3436655215_dc5f68fea5_b
A site map: another thing that was due today.

WHAT DOES THIS PLACE PROJECTS LOOK LIKE ON THE INTERNET?

Three sections.

Frequently updated content that promotes and unites projects and facilitates discussion.

SECTION ONE: Blog
• Posts about existing projects that work within this realm of place-based.
• Artists, projects, books, writers, photographers, events, organizations, record labels, imprints.
• Interviews, reviews, comparisons.
• Photographic exploration of places. (TPP exclusives) (myself, my community, artists I approach,
photographers who look at place already)
• Interviews with TPP artists.
SECTION TWO: News/Releases/Updates/Events/Calendar
• News: grants, new project releases, promotional for events and releases.
• Call for entries: collaborative zine? Whole, independent projects?
• Exhibition for This Place Projects projects.
• Documentation of the project: photographed objects, photographed events.

 

SECTION THREE: Navigation/Information/About
• About This Place Projects
• List of This Place Projects artists and their relevant links.
• Blog bios, guest bloggers.
• Store to purchase releases

WORDPRESS THEMES

October 27, 2009

I definitely didn’t find exactly what I wanted to find, but there are WordPress themes out there that almost fit my high expectations! Here are a few that I’m considering. These were all found on Best WordPress Themes. Many are considered “magazine” style themes. I think I might need to take Art 342.

Picture 10Top of the list. Would have to kill the orange if possible. Allows for categories.

Picture 11Another top contender. I like that it allows the images to be the main content, but there might be some trouble with navigation and people wanting to zip through posts like a regular blog.

Picture 14This is closest to what I had in mind, though it might be frustrating to have a whole column of navigation that I don’t have control over. (far right) I like that this has a place for a featured image. Futurosity Eos.

PLANNING A WEBSITE.

October 19, 2009

512512727_5044d028dc_bI feel like I’m stuck in this string web. Mine isn’t as beautiful, though. It’s grey and internet-colored. Borrowed from Flickr.

STRUCTURE OF SITE
I’m currently planning the structure of the website for This Place Projects.  This is hard.

I’m struggling to decide: Does the whole project function as a blog, or do I need both an exhibition site for This Place Projects projects, and a blog to highlight other peoples’ projects?

APPROACH ONE:
• The project consists of an exhibition website that links to a blog.
• On the website are the different projects TPP releases, documented beautifully and with links to the artist site. This will only be updated when new projects are released. The site features an “About” page. Will likely be indexhibit because it is beautiful and i hate html.
• The blog will be updated regularly with content. It will feature existing projects, reviews, interviews, guest posts, photo essays of place, and news of releases and events.

APPROACH TWO:
• The project is entirely contained in a blog format. All content is here. Reviews, interviews, news, etc. Releases of new projects will take the form of a blog post with all relevant information. “About This Place Projects” will be its own page on the blog.

What do you think?

I also have to consider the best way to integrate a store where TPP projects can be purchased.

DADA

October 15, 2009

06dad2A contemporary exhibition poster made in the style of Dada.

Dada is described as an international cultural movement that began in Switzerland during World War 1 and spread throughout the western world. Proponents of Dada did not call themselves artists, but instead referred to what they were doing as anti-art. Those involved in Dada never wished to be an “ism,” as what they were revolting against with their gatherings, performances, manifestos and visual experiments were the prevailing, institutionalized bourgeois interests that both dictated traditional art aesthetics and led directly to World War 1. (This is what Dada believed.)

uk_wwiA graphic design example of the “order” of a war-driven, capitalist society that Dada revolted against.

I find it interesting that we now refer to Dada as an art movement. It’s ironic that the movement is now considered a part of what it revolted against, which is the history of 20th century art. I suppose they chose the avenue of the art world to wreak the most haovc, so it makes sense.

fountainbymarcelduchampFountain by Marcel Duchamp, New York, 1917.

One of the more recognizable contributions to American library of Dada is Marcel Duchamp‘s Fountain, part of his Readymades series. The Readymades were found objects (in this case, a porcelin urinal) that Duchamp selected and displayed in an art context, thus, by his logic, elevating the mundane to the status of fine art. This didn’t go over very well, but that was precisely the intention of Dada: to subvert the traditional conception of what was “art” and what was not.

The piece was rejected from the gallery by the Society of Independent Artists, causing an uproar in the Dada community.

hoch5Cut With The Kitchen Knife, Hannah Höch, 1919

The collage Cut With The Kitchen Knife by Hanna Höch, is likely the visual aesthetic we most often associate with Dada. It was a far cry from the measured art being made at the time. Höch used found objects and a chaotic arrangement of elements to subvert the accepted understanding of visual appropriateness.

man ray 1920 obstruction fb_82_tMan Ray, Obstruction, New York, 1920.

Man Ray’s Obstruction is a sculpture that directly references the tragedy of the Great War. (WW1) By using a simple object of American consumerism, Man Ray mimicked the senseless piling up of bodies in Europe.

