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Current topics by concept: culture - fiction - genre - popular - postmodernism - taste - theory

2006, Mar 23; 15:05 ::: Chantal Meteor Jukebox

A 1959 Chantal Meteor Jukebox.
Image sourced here.

This amazing jukebox is certainly the most desirable British machine. It was first produced, although to our eyes not in such an attractive format, in Switzerland. The English examples were built in Bristol, but in January 1960 a fire broke out in the assembly works, destroying many machines and the company never really recovered and closed in 1963. Plays 200 selections from both sides of 100 fortyfive rpm records. --http://www.jukeboxlondon.co.uk/chantal.html

See also: jukebox - 1959 - 7" vinyl record - Switzerland - playback - music

2006, Mar 23; 10:05 ::: Juke joints

Juke joint (or jook joint) is the vernacular term for an informal establishment featuring blues music, dancing, and alcoholic drinks, primarily operated by African American people in the southeastern United States. The term "juke" is believed to derive from the Gullah word joog, meaning rowdy or disorderly. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juke_joint [Mar 2006]

In the 1920s, the blues became a major element of African American and American popular music in general, reaching "white" audience via Handy's work and the classic female blues performers. It evolved from informal performances to entertainment in theaters, for instance within the Theater Owners Bookers Association, in nightclubs, such as the Cotton Club, and juke joints, for example along Beale Street in Memphis. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues#Prewar_blues [Mar 2006]

See also: juke joints - blues - race music - 1944 - black music - American music

2006, Mar 23; 10:05 ::: Race music

Okeh records advertisement
Image sourced here.

Paramount records advertisement
Image sourced here.

The Paramount Record pressing plant was contracted to press discs for Black Swan Records. When that later company floundered, Paramount bought out Black Swan and thus got into the business of making recordings by and for African-Americans. These so-called "race music" records became Paramount's most famous and lucrative business.

Most of Paramount's race music recordings were arranged by Black entrepreneur Mayo Williams. Mayo had no official position with Paramount, but was given wide latitude to bring African-American talent to Paramount recording studios and to market Paramount records to African-American consumers. Williams did not know at the time that the "race market" had become Paramount's prime business, and he was essentially keeping the label afloat. In 1927, Williams moved to competitor OKeh records, taking Blind Lemon Jefferson with him for just one recording, the now classic Matchbox Blues. Once again, Paramount's recording of the same song can be compared with OKeh's on compilation albums, to Paramount's detriment. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramount_Records [Mar 2006]

"race music" (the music industry code name for rhythm and blues) outlets and was rarely heard by mainstream white audiences. In 1951, Cleveland, Ohio disc jockey Alan Freed would begin playing this type of music for his white audience, and it is Freed who is credited with coining the phrase "rock and roll" to describe the rollicking R&B music that he brought to the airwaves. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_and_roll#Precursors_and_origins [Mar 2006]

Blues became a part of American popular music in the 1920s, when classic female blues singers like Bessie Smith grew very popular. At the same time, record companies launched the field of race music, which was mostly blues targeted at African American audiences. The most famous of these acts went on to inspire much of the later popular development of the blues and blues-derived genres, including the legendary Robert Johnson. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_the_United_States#Blues_and_gospel [Mar 2006]

See also: race music - 1910s - 1920s - black music - American music - R & B

2006, Mar 23; 10:05 ::: Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1891-1922 (2005) - Various Artists

Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1891-1922 (2005) - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Product Description
If you believe Robert Johnson was the first to play rock ’n’ roll, listen up. Records made by African-American artists in the 1890s anticipated by decades the essentials of jazz, rhythm and blues, rock ’n’ roll—and yes, even Robert Johnson.

Unlike the pioneer blues and jazzmen of the 1920s—whose contributions to American music are duly documented and appreciated today—the achievements of their forgotten predecessors are all but erased from history: the sound too limited, the grooves too noisy, the words too painful.

Tim Brooks brought the Lost Sounds of these pioneer black performers to our notice with the publication of his groundbreaking book. Archeophone brings these Lost Sounds to life with the release of this CD. And none too soon, as the precious few sounds that have survived a century of neglect are fading fast.

