through images and visuals appeared at a very pivotal moment in human history, as we were going through rapid industrial and technological changes. Images stopped being singular paintings hung in museums and rich peoples homes and became easily reproduced and shared, with any person being able to not only access but also produce any kind of image they desired. The invention of photography, mass printing, televisions, computers and etc had rapidly developed this process starting from the beginning of the 20th century and onwards, with it now reaching its zenith in the digital age, where image accessibility is at an all time high (Goldsmith, 2011).
Words as images
In order to examine this shift in communication it would be useful to take a look at the concrete poetry movement. It is perhaps the most peculiar representation of a persons desire to expand our way of communicating between each other by paying attention to and introducing elements that we had previously neglected. Concrete poets were not only interested in manip- ulating pre-existing constructs of linguistic rules, but they were also intent on finding entirely new linguistic material. They explored the physicality and materiality of words, looking at sep- arate letters and formations as nothing more than visual structures. It is almost as though they believed that if we are unable to understand each other through what we write then we might be able to reach more clarity from the way that something is written and the visual aspects of the writing itself. This can be seen in many of Aram Saroyan’s works for instance, specifically in his poem m, which has been praised as heavily as it was criticized. There is no singular meaning that can be assigned to this poem, it can be read as a pun on the phrase “I am”, or regarded as a connection of the letter m and n, it is a manifestation of the malleability of the English language. In it, we are looking at something so familiar to us, yet are forced to perceive it as nothing more but a visual structure, a picture.
Concrete poets believed, that by freeing words from their stuffy preconceived purposes, they will be able to achieve a new method of self expression that is closest to what true human com- munication is. They were fixated on the idea of making the way we communicate more contemporary, by recognizing the materiality in which we reside in our daily lives. They were intent on creating their own language, which would be, as they titled it, verbivocovisual and panlin- guistic. Some of them, went as far as dismissing the semantic aspect of language whatsoever, focusing instead on transmitting an absolutely new kind of information. Their main goal was to create visuals that could transmit messages to everyone that saw them, regardless of their personal background or what language they spoke (Solt,1971). Mary Ellen Solt’s Flowers in concrete series is an attempt at reaching this transient space between visual and written communication. Take her poem Lilac, for example. Each letter of the word Lilac is transformed into a circular shape by method of repetition and script writing. These circles are then arranged together into a representation of the lilac flowers from Solt’s garden. The connection between the poem and its meaning here is very straightforward, with little doubt about what the poet is trying to convey. Yet again we are invited to deal with this work either from an entirely visual perspective (admire the picture itself), or seek out the letters and read in a way that we are traditionally used to.
It is then interesting to note, how an entire branch of poetry that boggled the minds of many, who were perhaps not ready to receive and understand the bogus propositions that the concrete poets were making, is completely mirrored in the results of the digital revolution. Something that was before reserved for writers, poets, and artists has become the mundane day-to-day of any person with access to electronic tools, television, and the media.
Instead of words
One of such pictorial tools of the digital revolution that have become truly ubiquitous at this point in time are emojis. Nowadays, it is hard to imagine any kind of textual communication between people to be devoid of a visual element to it. We utilize emojis and online “stickers” to convey the fleeting feelings and emotions that we think we are unable to correctly translate without some kind of visual representation. It is quite peculiar how quickly people had adapted to this new language, considering that emojis had been invented in 1999 and writing letters
and exchanging texts between each other has been something that human beings were doing since the beginning of time. Why did communicating via simple text suddenly become something that appears so dry and lifeless, when just adding an emoji to it or, at times, responding only with an emoji, becomes a better descriptor of the way a particular person is thinking? If concrete poets were trying to make words look like images, emojis stepped in and eradicated words entirely, embracing that same materiality that the concrete poets tried so hard to grasp, as the amount of emojis used to represent real tangible objects continues to expand as we speak. The system of symbols grows and changes with us, as we continuously contribute new elements to our collective digital language. Certain emojis grow out of their direct clear representation entirely, as they are used to mask or stand in for other things that are not directly rep- resented, in the mean time turning into their own little agents of ambiguity. In this way, cer- tain images end up acquiring multiple meanings and at times become misleading. This can be visible in Natalie Czech’s work, titled Icons. Natalie scoured the Internet in search of icons that are used across different platforms to signify and indicate already known objects. Yet, despite the icon remaining visually the same, the interpretation consistently changes.
This is something that has proved to be inevitable in the world of still images and icons. Despite the efforts of many, even Ancient Egyptians, visual language cannot free itself of the shackles of spoken language and remains limited in its expression. The hieroglyphs of the Ancient Egyptians often had symbols standing in for their specific phonetic indicators and homonyms. The little pictures which appear to be simplistic and straightforward cannot escape the native spoken languages of its creators and therefore cannot transmit the same messages in a “panlinguistic” manner. The languages of emojis and digital icons experience the exact same issues. Alan Kay had initially developed icons as a way of transmitting abstract thought, yet even he conceded that his effort was unsuccessful. As there is no way to systemize and arrange such still visuals in a way that would aid in their understanding.
Images tend to say too much, no matter how visually “simplistic” or “minimal” they look. Just as with regular, text based language, we are unable to predict how a specific picture will be perceived by the end user, and therefore we once again plunge into a sea of ambiguity.
In his book, The Rise of the Image the Fall of the Word American journalist Mitchell Stephens manages to present his own solution to this particular limitation that still images experience. He states that the only successful way to unambiguously transmit information through images is for them to become moving images, i.e. television and film, put more concisely — video. Stephens particularly focuses on a future phenomenon that he calls the “new video”, which arises from all of the mistakes and triumphs of cinema history. He argues that cinematic methods will elevate the still image and allow it to get rid of its obscurity through montage, juxtapositions, sound, and other editing elements. “New video” will be able to create links between objects faster and more efficiently, it will be able to captivate the attention of its audience in a way that text never could. Scenes will become the new words, yet richer and more powerful, as they will allow the viewer to engage in something that Stephens calls “complex seeing”. Stephens hopes that through this process we will be able to come up with a new kind of symbolism that will be used by video to transmit messages. Here he also refers to weather icons on television, a nod back to the origin of emojis, and expresses hope that if we are able to create such icons for simple concepts such as weather conditions, we will soon be able to do the same for more complex structures such as the word “democracy”, “truth”, and “irony”. I suppose that Stephens imagines such symbols to be constructed out of quick paced shots or “scenes” that depict situations in which these abstract notions take place, yet even then there is no guarantee of clarity. This is where we gradually understand, that although his proposition for video as a new visual language is at times very convincing and alluring, the perpetual problems of per- ception do not appear to be solved. He later goes on to say that words will exist to fend off the ambiguity of video, which automatically devalues his statements thus far and brings us back to our starting point. That despite the impressive scope of video, it still relies on language and at times cannot succinctly transmit information without it.
We unavoidably reach the incredible paradox of visual language. We are forced to realize that both text based language and visual language cannot provide the security and clarity that we seek. The end users ability to perceive and misinterpret the intended message consistently gets in the way and hinders our ability to successfully use one form or the other. The introduc- tion of visuals to our primarily spoken and written communication has undoubtedly widened the extent to which we are able to process the world around us. We are able to say more and show more, yet it seems that us being able to do this has not simultaneously guaranteed that the messages will become clearer or more universal. Perhaps, through trial and error, we will some day find a more efficient way to use these new mediums that are available to us. But in this particular moment, it seems that the only way of achieving this clarity can be done by em- bracing the symbiosis of image and word.
FORM FOLLOWS WHAT?
‘Form follows function’ is probably the most famous and defining principle of the graphic design through the years of the profession existence and the minds of many design practitioners. It came from modernist architecture, meaning that the shape of a building should essentially relate to its intended purpose. As modernists were also pioneers of graphic design, they saw practical reason in focusing mainly on functionality when choosing the right form for what they were working on. Indeed, in the atmosphere where the graphic design was born, functionality was a truly important element as it finally divided design from art into a separate profession. But its development during the century revealed some other essential factors to focus on.
FORM EVER FOLLOWS FUNCTION
The author of this famous principle, which became a modernist’s credo during the 20th century, was an American architect Louis Sullivan. In 1896, he used that expression in an article titled The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered. His precise phrase was ‘form ever follows function’, but the simpler version of it is more widely remembered. According to Sullivan, this was the single ‘rule that shall permit of no exception’. In general, he developed the form of the steel skyscraper in Chicago at the time when technological and economic forces lead to the unavoidable split with existing methods and forms. The purpose of the building had to determine the new form of it instead of the pattern chosen out of the traditional pattern book. Therefore, ‘form follows function’, in contrast to ‘form follows precedent’ (Sullivan, 1896).
However, Sullivan himself did not always follow his own directives – certainly not to the same extent as the modernists, who took what he said for dogma (Sagmeister & Walsh, 2018). At first glance, Sullivan's buildings seem pure and solid in their main masses, but he often decorated their plain facades with bursts of lush ornaments, varying from natural forms to more geometric designs. One of the most obvious examples is the entrance of the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building in Chicago, richly covered with the twisting green ironwork (fig. 1). In other words, it is lavishly decorated with completely non-functional elements. Therefore, Sullivan's credo was brought to life by modernists more than by himself.
Figure 1. Louis Sullivan, Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building, Chicago, 1899. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/yxy7hfx5 [Accessed: 19th January, 2020]
FORM FOLLOWS PROGRESS
Probably, the most functionalist out of all modernists was the Austrian architect Adolf Loos, who worked in the United States at the beginning of his career and admired the functionality of American architecture and the work of Sullivan in particular. In 1908 he wrote an essay titled Ornament and Crime in response to the detailed ornament used by the architects of the Vienna Secession movement (Sagmeister & Walsh, 2018). According to him, ‘ornamentation’ was also equal to any further improvement of a form right after the initial function is achieved. He detested the aesthetic appropriation that many 19th-century practitioners chose as their strategy. Loos believed that new times require new means of expression. The machine age has begun, so to use in any kind of design the elements of past eras - is nothing more than a farce or a parody. He also explored the idea that the intellectual power and the progress of culture are associated with the deletion of any ornament from everyday objects, and that it was, therefore, a crime to force craftsmen or builders to waste their time on ornamentation (Loos, 2019).
Figure 2. Adolf Loos, Villa Müller, Chicago, 1899. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/rjwgsd7 [Accessed: 19th January, 2020]
Thus, future modernists adopted Sullivan's phrase as well as Loos's moralistic argument and continued with the belief that when a function is optimized, the form following it automatically becomes perfect. But what is surprising, when in the 20th century the functionality and economy guided the architects and designers in their works, this did not prevent the contrariety between the goal and the result. Many projects created at this time occurred unsuccessful with time. Cheap and same housing, boring cards with safety rules for planes - only a few people wanted to live in these ‘functional’ houses and look at these cards (Sagmeister & Walsh, 2018).