Dada was a direct reaction to World War 1. It was a direct reaction to the society that drove entire continents to war. It was a direct reaction to the traditional art standards determined by that same society. It was a movement that turned art on its head, and subverted the ideas of concept, aesthetics and context.

Picture 3A Dada publication, including collage and typography indicative of the time.

How can I relate this to design thinking or social practice? I’m not sure. I see the relationship that social practice has with Dada, in its desire to subvert the gallery experience and offer something new to the established art world. I see Social Practice advocating a change from the singular-voice gallery experience, much as Dada did with their vast offering of publications and gatherings. Certainly graphic design has pulled visually from the Dada library of ephemera and publicity, and we see the typographic experimentation pioneered by Dada appearing again and again.

lecoeurabarbe_no1_cover_6400More Dada typography.

Perhaps I am most compelled to connect Dada and Graphic Design as vehicles of cultural creation. Designers contribute cultural content to our world on a daily basis, and Dada as a cultural movement certainly contributed to our collective history. I see the brazen experimentation of Dada as giving permission to cultural, art and design movements that followed it.

Term Long/Thesis Project

October 8, 2009

3631175218_2386eec30aDexter, Oregon, a rural community in the southern Willamette Valley. A place I’ve been thinking about, spending time in, and exploring.

This summer I stepped back and took inventory of the kind of work I was making and the projects I was interested in. I thought about the books I was reading, the best experiences I’d had, the trips I’ve taken, the things I daydream about, the movies I enjoyed, the most impactful classes I’ve taken.

9_3186378243969fcee9d6o_v2Get Out, Art 320 Termlong Project, one of my first projects about a place: America.

Was there a reoccurring theme that tied all of these things together? What was it?

Place.

33_wwdl2Where We Don’t Live, This Place Projects Release #2, Collaboration with Will Bryant

One of those impactful classes was Geography of Environment and Society. For the first time since fifth grade, I learned the names of every country on the planet. I also learned the concepts of space and place. A space is a measurable location, an area, an expanse that can be pinpointed, defined. It’s tangible and objective. A place, on the other hand, is a space that has been injected with meaning and experience. It’s a location whose definition takes into consideration context, point of view, personal relationships. A place has heart and a place has history.

3946309859_64dc7c0dccLadd’s Addition, the neighborhood in which I now live. A place with a rich history, an interesting community of Portlanders to think about.

So I made up my mind to start something. Something general enough to encompass my own creative endeavors. Something open enough to facilitate curatorial and collaborative projects with other artists. Something to release products, to hold events, to lend legitimacy and structure to my musings and exploration of place.

This Place Projects.

Right now it’s just a blog. Here is an excerpt from the “ABOUT THIS PLACE” page.

“THIS PLACE  is an experiment in creating and curating location-based projects. THIS PLACE is an independent press. THIS PLACE is a record label. THIS PLACE is a party. THIS PLACE is a gallery, a store, a museum, a website, a brand and an organization. THIS PLACE is an idea. THIS PLACE is an investigation. THIS PLACE is a celebration of here, of there, of spaces that have been infused with meaning and experience to become places.

Through networking, sponsorship and exposure, This Place seeks to highlight, host, and unite place-based projects of all media.”

So, that’s what I want to work on this term. The logo is stupid. I want to fix that. I want to clarify how people can participate. I want to develop a website that makes it easy to join forces, experience the releases, and follow my research on place. I “released” two zines (here and here) through This Place Projects this summer, but it hasn’t been clearly structured so they sort of slipped through the cracks.

36_tp112An Ode to Summer in the West, This Place Projects Release #1

I need to BRAND the enterprise more fully. I need an identity, a press kit. A defined idea that I can refer to for structure.

I want to release more projects from other artists.

I want to hold events relating to projects.

I want to keep a regular blog highlighting the work of others.

state-by-stateState by State, a book I read this year about all fifty states in America. An example of a project I’d want to review, write an essay on, post to This Place Projects.

It’s kind of funny where this all came from. I attended an art opening/lecture Mike Perry gave at the Grass Hut this summer. He had a selection of prints up and was talking about two book projects he edited: Hand Job, on handmade typography, and Over and Over, on drawing patterns.  Someone asked him, “How did you go about getting a book deal from Princeton Architectural Press?” His answer was: “I pitched a ton of ideas to them, and they chose this one.” I thought to myself, “If I could edit a book project about any topic, what would it be about?” Now this idea feels bigger than a book, it feels more fluid and inclusive and scaleable and alive. It’s just interesting to think of corralling all of your crazy ideas, thoughts and interests into a comprehensive topic.

Any thoughts?

ANYWHERE BUT HERE

October 4, 2009

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A sampling of mood boards to come. Find our gallery here.

Project: Anywhere But Here

Group: Christy, Orion, Nicole

Premise: To encourage our peers and others in the PSU community to contemplate beyond the present. To encourage community and discussion among participants. To create awesome, mind-blowing design work that is functional, meaningful and beautiful.