Those experienced with pioneer recordings are in for some surprises, as most are reissued here for the first time. And those who are not . . . you’ve not heard anything like them before. Many are not easy to listen to. But they are worth the effort, as they let us hear—as close to first hand as possible—the forgotten black artists who contributed so significantly to American music and culture. Your view of history is about to be rocked. --via Amazon.com

See also: 1890s - 1900s - 1910s - 1920s - black music - American music - R & B

2006, Mar 23; 09:05 ::: Harlem Renaissance

Black Swan records logo
Image sourced here.

Black Swan Records was a United States record label in the 1920s; it was the first to be owned and operated by, and marketed to, African Americans. Black Swan was founded in May of 1921 by Harry Pace and was based in Harlem. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Swan_Records [Mar 2006]

In the first quarter of the 20th century (1900–1925), the great migration of the African-American people took shape. They left their rural, country, backwoods habitats of the southern states of the U. S. and relocated in the northern cities of an emerging industrialized America. They brought with them their taste for music which was a staple of their spiritual and earthy lifestyle. --http://www.redhotjazz.com/blackswan.html [Mar 2006]

Harlem Renaissance
The African American culture developed rapidly during the 1920s under the title of the "Harlem Renaissance". In 1921, the Black Swan Corporation opened. At its height, it issued ten recordings a month. All-African-American musicals also started up in 1921. In 1923, the Harlem Renaissance Basketball Club was founded by Robert Douglas. During the later 1920s, and especially in the 1930s, the basketball team became known as the best in the world.

The first issue of Opportunity was published. The African American playwright, Chip Woman's Fortune, debuted at Frazee Theatre. African American culture has contributed the largest part to the rise of jazz music. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roaring_Twenties#Harlem_Renaissance [Mar 2006]

The Jazz Age
The first commercial radio station in the United States, KDKA, began broadcasting in Pittsburgh in 1922. Radio stations subsequently proliferated at a remarkable rate, and with them spread the popularity of jazz. Jazz became associated with all things modern, sophisticated, and also decadent. Louis Armstrong marked the time with improvisations and endless variations on a single melody. Armstrong contributed largely to making scat singing popular, an improvisational vocal technique in which nonsensical syllables are sung or otherwise vocalized, often as part of a call-and-response interaction with other musicians onstage. Apart from the clarinet, Sidney Bechet also popularized the saxophone. Dance venues increased the demand for professional musicians and jazz adopted the 4/4 beat of dance music. Tap dancers entertained people in vaudeville theaters, out in the streets or accompanying bands. At the end of the Roaring Twenties, Duke Ellington entered the scene to start the beginning of the big band era. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roaring_Twenties#The_Jazz_Age [Mar 2006]

See also: Harlem Renaissance - African Americans - 1920s - 1921 - black music - American music - R & B

2006, Mar 22; 09:05 ::: Ford T

1908 Ford Model T ad from Oct. 1, 1908 Life magazine
Image sourced here.

Ford model T by Hergé
Image sourced here.

The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie and the Flivver) was an automobile produced by Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company from 1908 through 1927. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car which "put America on wheels"; this was due to some of Ford's innovations, including assembly line production instead of individual hand crafting, as well as the concept of paying the workers a wage proportionate to the cost of the car, so that they would provide a ready made market. The first production Model T was built on September 27, 1908 at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan. Cars built before 1919 are classed as veteran cars and later models vintage cars. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Model_T [Mar 2006]

See also: mass production - 1908 - 1909 - 1910s - 1920s - Hergé - comics - car

2006, Mar 22; 08:24 ::: Harlem Renaissance and Négritude

"The New Negro Has No Fear." Supporters of Marcus Garvey parade in Harlem during a 1920 U.N.I.A. convention.
Image sourced here.

Harlem, Mecca of the New Negro (March 1925)
Image sourced here.

