The ‘How to be great’ manifesto
'How to be great' is an ongoing project to collate all the manifestos ever.
Listen to it as a 3hr 58min self-help guide here ︎
Listen to it as a 3hr 58min self-help guide here ︎
Know the problem.
Learn to listen.
Learn to ask questions.
Distinguish sense from nonsense.
Accept change as inevitable.
Say it simple.
Smile. (How to work better - Fischli/Weiss)
Allow events to change you.
Forget about good.
Process is more important than outcome.
Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
Everyone is a leader.
Don't be cool.
Ask stupid questions.
Stay up late.
Work the metaphor.
Be careful to take risks.
Make your own tools.
Stand on someone's shoulders.
Don't clean your desk.
Read only left-hand pages.
Make new words.
Think with your mind.
Organisation = liberty.
Don't borrow money.
Take field trips.
Make mistakes faster.
Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.
Explore the outer edge.
Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms.
Power to the people. (Incomplete Manifesto for Growth - Bruce Mau Design)
Yes to redefining virtuosity
Yes to conceptualizing experience, affects, sensation
Yes to materiality/body practice
Yes to investment of performer and spectator
Yes to expression
Yes to excess
Yes to “invention” (however impossible)
Yes to un-naming, decoding and recoding expression
Yes to non-recognition, non-resemblance
Yes to non-sense/illogic
Yes to organizing principles rather than fixed logic systems
Yes to moving the “clear concept” behind the actual performance of
Yes to methodology and procedures
Yes to animation
Yes to style as a result of procedure and specificity of a proposal.
Yes to complexity (Yes Manifesto - Mette Ingvartsen)
a little knowledge can go a long way
a lot of professionals are crackpots
a man can't know what it is to be a mother
a name means a lot just by itself
a positive attitude means all the difference in the world
a relaxed man is not necessarily a better man
a sense of timing is the mark of genius
a sincere effort is all you can ask
a single event can have infinitely many interpretations
a solid home base builds a sense of self
a strong sense of duty imprisons you
absolute submission can be a form of freedom
abstraction is a type of decadence
abuse of power comes as no surprise
action causes more trouble than thought
alienation produces eccentrics or revolutionaries
all things are delicately interconnected
ambition is just as dangerous as complacency
ambivalence can ruin your life
an elite is inevitable
anger or hate can be a useful motivating force
animalism is perfectly healthy
any surplus is immoral
anything is a legitimate area of investigation
artificial desires are despoiling the earth
at times inactivity is preferable to mindless functioning
at times your unconsciousness is truer than your conscious mind
automation is deadly
awful punishment awaits really bad people
bad intentions can yield good results
being alone with yourself is increasingly unpopular
being happy is more important than anything else
being judgmental is a sign of life
being sure of yourself means you're a fool
believing in rebirth is the same as admitting defeat
boredom makes you do crazy things
calm is more conductive to creativity than is anxiety
categorizing fear is calming
change is valuable when the oppressed become tyrants
chasing the new is dangerous to society
children are the most cruel of all
children are the hope of the future
class action is a nice idea with no substance
class structure is as artificial as plastic
confusing yourself is a way to stay honest
crime against property is relatively unimportant
decadence can be an end in itself
decency is a relative thing
dependence can be a meal ticket
description is more important than metaphor
deviants are sacrificed to increase group solidarity
disgust is the appropriate response to most situations
disorganization is a kind of anesthesia
don't place to much trust in experts
drama often obscures the real issues
dreaming while awake is a frightening contradiction
dying and coming back gives you considerable perspective
dying should be as easy as falling off a log
eating too much is criminal
elaboration is a form of pollution
emotional responses ar as valuable as intellectual responses
enjoy yourself because you can't change anything anyway
ensure that your life stays in flux
even your family can betray you
every achievement requires a sacrifice
everyone's work is equally important
everything that's interesting is new
exceptional people deserve special concessions
expiring for love is beautiful but stupid
expressing anger is necessary
extreme behavior has its basis in pathological psychology
extreme self-consciousness leads to perversion
faithfulness is a social not a biological law
fake or real indifference is a powerful personal weapon
fathers often use too much force
fear is the greatest incapacitator
freedom is a luxury not a necessity
giving free rein to your emotions is an honest way to live
go all out in romance and let the chips fall where they may
going with the flow is soothing but risky
good deeds eventually are rewarded
government is a burden on the people
grass roots agitation is the only hope
guilt and self-laceration are indulgences
habitual contempt doesn't reflect a finer sensibility
hiding your emotions is despicable
holding back protects your vital energies
humanism is obsolete
humor is a release
ideals are replaced by conventional goals at a certain age
if you aren't political your personal life should be exemplary
if you can't leave your mark give up
if you have many desires your life will be interesting
if you live simply there is nothing to worry about
ignoring enemies is the best way to fight
illness is a state of mind
imposing order is man's vocation for chaos is hell
in some instances it's better to die than to continue
inheritance must be abolished
it can be helpful to keep going no matter what
it is heroic to try to stop time
it is man's fate to outsmart himself
it is a gift to the world not to have babies
it's better to be a good person than a famous person
it's better to be lonely than to be with inferior people
it's better to be naive than jaded
it's better to study the living fact than to analyze history
it's crucial to have an active fantasy life
it's good to give extra money to charity
it's important to stay clean on all levels
it's just an accident that your parents are your parents
it's not good to hold too many absolutes
it's not good to operate on credit
it's vital to live in harmony with nature
just believing something can make it happen
keep something in reserve for emergencies
killing is unavoidable but nothing to be proud of
knowing yourself lets you understand others
knowledge should be advanced at all costs
labor is a life-destroying activity
lack of charisma can be fatal
leisure time is a gigantic smoke screen
listen when your body talks
looking back is the first sign of aging and decay
loving animals is a substitute activity
low expectations are good protection
manual labor can be refreshing and wholesome
men are not monogamous by nature
moderation kills the spirit
money creates taste
monomania is a prerequisite of success
morals are for little people
most people are not fit to rule themselves
mostly you should mind your own business
mothers shouldn't make too many sacrifices
much was decided before you were born
murder has its sexual side
myth can make reality more intelligible
noise can be hostile
nothing upsets the balance of good and evil
occasionally principles are more valuable than people
offer very little information about yourself
often you should act like you are sexless
old friends are better left in the past
opacity is an irresistible challenge
pain can be a very positive thing
people are boring unless they are extremists
people are nuts if they think they are important
people are responsible for what they do unless they are insane
people who don't work with their hands are parasites
people who go crazy are too sensitive
people won't behave if they have nothing to lose
physical culture is second best
planning for the future is escapism
playing it safe can cause a lot of damage in the long run
politics is used for personal gain
potential counts for nothing until it's realized
private property created crime
pursuing pleasure for the sake of pleasure will ruin you
push yourself to the limit as often as possible
raise boys and girls the same way
random mating is good for debunking sex myths
rechanneling destructive impulses is a sign of maturity
recluses always get weak
redistributing wealth is imperative
relativity is no boon to mankind
religion causes as many problems as it solves
remember you always have freedom of choice
repetition is the best way to learn
resolutions serve to ease our conscience
revolution begins with changes in the individual
romantic love was invented to manipulate women
routine is a link with the past
routine small excesses are worse than then the occasional debauch
sacrificing yourself for a bad cause is not a moral act
salvation can't be bought and sold
self-awareness can be crippling
self-contempt can do more harm than good
selfishness is the most basic motivation
selflessness is the highest achievement
separatism is the way to a new beginning
sex differences are here to stay
sin is a means of social control
slipping into madness is good for the sake of comparison
sloppy thinking gets worse over time
solitude is enriching
sometimes science advances faster than it should
sometimes things seem to happen of their own accord
spending too much time on self-improvement is antisocial
starvation is nature's way
stasis is a dream state
sterilization is a weapon of the rulers
strong emotional attachment stems from basic insecurity
stupid people shouldn't breed
survival of the fittest applies to men and animals
symbols are more meaningful than things themselves
taking a strong stand publicizes the opposite position
talking is used to hide one's inability to act
teasing people sexually can have ugly consequences
technology will make or break us
the cruelest disappointment is when you let yourself down
the desire to reproduce is a death wish
the family is living on borrowed time
the idea of revolution is an adolescent fantasy
the idea of transcendence is used to obscure oppression
the idiosyncratic has lost its authority
the most profound things are inexpressible
the mundane is to be cherished
the new is nothing but a restatement of the old
the only way to be pure is to stay by yourself
the sum of your actions determines what you are
the unattainable is invariable attractive
the world operates according to discoverable laws
there are too few immutable truths today
there's nothing except what you sense
there's nothing redeeming in toil
thinking too much can only cause problems
threatening someone sexually is a horrible act
timidity is laughable
to disagree presupposes moral integrity
to volunteer is reactionary
torture is barbaric
trading a life for a life is fair enough
true freedom is frightful
unique things must be the most valuable
unquestioning love demonstrates largesse of spirit
using force to stop force is absurd
violence is permissible even desirable occasionally
war is a purification rite
we must make sacrifices to maintain our quality of life
when something terrible happens people wake up
wishing things away is not effective
with perseverance you can discover any truth
words tend to be inadequate
worrying can help you prepare
you are a victim of the rules you live by
you are guileless in your dreams
you are responsible for constituting the meaning of things
you are the past present and future
you can live on through your descendants
you can't expect people to be something they're not
you can't fool others if you're fooling yourself
you don't know what's what until you support yourself
you have to hurt others to be extraordinary
you must be intimate with a token few
you must disagree with authority figures
you must have one grand passion
you must know where you stop and the world begins
you can understand someone of your sex only
you owe the world not the other way around
you should study as much as possible
your actions are pointless if no one notices
your oldest fears are the worst ones (Truisms Manifesto - Jenny Holzer)
We, the undersigned, are graphic designers, art directors and visual communicators who have been raised in a world in which the techniques and apparatus of advertising have persistently been presented to us as the most lucrative, effective and desirable use of our talents. Many design teachers and mentors promote this belief; the market rewards it; a tide of books and publications reinforces it.
