Conceptual Design in Contemporary Culture

“There’s a generation of young designers who, almost a century after Duchamp, seem to share something of his spirit… Rather than products, these people are designing situations, intervening in existing arrangements, framing everyday activities in ways that make us think of them, unexpectedly, as “design.” And although they’re often satirical in tone, these designers share a concern with ethics and responsibility; one of the reasons the design they make is so often immaterial is their sense that the last thing the world needs is more objects, more consumer goods. The widening ripples of Duchamp’s gesture blend, in their work, with the repercussions of a gathering concern around issues like sustainability, community and responsibility: to be conceptual is, after all, to be thoughtful. ”

Kate Andrews (Conceptual Design: Building a Social Conscience.)

“Wild Fold” Cell Phone Concept Using Samsung Flexible OLED

The new phone concept from Mac Funamizu does take phone designing to the next level. Named as “Wild Fold”, the unique thing about this phone is that it can be folded in more ways than one. So whatever your mood or desire be, if you like the sleek, short, long or even flip design, all you need to do is fold the same in the manner you need and voila you have the phone of your choice! And what’s more, it also has the touch screen facility, so one need not scramble for buttons to dial. Just use this amazingly designed conceptual phone and dial your blues away.

“The Argo”, Conceptual Boat Design Has Won Bio 21 Quality

Concept Award

The new touring boat designed for touring the waters of Ljunljanica River in Slovenia is surely a designer

masterpiece. The boat named as “The Argo” can be termed as an eye candy as design wise it’s a beauty and is equivalent to what a convertible is to cars. The boat has primarily been designed to capture the picturesque locales of the surrounding areas of Ljunljanica River and being opened without any boundaries as it represents openness. Also the lack of boundaries depicts the closeness it can find to nature. This conceptual design has also won the BIO 21 Quality Concept Award.

E-Note, Flexible Electronic Paper Concept by Sequoia Studio

Issued from QUO, the laboratory and concept brand of the industrial agency Sequoia-Studio, E-note is a conceptual project which is exploring what could be the future of the reminder. E-note is using the tactile and flexible electronic paper technology, and is powered by a solar captor. E-note can be stuck, and unstuck, easily and durably, with special “Gecko” glue, inspired by nature and the lizard of the same name. E-note is coming with a visual alarm function, 8 possible colors of message display and can beused many many times.


One Small Seed

In 2005, Giuseppe Russo started One Small Seed in his adopted hometown of Cape Town, South Africa.

Russo’s own story—after just a couple of months spent visiting the country, he felt the urge to create a cultural mouthpiece—embodies the concept.

Since planting his own small seed in Cape Town with a single quarterly title, the publisher has grown exponentially. In the course of five years, he’s added a social network, television platform, and a number of online magazines (all showcasing South African pop culture) to his media enterprise.

The original print version is your usual glossy brew, featuring stories–from fashion designers and music to artists to architecture—all hailing primarily from South Africa. Not long after the magazine started, Russo expanded to video, introducing stylized short format documentaries under the banner Onesmallseed.tv.

Ultimately, with the addition of a social network, Russo’s vision for a brand that people believe in came to fruition. Onesmallseed.net allows South Africans to create profiles with online portfolios, and from that came two more publications–Picture This (photography culled entirely from Onesmallseed.net), and a new digital magazine, Selected Creatives.

Looking through Onesmallseed.net, the 10 digital issues of Picture This and Selected Creatives (also Compiled, from the social network), it’s overwhelming to take in the amount of creative talent that Russo has amassed around One Small Seed.


Nihilism in Japanese Anime

Key words: Nihilism, Nietzsche, Japanese, Anime, Film

Marco Oliver discusses ‘that nothing has intrinsic value – has a long history of human
society. This is especially true in the progression of cultural artefacts. Most recently it is
acutely analyzed, very subtly, all aspects in the media.

Anime is focused on as popular art. We investigate if there are any traces of nihilism visible.
Anime was created in a Japanese culture. The purity of the Japans values is bypassed in
their art.

The value system one adapts gives those who apply to it a formula of existence. The death
of religion occurred with the birth and evolution of technology. Nietzsche believed that
nihilism was prepared for by the believes of those who are religious, that the world of time
and space, we inhibit, is not the true world, and therefore its stripped of value.

Value has been stripped from life as the technology loving society prospers. We have
replaced the premier society.

We striped nature of its value with technology. As in the movie Spirited away, where the
water spirit needs to be cleansed from.

The conclusions will be made according to Appolinian (principal of individuation) Dionysian
(mysterious primordial unity) principles. It is implied that we are destroying the purity of
nature with technology…

We struggle to recognise the line between illusion and reality.
The Nihilistic attitude of the Japanese society is displayed strongly in their media. It is linked
to Nietzsche death of religion, nihilism to the culture of the strict samurai. This caused a
major transmission from nature to industrial. With all the examples given in this piece. There
is conflict between traditional values and what is thought of as progress.

Anime exemplifies old traditional values. It focuses on the carefree; no believe in anything,
but your own wellbeing. Nature is being replaced wit technology.