See also: Harlem Renaissance and Négritude - African Americans - 1925 - 1920 - 1920s

2006, Mar 21; 19:05 ::: Jazz Singer (1927) - Alan Crosland

Jazz Singer (1927) - Alan Crosland [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Marquee with Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer (1927), Al Jolson is wearing a blackface
Note how the marquee announces: with Vitaphone

The Jazz Singer is a 1927 U.S. movie musical notable for being the first feature-length motion picture with talking sequences. Released by Warner Bros., it was directed by Alan Crosland and starred Al Jolson, who sings five songs. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jazz_Singer [Mar 2006]

Blackface is a style of theatrical makeup that originated in the United States used to affect the countenance of an iconic, racist archetype, that of the "darky" or "coon". Blackface also refers to a genre of musical and comedic theatrical presentation in which blackface makeup is worn. White blackface performers in the past used burnt cork and later greasepaint or shoe polish to affect jet-black skin and exaggerated lips, often wearing woolly wigs, gloves, tails, or ragged clothes to complete the transformation. Later, black artists also performed in blackface. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface [Mar 2006]

Vitaphone was a sound film process used on features and nearly 2,000 short subjects produced by Warner Brothers and its sister studio First National from 1926 to 1930. Many early talkies, such as The Jazz Singer, used the Vitaphone process. Vitaphone was the last, but most successful, of the so-called sound-on-disc processes. With improvements in competing sound-on-film processes, Vitaphone's technical imperfections led to its retirement early in the sound era. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitaphone [Mar 2006]

See also: black - American cinema - sound film - jazz - singing - 1927 - 1920s (updated)

2006, Mar 20; 17:05 ::: Punk - Attitude (2005) - Don Letts

Punk - Attitude (2005) - Don Letts [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

In 1976 a cultural melt down was occurring. From this emerged a new scene: PUNK ROCK. Controversial, colorful and chaotic, it was a slap in the face of the establishment and a cultural movement that is still ingrained in the public consciousness. This film identifies the roots of this movement that is still ingrained in the public consciousness. This film identifies the roots of this tradition from America to the U.K. and beyond showing that Punk was not just a musical movement but an attitude of mind that is not, in any way static. Featuring interviews with Henry Rolins (Black Flag), Brendan Mullen (The Masque club owner), Chryssie Hynde (The Pretenders), and more. And includes footage from revolutionary Punk bands New York Dolls, MC5, The Stooges, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Ramones and much more. Two-disc DVD features over 17 extras including a 30 minute LA punk scene featurette produced exclusively for the US DVD. Other extras include, Where are they Now and Punk Family Tree, California Screamin' "Behind the Masque" article, Henry Rollins interview, Dave Goodman feature, Fanzines, Fashion, Women in Punk, Record Companies, The Attitude/Spirit of Punk, The Influences/Origins of Punk, Punk on Culture and the Arts, UK versus US, Punk Evolution, The Gigs/Performance and The Punk Sound. --via Amazon.com

See also: Don Letts - punk - documentary film

2006, Mar 20; 22:05 ::: Mlle Rivière (1805) - Ingres

Mlle Rivière (1805) - Ingres

Portrait painting saw a sharp decline in the mid nineteenth century, with the arrival of photography.

See also: Ingres - 1800-1809 - portrait

2006, Mar 20; 17:05 ::: Old Weird America

Good For What Ails You: Music of the Medicine Shows 1926-1937 (2005) - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Top 10 Reissue of the Year - MOJO Jan 2006
Rare tracks from the heyday of the snake oil vendors. Weird folk and blackface balladry for Harry Smith Anthology addict.

Old Weird America was a term coined by music writer Greil Marcus. He used it to describe the often eerie country, blues and folk music featured on the Anthology of American Folk Music, and on Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes.

The term has been revived via the musical genre called New Weird America. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Weird_America [Mar 2006]

See also: Greil Marcus - weird - American music - folk music - minstrel - medicine show - 1920s - 1930s

2006, Mar 20; 08:05 ::: Artforms of Nature (1904) - Ernst Haeckel

Sea anemones from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur (Artforms of Nature) of 1904.

Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel (1998) - Ernst Haeckel [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 — August 8, 1919), also written von Haeckel, was an eminent German biologist and philosopher who promoted Charles Darwin's work in Germany. Haeckel was a zoologist, an accomplished artist and illustrator, and later a professor of comparative anatomy. He was one of the first to consider psychology as a branch of physiology. He also proposed many now ubiquitous terms including "phylum" and "ecology." His chief interests lay in evolution and life development processes in general, including development of nonrandom form, which culminated in the beautifully illustrated Kunstformen der Natur (Art forms of nature).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Haeckel

Ernst Haekel Google gallery

See also: fantastic art - illustration - 1904 - color - lithography - nature - biology

2006, Mar 19; 23:05 ::: Gold Mind Records

Artwork for the generic Gold Mind record sleeves, artist unidentified

See also: gold - mind - Gold Mind Records - disco - record label

2006, Mar 19; 21:05 ::: New Keywords: A Vocabulary Of Culture And Society (2005) - Tony Bennett, Lawrence Grossberg, Meaghan Morris

New Keywords: A Vocabulary Of Culture And Society (2005) - Tony Bennett, Lawrence Grossberg, Meaghan Morris [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

See also: keywords - cultural studies - society - vocabulary

2006, Mar 19; 20:05 ::: Pop Art

Giant Soft Drum Set (1967) - Claes Oldenburg

Claes Oldenburg (born January 28, 1929) is a sculptor, best known for his public art installations typically featuring large versions of everyday objects. He has jokingly been called "the thinking man's Walt Disney". Another theme in his work is soft versions of normally hard objects. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claes_Oldenburg [Mar 2006]

Love (1964) - Robert Indiana

Indiana's best known image is the word "LOVE" in a square with a tilted "O". This image, first created for a Christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art in 1964, was included on an 8 cent United States Postal Service postage stamp in 1973, the first of their regular series of "love stamps." Sculpture versions are on display at: Sixth Avenue in New York City; the Indianapolis Museum of Art; Scottsdale's Civic Center and in so called LOVE Park in Philadelphia. He is also known for painting the unique basketball court formerly used by the Milwaukee Bucks in that city's U.S. Cellular Arena, with a large M shape taking up each half of the court.

Infamously, Indiana failed to register a copyright for the work, and found it difficult to deter unauthorized commercial use. The image has been reproduced in countless times in varying forms, including sculptures, posters, and 3-D desk ornaments. It has been translated into Hebrew, Chinese, and Spanish. It strongly influenced the original cover of Love Story, the Erich Segal novel. It was parodied on the Rage Against the Machine album cover for Renegades. Artist Mathew Jones created an AIDS-protest homage that read "DEAD". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Indiana [Mar 2006]

See also: 1967 - 1964 - Pop Art - drums - love

2006, Mar 19; 12:05 ::: Casabella magazine

Unidentified issue of Casabella magazine.
In the ape's breast, you can see "Radical Design".

The term Radical design was coined by Germano Celant.

"Radical design" is a title of an exhibition of a show curated by Gianni Pettena. --http://socialdesignzine.aiap.it/sdz/archives/005318.php [Mar 2006]

Germano Celant was an Italian writer who coined the phrase of "Arte Povera" or poor art and wrote many articles on the subject. Big ideas seemed to be that in Italy art was different than art in America because they were under different circumstances at the time. Italy was going through an industrial period but was not really making the pop art that coincided with the established economy as opposed to the american artists like Warhol, Raushenberg, and other pop artists. The "Arte Povera" artists included Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alighiero Boetti, Germano Celant, and many others there are a few books out there that explain better than this definition. The italian artists were going for a neo-humanism in their art and not going for the coolness and calculated machine made imagery of the pop artists like Robert Indiana or Andy Warhol. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germano_Celant [Mar 2006]

See also: Radical Design - Italian design

2006, Mar 19; 12:05 ::: Arte Povera : Movements in Modern Art - (2005) - Robert Lumley

Arte Povera : Movements in Modern Art - (2005) - Robert Lumley [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
In 1967 the critic Germano Celant coined the term Arte Povera to describe the work of Italian artists making use of simple materials to achieve their artistic statements in a reaction against the commercial pressures of the art market in the late 1960s. Artists associated with Arte Povera include Luciano Fabro, Giulio Paolini, Jannia Kounellis, Mario Merz, and Alighiero Boetti. The term has subsequently been used to describe work in a wide range of mediums, including sculpture, installation, Land Art, and performance. In this fully illustrated survey, Robert Lumley provides a concise and accessible account of the phenomenon of Arte Povera. He identifies key events in the history of the movement and explains the cultural context that gave rise to it and its abiding influence on art today. This is the ideal book for anyone who wants to explore one of the formative movements in the development of contemporary art.