Encouraged in this direction, designers then apply their skill and imagination to sell dog biscuits, designer coffee, diamonds, detergents, hair gel, cigarettes, credit cards, sneakers, butt toners, light beer and heavy-duty recreational vehicles. Commercial work has always paid the bills, but many graphic designers have now let it become, in large measure, what graphic designers do. This, in turn, is how the world perceives design. The profession's time and energy is used up manufacturing demand for things that are inessential at best.
Many of us have grown increasingly uncomfortable with this view of design. Designers who devote their efforts primarily to advertising, marketing and brand development are supporting, and implicitly endorsing, a mental environment so saturated with commercial messages that it is changing the very way citizen-consumers speak, think, feel, respond and interact. To some extent we are all helping draft a reductive and immeasurably harmful code of public discourse.
There are pursuits more worthy of our problem-solving skills. Unprecedented environmental, social and cultural crises demand our attention. Many cultural interventions, social marketing campaigns, books, magazines, exhibitions, educational tools, television programs, films, charitable causes and other information design projects urgently require our expertise and help.
We propose a reversal of priorities in favor of more useful, lasting and democratic forms of communication - a mindshift away from product marketing and toward the exploration and production of a new kind of meaning. The scope of debate is shrinking; it must expand. Consumerism is running uncontested; it must be challenged by other perspectives expressed, in part, through the visual languages and resources of design.
In 1964, 22 visual communicators signed the original call for our skills to be put to worthwhile use. With the explosive growth of global commercial culture, their message has only grown more urgent. Today, we renew their manifesto in expectation that no more decades will pass before it is taken to heart. (First things first 2000 a design manifesto)
We, the undersigned, are graphic designers, photographers and students who have been brought up in a world in which the techniques and apparatus of advertising have persistently been presented to us as the most lucrative, effective and desirable means of using our talents. We have been bombarded with publications devoted to this belief, applauding the work of those who have flogged their skill and imagination to sell such things as: cat food, stomach powders, detergent, hair restorer, striped toothpaste, aftershave lotion, beforeshave lotion, slimming diets, fattening diets, deodorants, fizzy water, cigarettes, roll-ons, pull-ons and slip-ons.
By far the greatest effort of those working in the advertising industry are wasted on these trivial purposes, which contribute little or nothing to our national prosperity.
In common with an increasing numer of the general public, we have reached a saturation point at which the high pitched scream of consumer selling is no more than sheer noise. We think that there are other things more worth using our skill and experience on. There are signs for streets and buildings, books and periodicals, catalogues, instructional manuals, industrial photography, educational aids, films, television features, scientific and industrial publications and all the other media through which we promote our trade, our education, our culture and our greater awareness of the world.
We do not advocate the abolition of high pressure consumer advertising: this is not feasible. Nor do we want to take any of the fun out of life. But we are proposing a reversal of priorities in favour of the more useful and more lasting forms of communication. We hope that our society will tire of gimmick merchants, status salesmen and hidden persuaders, and that the prior call on our skills will be for worthwhile purposes. With this in mind we propose to share our experience and opinions, and to make them available to colleagues, students and others who may be interested. (First things first 1964 a manifesto)
The magic of a word—Dada—which has brought journalists to the gates of a world unforeseen,
is of no importance to us.
To put out a manifesto you must want: ABC
to fulminate against 1, 2, 3
to fly into a rage and sharpen your wings to conquer and disseminate little abcs and big abcs, to sign, shout, swear, to organize prose into a form of absolute and irrefutable evidence, to prove your non plus ultra and maintain that novelty resembles life just as the latest-appearance of some whore proves the essence of God. His existence was previously proved by the accordion, the landscape, the wheedling word. To impose your ABC is a natural thing—hence deplorable. Everybody does it in the form of crystalbluffmadonna, monetary system, pharmaceutical product, or a bare leg advertising the ardent sterile spring. The love of novelty is the cross of sympathy, demonstrates a naive je m'enfoutisme, it is a transitory, positive sign without a cause.
But this need itself is obsolete. In documenting art on the basis of the supreme simplicity: novelty, we are human and true for the sake of amusement, impulsive, vibrant to crucify boredom. At the crossroads of the lights, alert, attentively awaiting the years, in the forest. I write a manifesto and I want nothing, yet 1 say certain things, and in principle I am against manifestoes, as I am also against principles (half-pints to measure the moral value of every phrase too too convenient; approximation was invented by the impressionists). I write this manifesto to show that people can perform contrary actions together while taking one fresh gulp of air; I am against action; for continuous contradiction, for affirmation too, I am neither for nor against and I do not explain because I hate common sense. […]
Dada Means Nothing
If you find it futile and don't want to waste your time on a word that means nothing ... The first thought that comes to these people is bacteriological in character: to find its etymological, or at least its historical or psychological origin. We see by the papers that the Kru Negroes call the tail of a holy cow Dada. The cube and the mother in a certain district of Italy are called: Dada. A hobby horse, a nurse both in Russian and Rumanian: Dada. Some learned journalists regard it as an art for babies, other holy jesusescallingthelittlechildren of our day, as a relapse into a dry and noisy, noisy and monotonous primitivism. Sensibility is not constructed on the basis of a word; all constructions converge on perfection which is boring, the stagnant idea of a gilded swamp, a relative human product. A work of art should not be beauty in itself, for beauty is dead; it should be neither gay nor sad, neither light nor dark to rejoice or torture the individual by serving him the cakes of sacred aureoles or the sweets of a vaulted race through the atmospheres. A work of art is never beautiful by decree, objectively and for all. Hence criticism is useless, it exists only subjectively, for each man separately, without the slightest character of universality. Does anyone think he has found a psychic base common to all mankind? The attempt of Jesus and the Bible covers with their broad benevolent wings: shit, animals, days. How can one expect to put order into the chaos zara,that constitutes that infinite and shapeless variation: man? The principle: "love thy neighbor” is a hypocrisy. “Know thyself” is utopian but more acceptable, for it embraces wickedness.
No pity. After the carnage we still retain the hope of a purified mankind. I speak only of myself since I do not wish to convince, I have no right to drag others into my river, I oblige no one to follow me and everybody practices his art in his own way, if be knows the joy that rises like arrows to the astral layers, or that other joy that goes down into the mines of corpse-flowers and fertile spasms. Stalactites: seek them everywhere, in managers magnified by pain, eyes white as the hares of the angels.
And so Dada was born of a need for independence, of a distrust toward unity. Those who are with us preserve their freedom. We recognize no theory. We have enough cubist and futurist academies: laboratories of formal ideas. Is the aim of art to make money and cajole the nice nice bourgeois?Rhymes ring with the assonance of the currencies and the inflexion slips along the line of the belly in profile. All groups of artists have arrived at this trust company utter riding their steeds on various comets. While the door remains open to the possibility of wallowing in cushions and good things to eat.
Cubism was born out of the simple way of looking at an object: Cezanne painted a cup 20 centimeters below his eyes, the cubists look at it from above, others complicate appearance by making a perpendicular section and arranging it conscientiously on the side. (I do not forget the creative artists and the profound laws of matter which they established once and for all.) The futurist sees the same cup in movement, a succession of objects one beside the others and maliciously adds a few force lines. This does not prevent the canvas from being a good or bad painting suitable for the investment of intellectual capital. The new painter creates a world, the elements of which are also its implements, a sober,definite work without argument. The new artist protests: he no longer paints (symbolic and illusionist reproduction) but creates directly in stone, wood, iron, tin, boulders—locomotive organisms capable of being turned in all directions by the limpid wind of momentary sensation. All pictorial or plastic work is useless: let it then be a monstrosity that frightens servile minds, and not sweetening to decorate the refectories of animals in human costume, illustrating the sad fable of mankind. Philosophy is the question: from which side shall we look at life, God, the idea or other phenomena. Everything one looks at is false. I do not consider the relative result more important than the choice between cake and cherries after dinner. The system of quickly looking at the other side of a thing in order to impose your opinion indirectly is called dialectics, in other words, haggling over the spirit of fried potatoes while dancing method around it.If I cry out:
Ideal, ideal, ideal,
Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge,
Boomboom, boomboom, boomboom,
I have given a pretty faithful version of progress, law, morality and all other fine qualities that various highly intelligent men have discussed in so many books, only to conclude that after all everyone dances to his own personal boomboom, and that the writer is entitled to his zara, boomboom: the satisfaction of pathological curiosity a private bell for inexplicable needs; a bath; pecuniary difficulties; a stomach with repercussions in tile; the authority of the mystic wand formulated as the bouquet of a phantom orchestra made up of silent fiddle bows greased with filters made of chicken manure. With the blue eye-glasses of an angel they have excavated the inner life for a dime’s worth of unanimous gratitude. If all of them are right and if all pills are Pink Pills, let us try for once not to be right. Some people think they can explain rationally, by thought, what they think. But that is extremely relative. Psychoanalysis is a dangerous disease, it puts to sleep the anti-objective impulses of man and systematizes the bourgeoisie. There is no ultimate Truth. The dialectic is an amusing mechanism which guides us / in a banal kind of way / to the opinions we had in the first place. Does anyone think that, by a minute refinement of logic, he had demonstrated the truth and established the correctness of these opinions? Logic imprisoned by the senses is an organic disease. To this element philosophers always like to add: the power of observation. But actually this magnificent quality of the mind is the proof of its impotence. We observe, we regard from one or more points of view, we choose them among the millions that exist. Experience is also a product of chance and individual faculties. Science disgusts me as soon as it becomes a speculative system, loses its character of utility that is so useless but is at least individual. I detest greasy objectivity, and harmony, the science that finds everything in order. Carry on, my children, humanity . . .
