Brian Holmes on Thu, 27 Dec 2001 03:54:12 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Re: design/the old year

"We are not interested anymore in developing sustainable technologies and
products. That's way uncertain and much too expensive.  We want more money
to buy the same commodities and services again and again, presented with
new, even more exciting logo s and styles to make us believe we are still

In Quebec at some conference I heard Mieke Gerritzen's presentation of
exactly this talk. What you saw on the screen was logomania to the excess.
A short film made only of logos. Glowing commentary about a
super-pro-design website which seemed, among other things, to be a way to
capture other people's made-for-free content (apparently you have to pay to
access the website, I never looked). Mieke Gerritzen presented one of her
students as though she had made this girl out of soft clay (actually the
woman's work was hilariously funny, an interface that warped with random
mood-swings as you tried to use it). Gerritzen also showed the cover of
"New Rules for the New Economy," a version of the same old in-your-face style, but in black-and-white to express the bursting of the bubble!

Listening to her talk was the first time I fully realized what a bad taste
all the late-nineties net-hype must have left in the mouths of those
internet freaks who just did things because they loved doing them. Now I'm
sure someone on the list, or Mieke Gerritzen herself, will point out all
the fantastic things she and did for free, which I and thousands
of others now make use of every day. It would be great to know about them.
Let's hope the hype of the old year will just disappear in the new.

It'd be nice if the kind of designer irony I heard so much of in Quebec -
where you complain about all the exploitation and ideology you're busily
creating for the greater glory of yourself and the profession - would
somehow just disappear along with the old year too. Good design is
important for communicating and facilitating things. It's even better if
there's something to communicate or facilitate, though.

Brian Holmes

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