Anime exist for almost any demographic group you can think of. It represents pictures of the
floating world. They discuss issues that are real, somehow our truth, yet they maintain true
to the ‘cartoon’ feel of fantasy. It deals with the consequences of the actions by the
characters portrayal.

Oliver’s article makes it clear that we are moving away from that utopian world we long for,
instead we disintegrate. It has become the district unit of nature.


The Origins and History of DRUM Magazine

Drum is a South Africa magazine that is targeted mainly at Black readers. It contains within it feature articles, entertainment and market news. It was described in 2005 as the first black lifestyle magazine in Africa. It should be noted though that is primarily recognized for its 1950s and 1960s reportage of township life under apartheid.

The drum office, March 1955© Jurgen Schadeberg

‘In the teeming Negro and coloured shantytowns of Johannesburg, where newspapers and magazines are a rarity, a truck piled high with magazines rumbled through the unpaved streets last week. Wherever it stopped, hundreds of people swarmed about it, buying the magazine: The African Drum.’ – extract from ‘South African Drumbeats’, TIME Magazine, 1952

Drum magazine was established in March 1951 in Cape Town, and launched by journalist and broadcaster Bob Crisp. It was initially known as “African Drum”, with its aim being one intended to depict Black South Africans as ‘noble savages’, and this under the editorship of Bob Crisp. Copies were said to have been sent by the South African government abroad, this serving as evidence over their success in managing the ‘Bantu’. The content of the magazine comprised of mainly folk tales and tribal preaching, this also seeing it become unsuccessful financially despite its readership of about 20 000. This all changed when Crisp was replaced and the publication grew when former pilot and son of mining baron Jim Bailey took over the magazine in 1951. The magazine set its headquarters in Johannesburg (the hub and chief magnet with its mines, shebeens, dancehalls and snappy dressers) and was renamed Drum. Drum was given a total transformation, with its content now reflecting vibrant urban black culture. African nationalist movements used the magazine now as a platform, and it continued to grow and influence the emergent urban black culture. An editorial board that consisted of some of the leading political and cultural figures of the time was selected, and this done to ensure that the magazine reflected Black life. This board included such notables as: Henry (Mr Drum) Nxumalo, Can Themba,
Todd Matshikiza, Nat Nakasa, Lewis Nkosi and others such as William Bloke Modisane, Arthur Maimane,
and Casey Motsisi.

It wasn’t only the writers – the pictures were also important. The main photographer and artistic director was Jürgen Schadeberg who arrived in South Africa in 1950 after leaving a war ravaged Berlin. He became one of the rare European photographers to photograph the daily lives of Black people. He trained a generation of rising black photographers, including Ernest Cole, Bob Gosani and later Peter Magubane. Magubane joined Drum because “they were dealing with social issues that affected black people in South Africa.

Drum published its first major story in March 1952, entitled ‘Bethal Today’. It was an eight page, investigative article on a farm in Bethal were labourers encountered gross abuse. One of the Drum journalists Henry Nxumalo “Mr Drum” went undercover, posing as one of the labourers on the farm, this done to uncover needed information and material for the story. His story, which uncovered the harsh and abusive conditions at the farm was accompanied by undeniable proof from pictures taken by his fellow work mate Schandeburg. This exposure, from the story and the pictures worked as a force to get the government to enforce change in the way farms were managed in Bethal.

Initially Drum was not intended to deal with political issues but the editorial board saw it meaningless to publish the magazine without any political reference and thus render the publication incomplete.





Apartheid and political issues continued to be covered in Drum, and these included amongst others the Sophiatown forced evictions, the Defiance Campaign which was launched by the ANC, Sharpeville massacre, and many other stories of atrocities. It proved to be an essential vehicle in voicing resistance in the 1950s and also drive towards an equal society. Resistance was united and mobilized through or by it, and a good example being of pictures that accompanied Nelson Mandela’s statement ‘We Defy’, found in the August 1952 issue. The Nationalist responded with apartheid crackdowns and treason trials.

Drum described the world of the urban Black; the culture, the colour, dreams, ambitions, hopes and struggles. Lewis Nkosi described Drum’s young writers as the new African[s] cut adrift from the tribal reserve – urbanized, eager, fast-talking and brash.

Also documented by Drum was, multiracial affairs and integrated communities which were never shown in other publications. An example of such a scenario is that captured by Ranjith Kally in 1957, of images of White people in shebeens.

By May 1965 Drum had lost its zest and simply became a fortnightly supplement magazine. 1968 saw its revival. 1984 saw the acquisition of Drum by Naspers, who are the published of City Press and True Love.

Defiant Images: Photography and Apartheid South Africa, Darren Newbury, University of South

Africa (UNISA) Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-86888-523-7 (see Chapter 2. ‘A fine thing’: The African

Drum, and Chapter 3. ‘Johannesburg lunch-hour’: photographic humanism and the social vision of
Drum)

The Drum decade : stories from the 1950s / edited by Michael Chapman, University of Natal ess, 2001, ISBN 0-86-980985-7
A history of Drum Magazine (http://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/artsmediaculture/arts/media/drum.htm) , South African History Online
[http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2004/dec/21/pressandpublishing.booksobituaries ” Obituary, Anthony
Sampson], 2004, The Guardian


United Colors of Benetton

The advertising philosophy of United Colors of Benetton is based on Luciano Benetton’s belief that ‘communication should not be commissioned from outside the company, but conceived from within its heart.’