Science says we are the servants of nature: everything is in order, make love and bash your brains in. Carry on, my children, humanity, kind bourgeois and journalist virgins . . .I am against systems, the most acceptable system is on principle to have none. To complete oneself, to perfect oneself in one's own littleness, to fill the vessel with one's individuality, to have the courage to fight for and against thought, the mystery of bread, the sudden burst of an infernal propeller into economic lilies. […]
Inability to distinguish between degrees of clarity: to lick the penumbra and float in the big mouth filled with honey and excrement. Measured by the scale of eternity, all activity is vain - (if we allow thought to engage in an adventure the result of which would be infinitely grotesque and add significantly to our knowledge of human impotence). But supposing life to be a poor farce, without aim or initial parturition, and because we think it our duty to extricate ourselves as fresh and clean as washed chrysanthemums, we have proclaimed as the sole basis for agreement: art. It is not as important as we, mercenaries of the spirit, have been proclaiming for centuries. Art afflicts no one and those who manage to take an interest in it will harvest caresses and a fine opportunity to populate the country with their conversation. Art is a private affair, the artist produces it for himself, an intelligible work is the product of a journalist, and because at this moment it strikes my fancy to combine this monstrosity with oil paints: a paper tube simulating the metal that is automatically pressed and poured hatred cowardice villainy. The artist, the poet rejoice at the venom of the masses condensed into a section chief of this industry, he is happy to be insulted: it is a proof of his immutability. When a writer or artist is praised by the newspapers, it is a proof of the intelligibility of his work: wretched lining of a coat for public use; tatters covering brutality, piss contributing to the warmth of an animal brooding vile instincts. Flabby, insipid flesh reproducing with the help of typographical microbes. We have thrown out the cry-baby in us. Any infiltration of this kind is candied diarrhea. To encourage this act is to digest it. What we need is works that are strong straight precise and forever beyond understanding. Logic is a complication. Logic is always wrong. It draws the threads of notions, words, in their formal exterior, toward illusory ends and centers. Its chains kill, it is an enormous centipede stifling independence. Married to logic, art would live in incest, swallowing, engulfing its own tail, still part of its own body, fornicating within itself, and passion would become a nightmare tarred with protestantism, a monument, a heap of ponderous gray entrails. But the suppleness, enthusiasm, eve n the joy of injustice, this little truth which we practice innocently and which makes its beautiful: we are subtle and our fingers are malleable and slippery as the branches of that sinuous, almost liquid plant; it defines our soul, say the cynics. That too is a point of view; but all flowers are not sacred, fortunately, and the divine thing in us is to call to anti-human action. I am speaking of a paper flower for the buttonholes of the gentlemen who frequent the ball of masked life, the kitchen of grace, white cousins lithe or fat. They traffic with whatever we have selected. The contradiction and unity of poles in a single toss can be the truth. If one absolutely insists on uttering this platitude, the appendix of a libidinous, malodorous morality. Morality creates atrophy like every plague produced by intelligence. The control of morality and logic has inflicted us with impassivity in the presence of policemen who are the cause of slavery, putrid rats infecting the bowels of the bourgeoisie which have infected the only luminous clean corridors of glass that remained open to artists.
Let each man proclaim: there is a great negative work of destruction to be accomplished. We must sweep and clean. Affirm the cleanliness of the individual after the state of madness, aggressive complete madness of a world abandoned to the hands of bandits, who rend one another and destroy the centuries. Without aim or design, without organization: indomitable madness, decomposition. Those who are strong in words or force will survive, for they are quick in defense, the agility of limbs and sentiments flames on their faceted flanks.Morality has determined charity and pity, two balls of fat that have grown like elephants, like planets, and are called good. There is nothing good about them. Goodness is lucid, clear and decided, pitiless toward compromise and politics. Morality is an injection of chocolate into the veins of all men. This task is not ordered by a supernatural force but by the trust of idea brokers and grasping academicians. Sentimentality: at the sight of a group of men quarreling and bored, they invented the calendar and the medicament wisdom. With a sticking of labels the battle of the philosophers was set off (mercantilism, scales, meticulous and petty measures)
and for the second time it was understood that pity is a sentiment like diarrhea in relation to the disgust that destroys health, a foul attempt by carrion corpses to compromise the sun. I proclaim the opposition of all cosmic faculties to this gonorrhea of a putrid sun issued from the factories of philosophical thought, I proclaim bitter struggle with all the weapons of—Dadaist Disgust Every product of disgust capable of becoming a negation of the family is Dada; a protest with the fists of its whole being engaged in destructive action: Dada; know ledge of all the means rejected up until now by the shamefaced sex of comfortable compromise and good manners: Dada; abolition o/ logic, which is the dance of those impotent to create: Dada; of every social hierarchy and equation set up for the sake of values by our valets: Dada: every object, all objects, sentiments, obscurities, apparitions and the precise clash of parallel lines are weapons for the fight: Dada; abolition of memory: Dada; abolition of archaeology: Dada; abolition of prophets: Dada; abolition of the future: Dada; absolute and unquestionable faith in every god that is the immediate product of spontaneity: Dada; elegant and unprejudiced leap from a harmony to the other sphere; trajectory of a word tossed like a screeching phonograph record; to respect all individuals in their folly of the moment: whether it be serious, fearful, timid, ardent, vigorous, determined, enthusiastic; to divest one's church of eve ry useless cumbersome accessory; to spit out disagreeable or amorous ideas like a luminous waterfall, or coddle them—with the extreme satisfaction that it doesn't matter in the least—with the same intensity in the thicket of core's soul pure of insects for blood well-born, and gilded with bodies of archangels. Freedom: Dada Dada Dada, a roaring of tense colors, and interlacing of opposites and of all contradictions, grotesques, inconsistencies:
LIFE.(The Dada Manifesto - Tristan Tzara)
"It is no longer enough today to lock ourselves in our studios and produce culture. We must engage in our world in as many ways as possible. We need to ground our artistic production in the realities of our lives and those many others around us."
—Realizing The Impossible: Art Against Authority.
If graphic design is understood as the expression and reflection of a particular set of values, systems and interests, then most artistic practice today tends to express the interests of the class that controls and profits from society. It is these interests that dominate the standards of value in design, defines its emphasis, and excludes its more subversive, egalitarian alternatives. As a result, graphic design is the tool that communicates, beautifies and commodifies the interests of those in power. Its communicative strength is overwhelmingly used in an economic/commercial sense—consciously or unconsciously used to exploit; to raise profit margins and material wealth for the benefit of a select clientele. While graphic design sometimes lends its talents outside of the commercial realm in the form of an informative and communicative visual language, and in academic, self-authored, or research-based practices, the primary role of graphic design is that of the visual instrument of the powerful—the seller of sales, the convincer of consumers. Its strengths are employed by the corporate body (or state-sanctioned by capitalist/socialist totalitarian governments) in order to reinforce their position of power. And while design academia can wax poetic about the virtues of graphic design and its specialised visual language (conveniently side-stepping more tangible issues) the design industry practitioner, whether one chooses to acknowledge his/her role or not, must realise that their labour is nothing more than the harbinger of consumerism, used in the service of monolithic capitalism and all of its ails. Without the aid of graphic design, those who sustain the ills of society have no face, no visual identity, no point of reference, and most importantly, no effect.
While recognising in the libertarian tradition that no individual designer, group, institution or government has the right to define the role in which graphic design should play, it is important to encourage alternative design practices in an attempt to counter the exploitative position it has consciously stepped into. Analysis of the capacity inherent in design practices to alleviate current exploitation, and to aid in more alternative modes of social organisation is needed (and has begun in limited pockets of the design world). Design then, must explore the peripheral space outside of advertising totally devoid of any commercial use—or more specifically, for the movement towards a humane and libertarian society, that is to say, a more autonomous existence based on self-management, mutual aid, solidarity and direct participation and control over one's affairs. As the potential producer, educator and visual face of social change, graphic design could weld its creative future with more pressing concerns than market shares and profit margins.
"One cannot, in the nature of things, expect a little tree that has turned into a club to put forth leaves"
— Martin Buber
It is interesting to ponder the power graphic design holds within the current capitalist system. Corporates and their friends in government have all tapped into the powerful and almost unrivalled marketing resource that is graphic design. Better By Design, hand-in-hand with business interests, has marched towards a better future for consumerism. And no wonder—what other non-physical coercive technique can instill a company logo in the mind as early as two years old? Unchecked, the increasing role of graphic design as advertising's lackey will continue to have irreversible effect on our mental, visual and physical environment.
In 1964, and again in 2002, the concerns of above were brought forward in the form of the First Things First Manifesto, signed by designers, photographers, artists and visual practitioners interested in steering their skills along a more social and worthwhile path. "Unprecedented environmental, social and cultural crises demand our attention... charitable causes and other informational design projects urgently require our expertise and help." Calling for a shift in graphic design's priorities, the signatories of the manifesto recognised the potential for their skills to aid more humanitarian causes. The 2002 manifesto, as a tentative step in reviving Ken Garland's original ideas for today's practitioners, and as a step towards visual 'reform', is greatly noted. However, regardless of how well meaning and sincere the ideas brought forward in these documents were, it is necessary to critique their statements in more radical terms.
While proposing “a reversal of priorities in favour of more useful, lasting, and democratic forms of communication”, the manifesto falls short in recognising any kind of tangible, radical change. The First Things First Manifesto of 2002 fails to recognise that the 'uncontested' and 'unchecked' consumerism they wish to re-direct is so engrained in the social relations of capitalism that anything short of the complete transformation of those social relations will never effect true change. Proposing the shifting of priorities within the system rather than the shifting of the system itself—as history has proven in both state socialism and the farce of parliamentary democracy—will do nothing more than file down the rough edges of our chains. The fact that rampant globalisation and corporate hegemony go hand in hand with the current system is the real issue concerned graphic designs could be questioning. In fact these systems, "far from being a guarantee for the people, on the contrary, creates and safeguards the continued existence of a governmental aristocracy against the people."
With this in mind, the following text proposes to explore the graphic designer’s role (if any) in revolutionary, direct action towards the transformation of society, in specifically anarchist terms.
"It is said that an anarchist society is impossible. Artistic activity is the process of realising the impossible."
— Max Blechman, Toward an Anarchist Aesthetic.
The basic ideas of Anarchism have been misinformed, misinterpreted, and misunderstood throughout its existence. For many people, the anti-authoritarian stance of Anarchism coupled with negative press on the part of those threatened by it, associates it with chaos and disorder. However this is far from the truth.
