Thursday, August 13, 2015

Philosophy, Design, Art, Music & Politics all grist to the Post Modernist perspective

Yesterday morning I felt far better than I had any right to- Tuesday evening had been the last of the excellent series of Talks by Nick Pearson at OPEN Ealing where he'd led us through a hectic ride on the 20th Century Design story omnibus.
A version of the phones popular in the 70's 'Trim phones'

Each week we tend to have a cheeky slurp or two of wine and this week as it was the end of the course after the talk - we adjourned to a local pub (The Star and Anchor) and I had far more to drink than I normally do - oddly though I had no real ill effects the next day (and I'm not someone who really drinks that much) .


Nick had brought us pretty much up to date on the Design Story in fact he was running a final check on his material when I arrived at OPEN's premises in Singapore Road W13.

PostModernism has been with us for some time now and in fact one section of the talk was labelled as 'Post PostModernism' and there is a question-mark hanging over where we go next - in the various fields where Post Modernism has held sway.
Designer chair

Nick spoke about the impact of The Face (magazine), Pink and was  able to shed some light on the topic of branding from his work with branding at the University of the Arts London (ual) he also described how he was taken aback at seeing Vivienne Westwood at the ICA sans clothes!

The idea of Post Modernism within Design and Art is that Modernism has run its course  artists like Jeff Koons can be seen as Post Modern and the Italian Design  (the Memphis School is often cited on this) world reacted against the grey, functionalism of what went before with 'playfulness'   using all that had gone before as source material.

In music MTV is often mentioned too as an example of Post Modernism and certainly the essence of Hip Hop and sampling with its knowing references fits the mould (John Fiske is a name to drop on this).

If you thought that the categorisation on culture was a challenge then take a look a the philosophers' grappling  - this helped me a little (seems that Critical Realism is the closest we have to a successor to PostModernism but perhaps  does not hold the 'Big Idea' gene we so love).

Thinking about PostModernism I've been able to cast an eye on New  Labour, its rebranded success under Blair and its hankering for a previous simpler analysis - this (to me) will not work a retro vision is not what is needed and a return to a Labour Classic will not work the way that New Coke was deemed unworthy.

Just look at the multiple versions of Coca-Colas now on sale to be convinced of the complex narrative we're involved in as participants in the 21st Century world.

[ I'm really looking forward to the next series of Art Lectures at OPEN due to start in September.]

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