FORM FOLLOWS INDIVIDUALITY
Unlike Loos's notion of form, which remained constant through all of his architectural and written works, some modernists changed their minds later during their career. One of them was Jan Tschichold, a German typographer, book designer, and educator, who played an important role in the development of the graphic design during the 20th century – first, by improving and delivering postulates of modernist typography (fig. 3), and then admiring conservative typographic arrangements (fig. 4). But many design schools continue to teach from his Die Neue Typographie (first published in 1928), even though Tschichold himself renounced almost everything he wrote in it. ‘What I do today is not in the line of my often-mentioned book, “Die Neue Typographie,” since I am the most severe critic of the young Tschichold of 1925–28. ... So many things in that primer are erroneous, because my experience was too small’ (Tschichold, 1964). He also insisted that Modernist typography 'is the exemplar of a most inflexible typography which makes no distinction between the advertising of an artistic performance or of a screw catalog. Nor does this typography allow for the human desire for variety. It has an entirely militaristic attitude'. Instead, he wrote that typographic design decisions should be treated individually, 'as different as the people around us' (Tschichold, 1964).
Figure 3. Jan Tschichold, Poster of the Avant-Garde, Munich, 1930. Available at: https:// www.moma.org/collection/works/7292 [Accessed: 19th January, 2020]
Figure 4. Jan Tschichold, A Book of Scripts, London, 1950. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/ uuv58hl [Accessed: 19th January, 2020]
FORM FOLLOWS EMOTION
Here is another interpretation of Sullivan’s classic maxim which also deals with diversity and individuality but in the form of human emotions. Hartmut Esslinger is founder of the global design and strategy company known as Frog. His innovative approach to design refined ‘form follows function’ into Frog’s slogan of ‘form follows emotion’, pioneering a global design philosophy that sought a comprehensive approach to both the aesthetics and functionality of the design. ‘I always felt that “form follows function” was a simplistic and misunderstood reduction of Sullivan's wider description. I also believe that “function” is a must, however, humans always strived for a deeper meaning’ (Frog). Esslinger's significant work for well-known electronic brands such as Sony caught the eye of Steve Jobs who in 1981 was looking for the company to design a signature look for the new Macintosh line. In 1984 this successful collaboration resulted with the Apple IIc which took personal computers into a new age of visual user-friendliness and also became instant classics of design (fig. 5). Esslinger had a straightforward goal to achieve the right balance between software and hardware. 'With the aim to be the computer for the rest of us, the Macintosh was far easier to operate and more intuitive than the prevailing IBM desktop models; Frogdesign expressed that simplicity’ (Edwards, 1999). Therefore, not only an object is designed, but also a relationship with it.
Figure 5. Apple IIc computer, 1984. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/v7sdrco [Accessed: 19th January, 2020]
Another person, exploring the importance of the emotional aspect in design is Don Norman, an American psychologist and usability consultant who is often recognised as the father of UX (this term first appeared in his book The Design of Everyday Things, which was first published in 1988). Like Esslinger, Norman is also known for a prominent work for Apple in the '90s, when he joined the company first as a “user experience architect” and then became the Vice President of Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology Group. Later in his book Emotional Design: Why We Love (Or Hate) Everyday Things (2004), Don Norman talks about form in design among other aspects and claims that ‘attractive things do work better—their attractiveness produces positive emotions, causing mental processes to be more creative, more tolerant of minor
difficulties’ (Norman, 2004). He comes to this conclusion by exploring three levels of human cognitive processing which lead to three corresponding forms of design: visceral, behavioural, and reflective. Shortly, these three levels capture how we emotionally react to visual experiences and they also can be mapped accordingly to such product characteristics as appearance, the pleasure and effectiveness of use and self-image, personal satisfaction and memories (Norman, 2004).
FORM FOLLOWS PROCESS
Unlike all already mentioned approaches dealing with solid objects in design, this one is mainly about finding a suitable algorithm in order to define the form in the process. Neri Oxman, a designer and professor at the MIT Media Lab, is known for the combination of design, biology, computing, and materials engineering in her interdisciplinary works of all scales. Her approach is based on form-finding, not form-making, arguing that ‘if indeed form is to follow function, how is that function tested, evaluated, validated; according to whom and by which criteria?’ (PopTech, 2009). Oxman believes that the nature, being a great multifunctional material engineer, has all the answers we may need. She investigates the material and performance of nature and describes her working method as computationally enabled form-finding, which is about bringing together material properties and environmental constraints, mixing them together and then generating form out of them. In a more practical way, it is about looking at natural examples, transferring them into digital realms and then back into the physical with produced design outputs. Focusing a lot on sustainability, Oxman also has an idea that instead of separation between materials and functions we have today, there is a possibility to move forward to designing and engineering systems that could incorporate performance criteria. In other words, nature can teach us how to build a structure that can sustain itself. Even in such a large scale as architecture, instead of using steel for the structural performance of the building and glass to let the light through, she believes we can create a material that would change its characteristics where it's needed to fulfil all the desired functions (PopTech, 2009).
Figure 6. Neri Oxman, Carpal Skin, Museum of Science, Boston, 2009. Available at: https:// tinyurl.com/uqgnkj8 [Accessed: 19th January, 2020]
Other practitioners whose work is focused on processes rather than completed and defined forms are those of Moniker, an Amsterdam based interactive design studio by Luna Maurer & Roel Wouters. Within their multidisciplinary projects, they explore the social effects of media and technology on our data-driven society. In 2008 they formulated the Conditional Design Manifesto which contained their common views on art and design and reflected their approach to design and the way of working in general rather than chosen media. According to this approach, there are three main elements to work with: process, logic and input. The process is the result and it produces formations rather than forms. Logic is the main tool which is used to design the conditions through which the abovementioned process can take place. Rules they apply are used as constraints to sharpen the perspective on the process. Finally, the input is the main material which employs logic as well as stimulates and influences the whole process. This element comes from our complex environment. It could be nature, society and its human interactions. This kind of external collaboration within a regulated logic leads towards unpredictable forms of design, which display differences and illustrate the state of constant social changes (Walker Art Center, 2013).
Figure 7. Moniker, Red Fungus Series, Laboral Art and Industrial Creation, Gijon, 2010. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/qmcju7q [Accessed: 19th January, 2020]
Summing-up all the mentioned notions of form, interpretations of the original Sullivan's 'rule' and approaches to the design in general, the following conclusion derives quite obviously: design of any kind and scale definitely requires a function and should have a purpose, but in order to succeed its various forms have much more directions to follow.
Sarcasm: a Tool For Criticism
The widespread use of sarcasm as a critical tool in the modern world is something to be expected. Sarcastic remarks directed against the consumer culture dates back to at least the 1970s, and the term itself was first documented in Oxford English Dictionary in 1695. Even though the idea of using sarcasm as a weapon for criticism is not entirely new, it is still effective to this day and has become a tool often used by the creatives to build resistance against the culture of mindless mass consumption. The modern language of marketing and advertising provokes the so-called peaceful protests by individual designers and is also the reason for the emergence of a number of movements such as subvertizers and anti-brand activists, for whom sarcasm is the main language for expressing their position.
Subvertisement as a whole can be interpreted as a strategy for resistance against the culture of advertising, a somewhat peaceful protest. As claimed by Special Patrol Group in the interview for Huckmag (2016) ‘Not only does advertising frequently promote negative stereotypes, but it also dominates our visual realm and privileges extrinsic behaviors over intrinsic.’, which is what the members of the movement fight against. While it is hard to say when exactly subvertising originated as a method, the history of organized mass-subvertisement dates back to at least the 1970s. The earliest known form of subvertising belongs to the Billboard-Utilising Graffitists Against Unhealthy Promotions, also known as the B.U.G.A.U.P. collective, and was directed against tobacco advertising in 1973. Sometime later in 1977, the Billboard Liberation Front, also known as BLF, was founded in San Francisco. Their practice was directed towards what they called “improvement” of the outdoor advertising, with the longterm goal to inspire others to do the same. Both B.U.G.A.U.P. and BLF still run blogs that give advice to prospective practitioners and comment on their history.
Even though subvertising is a relatively modern term it can be used to describe any kind of action taken to subvert ads. This can vary from spontaneous actions in the graffiti style to the more organized and polished modern campaigns. Traditionally, subvertising has been driven by a variety of reasons and motivations: from sarcastic remarks and objections towards individual products and the consumer culture to satirical notes and comments directed at political leaders. Even though the techniques for modifying, manipulating, and reflecting upon certain subjects may remain mostly the same, today's subvertisers usually form more organized groups with a more specific vision. As Thomas Dekeyser (The Conversation, 2015) notes: ‘Today, the practice of subvertising is reaching novel heights. Collectives are starting to connect globally to form an ever-increasing force of resistance against the visual and mental implications of advertising.’ The reason for that is the rapid speed of consumer culture and aggressive advertisement expansion and political disagreements, that have reached new heights. All of it has provoked more extreme reactions and the need for more organized actions.
In terms of action, subvertising mainly consists of transforming the original or creating a new piece based on a particular ad. It promotes building resistance against both the visual and psychological effects of advertisement. In addition to this, it inspires critical thinking and reaction towards the modern-day adverts and the modern-day language of the capitalistic society. An example of such actions is a project by The Yes Man collective, where they recruited thousands of social activists to distribute 100,000 copies of a spoof New York Times Newspaper. The spoof made by members of the collective consisted of several fake articles and images, that were meant to look authentic when placed in what looked like a commonly trusted source. The goal was to use a tangible and trusted medium, in their case the New York Times, to argue for a specific future (The Yes Men, 2008).
Another movement with similar ideas is anti-brand activists. Their main goals are intended to illustrate ethical issues related to the advertised products. Whereas in subvertisement, the range of mediums varies from logo parodies, poster manipulation, and even video works, the main medium used by anti-brand activists is ironical spoof ads and precise doppelgängers of existing adverts and campaigns. The doppelgängers get pejoratively changed and spread via social media, blogs, and websites, such as Ad Busters. Such campaigns have proven to be quite effective, as Markus Giesler notes in the Journal of Marketing (2012) ‘A 2012 study concluded that doppelgänger brand images were able to
negatively affect sales’.