Anarchist communism (or libertarian communism) is the belief that no one has the right to control or exploit another, and that coercive authrotiy (as opposed to voluntary association) is the mainstay of inequality—socially and economically. Anarchists strive for a social system of human beings living, interacting, and relating in a way that is the most fair, equal, and free of any kind of exploitation. This includes the many forms that oppression takes—economic or political, patriarchal or racial, and more.
"A mistaken, or more often, deliberately inaccurate interpretation alleges that the libertarian concept means the absence of all organisation. This is entirely false: it is not a matter of 'organisation' or 'nonorganisation', but of two different principles of organisation... of course, say the anarchists, society must be organised. However, it must be established freely, socially, and, above all, from below." The idea of non-hierarchical forms of organization are central to anarchism—only through direct action and self-management will we enjoy complete emancipation in our lives and the daily decisions that they entail. These ideas are far from utopian, as those who fear its potential would lead us to believe, and as the millions of men and women throughout history who have subscribed to, and lived out, anarchist ideas. They are no more utopian than the thought that far-removed, parliamentary 'representatives' can intimately
and effectively answer our many wants and needs as individuals and communities.
Anarchist communism is not a fixed, self-enclosed social system but rather a definite trend in the historic development of society, which, in contrast with the intellectual guardianship of all clerical and governmental institutions, strives for the free unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces in life. For anarchists, freedom is not an abstract philosophical concept, but a vital concrete possibility for every human being to bring to full development all the powers, capacities, and talents within them, and turn them to social account. The less this natural development of people is influenced by religious or political guardianship, the more efficient and harmonious human personality will become, the more it will become the measure of the intellectual culture of the society in which it has grown.
"As anarchists, we have seen our politics denigrated by other artists; as artists, we have had our cultural production attacked as frivolous by activists."
—Realising the Impossibe: Art Against Authority
It would be wrong to view this text as some kind of blueprint for anarchist design action. This is not a manifesto. Nor is it the justification for graphic design as a specialist, elitist profession to continue in its current form in the 'aid' of social change. As the early anarchist Proudhon wrote to Marx, "Let us not make ourselves the leaders of a new intolerance. Let us not pose as the apostles of a new religion, even if it be the religion of logic, of reason". And while there is a definite place for the graphic designer in an activist role, both in an educational and provocative sense, designers must not make the mistake of becoming some kind of vanguard group of directors. Whereas Marxism is often justified in both political and academic fields in this respect —defending the role of a necessary vanguard party to lead the ignorant masses to liberation—anarchism vehemently refutes and rejects this concept.
It is the responsibility of anyone with an understanding of visual communication to consider the effect their work has on the lives of others, especially the most marginalised, and the most oppressed. Instead, the design practitioner, through the basic act of joining their moral principles with their material production, should, and could, greatly contribute to the transformation of everyday life—towards a more just and humane society. The conscious graphic designer could instill in people's minds a broader sense of possibility, using the communicative powers of artistic imagery to empower, encourage and enrage. It is important to shift societies' many urgent concerns from the fringes and into the public realm, in a direct and unavoidable manner. However, purely negative and angst-ridden critique (while sometimes useful) can only go so far—it is the sense of positive possibilities that need to be associated with the ideas of revolutionary change. The marginality of alternative social relations must be overcome—its ideas rendered public, transparent, and shared.
Mainstream media do a rather convincing job of keeping our private critical thoughts isolated. It is an important task to illustrate that the critical and questioning ideas we may be having individually are, more often than not, shared by others, rather than letting them be diffused and disarmed by those in power through religion, politics, education, and popular media (including, of course, graphic design). Graphic design can publicly and prolifically become the visual manifestation of these shared ideas. "Ideally, art can inspire hope, encourage critical thinking, capture emotion, and stimulate creativity. It can declare another way to think about and participate in living. Art can document or challenge history, create a framework for social change, and create a vision of a more just world. When art is used in activism it provides an appealing and accessible entry point to social issues and radical politics". Graphic design can act as one catalyst for further involvement in social alternatives, and social struggle.
“Artists speak out against the war for one week but serve the capitalists all year.”
—Black Mask #4
However images alone are not enough. It is not just what the work of a designer says or does that perpetuates the dominant social relations of today, but how that work is made. Design is an overwhelmingly individual act. Yet further exploration of collective participation in the design process can set the basis for future non-hierarchal, collective organisation. Ways of working with others when making work could essentially form patterns and guides for the self organization of a more libertarian society. Therefore the act of making work could be as empowering as the visual message itself, pointing the way towards social relations on a more macro level. This exploration has exciting and liberating possibilities: "Anarchism is no patent solution for all human problems, no utopia of a perfect social order, as it has so often been called, since on principle it rejects all absolute schemes and concepts. It does not believe in any absolute truth, or in definite final goals for human development, but in an unlimited perfectibility of social arrangements and human living conditions, which are always straining after higher forms of expression…" Allowing anarchist inspired design to collectively explore and illustrate those 'higher forms of expression' can do nothing but broaden the scope and awareness of more just social relations between people.
1. In relation to the anarchist concept of 'no gods, no masters'—or, that ‘the exploitation of man by man and the dominion of man over man are inseparable, and each is the condition of the other’.
2. Design collectives such as Justseeds, The Street Art Workers, Drawing Resistance, the Beehive Collective, Paper Politics, Taring Padi, and the Prison Poster Project are just a few examples. See Realising the Impossible: Art Against Authority by Josh Macphee and Erik Reuland (AK Press, 2007).
3. A government initiative aimed at helping New Zealand companies 'increase their exports and profits through the better use of design in their products and services'. Check it out at www.betterbydesign.org.nz.
4. See Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (Penguin Books, 2002).
5. Michael Bakunin in Anarchism by Daniel Guerin (Monthly Review Press, 1970).
6. Voline in Anarchism by Daniel Guerin (Monthly Review Press, 1970).
7. Paraphrased from Rudolf Rocker's Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice (AK Press, 2004).
8. From Anarchism by Daniel Guerin (Monthly Review Press, 1970).
9. Colin Matthes, Realising the Impossible: Art Against Authority by Josh Macphee and Erik Reuland (AK Press, 2007).
10. Rudolf Rocker, Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice (AK Press, 2004). (This is not a manifesto - Jared Davidson (Garage Collective))
There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
There is no editing stage.
Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.
Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
Once you're done you can throw it away.
Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
Destruction is a variant of done.
If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
Done is the engine of more. (The cult of done manifesto - Bre Pettis and Kio Stark)
We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.
Courage, audacity, and revolt will be essential elements of our poetry.
Up to now literature has exalted a pensive immobility, ecstasy, and sleep. We intend to exalt aggresive action, a feverish insomnia, the racer’s stride, the mortal leap, the punch and the slap.
We affirm that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed. A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath—a roaring car that seems to ride on grapeshot is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.
We want to hymn the man at the wheel, who hurls the lance of his spirit across the Earth, along the circle of its orbit.
The poet must spend himself with ardor, splendor, and generosity, to swell the enthusiastic fervor of the primordial elements.
Except in struggle, there is no more beauty. No work without an aggressive character can be a masterpiece. Poetry must be conceived as a violent attack on unknown forces, to reduce and prostrate them before man.
We stand on the last promontory of the centuries!… Why should we look back, when what we want is to break down the mysterious doors of the Impossible? Time and Space died yesterday. We already live in the absolute, because we have created eternal, omnipresent speed.
We will glorify war—the world’s only hygiene—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman.
We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind, will fight moralism, feminism, every opportunistic or utilitarian cowardice.
We will sing of great crowds excited by work, by pleasure, and by riot; we will sing of the multicolored, polyphonic tides of revolution in the modern capitals; we will sing of the vibrant nightly fervor of arsenals and shipyards blazing with violent electric moons; greedy railway stations that devour smoke-plumed serpents; factories hung on clouds by the crooked lines of their smoke; bridges that stride the rivers like giant gymnasts, flashing in the sun with a glitter of knives; adventurous steamers that sniff the horizon; deep-chested locomotives whose wheels paw the tracks like the hooves of enormous steel horses bridled by tubing; and the sleek flight of planes whose propellers chatter in the wind like banners and seem to cheer like an enthusiastic crowd. (Manifesto of Futurism - F.T. Marinetti)
Make your products live longer!
Things should be designed so that they can be repaired.
Repair is not replacement.
What doesn't kill it makes it stronger.
Repairing is a creative challenge.
Repair survives fashion.
To repair is to discover.
Repair - even in good times!
Repaired things are unique.
Repairing is about independence.
You can repair anything, even a plastic bag.
Stop recycling. Start Repairing. (Repair Manifesto - Platform 21)
We are still living under the reign of logic, but the logical processes of our time apply only to the solution of problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism which remains in fashion allows for the consideration of only those facts narrowly relevant to our experience. Logical conclusions, on the other hand, escape us. Needless to say, boundaries have been assigned even to ex- perience. It revolves in a cage from which release is becoming increasingly difficult. It too depends upon immediate utility and is guarded by common sense. In the guise of civilization, under the pretext of progress, we have suc- ceeded in dismissing from our minds anything that, rightly or wrongly, could be regarded as superstition or myth; and we have proscribed every way of seeking the truth which does not conform to convention. It would appear that it is by sheer chance that an aspect of intellectual life - and by far the most important in my opinion — about which no one was supposed to be concerned any longer has, recently, been brought back to light. Credit for this must go to Freud. On the evidence of his discoveries a current of opinion is at last developing which will enable the explorer of the human mind to extend his investigations, since he will be empowered to deal with more than merely summary realities. Perhaps the imagination is on the verge of recovering its rights. If the depths of our minds conceal strange forces capable of augmenting or conquering those on the surface, it is in our greatest interest to capture them; first to capture them and later to submit them, should the occasion arise, to the control of reason. The analysts themselves can only gain by this. But it is im- portant to note that there is no method fixed a priori for the execution of this enterprise, that until the new order it can be considered the province of poets as well as scholars, and that its success does not depend upon the more or less capricious routes which will be followed.
