Assignment 1 | TheØries

Discuss the theories within the texts, analyse the key concepts and present your ideas in an academic form.

Brief History of Manifestos
Due to the internet there has been a resurgence of the form, and many new manifestos are now appearing to a potential worldwide audience. In particular the Stuckists.

The Futurist manifesto was the first art manifesto of the 20th Century. It appeared on 20th February 1909, paving the way for Surrealists, Dada-ists, and Bauhaus, as well as more recent Stuckists.

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. A millionaire Italian poet with a passion for fast cars, created the artistic movement out of nothing, and then went about recruiting Futurist artists. It was basically an early exercise in cultural branding.

Marinetti set the template for the manifesto – shock tactics, declamation, bullet points, such as: “A racing car is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothace”, “Poetry must be a violent assault…” and “We glorify War…”

It had 11 bullet points because 11 was his favourite number. Marinetti was a self-publicist, he wanted to update Italian culture, The manifesto was about publicity, he published to become famous. And they became famous.

Soon everyone wanted a manifesto, to shout their claim to be new, to be best. 1916 the Dada manifesto was recited by Hugo Ball at a cabaret in Zurich, and then rewritten in 1918 by Tristan Tzara who summed up manifesto writing concisely: “To put out a manifesto you must want A B C and fulminate against 1 2 3.”

Come 1924 Andre Breton’s two Surrealist Manifestos that defines the purposes of the group. He included citations of the influences on Surrealism, examples of Surrealist works and discussion of Surrealist automatism. He defined Surrealism as:

“Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.”

Dalí (possibly my favorite surrealist)and Magritte created the most widely recognized images of the movement. Pablo Picasso was also influenced by his contact with the surrealists.

In 1999, Billy Childish and Charles Thomson unleashed the Stuckist Manifesto, it came about as a way to protest against what they saw as the dominance of conceptual art and the Young British Artists, at the expense of figurative painting.

The name came about after Tracey Emin’s reported criticism that their figurative work was “Stuck! Stuck! Stuck!”

It’s a 20-point manifesto, “against conceptualism, hedonism and the cult of the ego artist.” “Art that has to be a gallery to be art, isn’t art,” it proclaimed. “Stuckism is anti-ism.”

  • Modernism
    Modernism was a revolt against the conservative values of realism. It was brought on by modernity, around the turn of century by rapidly changing technology and catalyzed by the events of World War I. In general, the term modernism is given to those who felt the “traditional” forms of art were becoming outdated in the new social, and industrialized world.I feel that the turn of the century, and the events at that time perfectly aligned to produce this new way of thinking. While i do appreciate “traditional” art, i do feel that it has had its time. It is time to expertiment and try new things. With current technology almost anyone can use a computer to create ‘something’. But then i do feel a strong draw to the words of the Last Things Lastmanifesto (Choussat, A & Antonio, Z. (2004). Last Things Last 2004 a manifesto. Available: Last accessed 22nd October 2011)Noted Modernist include

    • Picaso
    • Dalí
    • Virginia wolf
  • Avent-garde
    The term applied to any group, particularly of artists, that considers itself innovative and ahead of the majority. Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm.Surrealism gained the fame among the public of being the most extreme form of modernism, or “the avant-garde of modernism”.