One of such spoof ads shared by Ad Busters (2011) is the Fashion Slashin’ series by Nancy Bleck. She mocks ads and campaigns from worldwide famous fashion companies and the beauty stereotypes they promote. Typically, such campaigns display borderline anorexic look for women and overly muscular bodies for men, often putting the advertised images through intense photoshop manipulations upon releasing to enhance the resemblance of a particular beauty standard. Bleck explores the reality behind such images and mocks the unrealistic body standards and unhealthy body image by recreating the adverts, that display the opposite body types than normally promoted in the fashion world and working with slogans that represent the behind the scenes world of the fashion advertisement much more accurate than the original ones. Bleck, N. 2011, Fashion Slashin’. Reality for Men
Another example of similar reflection and use of sarcasm although via different mediums is Tom Sachs’ practice and his series called Cultural Prosthetics in particular. First known for his installation Hello Kitty Nativity that depicts traditional nativity scene that he created for Barney's shop in New York, his work focuses and reflects upon the obsession with consumerist culture and the influence the world of advertising has on the society. From the very beginning, Sachs did not hesitate to change the classic motives to fit his style; For the Hello Kitty Nativity, he replaced the key characters with contemporary pop-culture figures. The Three Kings were made to look like Bart Simpson, the Virgin Mary was replaced with the pop singer Madonna, wearing a leather outfit and posed with her legs spread, and instead of the Christ figure, Sachs placed the children's toy Hello Kitty, shown as a cat with a
beanie on its head. The new characters were all dressed in clothes by Chanel and Hermes, and the McDonald’s logo was placed over the crib. This way Sachs draws attention to the problem of brand obsession and the culture of consumerism, where everything means nothing yet pretends to have a deeper meaning. The installation was taken down soon after due to many angry calls from the offended by the Christ-cat religious activists. Sachs argues to have chosen Hello Kitty precisely for the reason of it not having a meaning, which makes the negative reaction that the installation caused even more ironic than the original piece. ‘She does not have a TV show, she only exists as plastic crap. In this time of consumerism, there is nothing like that. Everything really tries to mean something’, states Sachs (Artist Talk, 2015). Sachs, T. 1994, Hello Kitty Nativity, [Duct tape, synthetic polymer paint]
This was followed by Sachs’ first solo exhibition in 1995 called Cultural Prosthetics. As a part of the project, Sachs combined high-end fashion brands with weapons and created grenade sculptures with the Hermes logo, a Glock pistol combined with Tiffany identity, and a makeshift rifle. For an exhibition called Creativity is the Enemy that took place later that year, he added the Chanel guillotine, which later became one of his signature pieces and the Prada concentration camp model to the list of installations. Therefore, instead of looking dangerous and deadly the weapons looked glamorous and desirable just from the added elements of famous branding. As mentioned in the exhibition review on the Trend Hunter portal (Young, 2013), ‘Decapitating in designer style, modern society would probably make it legal thanks to the branding scrawled all over it. The allure of the Chanel name would put anyone in a trance, which seems more dangerous that this beheading machine.’ On the one hand, the quote describes the effect the media has on society perfectly; Paired with comments from all over social media, it is evident that even such a deadly weapon become something to be desired, simply by having a popularised logo on it. Sachs, T. 1995, Tiffany Glock (Model 19), [cardboard, thermal adhesive, ink]
On the other hand, the whole series and especially the Chanel Guillotine could easily refer to the death sentence people's uncontrollable consumption is giving the world. Sachs sarcastically notes and mocks society's obsession with chic brands and reflects upon the consequences such obsession has.
Sachs, T. 1998, Chanel Guillotine (Breakfast Nook), [Mixed media]
As obvious as the effect the media has on society is, it is not easy to resist. As noted by Sachs in his interview for The Talks (2016), ‘This is something that has been plaguing me my whole life: the effect advertising has over our self-image. Even though we understand that we continue to be part of the addiction and contribute to its power.’ Commenting and creating spoofs and satirical remarks on the market whilst still being part of it creates cognitive dissonance. Both Sachs’ practice and subvertisement movement can be seen as antipodes of the unhealthy nature of the aggressive advertisement and as a rebellion against the culture of capitalist society, yet it can not exist outside it. Creators are still part of the consumer culture and still engage with brand machines, that they fight against. Whether it is buying a new pair of underwear or a new phone, without putting themselves into complete social isolation they are forced to engage with what they believe is wrong. Sachs notes that he is a victim of the consumerist system as much, as he benefits from the luxury of the experience (Robertson, 2016).
The main goal of the projects such as Cultural Prosthetics and Fashion Slashin’ are meant to prevent the advertisement industry from establishing false values and to build resistance against the culture of mindless mass consumption. In short, both anti-brand activists and individual creatives such as Tom Sachs work against the mass-market machine, political manipulation, and toxic standards to create a healthier society using sarcasm and irony as a tool. Whereas the main language for such actions is either sarcastic remarks or ironical spoof projects, the majority of activists cannot exist outside of what they fight against, therefore creating cognitive dissonance. In such a scenario, sarcasm might not only work as a provocative gesture to gain attention and build a “better” society but also a coping mechanism of some sort.
Overall, the consumer culture that gets glorified also provokes a wave of sarcastic remarks from the creatives all over the world. It is impossible to ignore the negative aspects of consumerism, the unhealthy stereotypes and beauty standards the industry promotes, and the intense obsession with the brands promoted by the world of advertising. In such conditions, the widespread use of sarcasm as a tool for criticism is to be expected. The modern language of marketing and advertising provokes the so-called peaceful protests, the emergence of various anti-brand movements, and practice by individual creatives aimed to build resistance against false values and the culture of mindless mass consumption. For the majority of such activists, sarcasm and irony are the main languages for expressing their beliefs and a tool to create a healthier society free of toxic stereotypes and unhealthy obsessions promoted by the consumerist society.
GRAPHIC DESIGN IN DIGITAL CAPITALIST SOCIETY: PROBLEMS AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
In his 'In the Flow' Boris Groys suggests that the supreme objective of humanity was always, from the very beginning of civilisation, the search of totality. Totality as universality, thereby a way out of particularity, the only possibility to stop being just a part and become a whole. (Groys, 2018)
Traditionally the role of immortalising unifier of society was a competence of religion and church. By the end of the XIX century, industrial revolution rendered humanity even more powerful than any gods our predecessors could imagine. The rise of computer era and the internet in particular was one of the most promising ways to consolidate civilisation and build a free society. However, by 2020, many media critics, such as Geert Lovink, agreed that eventually the internet turned into an ugly dystopian capitalism-driven machine that produces precarity and creative underclass. One of the specialities affected mostly was graphic design. (Lovink, 2019)
II. Background & Context
Traditionally being a field that separates conceptual part from production due to the complexity of technical processes, graphic design required dozens of specialities within itself. But with the emergence of desktop publishing, suddenly a huge range of production artists, from typesetters and colour separators to printers and photomechanical technicians, became outdated all at once. One ultimate tool replaced thousands of people.
Andrew Blauvelt in 'Tools, or Post-production for The Graphic Designer' writes that graphic design tools of the past were bearing a gatekeeping function, which was eliminated with an open access to digital instruments. In a long term, this easiness did not only demystified design practice, but increased general awareness of the activity as such, leading to the growth of interest towards design. More designers began to appear, including self-taught, as the border between being a newbie and a professional started to erode. In the first decade after the rise of computer era, the competition within a field of graphic design went up, while wages went down, the craft experienced a decline, and the market became flooded with amateur work. (Blauvelt, 2011)
In 'What Design Can't Do', Silvio Lorusso mentions that among the variety of trends proliferating within the internet, appropriation is one of the main. And if in the 1980s designers were already referring to works of the past, like Russian Constructivism, a decade ago focus had shifted to the 'design without designers', as Lorusso puts it. Tibor Kalman was one of the first to resort to vernacularity and find a fascination in everyday graphics. In the beginning it seemed like the contextual field of widely acknowledged design expands beyond the limits of established culture, allowing for a variety to bloom. But in the 2000s, with the development of internet culture, graphic design was eventually deprived of any reference points and became a chaotic mixture of all imaginable visual genres. (Lorusso, 2017)
As design became more accessible, Blauvelt notes, the people from outside the profession started to explore image making with a new passion, discovering processes and possibilities that were unthinkable before, especially for a non-designer. While an older generation of designers was experiencing a crisis of identity, the young ones began to shape a new market. The internet provided them with immense flow of references and platforms to publish works on, at the same time not allowing to choose a particular audience to target. The information started to circulate and spread faster than ever, creating what Blauvelt calls 'a feedback loop', when one design decision, being a reaction to the previously seen one, gives birth to another one, and often this appropriation has a purely visual, contextless nature. This constant stream of responses shaped a new post-critical space, a postmodern version of Dark Age. (Blauvelt, 2011)
By the mid 2000s, Graphic design became a part of popular culture. But not only this. Gradually it started to appear in contexts that previously didn't imply the use of it, turning into a common practice, from choosing a new Facebook cover to a more complex tasks, such as laying out a presentation in Keynote. Ian Bogost generally refers to this phenomenon as 'hyper-employment'. Neoliberal agenda demands an increased efficiency from every worker, full devotion that requires performing more tasks than your official job practice implies. Life is almost unimaginable now without managing your monthly schedule, promoting yourself on Behance, retouching photos for Instagram, writing texts. Lorusso indicates that a lot of these routine tasks initially were operated within a speciality of graphic design. He calls this aforementioned state a dilution and generalisation of graphic design, that, again, affects the professionals by rendering their skills less valuable. (Lorusso, 2017)
Yet computer technology kept evolving, and in the 2010s graphic designers faced another rival — automation. Geert Lovink in 'The Critical Theory of The Internet' describes the collapse of dotcoms after web 2.0 had consolidated into social networks. He suggests that it fuelled the development of blogs and the 'template culture', because the need of making a website from a scratch became outdated, as blogs were hosted by platforms with proprietary designs to choose from and customise. Bots were taking over the sphere of simple editing tasks, web-designers' work devaluated. Lovink assumes that the aspiration for open access and participatory culture turned the creators of customising soft into victims of free culture, unable to monetise their own labour. (Lovink, 2019)
Ironically Youtube keeps selling me a free Wix logo maker, while I am investigating the growth of precarity among creative class. Wix allows to choose from a palette of styles and references, providing a user with dozens of options, from Futurist-like bold titles to lettering. Typical client's ultimate dreams are coming true — now they can endlessly play around typefaces and colours themselves. No designer is needed anymore, and no designer could compete with a quickie printer capacity of a machine, as Lorraine Wild formulated.
Blauvelt asks rhetorically, what is the added value of designers, if a content they used to produce can now be made by anyone, even a computer? Although the computer couldn't immediately demystify less tangible aspects of a designer's work, such as a craft of typography, taste for balance, harmony, composition, and the very shape-making skills, design community made up a new story about the value of the profession, lead by an instinct of self-preservation. Instead of concentrating on visual surfaces, designers turned their gazes to theory and writing — highly intellectualised outlook on design. (Blauvelt, 2011)
Yet Lorusso mentions that this new role remained a domain of elite art-schools and proliferated primarily on premises of universities, which increased the gap between real world practitioners and design institute graduates. Thereby the intellectual realm of a designer's work could only be acknowledged by other designers. It also implies that client should be educated enough to recognise the conceptual value of a product, which is, in fact, unlikely. This is how thousands of designers end up doing a 'bullshit job', a term coined by anthropologist David Graeber, to sustain themselves, while trying to solve an ambitious problem to keep being 'real designers'. In this vicious circle design schools become 'precarity factories', as Lorusso names them, and a real need for a conceptual discussion is only maintained throughout the process of education. (Lorusso, 2017)
III. Case study & Analysis
The situation looks incredibly pessimistic. What is the role of a designer in the world where every year a new tool is being introduced to take another traditional competence away from a designer? Are there any decent alternatives? Or from now on a designer is forced to work in a call centre in order to secretly practice meaningful and intellectually fulfilling graphic design at night?