AUTHOR BIO: Robert Lumley, a noted critic, is professor of Italian cultural history at University College, London. Product Details

The term Arte Povera was introduced by the Italian art critic and curator, Germano Celant, in 1967. His pioneering texts and a series of key exhibitions provided a collective identity for a number of young Italian artists based in Turin, Milan, Genoa and Rome. They were working in radically new ways, breaking with the past and entering a challenging dialogue with trends in Europe and America.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arte Povera [Mar 2006]

See also: Modern Art - Italian art - 1967

2006, Mar 19; 08:05 ::: Brokeback Mountain (2005) - Ang Lee

Brokeback Mountain (2005) - Ang Lee [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Brokeback Mountain is a widely acclaimed film directed by Ang Lee. The drama depicts a sexual, romantic and emotional relationship between two men living in the American West in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Brokeback Mountain is the twenty-years story of star-crossed lovers Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), two young men, not even 20, who meet and fall in love on a sheep-herding job on Brokeback Mountain, somewhere in Wyoming. The film documents their complex relationship over the twenty years that follow.

It ranks 5th among the highest-grossing westerns and 8th among the highest-grossing romantic dramas (1980-Present).

The film is one of several highly acclaimed LGBT-related movies of 2005 to be nominated for critical awards, others being: Breakfast on Pluto, Capote, and Transamerica. It is also the second LGBT work for director Ang Lee, his first being The Wedding Banquet.

Filmakers Gus Van Sant and Joel Schumacher, who are both gay, considered directing Brokeback Mountain before Ang Lee (who is heterosexual) signed on to the project.

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brokeback_Mountain [Mar 2006]

See also: LGBT - American cinema - Western film - 2005 - gay cinema - homophobia

2006, Mar 19; 08:05 ::: Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway painted (1844) - William Turner

Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway painted (1844) - William Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner (born in Covent Garden, London on April 23, 1775 (exact date disputed), died December 19, 1851) was an English Romantic landscape artist, whose style can be said to lay the foundations for Impressionism.


Turner, along with John Constable, was at the forefront of English painting by his later years, and both were popular in France as well. Impressionists carefully studied his techniques, although they sought to diminish the power of his paintings. In the modern art era, advocates of abstract art were also influenced by Turner. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._M._W._Turner [Mar 2006]

See also: landscape - Impressionism (influence on) - Romanticism - painting - British art - train - speed - steam - 1840s

2006, Mar 17; 08:05 ::: The Falling In Love Machine (1968) - Superstudio

The Falling In Love Machine (1968) - Superstudio
Image sourced here.

See also: love - Superstudio - machine - 1968

2006, Mar 17; 08:05 ::: Olivetti

Japanese advertising for Olivetti
Image sourced here.

Advertising for Olivetti Valentine typewriter (Sottsass and King)
Perry King. (British, born 1938) and Ettore Sottsass. (Italian, born Austria, 1917). Valentine Portable Typewriter. 1969.

Ing. C. Olivetti & Co., SpA. is an Italian manufacturer of computers, printers and other business machines. It was founded as a typewriter manufacturer in 1908 in Ivrea, near Turin, by Camillo Olivetti.

[...] The TCV-250 video display terminal, designed by Mario Bellini in 1966, is in the Museum of Modern Art's design collection.

[...] --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivetti [Mar 2006]

See also: Olivetti - business - Mario Bellini - Ettore Sottsass - Italian design - industrial design - modern design

2006, Mar 17; 08:05 ::: Sottsass: Glass works (1998) - Ettore Sottsass

Sottsass: Glass works (1998) - Ettore Sottsass [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Unidentified photograph of Sottsass glass works, ca. 1982 - 1983

See also: Ettore Sottsass - Italian design - modern design

2006, Mar 16; 22:05 ::: Farnsworth House (1950) - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Unidentified photograph of Farnsworth House (1950) - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Image sourced here.

The Farnsworth House is a house built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It is located approximately 80 kilometers west of Chicago, in the town of Plano, Illinois. The Farnsworth House is considered an excellent example of modernism in architecture.