It was only fitting that Freud should appear with his critique on the dream. In fact, it is incredible that this important part of psychic activity has still attracted so little attention. (For, at least from man's birth to his death, thought presents no solution of continuity; the sum of dreaming moments - even taking into consideration pure dream alone, that of sleep - is from the point of view of time no less than the sum of moments of reality, which we shall confine to waking moments.) I have always been astounded by the extreme disproportion in the importance and seriousness assigned to events of the waking moments and to those of sleep by the ordinary observer. Man, when he ceases to sleep, is above all at the mercy of his memory, and the memory normally delights in feebly retracing the circumstance of the dream for him, depriving it of all actual consequence and obliterating the only determinant from the point at which he thinks he abandoned this constant hope, this anxiety, a few hours earlier. He has the illusion of continuing something worthwhile. The dream finds itself relegated to a parenthesis, like the night. And in general it gives no more counsel than the night. This singular state of affairs seems to invite a few reflections:
1. Within the limits to which its performance is restricted (or what passes for performance), the dream, according to all outward appearances, is continuous and bears traces of organization. Only memory claims the right to edit it, to suppress transitions and present us with a series of dreams rather than the dream. Similarly, at no given instant do we have more than a distinct representation of realities whose co-ordination is a matter of will.(1) It is important to note that nothing leads to a greater dissipation of the constituent elements of the dream. I regret discussing this according to a formula which in principle ex- cludes the dream. For how long, sleeping logicians, philosophers? I would like to sleep in order to enable myself to surrender to sleepers, as I surrender to those who read me with their eyes open, in order to stop the conscious rhythm of my thought from prevailing over this material. Perhaps my dream of last night was a continuation of the preceding night's, and will be continued tonight with an admirable precision. It could be, as they say. And as it is in no way proven that, in such a case, the 'reality' with which I am concerned even exists in the dream state, or that it does not sink into the immemorial, then why should I not concede to the dream what I sometimes refuse to reality - that weight of self-assurance which by its own terms is not exposed to my denial? Why should I not expect more of the dream sign than I do of a daily increasing degree of consciousness? Could not the dreams as well be applied to the solution of life's fundamental problems? Are these problems the same in one case as in the other, and do they already exist in the dream? Is the dream less oppressed by sanctions than the rest? I am growing old and, perhaps more than this reality to which I believe myself confined, it is the dream, and the detachment that I owe to it, which is ageing me.
2 I return to the waking state. I am obliged to retain it as a phenomenon of interference. Not only does the mind show a strange tendency to disorientation under these conditions (this is the clue to slips of the tongue and lapses of all kinds whose secret is just beginning to be surrendered to us), but when function- ing normally the mind still seems to obey none other than those suggestions which rise from that deep night I am commending. Sound as it may be, its equilibrium is relative. The mind hardly dares express itself and, when it does, is limited to stating that this idea or that woman has an effect on it. What effect it cannot say; thus it gives the measure of its subjectivism and nothing more. The idea, the woman, disturbs it, disposes it to less severity. Their role is to isolate one second of its discappearance and remove it to the sky in that glorious acceleration that it can be, that it is. Then, as a last resort, the mind invokes chance - a more obscure divinity than the others - to whom it attributes all its aberrations. Who says that the angle from which that idea is presented which affects the mind, as well as what the mind loves in that woman's eye, is not precisely the same thing that attracts the mind to its dream and reunites it with data lost through its own error? And if things were otherwise, of what might the mind not be capable? I should like to present it with the key to that passage.
3 The mind of the dreaming man is fully satisfied with whatever happens to it. The agonizing question of possibility does not arise. Kill, plunder more quickly, love as much as you wish. And if you die, are you not sure of being roused from the dead? Let yourself be led. Events will not tolerate deferment. You have no name. Everything Is inestimably easy.
What power, I wonder, what power so much more generous than others confers this natural aspect upon the dream and makes me welcome unreservedly a throng of episodes whose strangeness would overwhelm me if they were hap- pening as I write this? And yet I can believe it with my own eyes, my own ears. That great day has come, that beast has spoken.
If man's awakening is harsher, if he breaks the spell too well, it is because he has been led to form a poor idea of expiation.
4 When the time comes when we can submit the dream to a methodical examination, when by methods yet to be determined we succeed in realizing the dream in its entirety (and that implies a memory discipline measurable in generations, but we can still begin by recording salient facts), when the dream's curve is developed with an unequalled breadth and regularity, then we can hope that mysteries which are not really mysteries will give way to the great Mystery. I believe in the future resolution of these two states -- outwardly so contradic- tory -- which are dream and reality, into a sort of absolute reality, a surreality, so to speak, I am aiming for its conquest, certain that I myself shall not attain it, but too indifferent to my death not to calculate the joys of such possession.
They say that not long ago, just before he went to sleep, Saint-Pol-Roux placed a placard on the door of his manor at Camaret which read: THE POET WORKS.
There is still a great deal to say, but I did want to touch lightly, in passing, upon a subject which in itself would require a very long exposition with a dif- ferent precision. I shall return to it. For the time being my intention has been to see that justice was done to that hatred of the marvellous which rages in certain men, that ridicule under which they would like to crush it. Let us resolve, therefore: the Marvellous is always beautiful, everything marvellous is beautiful. Nothing but the Marvellous is beautiful.
... One night, before falling asleep, I became aware of a most bizarre sentence, clearly articulated to the point where it was impossible to change a word of it, but still separate from the sound of any voice. It came to me bearing no trace of the events with which I was involved at that time, at least to my conscious knowledge. It seemed to me a highly insistent sentence - a sentence, I might say, which knocked at the window. I quickly took note of it and was prepared to disregard it when something about its whole character held me back. The sentence truly astounded me. Unfortunately I still cannot remember the exact words to this day, but it was something like: 'A man is cut in half by the window'; but it can only suffer from ambiguity, accompanied as it was by the feeble visual representation of a walking man cut in half by a window perpendicular to the axis of his body. ^ It was probably a simple mat- ter of a man leaning on the window and then straightening up. But the window followed the movements of the man, and I realized that I was dealing with a very rare type of image. Immediately I had the idea of incorporating it into my poetic material, but no sooner had I invested it with poetic form than it went on to give way to a scarcely intermittent succession of sentences which surprised me no less than the first and gave me the impression of such a free gift that the control which I had had over myself up to that point seemed illusory and I no longer thought of anything but how to put an end to the interminable quarrel which was taking place within me.(3)
Totally involved as I was at the time with Freud, and familiar with his methods of examination which I had had some occasion to practise on the sick during the war, I resolved to obtain from myself what one seeks to obtain from a patient - a spoken monologue uttered as rapidly as possible, over which the critical faculty of the subject has no control, unencumbered by any reticence, which is spoken thought as far as such a thing is possible. It seemed to me, and still does - the manner in which the sentence about the man cut in two came to me proves it - that the speed of thought is no greater than that of words, and that it does not necessarily defy language or the moving pen. It was with this in mind that Philippe Soupault (with whom I had shared these first conclusions) and I undertook to cover some paper with writing, with a laudable contempt for what might result in terms of literature. The ease of realization did the rest. At the end of the first day we were able to read to each other around fifty pages obtained by this method, and began to compare our results. Altogether, those of Soupault and my own presented a remarkable similarity, even including the same faults in construction: in both cases there was the illusion of an extra- ordinary verve, a great deal of emotion, a considerable assortment of images of a quality such as we would never have been capable of achieving in ordinary writing, a very vivid graphic quality, and here and there an acutely comic passage. The only difference between our texts seemed to me essentially due to our respective natures (Soupault's is less static than mine) and, if I may hazard a slight criticism, due to the fact that he had made the mistake of distributing a few words in the way of titles at the head of certain pages — no doubt in the spirit of mystification. On the other hand, I must give him credit for maintaining his steadfast opposition to the slightest alteration in the course of any passage which seemed to me rather badly put. He was completely right on this point, of course.(4) In fact it is very difficult to appreciate the full value of the various elements when confronted by them. It can even be said to be impossible to appreciate them at the first reading. These elements are outwardly as strange to you who have written them as to anyone else, and you are naturally distrustful of them. Poetically speaking, they are especially endowed with a very high degree of immediate absurdity. The peculiarity of this absurdity, on closer examination, comes from their capitulation to everything — both inad- missible and legitimate - In the world, to produce a revelation of a certain number of premises and facts generally no less objective than any others.
In homage to Guillaume Apollinaire - who died recently, and who appears to have consistently obeyed a similar impulse to ours without ever really sacrificing mediocre literary means - Soupault and I used the name SURREALISM to designate the new mode of pure expression which we had at our disposal and with which we were anxious to benefit our friends. Today I do not believe anything more need be said about this word. The meaning which we have given it has generally prevailed over Apollinaire's meaning. With even more justification we could have used SUPERNATURALISM, employed by Gerard de Nerval in the dedication of Filles de Feu.(5) In fact, Nerval appears to have possessed to an admirable extent the spirit to which we refer. Apollinaire, on the other hand, possessed only the letter of surrealism (which was still imper- fect) and showed himself powerless to give it the theoretical insight that engages us. Here are two passages by Nerval which appear most significant in this regard:
'I will explain to you, my dear Dumas, the phenomenon of which you spoke above. As you know, there are certain story-tellers who cannot invent without identifying themselves with the characters from their imagination. You know with what conviction our old friend Nodier told how he had had the misfortune to be guillotined at the time of the Revolution; one became so convinced that one wondered how he had managed to stick his head back on.'
'... And since you have had the imprudence to cite one of the sonnets composed in this state of SUPERNATURALIST reverie, as the Germans v/ould say, you must hear all of them. You will find them at the end of the volume. They are hardly more obscure than Hegel's metaphysics or Swedenborg's MEMORABLES, and would lose their charm in explication, if such a thing were possible, so concede me at least the merit of their expression . . .'(6)
It would be dishonest to dispute our right to employ the word SURREALISM in the very particular sense in which we intend it, for it is clear that before we came along this word amounted to nothing. Thus I shall define it once and for all:
SURREALISM, noun, masc., Pure psychic automatism by which it is intended to express, either verbally or in writing, the true function of thought. Thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations.
