collecting

Collecting as art

Bernd & Hilla Becher, Gravel Plants

Bernd & Hilla Becher, Gravel Plants

Lately I have become interested in artists for whom collecting is central to their process. Dealing with taxonomies and systems of classification, their work is, at least in part, a critique of the activities of museums and collecting institutions or individuals. Fundamentally, these artists are exploring notions of identity through quantitative assessment. Here, identity is expressed through an ontology—a system of objects, representing a particular and unique perspective. A collection seeks to establish a framework by which to formalize, structure and express its content. Through their work, these artists critique that framework at different levels—relating to individual identity, the role of the institution, or society at large.

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Art and economy / 1 comment

Danica Phelps, June, 2005 (2005)

Danica Phelps, June, 2005 (2005)

Art is an economy—it is an exchange of resources, a cycle of production and consumption. At a societal level, we process the environment around us, both conceptually and literally, shaping raw materials to create a personal response—finally inserting it back into the world. The desire to make a mark on our environment is the foundation of culture, which can become art once it is assigned value. The more money is exchanged, the higher the perceived value of the work. Economy is a theme informing the work of many artists, three of which I’ve chosen to feature here for the connections I see in their work.

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From data collection to data interpretation / 6 comments

As Adam Richardson of Frog Design has pointed out, we are moving from an information age into a recommendation age. What does this mean? As we are faced with making choices from an ever increasing array of options, we seek trusted sources to help us make better decisions. The information itself is simply becoming too complex, too vast to parse on our own, which is why the opinion of a third party to navigate these complexities is becoming more and more important.

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Visual rhetoric and the idea / 3 comments

The design of information can be understood as visual rhetoric. While often used in the pejorative sense, rhetoric means the art of speech and writing. As Hugues C. Boekraad writes in his essay in Copy Proof, rhetoric lessens or erases the distance between the message and the recipient. That is what communication design, at least in practice, sets out to achieve, and information design should be no different. The quality of the message being communicated is entirely dependent on intent, or, in other words, visual rhetoric.

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