Silvio Lorusso made an attempt to answer this question in his essay 'What Design Can't Do'. He appropriates Hakim Bey’s concept of temporary autonomous élites and applies it to design schools, envisioning them as think tanks — places to redefine the idea of work and develop structures of more efficient and satisfied society. (Lorusso, 2017)
This is not the only proposal. Tools that once deprived designers from their workplaces can become allies instead of enemies. The most obvious one is automation. Blauvelt refers to the work of Philip M. Parker, a business professor, as a positive example. Parker had managed to automate the process of online research, writing, and layout, to end up with more than 100,000 books produced with a help of neural networks. Designers could possibly do the same, leaving a job that can be automated to machines and taking a role of curators instead. Appropriation and selection over creation may prove a better decision in a world of remixing, reinterpreting, rebooting, and recycling. (Blauvelt, 2011)
Another niche yet to be explored is the creation of tools. Template culture devaluated the individual work of a designer, but allowed designers to produce templates and the scenarios of customisation. Computer, as Blauvelt wrote, is a meta-tool that gives one an ability to make other tools. For a designer, it means an ability to help other people design easier. Jurg Lehni designed Scriptographer, a program that translates digital vectors to more analog devices. Casey Reas and Ben Fry created Processing, an open source programming language that many other designers have used to create visualizations. (Blauvelt, 2011)
The hierarchy within the sphere of content-production needs reinterpretation as well. Geert Lovink indicates the new tendency of eradicating a border between labour and game, the process that gave birth to a very special form of exploitation. Online-platforms represent themselves as leisure facilities. However, they convert the attention of the viewers into a commodity. A group of developers from YouTube earn millions of dollars by simply embedding advertisement in users' videos, while paying almost nothing to the content authors. Thereby a professional practitioner from a creative industry finds her or himself in a more vulnerable position than a user for who the production of a content is a recreational activity. (Lovink, 2019)
Although the very system has to be revised, some designers make use of their audience and involve it into production, taking a position of an orchestrator of frameworks, enabling design to happen instead of making it. Studio Moniker specialises on interactive design and researches the social effects of technology. They ran a few user-experience-based projects. For instance, 'Place a Stone' — a participatory memorial for the World War II victims in Amsterdam. Visitors are invited to place stones themselves to help write the names of thirty-two victims. Or a scarf for Unmade, a pattern of which can be distorted by a website visitor by moving a pointer. (Studio Moniker, 2016)
However, the creators of content, even the participatory one, are still doomed to take a precarious position of creative underclass without a rethought system of monetisation. Geert Lovink analysed the existent situation in his essay 'The Meme Design Principles' and stated that authors should strive for a more egalitarian ways to reward their work. For now content can only be monetised through direct and deliberate donations, while the main money current keeps flowing to pockets of corporations that only distribute content without creating it. Lovink insists on building a new model of business communication, based on peer-to-peer scheme, that will allow people who do a real job start getting a fair compensation. (Lovink, 2016) According to Lorusso, graphic designers, performing a think tank role, may become the ones to come up with these alternative systems. (Lorusso, 2017)
The 1990s hopes for a better world of free content and liberated opinions are long ago left behind. Digital escapism proved itself a questionable strategy. The disappointment about the internet and computer culture became a commonly admitted fact, Lovink states. (Lovink, 2016) Yet, as a meta-tool, the internet can be transformed into anything, interpreted and employed in the way users choose. Instead of paranoid neo-luddist fantasies of dystopian future in a civilisation ruled by machines and corporations, with people relegated to inferior consumers and impoverished workers, a new paradigm can be adopted — the one of turning the disadvantages of technology into an allied force. And there already are clusters that cultivate alternative paths. Which, in its turn, fuels the collective hope and offers prospects of Groys' totality and unity utopia, long-awaited for from the very cradle of civilisation.
The role of play
CHILDHOOD,TOY AND PLAY
For my research I’m going to focus on childhood, toy and play.
‘One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood’ (2018, p. 27) that what thinks Agatha Christie. ‘Childhood is another country but also a waiting-room, a state of accommodation and acceptance’ (2002, p. unknown) said Antoine de Saint Exupéry because and I completely agree with his statement. That’s a fact that all grownups used to be children. It’s true that childhood was different for everyone but it had a big impact on their entire lives. Moreover, childhood is a time of various questions, opportunities and consequences.In the world of childhood reign their laws, their own rules and down space. Kids completely differ from adults. They have a different height, children do not have such physical strength and mental skills. Children see the world with new eyes. Often adults forget, what is like to be a kid.
THE MEANING OF PLAY
In order grown ups could feel themselves as a full member of the society сhildren have
to live in a world of beauty, play, music. Pablo Picasso states that ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up’ (New Times. 1976, p.unknown). For solving this issue it is important to allow a child to play enough in his childhood. Play is a sparkle that lights up a flame in inquisitiveness mind and curiosity. A dutch psychologist and culturologist Johan Huizinga writes in the book Homo Ludens (1938) about the main role of play. He puts the deep meaning in the concept of play. The culturologist believes that without any game components can exist neither one kind of a human’s cultural activity such as: justice, war, philosophy, art and so forth. The culture itself appeared from play, Johan Huizinga considers neither the labor originated a human but the leisure time did it. During that time a person could implement his fantasies, develop imagination, create artistic values, communicate with others this definition of play gives the psychologist. He describes the term play and it is an activity which do willingly in specific place and time. The play is necessarily based on the rules. It is accompanied by tension and thrill. The essence of play implies games that relate to intelligence, dexterity with
the use of wit and strength. He considers that the play itself is tend not only to people but animals too.
Johan Huizinga brings an example of playing puppies. Games of primitive humans are similar to children and
animals. Their game also, includes elements of sequence, tension, movement, and excitement. A child plays with a complete self-forgetfulness, an athlete plays with seriousness and courage, an actor plays in full immersion in the game. A violinist goes through sacred thrill. Hence, the manner of play may be inherent in most sublime actions. An adult plays like a child for enjoyment and relaxation. Although, the adult understands that this activity is not real and it does not connect with his routine.The psychologist claims that play is an exercise on the threshold of a serious, adult life.
THE EVOLUTION OF TOY
In my point of view one of the necessary objects in playing is a toy.
The expert Jiří Dostál’s claims that toy has experienced many historical changes throughout evolution era and even at the current time it has an immeasurable value because its nature remains unchangeable. From the book: Manual of Egyptian Archaeology and Guide to the Study of Antiquities in Egypt: For the Use of Students and Travellers the first toy occurred 4000 years ago. They were made by primitive humans at that time those things were made from stone, pottery and wood. The first rattle originated in Egypt. The rattle was protecting an infant from evil spirits. The word “toy” was initially used in France during the era of Renaissance.
Toy serves as an education part of a child. As a matter of fact, preschool children in need of diversity toys that challenge them to use their minds, bodies and feelings. When a child plays with a toy, it positively effects on the cognitive, emotional and physical development of a kid. For a child it symbolises the world in a realistic or stylized way, the universe which surrounds them, motivates their activity, living and acting. During the play children apply toys which determine the type, manner and richness of their playing activities.
Thus, a child grows and develops. He needs special toys for harmonious formation. What are these toys? Educational toys are the toys that teach something. They evolve imagination, memory, fantasy, logic and thinking and motor skills. Hence, the toys contribute to the mental and creative growth for a baby.
CREATORS OF TOY
One of the ancient authors was a German
pedagog and preschool teacher Freidrich Froebel.
In his work The Education Of Man he makes
a conclusion of a child who reveals during the play and it’s the main idea of the publication. He applied music, dance and game for the educational process. Freidrich Froebel invented the definition of kindergarten and he was one of the first creators who designed educational toys such as: paper origamis, brain teasers, cubes and blocks.
His contrivances for children the writer called Froebel’s gifts. For the 19th century it was a revolution upheaval.
The same theme unfolds Bruno Munari who was an Italian artist and tutor who had
been designing educational toys and books (2007). He’s one of the most pioneering and ingenious thinkers of the 20th century, who deeply explores the area of visual narration in children’s literature. By the artist opinion books had to motivate to think creatively. The books like: The Elephant’s Wish (1945), Zoo (1963), In the dark of the night (1961),The circus in the mist (1969) which visually demonstrate it. For instance, in the book Zoo the author highlights his evident observations about the animals such as: Some camels are more bumpy than others. Something similar say kids when they go to the zoo. Children are more sharp-eyed than adults. Also, Bruno Munari created the cards that are called Visual Games. They consist of 72 cards, with 48 transparent ones that can be superimposed to compose complex images and stimulate a child’s creativity. A child can overlap pictures of trees, this way he creates a wood. By adding some rain, the sun or the moon, or some birds, a passing dog, or whatever he wants. The child is able of changing the sequence of his story which consists of various images. Moreover, the designer invented Montessori Mobile-Black and White Baby Mobile is constructed from two-dimensional geometrical shapes that are in black and white color because new borns cannot define colors.
The slow movement of this toy allows a kid to focus his attention on this specific object. The Montessori Mobile is produced from plastic sheer, paper, birch wood, cotton cord.
CUISENAIRE RODS AND DIENES BLOCKS
Emile-Georges Cuisenaire was a Belgian school teacher, who designed a colorful set of rods for teaching students basic Mathematics. Emile-Georges Cuisenaire thought that education goes in an effective way if a kid is able to play with this visual aid.
He was inspired by Maria Montessori and Friedrich Fröbel in order to create rods. The idea of the rods is simple and interesting. They have different length from 1 to 10 cm and various 10 colors. Each rod is a number which has specific color and length. This object contributes in the development of logical thinking, exploring for patterns and concentrating attention. Here’s another practitioner Zoltan Paul Dienes who related to games too. He was a Hungarian mathematician, psychologist, pedagog-author of the play approach for children in terms of education. In order to evolve analytical abilities and the logical ones Zoltan Paul Dienes elaborated games. The mathematician used blocks that differ by color, shape, size and width. The game that involves Diene blocks have impact on the development of children’s speech.
In conclusion let’s highlight great meaning of play in human’s civilisation, in adults and kids life. It’s not surprising that nowadays, psychologists and educators came to the understanding of the earliest significance in development of kids. In shops appear a lot of educational toys. At the present there are various brands that manufacture such toys like: the Fisher-Price company which produces toys for children that don’t have a sophisticated design and it’s colorful. The company is famous for durable toys that offer a lot of opportunities like awaking imagination.
By the manufacture’s opinion, all elements of growth are: learning, fine and general motor skill, imagination, creativity, speaking, communication and emotional development. Yookidoo’ is an American brand that makes toys for babies that bring fun, entertainment, exploration and discovery. Chicco is an Italian company that manufactures various products for infants that encourage to evolve motor skills and fundamental activity
for baby’s growth.