The minimal lines and enlongated glass walls seem to float above the green grass of the Fox River Valley. The building was designed to be surrounded by trees, with the trees themselves providing cooling during the summer. The Farnsworth House is heated through electric coils in the concrete floor. The sheer number of windows made living in the Farnsworth House difficult. Additional complications related to the unique format include high heating costs, rapid discoloration of the concrete porches during fall (they must be bleached), and the high level of cosmetic attention demanded by the painted iron frame. While the building makes a powerful statement about the potential of modernist design, even Mies admitted that the house is unsuitable for normal household living. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farnsworth_House [Mar 2006]

See also: 1950 - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - International Style - USA - modern architecture - mid-century modern

2006, Mar 16; 22:05 ::: Glass House (1949) - Philip Johnson

Unidentified picture of Glass House (1949) - Philip Johnson

The Glass house or Johnson house, built in 1949 in New Canaan, Connecticut was an important project for architect Phillip Johnson, and for modern architecture. It was also the place of Philip Johnson's passing in January of 2005.

Compare with Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_House_(Connecticut) [Mar 2006]

Philip Cortelyou Johnson (July 8, 1906 – January 25, 2005) was an influential American architect. The first director of the architecture department at the Museum of Modern Art (New York) in 1946, and later a trustee, he was awarded an American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 1978 and the first Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1979. He was a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Johnson [Mar 2006]

International Style
As co-author (with Henry-Russell Hitchcock Jr.) of the MOMA exhibition catalog "The International Style: Architecture Since 1922" (1932), Johnson is credited with recognizing and popularizing European modernism, and with introducing Mies van der Rohe to America. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Johnson [Mar 2006]

See also: 1949 - International Style - USA - modern architecture - mid-century modern

2006, Mar 16; 19:05 ::: Joe Colombo (1930 - 1971)

Joe Colombo: Inventing the Future (2005) - Alexander Von Vigisack, Mateo Kries [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Tube chair (1969–70) - Joe Colombo
Image sourced here.

See also: Joe Colombo

2006, Mar 16; 19:05 ::: Beginning Postmodernism (Beginnings) (1999) - Tim Woods

In search of "anti-design".

Beginning Postmodernism (Beginnings) (1999) - Tim Woods [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
"Postmodernism" has become the buzzword of contemporary society. Yet it remains baffling in its variety of definitions, contexts and associations. Beginning Postmodernism aims to offer clear, accessible and step-by-step introductions to postmodernism across a wide range of subjects. It encourages readers to explore how the debates about postmodernism have emerged from basic philosophical and cultural ideas. With its emphasis firmly on "postmodernism in practice," the book contains exercises and questions designed to help readers understand and reflect upon a variety of positions in the following areas of contemporary culture: philosophy and cultural theory; architecture and concepts of space; visual art; sculpture and the design arts; popular culture and music; film, video and television culture; and the social sciences.

Recommended book on Postmodernism. Re-found it when Googling on books.google.com for "anti design" and Superstudio. "Anti-design" is connected with the sixties radical design movement of Italy.

See also: anti-art - Radical Design - Postmodernism

2006, Mar 16; 19:05 ::: Fluxus (1995) - Thomas Kellein

Fluxus (1995) - Thomas Kellein [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

See also: Fluxus (art movement)

2006, Mar 16; 19:05 ::: La Monte Young

Inside the Dream Syndicate, Vol. I: Day of Niagara (1965) - John Cale (Composer), Tony Conrad (Composer), Angus Maclise (Composer), La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

La Monte Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer whose eccentric and often hard-to-find works have been included among the most important post World War II avant-garde, experimental, or drone music. Both his Fluxus influenced and "minimal" compositions question the nature of music and often stress elements of performance not normally indicated. He is normally listed as one of the "big four" minimalists along with Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley, despite having little in common with Glass and Reich.


La Monte Young has been extremely influential, from John Cale's contribution to The Velvet Underground's sound to his own followers, including: Tony Conrad, Jon Hassell, Rhys Chatham, Michael Harrison, Henry Flynt, Charles Curtis (musician) and Catherine Christer Hennix. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La Monte Young [Mar 2006]

See also: Fluxus (art movement) - minimal music - experimental music - American music - avant-garde music - Tony Conrad - Steve Reich - Rhys Chatham - The Velvet Underground

2006, Mar 16; 12:05 ::: Flâneur

"Flâneur" is a French word. A flâneur is a detached pedestrian observer of a metropolis, a 'gentleman stroller of city streets', first identified by Charles Baudelaire. The word has no exact equivalent in English. The concept of the flâneur is important in the work of Walter Benjamin, is important in academic discussions of the phenomenon of modernity, and has become meaningful in architecture and urban planning.