ENCYCL. Philos. Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of association heretofore neglected, in the omnipotence of the dream, and in the disinterested play of thought. It leads to the permanent destruction of all other psychic mechanisms and to its substitution for them in the solution of the principal problems of life.(First Surrealist Manifesto - Andre Breton)
Begin with ideas
Ad-lib and make things up
Eliminate superfluous elements
Make something difficult look easy
Be first or last
Believe complex ideas can produce simple things
Trust the process
Allow concepts to determine form
Reduce material and production to their essence
Sustain the integrity of an idea
Propose honesty as a solution (Manifesto by Daniel Eatock)
Automated content layout
Differentiated by content
A4 of websites (Indexhibit manifesto by Daniel Eatock and Jeffrey Vaska)
Beyond Action and Reaction we would establish ourselves.
We start from opposite statements of a chosen world. Set up violent structure of adolescent clearness between two extremes.
We discharge ourselves on both sides.
We fight first on one side, then on the other, but always for the SAME cause, which is neither side or both sides and ours.
Mercenaries were always the best troops.
We are primitive Mercenaries in the Modern World.
Our Cause is NO-MAN'S.
We set Humour at Humour's throat. Stir up Civil War among peaceful apes.
We only want Humour if it has fought like Tragedy.
We only want Tragedy if it can clench its side-muscles like hands on its belly, and bring to the surface a laugh like a bomb. (Blast Manifesto - Wyndham Lewis)
As individuals who expand the edges of maps and find new territories versatilists:
Artfully challenge current wisdom and knowledge.
Inspire others to perceive situations in new and creative ways.
Create future realities that are positive and inclusive.
Catalyse the best in the individuals around them.
Are deep specialists and broadly connected.
Remain humble to the global community they serve.
Deliver!(The Versatilist Manifesto - Denis Manderino)
Filming must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in. If a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found.
The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. Music must not be used unless it occurs within the scene being filmed, i.e., diegetic.
The camera must be a hand-held camera. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. The film must not take place where the camera is standing; filming must take place where the action takes place.
The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable (if there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).
Optical work and filters are forbidden.
The film must not contain superficial action (murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden (that is to say that the film takes place here and now).
Genre movies are not acceptable.
The film format must be Academy 35 mm.
The director must not be credited. (The vow of chastity: Dogme Manifesto - Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg )
Hippocratic Before Socratic.
Stop Making crap.
Systems Before Artefacts.
Teach Sustainability Early.
Screws Better Than Glues.
Design for Impermanence.
Balance Before Talents.
Metrics Before Magic.
Climates Before Primates.
Context Before Absolutely Everything. (1000 Words: A Manifesto for Sustainability in Design - Allan Chochinov)
Typography is a tool of communication. It must be communication in its most intense form. The emphasis must be on absolute clarity since this distinguishes the character of our own writing from that of ancient pictographic forms. Our intellectual relationship to the world is individual-exact (e.g., this individual-exact relationship is in a state of transition toward a collective-exact orientation). This is in contrast to the ancient individual-amorphous and later collective-amorphous mode of communication. Therefore priority: unequivocal clarity in all typographical compositions. Legibility-communication must never be impaired by an a priori esthetics. Letters may never be forced into a preconceived framework, for instance a square.
The printed image corresponds to the contents through its specific optical and psychological laws, demanding their typical form. The essence and the purpose of printing demand an uninhibited use of all linear directions (therefore not only horizontal articulation). We use all typefaces, type sizes,
geometric forms, colors, etc. We want to create a new language of typography whose elasticity, variability; and freshness of typographical composition is exclusively dictated by the inner
law of expression and the optical effect.The most important aspect of contemporary typography is
the use of zincographic techniques, meaning the mechanical production of photoprints in all sizes. What the Egyptians started in their inexact hieroglyphs whose interpretation rested on tradition and personal imagination, has become the most precise expression through the inclusion of photography into the typographic method. Already today we have books (mostly scientific ones) with precise photographic reproductions; but these photographs are only secondary explanations of the text. The latest development supersedes this phase, and small or large photos are placed in the text where formerly we used inexact, individually interpreted concepts and expressions. The objectivity of photography liberates the receptive reader from the crutches of the author’s personal idiosyncrasies and forces him into the formation of his own opinion.It is safe to predict that this increasing documentation through photography will lead in the near future to a replacement of literature by film. The indications of this development are apparent already in the increased use of the telephone which
makes letterwriting obsolete. It is no valid objection that the production of films demands too intricate and costly an apparatus. Soon the making of a film will be as simple and available as now printing books.An equally decisive change in the typographical image will occur in the making of posters, as soon as photography has replaced posterpainting. The effective poster must act with immediate impact on all psychological receptacles. Through an expert use of the camera, and of all photographic techniques, such as retouching, blocking, superimposition, distortion, enlargement, etc., in combination with the liberated typographical line, the effectiveness of posters can be immensely enlarged.The new poster relies on photography, which is the new storytelling device of civilization, combined with the shock effect of new typefaces and brilliant color effects, depending on the desired intensity of the message.The new typography is a simultaneous experience of vision and communication. (The New Typography - Laszlo Moholy-Nagy)
I COMBAT AND DESPISE:
All the pseudo-architecture of the avant-garde, Austrian, Hungarian, German and American;
All classical architecture, solemn, hieratic, scenographic, decorative, monumental, pretty and pleasing;
The embalming, reconstruction and reproduction of ancient monuments and palaces;
Perpendicular and horizontal lines, cubical and pyramidical forms that are static, solemn, aggressive and absolutely excluded from our utterly new sensibility;
The use of massive, voluminous, durable, antiquated and costly materials.
That Futurist architecture is the architecture of calculation, of audacious temerity and of simplicity; the architecture of reinforced concrete, of steel, glass, cardboard, textile fiber, and of all those substitutes for wood, stone and brick that enable us to obtain maximum elasticity and lightness;
That Futurist architecture is not because of this an arid combination of practicality and usefulness, but remains art, i.e. synthesis and expression;
That oblique and elliptic lines are dynamic, and by their very nature possess an emotive power a thousand times stronger than perpendiculars and horizontals, and that no integral, dynamic architecture can exist that does not include these;
That decoration as an element superimposed on architecture is absurd, and that the decorative value of Futurist architecture depends solely on the use and original arrangement of raw or bare or violently colored materials;
That, just as the ancients drew inspiration for their art from the elements of nature, we—who are materially and spiritually artificial—must find that inspiration in the elements of the utterly new mechanical world we have created, and of which architecture must be the most beautiful expression, the most complete synthesis, the most efficacious integration;
That architecture as the art of arranging forms according to pre-established criteria is finished;
That by the term architecture is meant the endeavor to harmonize the environment with Man with freedom and great audacity, that is to transform the world of things into a direct projection of the world of the spirit;
From an architecture conceived in this way no formal or linear habit can grow, since the fundamental characteristics of Futurist architecture will be its impermanence and transience. Things will endure less than us. Every generation must build its own city. This constant renewal of the architectonic environment will contribute to the victory of Futurism which has already been affirmed by words-in-freedom, plastic dynamism, music without quadrature and the art of noises, and for which we fight without respite against traditionalist cowardice. (Manifesto of FFuturist Architecture - Antonio Sant'Elia)
We are with those who seek to overthrow of an old and inhuman system within which you, worker of the soil, produce riches for the overseer and politician, while you starve. Within which you, worker in the city, move the wheels of industries, weave the cloth, and create with your hands the modern comforts enjoyed by the parasites and prostitutes, while your own body is numb and cold. Within which you, Indian soldier, heroically abandon your land and give your life in the eternal hope of liberating your race from the degradations and misery of centuries.
Not only the noble labor but even the smallest manifestations of the material and spiritual vitality of our race spring from our native midst. Its admirable, exceptional, and peculiar ability to create beauty — the art of the Mexican people — is the highest and greatest spiritual expression of the world-tradition which constitutes our most valued heritage. It is great because it surges from the people; it is collective, and our own aesthetic aim is to socialize artistic expression, to destroy bourgeois individualism.
We repudiate the so-called easel art and all such art which springs from ultra-intellectual circles, for it is essentially aristocratic.
We hail the monumental expression of art because such art is public property.
We proclaim that this being the moment of social transformation from a decrepit to a new order, the makers of beauty must invest their greatest efforts in the aim of materializing an art valuable to the people, and our supreme objective in art, which is today an expression for individual pleasure, is to create beauty for all, beauty that enlightens and stirs to struggle. (Manifesto of the Painters’ Union - Taller de Grafica Popular)
Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally-friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible. (Ten Principles for good design - Dieter Rams)
We dedicate ourselves to supporting the unique culture of the communities in which we live and work.
We refuse to create design that furthers the creation of a global corporate monoculture. (Designers against modernculture - Another Limited Rebellion design)
Meaningful and specific parts lists shall be included.
Cases shall be easy to open.
Batteries should be replaceable.
Special tools are allowed only for darn good reasons.
Profiting by selling expensive special tools is wrong and not making special tools available is even worse.
Torx is OK; tamperproof is rarely OK.
Components, not entire sub-assemblies, shall be replaceable.
Consumables, like fuses and filters, shall be easy to access.
Circuit boards shall be commented.
Power from USB is good; power from proprietary power adapters is bad.
Standard connecters shall have pinouts defined.
If it snaps shut, it shall snap open.
Screws better than glues.
Docs and drivers shall have permalinks and shall reside for all perpetuity at archive.org.
Ease of repair shall be a design ideal, not an afterthought.
Metric or standard, not both.
Schematics shall be included. (The Maker's Bill of Rights - Make:)
Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
When in doubt, just take the next small step.
Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
Pay off your credit cards every month.
You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
Overprepare, then go with the flow.
Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
The most important sex organ is the brain.
No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
Always choose life.
Forgive everyone everything.
What other people think of you is none of your business.
Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
Believe in miracles.
God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.
Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
The best is yet to come.
No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift. (50 Life Lessons - Regina Brett )
Don't work with assholes.