Benetton started off as a fashion label for the young, designing sweaters for people across the globe. As their market expanded their concept of United Colors spread to encompass people of different races and sensitizing them to the idea of tolerance, peace and respect for diversity.

“All the colors of the world” was one of their first slogans in their advertisements and later changed to “United Colors of Benetton”. The united colors concept proved to be a strong one and saw the company adopt the slogan as its actual logo.

The message that came with the trademark was one that form a base on ad visuals designed to create a growing network of “United People”.


Difference
On its quest to be the over-thrower of stereotypes, Benetton began working with Oliviero Toscani on images for the 1986 campaign. They had multiracial “couples” posing together with this representing an all-new interpretation of difference. One advert reflected the conflict that existed in religion and politics, having a Palestinian and an Israelite uniting. Other depictions in this campaign were based on taboos of religious and sexual conflict, with a picture of a priest kissing a nun, and another depiction of good and evil, symbolized by a little white angel and a black devil. Acknowledgement of these difference made the brand seem more involved.




Reality

This image of a war cemetery during the Gulf War, in 1991 was published in just 1 Italian newspaper called Il Sole 24 Ore, since all other papers refused to print it. They had a much more realistic approach with this campaign, and included depth of field. This went against the grain, when put next to all the “candy coated” approaches of the advertising world.

The other ad was that of a newly born baby still attached to an umbilical cord, which was intended to represent an anthem to life and an opposition against the irruption of death. This image ultimately became one of the most censored images in the history of Benetton ads.


In February 1992, there came a campaign that reflect Benettons drastic change in the way they communicated. The ads showed news photos of real, high-drama situations: a man dying of AIDS, a soldier gripping a human thigh bone, a man assassinated by the Mafia, a car on fire, a ship being stormed by emigrants.





For the sixth World AIDS Day, on December 1 st 1993, an enormous pink condom, 22 meters high and 3.5 meters wide, was placed on the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. This time, the stunt was endorsed by ACT UP, one of the most radical associations involved in information about and the fight against AIDS.
All the news programs on the main international television networks and, obviously, all the daily and magazine press featured the image that has become a symbol of the fight against AIDS.
Through its alliance with non-profit associations, institutions, and large international organisms, Benetton proved that a “different” use of advertising was indeed possible.




2001, Volunteers in Colors : a Benetton communication campaign, a special issue of COLORS and a concert, in collaboration with UN Volunteers to celebrate the International Year of Voluntary Work.




2003, Food For Life : a Benetton communication campaign, a book and a COLORS supplement in collaboration with the World Food Programme, a front-line UN agency in the fight against world famine.


2004, James & Other Apes : a Benetton communication campaign, a book and an exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, with the support of the Jane Goodall Institute, founded by the renowned primatologist who is a committed defender of the environment and a UN Messenger of Peace.


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2008, Africa Works: a global communication campaign in favour of micro-credit in Senegal. Benetton puts the spotlight on entrepreneurial Africa.




Modern & PostModernism


First things First 1964 Manifesto

First Things First 1964
a manifesto
 

We, the undersigned, are graphic designers, photographers and students who have been brought up in a world in which the techniques and apparatus of advertising have persistently been presented to us as the most lucrative, effective and desirable means of using our talents. We have been bombarded with publications devoted to this belief, applauding the work of those who have flogged their skill and imagination to sell such things as: cat food, stomach powders, detergent, hair restorer, striped toothpaste, aftershave lotion, beforeshave lotion, slimming diets, fattening diets, deodorants, fizzy water, cigarettes, roll-ons, pull-ons and slip-ons.

By far the greatest effort of those working in the advertising industry are wasted on these trivial purposes, which contribute little or nothing to our national prosperity.

In common with an increasing numer of the general public, we have reached a saturation point at which the high pitched scream of consumer selling is no more than sheer noise. We think that there are other things more worth using our skill and experience on. There are signs for streets and buildings, books and periodicals, catalogues, instructional manuals, industrial photography, educational aids, films, television features, scientific and industrial publications and all the other media through which we promote our trade, our education, our culture and our greater awareness of the world.

We do not advocate the abolition of high pressure consumer advertising: this is not feasible. Nor do we want to take any of the fun out of life. But we are proposing a reversal of priorities in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication. We hope that our society will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesmen and hidden persuaders, and that the prior call on our skills will be for worthwhile purposes. With this in mind we propose to share our experience and opinions, and to make them available to colleagues, students and others who may be interested.
 

signed:

Edward Wright
Geoffrey White
William Slack
Caroline Rawlence
Ian McLaren
Sam Lambert
Ivor Kamlish
Gerald Jones
Bernard Higton
Brian Grimbly
John Garner
Ken Garland
Anthony Froshaug
Robin Fior
Germano Facetti
Ivan Dodd
Harriet Crowder
Anthony Clift
Gerry Cinamon
Robert Chapman
Ray Carpenter
Ken Briggs