It is clearly seen from the examples that were mentioned above that teachers, psychologists and modern toy makers are aiming to prepare children for changing world and new challenges that occur in front of him. Edutainment is one of the ways by moving with the times. This is an education through entertainment and implementation of games elements in education.Edutainment is a special approach of showing how to soak up information through entertaining process. One of the most complicated things is teaching children rather than giving education to a person who studies in college. It is very important that kids would be be able to absorb the given information from the first class.
It is necessary to base a taste and interest for learning among the young ones. Children are interested in play and they want to see the world as fun and amusement in general. The ground-breaking educational method was invented in order to reach the interests of the young audience through having fun and learning it productively. Currently education is full of tests during the learning time because the main goal is making this study more effective and productive. The idea of edutainment is not modern because it has been experienced for the past decades. This strategy is becoming more popular nowadays. The the concept of edutainment is often stimulating children to soaking up new things without losing the fun component.
Everything new is actually well-forgotten old because Bruno Munari, Freidrich Froebel, Emile-Georges Cuisenaire, Zoltan Paul Dienes used in their methods absolutely the same idea of teaching kids by playing with them, maintaining interest and their engagement in the cognitive process.
Emoji as a new way of communication. The influence of media. 20.01.2020
In 1995, one of the greatest inventions of our time was created: the Internet, it led to the widespread use of the network using Internet browsers. The Internet, of course, not only brought visible benefits to its consumers but also significantly changed their lives and communication with each other. Using the Internet to send messages preceded the invention of Internet browsers, which means that communication has had more time to be influenced by information technology (Nelson, 2006).
The online community provides a wide range of opportunities: a large amount of information, quick and easy communication, online trading, watching movies, access to music, radio, online games and much more. Nevertheless, the Internet does have disadvantages. One of them is the lack of emotions via online communication. In real life, we have visual contact with a person by which we see the facial expressions, gestures and intonations (Jandl et al., 2017). The digital world wide web has progressed so rapidly over the past few years that there was a need to find a solution
to compensate for missing communication aspects needed not to misunderstand the interlocutor. The enormous amount of information we started to receive with the Internet invention made us find the solution for spending less time on each piece of information. We need to send and read the message properly as quickly as possible. The emergence of a new texting language connected to the immediacy and compactness of these new communication media came with the popularity and rise in the use of online text-based communications (Lucchi, 2015).
Punctuation was one of the apparent solutions to express emphatic intonation of the speaker. Marks of exclamation and interrogation make the text emotional and expressive. Emotional pauses are shown with the dash. Moreover, suspension marks can be assumed as a disappointment, hesitation, embarrassment. Another way of punctuation use is it independently as the whole sentence. For example, a question mark in the conversation can work on its own as the complete question. This approach also proves our intention to reduce the time we spend on writing each message. Still, the range of tools is limited.
Initialisms from the Internet slang is another way to show your emotion in a quick way via message. Initialisms are abbreviations which consist of the first letters of words. You achieve the speed of delivering the mood of your message, and it takes less time for the sender to create it. Still, while the slang shortcuts save time for the writer, they take two times as long for the reader to understand.
Thus the ASCII art was created. ASCII art is a form of visual art using ASCII characters on a monitor or printer screen to represent images. American Standard Code for Information Interchange — American Standard Code Table for printed characters and some special codes. With the development of social networks, the art of drawing with symbols is gaining popularity around the world, since drawing with symbols is a great way to express your emotions and mood by making explicit pictures from symbols. There are some advantages such as small size, universality since any computer displays ASCII art graphics regardless of graphic editors and people of any nationality understand the images. However, it is rather time-consuming to make those type of pictures (Nettime, 1999).
Emoticons are what takes not as much time as ASCII art still they intended to convey your feelings. Emoticon — a pictogram depicting an emotion created from different typographic characters. Nevertheless, users are limited by the existing set of characters.
To increase the range of icons, the emoji was created. Unlike emoticons, emoji is a finished image with a particular meaning. The first emoji appeared on Japanese mobile phones in the late 90s. The inventor of emoji was the 25-year-old Shigetaka Kurita. He developed emoticons while working at NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese telecommunications company. In all, he drew 176 emoji sized 12 × 12 pixels, indicating people, places and objects (Pardes, 2018). As planned by Kurita, it was a set of characters that conveyed the full range of human emotions. Emoji quickly became popular in Japan. Mobile application research continued to develop throughout the 2000s, companies outside Japan, such as Apple, saw the possibility of using emoji on other platforms.
In 2007 Google internationalisation team decided to lead this idea by requesting recognition of the Unicode Consortium emoji, a nonprofit group that works like the United Nations to support text standards on computers. In 2011 Apple launched its operating system with Kurita’s symbols included. Emoji became so widely used all over the world that it needed to develop further, and in 2015 extensive repertory of pictures were added such as skin tones, for example.
All ranges of social life adapt to fast technology development with the use of emoji. Even White House Council of Economic Advisors released a report about the status of Millennials across the nation, touching on education, debt, and healthcare rates. The rise of emoji language occurred at the time of millennials and widely used by them, so it makes sense to communicate with this generation using their language. The fact that such a big and powerful institution as White House used emoji as a tool to attract youngers shows the influence of these Kurita’s symbols. I suppose it was done because of several reasons. Firstly, in order to simplify the perception of the materials for better understanding of the younger generation. Secondly, to make it more familiar visually to how this generation is used to communicate. Thirdly, to decrease the distance between the government and the public (Mosendz, 2014). Moreover, the fact that from 2015 emoji characters were added and developed according to cultural and political issues shows that politicians do understand the effect these symbols have on society. To sum up, technology progress makes influence not only to day-to-day communication but also on how the government accepts and adapts to the fast-moving digital field.
The effective use of emoji can be noticed in marketing campaigns as well. The success, recognition and universality of this ‘new language’ had started to spread through all levels of society. The Cannes Lions 2015 Titanium Jury awarded Domino with the top prize. In 2015, Domino chose to utilise emojis to give more comfort to clients who need to order pizza. The Domino account lets clients choose their preferred pizza, and the connection with their Twitter account allows the client to send tweets to Domino with a pizza sign. It works as a preferred pizza immediate delivery. The Domino model is fascinating. It shows us the alternative use of emojis other than narrating (Siyang, 2018).
Not only Domino used Kurita’s invention to communicate with the public. The world’s biggest condom brand Durex used emoji for the package redesign and created a series of promotion videos. The campaign is based on research that most people talk about sex in messengers using the language of emojis. In the video, the brand uses Kurita’s symbols system is the solution to overcome embarrassment. In this campaign, we see that emojis is a new way to help you overcome restraint and talk about your thoughts in a new way.
The indisputable success of Emojis pushed an International brand IKEA to create its own keyboard based on Kurita’s symbols. They are improving communication at home with IKEA Emoticons. People have discovered trouble continuously in correspondence. In the home circumstance, mistaken assumptions happen most around the mess. What’s more, that is the reason IKEA presents Emojis: a specialised system to guarantee all-inclusive love and comprehension in your home. All hints, desires and questions will be understood right away. It is an excellent example of the implementation of a new marketing strategy that involves icons as a medium to communicate digitally (IKEA, 2015).
Emoji can even be a tool to entertain potential customers in social media. For instance, the Russian chain of alcohol supermarkets Red&White on their official Twitter page played with alcohol and glass emojis when creating posts (Санечек, 2019). The target audience is millennials, who are the twitter users. So the success of this visual language of entertainment shows the significance of emoji and its influence.
The UX/UI Instagram development is a proof of the society’s need for a quick way of corresponding. In the middle of 2018, Instagram started testing emoji response option for Instagram Stories, which would give Stories viewers another way to engage with posts (Hutchinson, 2018). The use of emojis in an International biggest social media app shows us the universality of emojis. Moreover, it shows the need of a tool for quick reactions for nowadays users. The fact that it’s the begging of 2020 and Instagram is still offering us this type of response demonstrates its success. Furthermore, the title of this function ‘quick response’ describes the purpose of emojis itself.
‘Deadpool’ movie promotion campaign was based on emoji. The emoji-fied banner used the (dead/ poo/L) icons to convey the title of the film. I assume that it was made to attract people as it is a new visual language uncommon for billboards and movie advertising (McCarthy, 2016). Moreover, the target audience will immediately read the message behind the images as they are familiar with the signs. Furthermore, this design reflects the movie’s tongue-in-cheek humour, without seeming like overkill.
There is a tendency to digitalising the world in general and communication in particular. That provoked us to find the solution to compensate for the lack of visual contact we have when communicating online. Emoji plays the role of a universal language as ancient drawings used to be at those times, but nowadays, it has a different function. Its purpose is to simplify, add emotions.
Moreover, Kurita’s language speeds up the reading and writing with the help of the message behind the icon. Even one emoji at the end of the sentence can completely change the meaning of the whole message. And that’s not the only use which Kurita’s language has. Since the beginning of time, humanity has been using symbols for communication, from the time of cave paintings to codified systems. People used ideograms and pictograms, which were then transformed into letters and symbols. And now humanity is returning to the original idea of using images instead of text. That’s the power of a small icon.
The Internet develops very fast and influences our lives a lot. It has brought into our lives many advantages and possibilities as well as some limitations and new problems. Obviously, its impact is noticed worldwide on all the levels of life. Digitalising tends us to adapt to it, to develop new ways of communication and even changes our way of thinking. We invent new ways of delivering information in order to compensate for the disadvantages modern technologies have. Those limitations lead us to search for new ways of working upon society. Emoji is the latest invention that is used worldwide. Even though it has been invented not long ago, the influence and power it has today cannot be underestimated. Its impact and significance allows me to call emoji — the new language.
A smiley-face emoticon
ASCII art cheese
Kurita, S. (2020). Emoji. [Digital image] New York: MoMA.
A part of 2020 emoji set
White House publication, 2014
Domino promotion campaign
Durex Russia Emoji youtube video, 2017
Ikea Emoticons advertisment, 2015 8
Red&White twitter post, 2019
Instagram stories screenshot, 2020
‘Deadpool’ movie billboard, 2016
How modernism approach transferred through the years and developed into the foundation for web page construction and overall web design practice.
Modernism era started with the last two decades of the nineteenth century as a result of enlightening and radical change in the commercial industry. As the ideological movement it originated with the rejection of all the previously stated beliefs about traditional forms of art, literature, religious faith, philosophy, and social organization. By the 1970s the ‘modern era was drawing to close’ because it was ‘no longer relevant in an immerging postindustrial society’ and due to emerging of new era of postmodernism in history of art. (Meggs, 1998)
However, the modernists’ approach to work hasn’t been ignored by the practitioners of the field completely. Moreover, according to “The Cambridge Companion to Modernism” the “understanding of a major cultural episode” has been changing and updating over the recent years with the accruing of ‘more ambitious acts of contextualization’. Nowadays, we might have more Modernism, as well as more flexible way to understanding and interpreting it. Thus, the overarching theory I wanted to put forward in this work is the idea of how the modernism approach is still used in various projects, for instance, the web design and UX design practices.