    • Mallarme (1897)
  • Futurists
    emphasized and glorified themes associated with contemporary concepts of the future, including speed, technology, youth and violence, and objects such as the car, the airplane and the industrial city.They love to shock people, and this came across in Marinetti’s Manifesto of Futurism. It was basically an early exercise in cultural branding, cheap tactics to get them noticed.While i do like some of the ideas of the futurists, they take it too far as seen in thier fascination with totalitarian regimes. Those movements, represented here by their leaders, are: Italian Futurism and fascism, represented by Marinetti; Russian Cubo-Futurism and bolshevism, represented by Mayakovsky; and English Vorticism and its glorification of Hitler, represented by Wyndham Lewis.
  • Dada
    was on the flip side of Futurism, the movement primarily involved visual arts, such as poetry, theatre, and graphic design. The movement concentrated its anti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works. Its purpose was to ridicule what its participants considered to be the meaninglessness of the modern world.While i agree on their idea about not glorifiying war and fascism, i feel that the Dada went too far, and tried to stifle the emerging new ideas from the turn of the century. I am a firm believer in the evolution of art and design.
  • De Stijl
    Is a Dutch artistic movement founded in 1917. In general, De Stijl proposed ultimate simplicity and abstraction, both in architecture and painting, by using only straight horizontal and vertical lines and rectangular forms. Furthermore, their formal vocabulary was limited to the primary colours, red, yellow, and blue, and the three primary values, black, white, and grey.
  • Russian constructivism
    Constructivism was an artistic philosophy that originated in Russia beginning in 1919, which was a rejection of the idea of autonomous art in favour of art as a practice for social purposes. Constructivism had a great effect on modern art movements of the 20th century, influencing major trends such as Bauhaus and the De Stijlmovement. Its influence was pervasive, with major impacts upon architecture, graphic and industrial design, theatre, film, dance, fashion and to some extent music.While i am a big fan of the style of Constructivism graphic design, i do reject its philosophys. I feel that as pieces of graphic design they really speak to me. I love the feel of the propaganda posters, and use of simple print colours.
  • Bauhaus
    The Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar. One of the main objectives of the Bauhaus was to unify art, craft, and technology. The Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in Modernist architecture and modern design. The Bauhaus had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.The machine was considered a positive element, and therefore industrial and product design were important components. There was no teaching of history in the school because everything was supposed to be designed and created according to first principles rather than by following precedent.I feel a strong affinity towards the Bauhaus movement, i like how htye embrace new technology, clean lines etc, similar to De Stijl. However their focus on mass production i feel flys in the face of real design. Obviously allowing anyone to own something they like is great, i feel that alot of what makes graphic design special is lost to the machines. (ironic for a photoshop user?) Also their belief that design should come from first principles rather than following precedent is something i feel strongly with, again i am much an advocate of experimenting and learning new things.

    • Jan tschichold
      Tschichold had converted to Modernist design principles in 1923 after visiting the first Weimar Bauhaus exhibition. He became a leading advocate of Modernist design.
    • Vasily Kandinsky
      Kandinsky was a great believer in form and colour analysis. Geometrical elements took on increasing importance in both his work particularly the circle, half-circle, the angle, straight lines and curves withe the use of rich colours and gradations—as in Yellow – red – blue.
  • Surrealism
    Surrealism developed out of the Dada activities during World War I in the early 1920s, and is best known for its distinct visual artworks. It was a reaction to Dadaism, which was itself a reaction to the “logic” that dadaists believed had caused the war. Surrealism, however, sought a more constructive way to rebel against rational thought than the more negative Dadaism. Their leader André Breton was explicit in his assertion that Surrealism was above all a revolutionary movement.Surrealism exposed psychological truth by stripping ordinary objects of their normal significance to create a compelling image that was beyond ordinary formal organization, in order to evoke empathy from the viewer.

    The characteristics of this style—a combination of the depictive, the abstract, and the psychological—came to stand for the alienation which many people felt in the modern period, combined with the sense of reaching more deeply into the psyche, to be “made whole with one’s individuality”.

    If i had to choose a movement, i would likely choose the surrealists, i adore their work, i find it inspiring, deep and moving. The visual style gives its designs a much stronger and deeper meaning. It goes beyond what your merly see, it is a creative act of revolt and aims to liberate imagination. It is interesting and fun to look at, it is inherently dynamic.

    It promotes experimentation, using different media, not just thinking outside of the box, but building a whole freaking new box.

    However as artists of this type are always somewhat self-centered and self-serving, it has the unfortunate undertones of political revolt. Why i think being politcally motivated is not a bad thing, i do feel that these types of intrusions only serve to exclude and limit a movement on political grounds. I do not feel this level of political activism is needed in a ‘free thinking, design world’

    Cant we all just design together? without all the preaching?


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