Only accept work that challenges you and you can build up a relation to.
Don't work 'for' people but 'with'.
Be honest to your client and yourself.
Keep on searching and exploring.
Quit when you don't have fun anymore. (The rules of Hort - Eike Konig)
Don't ask for permission.
Don't stop. (Don't - Michael Mulvey)
Stuckism is the quest for authenticity. By removing the mask of cleverness and admitting where we are, the Stuckist allows him/herself uncensored expression.
Painting is the medium of self-discovery. It engages the person fully with a process of action, emotion, thought and vision, revealing all of these with intimate and unforgiving breadth and detail.
Stuckism proposes a model of art which is holistic. It is a meeting of the conscious and unconscious, thought and emotion, spiritual and material, private and public. Modernism is a school of fragmentation — one aspect of art is isolated and exaggerated to detriment of the whole. This is a fundamental distortion of the human experience and perpetrates an egocentric lie.
Artists who don’t paint aren’t artists.
Art that has to be in a gallery to be art isn’t art.
The Stuckist paints pictures because painting pictures is what matters.
The Stuckist is not mesmerised by the glittering prizes, but is wholeheartedly engaged in the process of painting. Success to the Stuckist is to get out of bed in the morning and paint.
It is the Stuckist’s duty to explore his/her neurosis and innocence through the making of paintings and displaying them in public, thereby enriching society by giving shared form to individual experience and an individual form to shared experience.
The Stuckist is not a career artist but rather an amateur (amare, Latin, to love) who takes risks on the canvas rather than hiding behind ready-made objects (e.g. a dead sheep). The amateur, far from being second to the professional, is at the forefront of experimentation, unencumbered by the need to be seen as infallible. Leaps of human endeavour are made by the intrepid individual, because he/she does not have to protect their status. Unlike the professional, the Stuckist is not afraid to fail.
Painting is mysterious. It creates worlds within worlds, giving access to the unseen psychological realities that we inhabit. The results are radically different from the materials employed. An existing object (e.g. a dead sheep) blocks access to the inner world and can only remain part of the physical world it inhabits, be it moorland or gallery. Ready-made art is a polemic of materialism.
Post Modernism, in its adolescent attempt to ape the clever and witty in modern art, has shown itself to be lost in a cul-de-sac of idiocy. What was once a searching and provocative process (as Dadaism) has given way to trite cleverness for commercial exploitation. The Stuckist calls for an art that is alive with all aspects of human experience; dares to communicate its ideas in primeval pigment; and possibly experiences itself as not at all clever!
Against the jingoism of Brit Art and the ego-artist. Stuckism is an international non-movement.
Stuckism is anti ‘ism’. Stuckism doesn’t become an ‘ism’ because Stuckism is not Stuckism, it is stuck!
Brit Art, in being sponsored by Saachis, main stream conservatism and the Labour government, makes a mockery of its claim to be subversive or avant-garde.
The ego-artist’s constant striving for public recognition results in a constant fear of failure. The Stuckist risks failure wilfully and mindfully by daring to transmute his/her ideas through the realms of painting. Whereas the ego-artist’s fear of failure inevitably brings about an underlying self-loathing, the failures that the Stuckist encounters engage him/her in a deepening process which leads to the understanding of the futility of all striving. The Stuckist doesn’t strive — which is to avoid who and where you are — the Stuckist engages with the moment.
The Stuckist gives up the laborious task of playing games of novelty, shock and gimmick. The Stuckist neither looks backwards nor forwards but is engaged with the study of the human condition. The Stuckists champion process over cleverness, realism over abstraction, content over void, humour over wittiness and painting over smugness.
If it is the conceptualist’s wish to always be clever, then it is the Stuckist’s duty to always be wrong.
The Stuckist is opposed to the sterility of the white wall gallery system and calls for exhibitions to be held in homes and musty museums, with access to sofas, tables, chairs and cups of tea. The surroundings in which art is experienced (rather than viewed) should not be artificial and vacuous.
Crimes of education: instead of promoting the advancement of personal expression through appropriate art processes and thereby enriching society, the art school system has become a slick bureaucracy, whose primary motivation is financial. The Stuckists call for an open policy of admission to all art schools based on the individual’s work regardless of his/her academic record, or so-called lack of it.
We further call for the policy of entrapping rich and untalented students from at home and abroad to be halted forthwith.
We also demand that all college buildings be available for adult education and recreational use of the indigenous population of the respective catchment area. If a school or college is unable to offer benefits to the community it is guesting in, then it has no right to be tolerated.
Stuckism embraces all that it denounces. We only denounce that which stops at the starting point — Stuckism starts at the stopping point! (The stuckists manifesto - Billy Childish and Charles Thomson)
Remodernism takes the original principles of Modernism and reapplies them, highlighting vision as opposed to formalism.
Remodernism is inclusive rather than exclusive and welcomes artists who endeavour to know themselves and find themselves through art processes that strive to connect and include, rather than alienate and exclude. Remodernism upholds the spiritual vision of the founding fathers of Modernism and respects their bravery and integrity in facing and depicting the travails of the human soul through a new art that was no longer subservient to a religious or political dogma and which sought to give voice to the gamut of the human psyche.
Remodernism discards and replaces Post-Modernism because of its failure to answer or address any important issues of being a human being.
Remodernism embodies spiritual depth and meaning and brings to an end an age of scientific materialism, nihilism and spiritual bankruptcy.
We don't need more dull, boring, brainless destruction of convention, what we need is not new, but perennial. We need an art that integrates body and soul and recognises enduring and underlying principles which have sustained wisdom and insight throughout humanity's history. This is the proper function of tradition.
Modernism has never fulfilled its potential. It is futile to be 'post' something which has not even 'been' properly something in the first place. Remodernism is the rebirth of spiritual art.
Spirituality is the journey of the soul on earth. Its first principle is a declaration of intent to face the truth. Truth is what it is, regardless of what we want it to be. Being a spiritual artist means addressing unflinchingly our projections, good and bad, the attractive and the grotesque, our strengths as well as our delusions, in order to know ourselves and thereby our true relationship with others and our connection to the divine.
Spiritual art is not about fairyland. It is about taking hold of the rough texture of life. It is about addressing the shadow and making friends with wild dogs. Spirituality is the awareness that everything in life is for a higher purpose.
Spiritual art is not religion. Spirituality is humanity's quest to understand itself and finds its symbology through the clarity and integrity of its artists.
The making of true art is man's desire to communicate with himself, his fellows and his God. Art that fails to address these issues is not art.
It should be noted that technique is dictated by, and only necessary to the extent to which it is commensurate with, the vision of the artist.
The Remodernist's job is to bring God back into art but not as God was before. Remodernism is not a religion, but we uphold that it is essential to regain enthusiasm (from the Greek, en theos to be possessed by God).
A true art is the visible manifestation, evidence and facilitator of the soul's journey. Spiritual art does not mean the painting of Madonnas or Buddhas. Spiritual art is the painting of things that touch the soul of the artist. Spiritual art does not often look very spiritual, it looks like everything else because spirituality includes everything.
Why do we need a new spirituality in art? Because connecting in a meaningful way is what makes people happy. Being understood and understanding each other makes life enjoyable and worth living.(Remodernism manifesto - Billy Childish and Charles Thomson)
Students should be inspired by and study the artists who they love as this is their gift to us to help us develop our own vision. (In Japanese there is a single word for to learn and to copy).
The language of the visionary artist is by nature always subjective, limited and partial, this is its power not its weakness. Personal truth, sought for with integrity, communicates to the inner world of us all and therefore contains the whole.
Objectivity is only useful in discerning the truth of our subjectiveness.
The naming of names and the demarcation of the arts.
Sculptors who don't sculpt aren't sculptors.
Freedom through limitation. Honouring our limitations. Integrity of materials is depth. Rather than being a limit, the limitations of a medium are a liberation from limitation. We must be limited to gain freedom.
Addiction to the unlimited is the worst limitation of all. That's why we have fifty-five terrestrial television stations all broadcasting crap, 60,000,000 cars all driving bumper to bumper to nowhere and an identikit fast food outlet on every street corner of every town of the world.
Technique is not a goal in itself, it is a means of portraying the vision. The danger of distraction by the technical, the formal and the material, is that their reality acts as a block to the artist's inner vision, because it fools you in to believing that you insight when all you have is a conjuring trick. What is conventionally considered a skill can in fact be a handicap.
To paint important pictures the artist has to be unafraid of being unimportant. The spiritual artist has to have the guts to search for God, fail, search, fail and look again.
Artist are often very flawed people. In fact it is essential to be flawed because if you are not flawed you are deceiving yourself, which is the biggest flaw of all. To deal honestly with ourselves and thereby raise consciousness is not an easy task. The first stage of growth is being realistic about who we are, what we are and where we are now. We have to be able to accept our feelings. If we feel inadequate, weak, angry, pathetic, proud, bumptious or self righteous, we start there and paint it. It is not a problem to feel these things. It means that you are a normal well balanced human being.
It is possible not to believe in God and be more spiritual than somebody who does believe in God.
Making a picture is an act of faith. Faith is not knowing that God exists or that everything is going to be comfortable and cosy. Faith entails bravery. Faith is found and lost again and again. Faith means that we try to deal with ourselves and life fairly and honestly especially when we don't think that we're quite up to it.
It can be very tempting, especially for the contemporary artist, to hide behind his or her precious style and become stuck. An extreme example of this is in the ironic copying of a previous work by another artist, which is then claimed as 'new' original work. This is of course completely different to the traditional practice of copying the work of the masters in order to learn. It is also different to an interpretation of a previous work, whether in homage or as satire. Through the sincere copying of work out of respect we can gain insight into the shared dilemma of being a human being with shared challenges, problems, fears, hopes and limitations.
The Remodernist accepts everything in life but only for exactly what it is, not more and yet not less. Everything has its function and its purpose.
The spiritual must be connected with the everyday. An idea that is not properly manifest remains a fantasy.
Art can no longer be funny little games that you can't see because they're not really there.