For better understanding of the above stated thesis it is relevant to look more deeply into the origins of Modernism. Modernism is an ideological art movement that has appeared in the late 19th century with the skyrocketing technological progress and development of the ‘‘enlightenment period’’. Modernism corresponds to “enlightenment” concept in English. Modern word based on enlightenment has been produced from Latin “modo” and means that modernus separates past and present. (Aslan and Yilmaz, 2005, p.94- 96). The modernism ideology was simply to deny all the decorative elements and unneeded design and leave only the crucial, necessary and practically applicable parts. This approach has touched all the fields: from literature to music and started the period of questioning previous beliefs in favor of modern inventions.
Before the concept of Modernism, graphic design pieces were overly decorated with imagery and supportive typography elements as the practitioners were aiming to fill every possible inch of blank space in their pieces. For example, such approach was seen mostly in period of Victorian and Arts and Crafts style movements, where the prices for materials were rather high and the main costumer for such works was the Government. Aforementioned periods featured
similar visual elements: highly ornate and ‘busy’ imagery, illustrated typography and decorative outer borders. In complete opposition to boasting of a Royalty and attempting to represent subject matter truthfully the concept of modern communication design appeared. The power of machines and new technologies forced artists to cardinally re-think their practice. New methods allowed to think about mass production and the technology became a crucial theme in modernism. Thus, that was breaking moment for Graphic design as well and the style of overall communication design shifted drastically from the prior 19th century approach.
According to P. Meggs, Graphic communications became more widely available during that ‘unsettled period of incessant change’ due to the rapidly lowering unit costs and respectively growing demand. In other words, the ‘Industrial revolution generated a serious shift in the social and economic role of typographic communication’. The ideas of ‘modern beauty’ and all the advanced art movements were explored, combined and then applied to functional design and machinery production at the Bauhaus school (1919-33) in Germany. But why did it matter to the word in large? The Bauhaus’s academic program was mainly focusing on the recognizing and promoting the creative way of thought and intellectual strength to put them in use. Thus, innovation in graphic design, new vision, occurred as a part of the modern-art movements at the Bauhaus. However, Jan Tschichold (1902-74) was the only figure who took the stated approach further then the walls of the Bauhaus and applied it to everyday design problems. As well as that, he managed to explain it to the large range of printers and type designers.
Driving back to the thesis: how does this ‘new vision’ of the Bauhaus and Jan Tschichold’s in particular connect to the 21’st century construction of the web page and overall graphic design that we know nowadays? Apparently, those modern approaches were a huge inspiration for Swiss design or, more commonly, the ‘International Typography style’ invented later on in the 1950s. The movement was led by designers Josef Müller-Brockmann at the Zurich School of Arts and Krafts and Armin Hofmann at the Basel School of Design. The style itself favored simplicity, legibility and objectivity. What matters to the thesis severely is the construction and the set of rules which was applied to this style. Those include a unity of visual decisions achieved by placing the design elements asymmetrically on a mathematically constructed grid. Josef Müller-Brockmann, being a well-known theorist and one of the major figures of the new International Typography style movement, created a famous series of works for the Zurich Opernhaus in 1960s.
Mentioned poster-series appears as design pieces sized 1280 x 905mm. Each one of them had a repetitive layout pattern: two visually divided layers with the proportion being 3:1. The background illustrated usually in neutral grey color highlights the Zurich Openhouse name set using the large size of an AG medium font. Whereas the smaller rectangle introduces to the viewer the name of the play, address and main faces participating in it in two font sizes. The author’s goal here was to simply convey the needed message as fast as possible. As Josef Müller-Brockmann said himself: ‘The grid is an organizational system that makes the message easier to read, this allows you to get an effective result at a minimum cost. With an arbitrary organization, the problem is solved more easily, faster and better.’ By this example I wanted to outline the period’s most crucial rules and features which are still applied by young designers in any practice all over the world. To reinforce my words with facts let’s have a closer look into one of the world’s most popular practice: Web design.
‘World wide web’ invention is officially credited to physicist Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. He ‘accidentally’ came up with it while creating a database for a client’s software, to do so Tim Berners-Lee used hypertext to create an index of pages on the system. This eventually evolved into what we now know as web pages. Moreover, the first ever web page (launched by his team on August 6,1991) was purely textual and had the ability to only organize the context in two ways using HTML tables: horizontally and vertically. In three years, in 1994, the pop parody group Les Horribles Cernettes became the subjects of the very first photo on the internet.
Afterwards the software was updated and it didn’t take long for images to become a central and essential part of web-design in the 90’s and to nowadays. Later on, the internet began ‘its transition into the commercial powerhouse it is today’. The same year, a service GeoCities was invented. It was a crucial point in web design history, where for the first time software allowed internet users to actually easily create websites of their own. It was a period in web design that was fully experimental, where ‘freshly-made’ web designers brought their creations to life with bright, patterned backgrounds, clip art, and experimental text formatting. Leaving absolutely no room for rules and commonly agreed features.
But what is design in web? How is it linked to the approach of print designers of International style period and why does it matter? As it was written above, the ‘Swiss style’, inspired by modernism movement, featured legibility, a clarity of the message and was fully based on the grid system. Respectively, to design a web page means developing a grid system, in which various elements can be placed within a ‘ready-made structure that underpins the entire design’. Poulin, R. (2017). A well-designed grid structures the information for the better readability pace, but at the same time allows for the flexibility of placement on individual pages and provides a visual coherence across the whole series. Moreover, not only the layout features were brought up from the period of ‘modern beauty’, typography is the other important part of this ‘transition’. Swiss Style eliminates distractions for the viewer and allows the information-heavy design to be read and studied rather than merely seen and admired. Thus, the typeface decisions in both cases (web design and print design) are declined more to the sans-serif typefaces such as Akzidenz Grotesk and Neue Haas Grotesk which really hone in on the movement’s key principles. The modern web and swiss style design advocate that the typeface does not have to be expressive in itself, ‘it must be an unobtrusive instrument of expression’. As Massimo Vignelli mentioned in the documentary ‘Helvetica’: ‘I don’t think that type should be expressive at all. I can write the word ‘dog’ with any typeface and it doesn’t have to look like a dog. But there are people that [think that] when they write ‘dog’ it should bark.’ Thereby, those are the unarguable rules of page construction which was originated, heightened in the late modernism period and developed into web design as we know it today.
The late modernism approach and ‘International style’ rules could be seen easily in most of the web sites. For instance, the web page is a place where designers battle to get the viewer’s attention in less than 3 seconds. To achieve such fast interaction the design layout and elements should be simple and only crucial and needed information might find a place there. As an example of application of those to real life projects, I would like to take the web site http://nerval.ch/index.php . It is designed using standard 12 column grid with margins being 40 px and the gutter approximately 20 px.
The landing page is welcoming us with a screen generally divided in proportion being 3:1, where in the smaller section on the right the navigation menu is placed. It might have been done due to the way we deal with the text and information overall: we read and absorb it from left to right. To my mind, that is why the user of a page is navigated to first look at the general sections of the website to his left and only afterwards they are welcomed to look into more detailed information for each of them on the left part of the screen. As for the typography, across the whole web site one dominating Sans serif font could be found. It is set in two colours: light grey and black to achieve more contract and to build a stronger visual hierarchy. Respectively, the same features and even layout proportion principals might be seen in posters series of Josef Müller-Brockmann for Zurich Openhouse. Thus, the strong connection between two examples of completely deferent fields is unarguably present.
As has been noted, the use of modernism approach, it’s rules and restrictions didn’t end up in the 20th century with the beginning of post-modern era. The movement followers built a strong community of designers who willingly passed along their knowledge of the field. This knowledge was taken by the young successors and turned in a completely new and flexible way of understanding and applying the modern design thinking. It was no longer about capturing the reality as it was, it went beyond and transformed into a complicated, leveled practice where the audience and the threated message are the central figures of the design piece. Moreover, not only the concept changed along the way: the applied materials and the overall understanding of how the final outcome might look like transformed severely. All In all, this is how the late modernism approach developed through the years and laid the foundation for UI/UX design practice.
Makeup had been and is the most popular beauty tool. With time its purpose and concepts have changed. There was and still traditional understanding of it. But modern concepts and approaches of makeup have emerged.
Perhaps the Ancient East can be considered the birthplace of cosmetics and make-up. Both men and women were painted, and the idea of how to decorate the face and body of different peoples was specific. Egyptian women very actively cared about the appearance: coal-instead of a pencil for eye- brows, the blood of black bulls – as a dark hair dye, nail polish, lipstick, substance for whitening teeth from minerals with plants, crushed bones and teeth of animals, etc. Make-up was also used for medical purposes: the Egyptians believed that by applying eyeliner, they prevent eye rot and inflammation of the eyelids from dryness and hot blinding sun.
What is makeup?
Cosmetics in today’s understanding is a means product that changes the appearance. Mostly common concepts of makeup are to embrace beauty or feminity by applying cosmetic products on your face. Nowadays people using makeup mostly to embrace different features. There are a lot of products that have a specific purpose on a different part of a face. Within each product has the visuall characteristic of texture, colour, pigment end etc.
The main interpretation of makeup is to make yourself different. Back in a time makeup use to become more feminine and ladylike. Fashion and makeup are connected as well as trends change it. Now make- up is a form of expressing yourself. People became to use makeup despite gender or age.
Makeup industry and the traditional notion of beauty
What is beauty?
The Oxford dictionary defines it as: “A combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight”. Beauty. So what is beauty?’’ Is it determined by your age, race, weight Or perhaps it’s determined by what you see in the media culture or by popular trends. Peoples views may differ about what beauty is. But there are is still the general population that has similar beliefs about it. (Garuba-Okelarin, S. 2016)
Most people believe that would make them ‘’beautiful’ are wardrobe, cosmetic, and surgery. There exist numerous aspects of beauty that are perceived to be classic and timeless. For instance, if someone is thin, has blond hair and blue eyes they are commonly viewed as a pretty. For decades people treat those features as beautiful and many women were aspired to look like this. Modern pop culture still portrays these traits and many people still want to look alike.
What is considered beautiful are continually being reminded to women. A huge number of ads provide an idealized image to all different women. Society has built impossible standards of beauty by showing photoshopped models in ads which violated women’s perceptions of themselves.
The results of many studies that have been done show the negative effect of media on women’s self-image. Less research focuses on cosmetic production and how it affects customer self-esteem. There is no doubt that the cosmetics industry affects consumers because millions of dollars a year are spent on cosmetics(Greenfield, S. 2018).
Nowadays beauty standards have changed along with body positivity movement became popular. All of insecurities women have been an offer to change or hide by the pressure of the beauty industry, now people tend to show that no matter what you look like you’re beautiful.