Around 1850, Baudelaire began asserting that traditional art was inadequate for the new dynamic complications of modern life. Social and economic changes brought by industrialization demanded that the artist immerse himself in the metropolis and become, in Baudelaire's phrase, 'a botanist of the sidewalk', an analytical connoisseur of the urban fabric. Because he coined the word about Parisians, the 'flâneur' (the one who strolls) and the 'flânerie' (the stroll) are associated with Paris and the kind of pedestrian environment which accommodates leisurely exploration.The Flâneur is typically well aware of their slow, leisurely behaviour and had been known to exemplify this state of being by walking turtles on leashes down the streets of Paris.

Walter Benjamin adopted this concept of the urban observer both as an analytical tool, and as a lifestyle. From his Marxist standpoint Benjamin describes the flâneur as a product of modern life and the Industrial Revolution, unprecedented in history and definitely of a certain social class, parallel to the advent of the tourist. His flâneur is an uninvolved but highly perceptive bourgeois dilettante. Benjamin became his own prime example, gathering his social and aesthetic observations from long walks through Paris. Even the title of his unfinished Arcades Project comes from his affection for covered shopping streets.

In the context of current architecture and urban planning, designing for flâneurs is one way to approach issues of the psychological aspects of the built environment. Architect Jon Jerde, for instance, designed his Horton Plaza and Universal CityWalk projects around the idea of providing surprises, distractions, and sequences of events for pedestrians. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fl%C3%A2neur [Mar 2006]

See also: flâneur - dandy - Paris - Walter Benjamin - Charles Baudelaire - city - street - La Dérive - psychogeography

2006, Mar 16; 11:05 ::: Constant's New Babylon (1999) - Mark Wigley

Constant's New Babylon (1999) - Mark Wigley [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
The New Babylon Project was a project that consisted of a vast, layered, sheltered structure, supported by pillars and covering the entire earth. Human labor is rendered superfluous. Dwelling, work, recreation and transportation take a back seat to that which drives Homo Ludens, creativity. Constant was proposing an alternate society and along with it, an alternate architecture. Not just for those with architectural concerns, but for anyone who thinks.

See also: Constant Anton Nieuwenhuys - modern architecture - Dutch art

2006, Mar 15; 22:05 ::: Citroën SM

Unidentified photograph of Citroën SM, presumably from a 1970 car show

The Citroën SM was a high performance coupé automobile produced by the French manufacturer Citroën between 1970 and 1975. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citroën SM [Mar 2006]

See also: Citroën - 1970 - France - car

2006, Mar 15; 19:05 ::: Alchima: Never-Ending Italian Style (1985) - Kazuto Sato

In search of radical design.

Alchima: Never-Ending Italian Style (1985) - Kazuto Sato [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Proust armchair chair (1978) - Alessandro Mendini
Image sourced here. [Mar 2006]

Alessandro Mendini (born 1931 in Milan) is an Italian designer and architect. He played an important part in the development of Italian design. He also worked, aside from his artistic career, for Casabella, Nodo und Domus magazines. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alessandro Mendini [Mar 2006]

See also: Alessandro Mendini - Marcel Proust - 1978 - Italian design - radical design - modern design

2006, Mar 15; 19:05 ::: Miller's: Collecting Modern Design (2001) - Sally Hoban

In search of radical design.

Miller's: Collecting Modern Design (2001) - Sally Hoban [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From this book:
Radical design developed in Italy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It continued the tradition of using new materials and bold colours that began with Pop but also drew on historical styles such as Art Deco, Kitsch, and Surrealism. The main exponents of Radical Design were small groups of architects and designers who questioned Modernism and rejected mass-consumer culture. Key groups and designers of the Radical style include Superstudio, Archizoom Associati, UFO, Gruppo Strum, and Ettore Sottsass, whose work went on to ..., page 127

See also: Italian design - radical design - modern design - Superstudio - Archizoom - UFO - Ettore Sottsass - collecting

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