Format:
Pose the question: Where would you rather be right now? Hold a workshop where participants can explore that question by making a flag of their response. (Responses could include: “Home” “Florida” “1969” “At a Backstreet Boys Concert in 1999” “In Harry Potter’s Castle” “In Stefan Sagmeister’s studio”)
Document the workshop. Post it to a website.

Deliverables:
Promotional posters, fliers.
Blank flags.
Travel journal/pocket notebook/passport to elsewhere
Ticket to elsewhere
Cookies shaped like flags.

Problems: How can we make the experience meaningful for participants?
How can we make the documentation represent the feeling of the experience?
How can we produce deliverables that are more than useless ephemera? Meaningful keepsakes, symbolic sculptures?

Christy will have more in-depth writing about our plan on her blog.

HARRELL FLETCHER

October 1, 2009

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Untitled (Four Girls) Harrell Fletcher, 2005

***I read the Allan McCollum interview with Harrell Fletcher on Bombsite.com***

People, context, audience

Social Practice, at its base, is about people. It’s investigative journalism reinterpreted. It’s about, and for, the regular person. It elevates, if only temporarily, the average citizen to the status of artist, collaborator or celebrity.

It’s hard to talk about Social Practice without talking about Harrell Fletcher. It seems that this brand of socially engaged art falls wholly into his realm. I always find it hard to explain what Social Practice is to anyone without using Harrell’s projects as examples.

By placing the mundane in an art context, it is immediately elevated to a place of interest. An audience is created for content which before had no audience. This is one part of Harrell Fletcher’s social practice. The other part is a total subversion of that same art world in which, by purpose or default, Harrell Fletcher’s artworks are placed. He often works outside of the restrictions of a traditional art context and make his works more accessible to “regular people.” A non-art audience.

Picture 10

Lawn Sculptures, Harrell Fletcher, 2002

Take this project, for example. A residents of a NE Portland neighborhood were photographed and transformed into lawn sculptures after Harrell happened into a conversation with a homeowner about her vandalized lawn sculptures. This art project was born out of a happenstance conversation, and in the end brought together a community to share in artwork about their neighbors and neighborhood. The ceramic sculptures were shown at PICA and then made into cement sculptures that reside in the front yard of the Williams family in Portland. Artwork about and for regular people. Regular people experiencing artwork both inside and outside of a traditional setting. A non-art audience.

Fletcher_03_body

The Report, Harrell Fletcher, 2003

Another project, The Report, is based on the premise that regular people are interested in learning regular facts about other regular people. Harrell conducted hour-long interview/conversations with people he knew, on topics of their choice, and produced one-page reports about them. Downloadable on his website, Harrell says, “I’ll give them a chance to identify what they want to talk about, how they’d like to represent themselves, and I’ll put it out there in a way that both regular people and the art world can have access to them.” The project proves what many of Harrell’s projects prove: that given the proper context and presentation, no one is regular and conversation isn’t boring.

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Some People, Harrell Fletcher, 2008. http://www.somepeoplepeople.com

Some People is another of Harrell’s projects that encourages the exchange of personal information among regular people like you and me. It’s a website on which anyone can post a documentary about anyone else. It allows ordinary people to be elevated to the status of celebrity, of art, and celebrates their daily lives. This kind of documentary is interesting to me as a designer.

98.196.10Harrell Fletcher and Jon Rubin, David’s wife Linda at age nine, 1998. SF MOMA Permanent collection

Design and Social Practice

To me, good design seeks to achieve a lot of the same things as social practice does. Exposing regular people to good work, exposing seemingly mundane truths to a mass audience.  Design is art for the masses. Sure, a lot of design is for designers. But how interesting is that work? And a lot of design that is for the masses is commercial,  is total crap, is selling deadly things like fizzy drinks or gasoline. But truly accessible design reaches the broadest possible audience without discriminating or favoring a particular set of individuals. It illuminates truths about humanity that were previously unapparent.

rotating_home13

Untitled, Harrell Fletcher, 2005

I like that Harrell sees himself oftentimes as simply transcribing information. As an artist he’s turned the spotlight on the people he works with, illuminating their stories and giving them an audience. I see designers, who often work with someone else’s copy on someone else’s projects, as holding similar roles. Harrell Fletcher:

“A big part of my work is grunt work, so that somebody can get their words or their photographs or whatever it may be out there. I’ve always been very particular about transcription too; I think it’s crucial. I can turn somebody’s speech into something interesting by making sure that I include everything, or start, or stop, at a certain point, or whatever it takes.”

As designers, we are in a similar position where we can employ our skills to persuade, reveal, expose, narrate or reveal content as we see fit.

401255331_d6c4711e35North Beach Parking Garage, Harrell Fletcher and Jon Rubin, 2002

I think that some of Harrell’s approaches to his artmaking can be incredibly valuable to us as designers, especially a sentiment about interest. I think that in order for the work we make to be maximally effective, inspiring and genuine, we must be passionate about and interested in the work we’re doing. Here’s what Harrell says:

“And what is the best strategy for appearing interested? The answer is to sincerely be interested in fact nothing else will work. This is not difficult for me, because I actually think that people are interesting.”