Beauty without borders: Why in makeup there are no more rules.
The world has made significant progress in realizing that beauty standards are a Convention invented by the industry and picked up by society, and everyone should set the rules for themselves and on their own.
Blue shadows, spider-like lashes, overgrown hair roots, fuchsia colour and sequins-all this has turned from a nightmare of women with conservative views on makeup into bold trends in recent years. In the past year, almost all progressive brands, from Jeffree Star to major Urban Decay, have released their version of brown lipstick. The trend was initially stated as nostalgic: brown lipstick was in fashion in the
nineties, and even then it was discussed.
Twenty years have passed and the concept of “good taste” about beauty has become much vaguer. Fashion and beauty are now dictated not so much by glossy magazines as by the street, blogs, and popular live people with their idea of beauty. What until recently was an indisputable rule: a clear lip contour, no more than one accent on the face, a neat eyeliner, becomes just an option, but not an indisputable rule.
Glitter and sequins used to be used only on “holidays” and moved to “sprinkle more thickly”, including the roots of hair and beard. Now better is not less but better is as you want.
Over the years, a whole generation of cosmetic brands has grown up that proclaim makeup as a means of self-expression, rather than hiding Instagram — @ sydn4sty flaws or a way to seduce. Perfect advertising images with photoshopped smooth women have been replaced by images as diverse as life itself and beauty, and make-up bloggers do not stop at what cosmetics offer them, and enthusiastically master plastic makeup. Good and bad makeup no longer exists — and even though every season we try to highlight some specific, most relevant trends, now we need to try very hard to avoid accidentally getting into any of them. Beauty standards that strictly regulate the appearance of women are a thing of the past.
Masks in Instagram replacing makeup.
At the base of the mask filters is AR (Augmented Reality) technology, augmented reality, which has spread to all possible segments over the past couple of years. AR plays an important role in the beauty industry: there is now an active growth of applications based on AR and mirrors. For example, thanks to smart mirrors ModiFace, you can try on a shade of lipstick, a new haircut or hair colour. Such innovations only increase sales, and sales are now for generation Z, most of which are visual people.
Ines Alpha makes fine art pieces using Snapchat and Instagram filters.
She also does collaborations with fashion directors, artists and models to create what she called “make-up of the future”. In her work, she plays with augmented reality (AR) and often heightens the makeup that people already wear in real life( Behrmann, A. 2020).
Alpha is against the idea that people should look a certain way and in her filters she allowing people to experience different kinds of beauty. She hopes that her work encourages people to have a more open-minded perspective. For her, the idea of digital makeup on the streets is hard to imagine, but she believes that because people spend a lot of time with their digital second self, AR makeup seems as real and serious as the Internet.
Nowadays numerous brands are recognising a gender fluidity in cosmetics is a need. This is a historical fact that makeup was not gender-related.
The use of eyeliner and other cosmetics was a sign of wealth in ancient Egypt, usually, men put them on to show their status to passers-by and strangers. Recently in history, community people have More recently, makeup was used by members of the LGBTQ+ community as a symbol of femininity, as they could not do without it. Makeup today is becoming back gender-fluid and for the most part, inspired by trends from the past, how it used by LGBTQ+ community back in the time.
There is more man that buys beauty products and makeup and it is showing that makeup is being used as a form of creative expression and identity. Numerous famous beauty influencers use makeup as an instrument of self-expression, and not as a connection with something feminine. According to a 2017 study, gender is a person’s idea of his identity. When it comes to makeup and cosmetics as part of this
presentation, the stereotype that they are female attributes turns into a means of expressing gender identity (CHEMBERRY TEAM 2019).
There are thousands of social media resources that talk about different ways how to apply makeup and creating new looks, generation z and millennials consumers are in the largest and most various cosmetics market nowadays. Such brands like Estee Lauder and Laura Mercier aimed at more adult categories of consumers that direct on heightening natural beauty, brands like Colorpop, Milk and Jeffree Star aimed at the young market. In particular, a market that appreciates diversity, vibrant colour schemes, and unusual makeup looks that rebel heteronormative gender identity.
Drag Queen makeup, perhaps, like no other allows you to express your-
self and even make a new one. The anatomy of a man’s face is different
from that of a woman, and since all “Queens” have a goal to appear as a
woman (as they imagine it), there are similarities in their makeup. For example, almost every drag Queen makes exaggerated contouring today, although photographer Linda
Instagram - @mannymua733 .
Simpson recalls that in the ‘90s there was no fashion for it, and the heroines tried to give the face a natural-looking relief. (CLAIR, S. 2013) But regardless of the degree of intensity of contouring, drag Queens always do it according to the female scheme, which differs significantly from the male one in that other parts of the face are darkened.
Drag Queen makeup is more of greasepaint. At first, artists are forced to do it themselves, so that a novice artist may have uneven eyeliner and a poorly shaded tone, but this does not confuse anyone. Over time, drag Queens also get their hands on the smokey eye and glue false eyelashes in seconds. They, oddly enough, can look for ideas for everyday makeup — more than drag Queen, no one uses cosmetics, so that their faces can be considered as illustrated manuals. Drag Queens don’t make fun of women, as it may seem at first glance. Their main goal is to blur the boundaries between “male” and “female”. Dressing up every night in glittering dresses, using eyelashes and nails, Queens show an indecent gesture to a system in which only two genders are correct. And give hope to accept themselves to all who have not yet succeeded.
Drag in the modern sense is not only a man who turns into a girl. Getting rid of the external signs of gender also works in the opposite
Instagram - @ageofaquaria
Ines Alpha’s work on Instagram at @ines.alpha
direction: women who explore their “male” traits become “drag kings” and gather at their balls, where they wear costumes, moustaches, and even fake penises, parody celebrities, and look for their “inner macho”. There are also drag Queen women, no less liberated and luxurious than their biological male counterparts, and alien Queens who look not like women or men, but like living works of art.
Instagram - @ahhlmaa .
And drag Queen influenced the world of beauty, giving at least three
methods of makeup, which are now in use among makeup artists, beauty bloggers, and ordinary users. Such as contouring to correct the face relief, baking to extend the durability of cosmetics and make the skin relief smoother, Ombre on the lips that would simulate volume.
Instagram - @adamall_drag .
The sum-up, the world is changing and with it the concepts of beauty change. Restrictions that we are used to imposing on our own appearance are rapidly disappearing into the past, fashion promotes them, and society is actually becoming softer. Numerous movements and new technologies day after day allow us to see and experiment with our appearance as never before.
Using of the militant based aesthetics in non-commercial identity
History is an order ow wars, disasters and revolutions (Sedakova,2017) And it is clear that wars has a great impact on the process of how our world develops. It influences on all the sides of human lives, and visual side is not an exception. (Brady, 2014) In this essay I want to raise the question of usage of militant aesthetics by non-commercial civil organisations and communities in their identity.
At first it is worth paying attention to what the “Identity” means itself. In terms of sociology, Identity – is the term describing the set of fundamental qualities, beliefs, looks and expressions that underlie the human person or group of people. (James, 2020) But if we are talking about identity in design, most of likely the brand identity or corporate identity is meant. In other words: in terms of design there is set of visual means through which an organization can be recognized (Templafy, 2020) But in fact the design cant be separated from the ideas which lay behind it and both social and visual sides of identity are Interconnected. So why and how the fundamental qualities and beliefs of some group of people in civil life and visual means this group uses to represent itself can be connected to the military?
One of the most obvious reasons is that history of the community or movement in which it exists could came from military. The founders or members could have their personal military background and they can bring it to the community or collective they establish or join, it could be reflected in traditions, rules and aesthetics as well.
The example of the community with militant aesthetic could be easily found in most of the outlaw motorcycle clubs (It is important to notice that outlaw motorcycle clubs are not necessary connected to the criminal activity. In fact term “Outlaw” is more about independence and freedom, as an example in USA and Canada it is used for the clubs which are not registered in National Motorcycle Organisations, And when it comes to the clubs involved in criminal activities the term “outlaw motorcycle gang” is officially used). In fact, A lot of aspects of a motorcycle club`s culture is rooted to the military field. The military background could be found in history, structure, rules, hierarchy and visual symbols.
Factually, such thing as “motorcycle club” or “motorcycle community” appeared at the beginning of 20th century. (Bikedomain, 2015) But popularity began to gain only after WW2, because of the ex-soldiers served in supply troops and used motorcycles during the period of war. And the time of The American-Vietnam Conflict era (1958-1975) can be seen as period during which most of the outlaw motorcycle clubs were formed. In fact, people who established the biggest and the most famous motorcycle clubs, were ex-soldiers, they formed clubs and use their military skills knowledge to organize it. (Dulaney, 2006) According to the American government informant Charles Falco, who had infiltrated several very famous biker groups during his informants’ career, motorcycle clubs have a structure like the military and a very strict set of rules and regulations. (Falco & Droban, 2013)
And as well when it comes to the visual side, Motorcycle clubs also borrowed some significant elements from the military field. It worth to pay attention to the Motorcycle clubs colors (the insignia, or "patches", worn by motorcycle club members on their vests, and identify the club, territorial location, place, the club hierarchy, and sometimes other significant moments connected to the clubs member. And as well there is a name for vest itself) (Ferrell, Hayward and Young, 2013) The term “colors” itself is a reference to the military colors(or standards in other words).The same as with national flags and standards club members treat their vests with very high respect, and it is almost always stated in the rules of the club that member has to protect the “honour of his colors” and it is forbidden to let someone else wear or even touch members colors. (Rollin, Pineo and Mommer, 2012). The palette used in motorcycle club colors has a certain meaning as it is with national flags and symbols. And it is clear, that stylistic and place of patches on the front side of the vests came from the very similar ones used on the military uniform (Fig.1) to display name, rank or blood type of the soldier. (Dulaney, 2006)
There are some symbols displayed on vests, motorcycles and some attributes which also came from the military and become popular in bikers’ culture in general. First one for example is WWII Nazi military emblem “Nazi cross” or “Iron cross” which could have different meanings firstly it might be worn by former soldiers after WWII as a trophy. And later it turned to the symbol of rebellion displayed on the vests, motorcycles or different biker
s accessories, and it was simply used to shock the society. Now days in motorcycling culture it is still very recognizable and popular symbol and is known as “bikers cross” (Fig.2). (Kevin, 2018) Another symbol is Vietnam conflict death card (Fig.2), card looks like simple ace of spades playing card from the front and contain military unit symbols on the back side. Units left these cards as a message to the Vietcong, telling them who was responsible for the death and destruction left behind. As well these cards were worn on helmets as “anti- peace” symbol. Originally idea came from Vietnamese traditions which is meant the spade as a death symbol. (Marquez, 2020) As well as Bikers cross The Ace of spades symbol is still popular in bikers’ culture.
