Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Running Amok: Conventions and Breaking Free

To begin this discussion is to have some insight into pack mentality...and approach the conversation as a consumer of mass culture, having an awareness, at least somewhat, of culture and commonplace and normative behavior within groups. A group, one that may have the makings of a small enclave of like minded people brought together by work or play, is essentially the makings of a larger cosm and eventually a subculture.... as more participants declare allegiance to the subculture, the essential qualities and components that brought a core group together become slightly watered down. So, you have a large group of people that really no longer know why they are aligned, but they have accepted certain rules about their appearance, habits, hobbies, and conversation basis. It is a safe zone by which allegiance to a loosely fitting ideal becomes a newer, larger (sub)culture, then a mass culture. And  mass culture acceptance becomes a tool by which to communicate with enormous amounts of people, a sales tool in many cases, a simple way to identify your target market, a trend. Trends have a lot of velocity. So, and you can probably see where this conversation is going, the microcosm becomes that macrocosm and the result is a very large cross-section of people having similar desires in respect to goods and services. It is a lovely grand schemata for business. Why do we allow this to happen? And how does our ambivalence and acceptance contribute to a greater cultural shift?  

In reaction to trends that are observed by mass culture, often a few seperatists can spin off to find the integrity of their ideals and desires in a smaller group, a counter culture, a reaction to and departure from mass culture....
Now, we are talking about art and design here....but, can one really separate the two, life and art/design? How do the choices we make in our everyday lives affect the choices we make in the studio? This is the point from which we begin our investigations......
Talking fashion, please take look at Hussein Chalayan, whose art and design
 projects have intermingled so that the idea of cloth
ing that bears a certain witness to war torn Cyprus and the memories of loss of family treasures, can double as a storage bin or piece of camoflauged furniture.

Or architecture, Sam Mockabee's Rural Studio group can provide shelter, homes and places of worship for those in need using old car windshields and discarded solar panels...and be featured artists in the Whitney Biennial.


Or Warren Hellman, humble banjo player, can transform his love of bluegrass into a three day event featuring some of the best Pop, Country, Bluegrass and Alternative bands  this country has to offer free of charge to San Francisco with Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

Just a few examples to begin our conversation, a trip to the new materials lab and a project that you have chosen to revisit...


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