The spiritual artist, the Remodernist, must walk along the road, go to the seaside, buy ice creams, bonk and jump naked from a bush. In fact they carry on exactly as they were doing before, but with a new perception.
The soul of art is integrity.
Remodernism advocates an art that is the first kind of art that man did - cave painting.
It is quite obvious that the apparent material winners in this world are not necessarily finding happiness and are in fact often just getting unhappier. People think materialism is going to solve all their problems but the real problem isn't material and neither is the solution. Turning everything in the world into a commodity is not the most intelligent way of finding happiness. Materialism with no thought of consequence makes bigger problems than the small ones it solves.
The spiritual path means by definition that we often experience ourselves as not measuring up. But that doesn't mean that we lose heart - far from it. This not measuring up is how we actually relate to the truth of who we are. Conceptualism short circuits this natural organic process, which is the actual beauty and worth of art, and replaces it with instant gratification and the silliness of its clever ideas.
Modern art, over the course of its development, has increasingly followed the letter of the law but not the spirit. Art theorists have made observations on historical art. These observations have been turned into definitions. These definitions have been wilfully and perversely misinterpreted by art reductionists, who appear no more than overgrown children seeking to outwit parental rules, and with as little foresight of the consequences of their actions as infants playing at the edge of cliff.
Let us consider the integral value of two different approaches to art. Without financial and critical reward is it conceivable that Damien Hirst would have stayed at home for 20 years pickling sheep in his bedroom? I think we can confidently say no to this question. This is because his work is not about taxidermy, art or meaning. The purpose of such a fashion/fetish object for its creator is the attention, adulation and financial gain that it commands.
At the other end of the spectrum is the example of Vincent van Gogh whose work was fuelled by an intense love and philosophy, a burning desire to contribute through the expression of his vision for the benefit of humanity. He worked and studied for many years in relative obscurity to find the means of expressing this vision. Van Gogh didn't give up on painting because his work was a commercial disaster. He continued because the communicating of personal and universal truth is the real value and reward of art.
The rational and the material (traditionally male characteristics) have triumphed over feeling and intuition (traditionally associated with the female). Women have quite rightly deplored the male chauvinism rampant in our society and so, as sensitive artists, do we. We likewise deplore the women who have assumed and exhibited the worst aspects of this male chauvinism in life and in an art which only too obviously manifests its barrenness. The only point of feminism is in achieving equal recognition for the male and the female.
It is time for art to grow up.
Artists are only artists when they are doing art. They are not an artist when the wake up in the morning. They are not an artist when they water flowers, or get drunk and swear on channel 4.
In truth you can't be what you do: you can only do what you do and be what you are. What you are is you. Someone who believes that they are what they do is either a madman or a fool. What happens to someone who smugly considers themselves to be a car driver and loathes pedestrians, when they have to get out of their car and walk down the road? We are not anything we do, but human beings who do things. It is a lack of self confidence and an inflated ego (two states that always accompany each other) that creates this need for a label in substitute for character.
Joseph Beuys, the artist who shares the anti-establishment establishment's accolade of being anti-establishment (along with all Brit Artists), is cited as a genius for stating that all people are really artists. The Stuckists claim their right to the title of genius by proclaiming that all people are brain surgeons.
The title of artist is one that has to be earned through doing art for more than five minutes. Crap builders are not known as builders - they are known as crap.
The main point is that there is a reason for doing art: so that man communicates with him/herself, his/her fellows and thereby participates in the universal creative process.
True art is not the exhibition of existing objects but the transcendence of them through interpretation in another medium. This is the difference between life and art. Some people say that life and art are the same, in which case art is redundant as we already have life. This position is patently absurd. No one would sensibly suggest that Van Gogh's bed is of equal value to, or greater value than, his painting of it. This clearly illustrates the lie to the found object as art.
All things are qualitatively different. A shoe is not art because of its inherent shoeyness and usefulness as a kind of 'foot-glove'. Like wise a blancmange isn't a shoe. This isn't a dilemma for most people and, until relatively recently, was not a problem for artists. Certainly it is not an oversight by God. Actually it is because of the great benevolence of existence: grass isn't a star system and a mountain isn't a pear tree. All things have there own organic pattern which is to be celebrated in art.
Remodernism celebrates diversity and de-centralisation. Rather than a bland uniform art, designed for easy global consumption, Remodernisim respects the diverse artistic traditions of the world.
There is the outward journey into the world and there is the inner journey into the self. Both are equally important and actually the same thing.
The apparent solidities and separations of the material world are, as Einstein pointed out, "an illusion, albeit a stubborn one" - with which it is best to co-operate (rather than attempting to walk through walls). The artist, like any other human being, lives in the world of form and has to act according to the principles of nature.
Some people manage to understand that everything isn't really anything but then make the mistake of thinking it doesn't matter what you do.
Art is of most value when it is still wet on the canvas. The drier the paint becomes and the higher the financial value rises, the less true value the painting holds. The primary revelation is the most powerful connection to the whole.
Most artists are stupid and don't have many ideas. On the rare occasions that they do have an idea the novelty of it strikes them with such force that they attribute great value to it, such value in fact that they consider it to be the justification of a 'conceptual work of art'. They fail to realise that what for them is a blinding revelation appears as a crushing cliché to the rest of us.
The artist must take the right course, which may not be the course that we thought was the right one. It may mean being humble enough to appear pompous, arrogant, silly, and sentimental and courageous enough to accept our own confusion and ignorance and not be afraid of the simplicity of love.
People who do not know history have no sense of where they fit into anything and remain forever dazzled by the contemporary and the ephemeral.
Artists of today would be horrified if they had to create to the demands of church or state yet they are quite happy to kow-tow to the demands of a gallery, a critic or especially an advertising agency for the promotion of alcohol.
Art, undertaken with love and respect, brings renewed awareness of the colours and miracle of nature and heightens our connection to life and the divine.
Creativity is the most essential ingredient for a happy and healthy society and differentiates the human soul from that of a potato. (Handy hints manifesto, part of Stuckists manifesto - Billy Childish and Charles Thomson)
The Stuckists are anti-anti-art.
Conceptual art (and its parochial manifestation as Brit Art) is based on and justified by the art of Marcel Duchamp.
The art of Marcel Duchamp is not art. It is anti-art by intent and effect.
To justify anti-art there must be the existence of art.
Duchamp's work was a protest against the stale, unthinking artistic establishment of his day.
Today's art is anti-art.
Today's art is not art. Its working methodology is to think of something which is not art and to call it art. This is exactly Duchamp's ideology.
(Conceptualism is so called not because it generates a plethora of concepts, but because it never manages to progress beyond one single concept, namely Duchamp's original thought.)
The great (but wholly unintentional) irony of Post Modernism is that it is a direct equivalent of the conformist, unoriginal establishment that Duchamp attacked in the first place.
The principle of anti-art is meaningless in the absence of art to be anti.
The only viable innovation today is the true Duchampian path of anti-pretentious, self-congratulatory, claustrophobic, talentless artistic conformism, e.g. the Saatchi Gallery.
The Stuckists are the true inheritors of the spirit of what needs to be done.
Anti-anti-art is for art. (Anti-anti art manifesto - Billy Childish and Charles Thomson)
Good taste is fascism. "Either all are special or none."
It is the artist's responsibility to smash style.
Artistic talent is the only obstacle.
We must embrace the unacceptable in all spheres.
We use the tough language that only children can bear.
Art is made to impress, but we are not in awe.
Artists don't laugh in case the mob should discover that they are pathetic.
Western art has been stupefying its audience into taking the position of an admiring doormat. We, at Group Hangman however, intend to wipe our mud-encrusted boots on the face of conceptual balderdash.
Fashion and its role in art. The artist as social terrorist or on the pay-roll of the conservatives and the Saatchi's ?
Art can achieve nothing.
The negative and bogus posture of being positive. To like something or 'be positive' has always been held up as a laudable attribute. We, at Group Hangman however, believe that it takes consciousness and intelligence to dislike something. As if being a fan of some moronical half-wit artist or musician is an achievement. How often in life have we met 'a fan' who by their violent devotion to the god-like status of their chosen infatuation is really only puffing up their own shabby ego and trying to allude to some vast expansion of their pathetic brain.
The conceptual artist arrives on the scene and frozen with fear, like some anal retard, is too scared to transmute their ideas into paint and commence a string of unacceptably pathetic canvasses and thereby experience themselves as crap. It is essential for every artist to paint a succession of unacceptably bad paintings. (Group Hangman manifesto, Communication 0001- Billy Childish)
The inheritance of sexual neurosis: the curse of impotency and the deafening applause of society.
Parents and the distruction of creativity: The castration of offspring and the fear of sincerity: The mother as heinous spider and the father in rabid fear of his daughters sexuel organs.
It is the artist duty to explore and display his/her sexuel neurosis in the market place.
The librel as passive fascist in fear of expression, sexuality and the shadow.
The curse of impotency, artistic and sexual.
The innocent have become implicated. "Either all are guilty or none!"
The role of of the pornography in modern sex: Toppling the Goddess from her pedestel and dragging her through the dirt.
All publicity is bad publicity.
Under no circumstances should the artist ever justify him/her self!
The artist must allways indevouir to understand the threads of implication and, when nessissary, be prepaiereid to stand guilty infront of a baying and pious public.
The artist in his pathetic attempts to become the phallus of creation.
All crimes aganst the life, liberty and sex will be forgiven. (Group Hangman manifesto, Communication 0002- Billy Childish)
The true artist, by nature, is always an amateur and never a professional.
In a world populated be experts the artist must be a forever moving target.
The professional's violence against creativity and his rewards for his cowardice must be exposed and finally ridiculed.
The professional is weak because of his need to be respected, honoured and adored. The true artist, on the other hand, must have the courage to remain unimpressive, shallow and obvious.
The lie of originality, the ignorance of its champions and the intrinsic honesty of plagiarism.
The inherent provincialism of professionals and the intrinsic cosmopolitanism of the amateur.
It is the professional's obsession with good taste that obliterates all creativity. It is actually this fear of life itself that forces the professional to become a neurotic expert and crush the intrepid amateur.(Group Hangman manifesto, Communication