Talking about the influence of war on human identity, it is important to remember that experience that people lived through taking part in combat actions has a huge influence on their psychological state, this experience can radically change their minds and worldviews. Some of the veterans suffering from PTSD can’t handle with returning to normal life. And despite of all the bed sides of war, army could give a sense of belonging and brotherhood, and Soldiers who had returned from battle try to find the solidarity they had in military service in the communities connected with completely different activities. (Dulaney, 2006) And sometimes this idea to unite with their brothers in arms or join the existed community can turn into something really large and significant.
“DeliverFund” can be a first example, it is a non-profit organisation aimed to fight with human trafficking. The founders have a military background and a lot of careers with experience in special operations working with this organisation. DeliverFund work together with police, their instructors provide human traffic trainings aimed to help government to fight with this problem more effective. (Rivard, 2018) The design decisions and visual language used I on DeliverFund website and in social media is very close to ones used in US Army web resources.
Another example of organisations established by former military members is the Veterans Against Terrorism (VAT) (Fig.3), there is a group of British Military Veterans whose activity aimed against "Islamist extremists. VAT was formed after the bombing Manchester Arena by a group of British veterans, now days there is a huge movement of about 9 thousand members. In their actions and promotion materials VAT using symbols of British army and quite clear militant style. (Hill, 2018)
As well it worth to be noticed military service obviously gives people several specific skills such as fighting, using weapon, knowledge in war strategy etc. and these skills are always in demand and can be applicable in very different fields. But at the same time ex-soldiers not always is possible to find a job. Even though charity organisations are created around the world to help veterans the problem of unemployment among former military still exist even in the countries where the state pays attention to helping veterans. The combination of unemployment, and mental-health problems caused by combat actions, can be the perfect set for sending veterans to the criminal field. For example, according to official statistics around 2% of people in us army forces involved in criminal activities. (Wolfe, 2013) Military trained gang members exist and are in demand for very long period. Nowadays members with military skills can be find in the street gangs, outlaw moto gangs, domestic terrorists and extremists. (Smith, 2017)
The second moment which can be observed within the subject of using military aesthetics is about cases when militant aesthetics used within groups, communities and movements intentionally, for the sake of certain goals and ideas. Usage of rules like ones existing in the military, occurs in very different scales starting from small organisations and ending with huge movements supporting by the state. It may be based on several different reasons, depending on the case, but the most obviously militarism is justified by patriotic ideas, self and national defence. In all cases using ideas, structures and visual aesthetics coming from military field can help with control and discipline inside the group and as well can be used to arouse respect and fear from the side of society.
Firstly, it worth to stop on the term “Militarism”. In the key of the state politics it is “the belief or the desire that a state should maintain a strong military capability and for national interests and values, belief that military power play the main role in increasing national strength. (School History, 2016)
The idea of militarism is not new, people ruling the state use it throughout whole the history of mankind justifying it with the national interests. There are a lot of examples how states involve people in near-military organisations and activities from the early years. The history has enough bright examples. If we look at the period of WWII, we can find a some very good examples. The social structures of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in fact had a lot of similarities. Despite of difference in ideological theories which laid behind Communism and Nazism, the methods to implement those ideological ideas were identical. (O'Neill, 2017) And in the key of the raised topic it will be fair to examine how two regimes created the organisations which were not a part of the state military forces, but exited to prepare and educate young people in the patriotic key and raise the future soldiers.
In Nazi Germany during the period of WWII it become compulsory for children to join the “Hitler Jugend” (official Nazi-German youth movement) (Fig.4). (Matchan, 1985) The were several formations depending on age and gender for example Jungmadelbund (League of Young Girls) the Bund Deutscher Madel (League of German Girls), but it is clear that all the young people were involved in military based organisations activities, with rules hierarchy, special uniform and traditions similar to ones existing in the army. (O'Neill, 2017)
The very similar thing existed in Soviet Union - the Komsomol (Fig.4), (All-Union Leninist Young Communist League) and Pioneer (All-Union Lenin Pioneer Organization) for younger children was the youth organizations of the Communist Party. (Vasilver, 2012) In both cases the aim was to educate children in the key of patriotism, sports and primary military training as well as loyalty to the existing regime. Comparing the handbooks of the Komsomol and the Hitler Jugend it becomes clear that the main role is identical to place education of children under control and raise them in the key of dictatorship country benefits. (Gould, 1951)
Unfortunately the examples of such organisations still exists in the modern world, The Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League in North Korea and Young Communist League in China and the “Yunarmia”( Young Army) in Russia. (Stewart, 2016)
But the idea of usage the military experience of control discipline and enforce rules of course is not abused only by the state. A lot of movements or unities which have an intention to show themselves strong and combat-ready because of the specification of their activity or ideology. It is almost always applicable for organisations connected to destructive and aggressive actions like football hooligans, far-right skinheads etc. (Botsch, 2012) The strict rules, visual unity, usage of same style in clothes or even something close to the uniform, and as well actions with marching, are the good examples of using military experience and aesthetics.
To sum up, ideas and experience which came from military system often contains such terms like strength, power, unity, brotherhood, loyalty, sense confidence, and belonging to something huge. And visuals which come from the same area could be perceived by the society as symbols of all this. And the fact how we precept the militant aesthetics can be used for completely different things. In two words militant aesthetics is a weapon that give people a sense of strength and security, and as every weapon it can serve for defence or for destructions, depending in whose hands it is.
HIDDEN INFLUENCE OF MEDIA AND PROPAGANDA ON COLLECTIVE MIND
Currently, the media space has a huge impact on the lives of not only individuals, but also on the life of humanity as a whole. Modern media has the ability to influence our views and beliefs; it is able to educate us, give us moral guidance, impose idols, correct behavior and in the end, they are able to change our worldview, or at worst, build it from scratch. In other words, media influence is the actual force exerted by a media message that leads to a change or deepening of individual audience beliefs.
Indeed, it is difficult to overestimate how much the media influences the formation of personal and public opinion. Generation after generation, humanity has been shaping or transforming its views, opinions and tastes, following the voices of television, radio, Newspapers, the Internet and other forms of media. It is noteworthy that people who are influenced by the media, which are almost all civilized people, are very rarely able to check every single multimedia message, but they can easily believe in many of them, even if it is about events, people, places or ideas that they have never previously encountered.
The impact of media on human consciousness can be positive, can be negative and can be catastrophic. For example, in the nineties on the territory of Russian Federation was created the largest in the history of the country financial pyramid "MMM", working on the principle of money fraud, in which payments to the first depositors were provided at the expense of funds received from subsequent participants of the pyramid. Accordingly, such a scheme can not function for a long time and the repayment of obligations to the last depositors is obviously impossible. However, due to the active and high-quality work of the media at that time, people did not notice the evidence of deception. A series of commercials were broadcasted on television, the main character of most of which was a simple working guy Lenya Golubkov, who very quickly became a favourite for the masses of the population. The videos were deliberately simple and visual, showing scenes of everyday life of an ordinary person. The popularity of the firm grew rapidly.
MMM TV commercial from the 90's
The number of depositors of the company has continuously increased and at the time of the collapse was according to various sources from 10 to 15 million people. This means that more than ten million people have suffered in many ways thanks to the work of the media.
Another story where people was influenced by media this is when one man made the unconscious masses work on the campaign.
It was Edward Bernays, whom contemporaries called the "father of public relations" in the 1920s, who made today's world the way we know it — the world of consumption.
Thanks to him, the owners of American corporations learned how to make people dream about things that they do not need at all, deftly connect mass production of goods with unconscious desires and fears, create a person’s illusion of happiness, prosperity and self-confidence through the purchase of certain goods. Thus, Bernays solved the main task — to make people buy more and more goods, to become literally dependent on them, so that without them they would feel uncomfortable. He achieved the most impressive effect by “teaching” women to smoke (a cigarette in the hands of women is precisely his “achievement”).
During and after World War II, tobacco smoking was ubiquitous among men. It was believed that smoking tobacco helped relieve stress. Although the Ministry of Health has attempted to bring public awareness of the dangers of smoking, they have been unsuccessful. Also, smoking at that time had a "gender" — it was an important part of the masculine image. At the beginning of the 20th century, a woman could not smoke, especially in public — it was almost the same as undressing in the middle of the street. But it so happened that one of the first customers of Bernays was George Hill, president of the famous American tobacco corporation Lucky Strike, who asked him to find a way to destroy this taboo, because he had long understood that he was losing half of his market in the face of women.
“Change culture, change society” — such a task faced Edward Bernays when he was invited to collaborate with the American Tobacco Company on this large-scale project. Bernays skillfully took advantage of the current social situation: by the 30s of the last century, women's rights in the United States had been expanded, but still not enough to talk about equality. The voices of feminists such as Ruth Gale sounded louder.
Large feminist marches often attracted the attention of the general public in large cities. For one of these, Edward Bernays hired several beautiful and slender women to conduct a covert promotion. Women had to walk on a march with lit Lucky Strike cigarettes in their hands - symbols of freedom and independence.
The action worked perfectly: the next day the newspapers were full of headlines of the corresponding content. And it’s hard to overestimate the impact this PR move had on the minds of millions of young girls across America. It is curious that advertising campaigns hit from two sides at once: they placed on the desire of women for independence and equality and at the same time emphasized the inherent desire of all women to look good and like men.
Lucky Strike Cigarettes ad, 1929
So, a more than successful concept was developed that convinced the public of the benefits of smoking. Smoking was attributed to such "side effects" as losing weight and maintaining the body of a woman in good shape. And smoking was skillfully presented as a beautiful and elitist habit of European women from high society. Indeed, in Europe, smoking was not condemned by women.
Lucky Strike Cigarettes "Face the Facts", 1931
As a result, Bernays's advertising campaign was a huge success both in the short and long term. According to the American Medical Women's Association, in 42 years - from 1923 to 1965, the percentage of women consuming cigarettes increased from 5% to 33.3% out of the total. Do not underestimate the profits of tobacco companies from such large-scale changes in the culture and public consciousness of American society.
Thus, it is easy to see how the influence of media on the consciousness of mankind in General and on the consciousness of individuals in particular is progressing. If in the 1920's the unconscious desires of people were targeted in order to make them want what they do not need and break their established opinion, then in the nineties fraudulent organization "MMM" for the sake of achieving its goals focused on the mass stereotypical consciousness and using television was able to achieve the desired without any difficulties. It's all like an endless game. People are progressing along with the modern media space for them. What they fell for today will not be able to cloud their consciousness tomorrow, which means that the media space needs to invent new methods of influence every time. Each time more plausible and each time more sophisticated. It's scary.
However, everything that exists in this world is capable of improvement. As mentioned above, the influence of the media is not always carries a very negative character. The media is capable not only of propaganda, but also of education; it is able not only to deceive but also to save from deception. The future of the media space is exclusively in our hands, because we and only we are its creators and feeders. We create what interests us, we are interested in what interests us, and we are influenced only by what interests us. Media influence has long been associated with exceptional positivity. It remains only for humanity itself to be ready for this.