It’s Nice…

It’s Nice That has started a space of dialogue to expose issues that people in the design
community want to share. You can email them any “inquietud” and if they publish it on the
blog we can all contribute on a healthy debate in the comment section ( or we can get our
bitch-ass-ness on ). The following drafts I chose from the site, are ones that talk about the
overflowing images on the bloggesphere, of course now that images are more accessible,
we see more and more of the:

” this is very pretty kind of brainless post”

…………………..(best said by Queen Michelle).

The fashion community isn’t further away. Millions of bloggers now have shoots every day
documenting there style, that ech and every one of them claim as unique. Burning fingers on
reposting the same brands, lookbooks and trends. It gets kind of loop-i….boring? MUCH…
But that’s another story. Back to the matters of design, Its nice that they’ve made this space
available for us to debate on issues that are overtaking the design world and until now, were
briefly being mentioned.

Weekly Discussion
21 September – 16 November 2009
Every week we invite a current practitioner to open up a discussion of their choice, giving you the opportunity to pass comment on a point they they are making on a current issue. We’ve opted to use Twitter to authenticate users and double as a way to discourage anonymous comments. Sure, anonymity can still be achieved, but hopefully under ongoing pseudonyms that in themselves will offer consistency and identity. To read more about this see the article Most comments Suck. Discuss. written by our digital partners With Associates in our first discussion. If you would like to contribute an article to initiate debate please email hello@itsnicethat.com


Are we ffff*cked?
To begin, its worth mentioning that I frequent the very websites I am complaining about, I have served as a blog editor, but I still believe in the romance of personal discovery. I like finding things for myself, sifting through used books, discovering music, trolling antique shops. I love the idea of vernacular, naiveté, and context – I love knowing there are people and crafts and reasons and wonderful mistakes behind the art we’ve the pleasure to experience.
As the internet has continued to (cough) mature, we find ourselves inundated with imagery, music, tweets, kitteh videos, good news, bad news, opinion parading as news, and an absolutely endless, dizzying, spell-binding array of mental traffic. As my good buddy Ben Pieratt recently put it, “endless scrolls make me feel agoraphobic.”
This sense of limitless imagery and information can make one feel daunted, if not paranoid – as if we’re missing out if we don’t see everything that’s made available to see. I take particular issue with image bookmarking services, which have devalued content in favor of this static. I frequently click images I like to find myself on another blog, another page with more blind reference imagery, or a tumblr with some serialized image title and a date – I simply cannot find the artist responsible for the work. The internet is rather fleeting as it stands, and we’re walking through a fog of stylized imagery devoid of artists, explanations, and history.
We no longer seek out the portfolios of incredibly talented illustrators and designers, writers or filmmakers, but the convenience of aggregated, often dodgy, mass sourcing. We rarely discover inspirations for ourselves because we’re busy letting others do it for us. To what degree do the tastes of the masses dictate what content editors choose, and inversely, will designers/illustrators create imagery to appease these editors? Will artists avoid experimentation at the risk of popular scrutiny?
Its a bit dramatic, sure, but as our industry continues giving itself to the masses – popular polling, crowd sourcing, design-by-committee, don’t-worry-my-cousin-knows-photoshop – I don’t want to have to think about the further homogenization of imaginations and the commercial systematization of our media. Instead of telling new visual stories, or codifying new ways of seeing or representing things, we’ll be commercially relegated to the fastest most efficient way of saying something as dictated by visual metrics combed from popular image pools that never credited the right person in the first place.
Anyway, the internet is equal parts pro and con, but there are certainly times where it feels like a big booby-trap. Would love to hear what our peers felt about the issue. Back to my tabbed browsing sesh!
—
Mario Hugo is a New York based artist, designer, and one half of the creative management agency Hugo & Marie. Though he spends an inordinate amount of time in front of his computer, he still feels most honest with a pencil and two or more sheets of paper. http://www.mariohugo.com


The Blog Blackout
I probably spend an unhealthy amount of time on blogs, to the point where I waste hours looking at the same thing on about 200 different pages. Which did get me thinking about what I did before there was countless websites all doing the same thing yet are all equally popular. From working in a big studio environment and seeing the studio grind to a halt when the net dies to working for myself trying to be disciplined enough to not click safari every time I get a spare minute. There seems to be a total reliance on being able to surf the web as part of being a designer. Surely it can’t be a good thing that most of us are all getting the same inspiration from the same places. No wonder everyones work is starting to look the same. Every week I get e-mails from students that are carbon copies of a recent post and I wish I could reach through my monitor and give them a right old slap. Not to mention that every second advert on TV seems to be cack handed rip-off from something good found on a blog. I’m sure I’m not the only one who hasn’t forgotten the Berocca advert. So that’s me done. I’ve managed to convince myself that it would do me no harm from being offline. Well. At least until tomorrow.
So, where now, how do we stay aware without falling into the pitfalls of styles and trends?

Chris Gray runs the art label Toy, designs under the name We Shall See and is represented by Studio AKA. His work has appeared in Vice, idN, Computer Arts and books published by Victionary and Gestalten. He is also a writer for the Design Assembly. http://www.thisistoy.com

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