Making Sense of The Death of the Author via Food

Let’s say you’re sitting down to dinner surrounded by friends. The waiter brings you a warm, perfectly flavored Chicken Piccata. You taste the lemon in the sauce, and know that this is good food. Would the food taste any different knowing that Giada De Laurentiis or Bobby Flay made it vs. some girl that never went to culinary school? It would be the same food, just the cook (the culinary author) would be known. It might not be accurate, but this is how I tried to understand Roland Barthes’ text “The Death of the Author.” I mean, when you write something, there is automatically this remove from the author and that which has been written (which itself is never the Original source, but a mediated thing). For instance, Jack Kerouac wrote “On the Road” and we experience this journey through his writing. Even if he had written the novel totally true to events that transpired, we would never be able to experience the original journey (we can never be physically in the same time and place as the true events). This remove in the relationship between the author and the text allows for there to be either A) the symbiotic relationship between the author and the text or B) the death of the author. Option A is what the critics love. They want to know if it was Bobby Flay or Giada De Laurentiis in the kitchen. For them, the food becomes this other entity, one that can’t be removed from the creator. Option B allows for the food to be enjoyed for what it is. The french Avant-Garde poet Stephane Mallarme and later the Surrealists tried to aim for Option B by focusing on the “performance” aspect of language (that “here and now” aspect of text that Roland Barthes describes). It is when the author is unknown, or dead, that the text (or the food) can be simply enjoyed. The Surrealists used literary techniques such as stream of consciousness and Exquisite Corpse to achieve these ends. To Barthes, it is to the reader (or the eater) that meaning is made, and it is the reader (the eater) that should shoulder the burden (or the gift) of the text (the food) and not the author (or the cook).


Rhetorical Figures in Design

I’ve used advertisements to explore how rhetorical figures can be used by designers to enhance meaning and message in visual communication. This is an exercise to help me understand this relationship. Like the written language, design can engage elements in different ways that effect what is being communicated and how it is communicated. Designers need to think about the materials and methods that create the design as well as the style and the arrangement of the elements within that design. All of those aspects culminate in the final piece. With that in mind, it is good to design with a mind. To design with all those considerations, it really does help to be familiar with some of the many ways to experiment with the language of design.

Litotes: a form of understatement, often using double negatives.

Litotes: a form of understatement, often using double negatives.

Paradox: contradictory statement or ironic absurdity that goes against intuition.

Paradox: contradictory statement or ironic absurdity that goes against intuition.

Hyperbole: rhetorical exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis or humor.

Hyperbole: rhetorical exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis or humor.

Anthimeria: replacing one part of speech for another, such as a verb or an adjective for a noun // think repurposed.

Anthimeria: replacing one part of speech for another, such as a verb or an adjective for a noun // think repurposed.

Metonymy: referencing a term by naming something that is commonly attributed to it.

Metonymy: referencing a term by naming something that is commonly attributed to it.

Personification: attributing human qualities to inanimate objects or abstract ideas.

Personification: attributing human qualities to inanimate objects or abstract ideas.

Repetition: The repetition of a word of phrase within a larger clause.

Repetition: The repetition of a word of phrase within a larger clause.

Allusion: Reference to a person, place, or thing.

Allusion: Reference to a person, place, or thing.

Anastrophe: reversal of normal word order.

Anastrophe: reversal of normal word order.

Ellipsis: omitting elements that are implied by the context.

Ellipsis: omitting elements that are implied by the context.

Antithesis: Presenting opposite ideas in a parallel form.

Antithesis: Presenting opposite ideas in a parallel form.

Metaphor: comparing unlike things or ideas to demonstrate their shared qualities.

Metaphor: comparing unlike things or ideas to demonstrate their shared qualities.

Synecdoche: using a part of an object to represent its whole.

Synecdoche: using a part of an object to represent its whole.


Designing for Social Change

Designing For Social Change by Andrew Shea reading notes:

Have a clear objective.
Know what you aim to accomplish.
Know from the beginning your budget and time frame.
Always try to work with existing infrastructure (think of the term repurpose).
Have concepts but allow them to be fluid, be receptive to the unique nature of the community, individual, or cause.
If you can communicate more with less, do so.
Build trust first, look for points of entry or commonalities when working with individuals or communities.
Don’t shy away from hard issues. Controversy combats complacency.
Aim to depict individuals with dignity.
While addressing shortcomings, try to highlight strengths.


Don’t Mess with Art

Luxor Temple stone relief (Luxor, Egypt): 3,500 years old

 Ding Jinhao (of Nanjing, China): 15 years old
Ding Jinhao inscription on stone relief at Luxor Temple (May 2013) (click on image to view source)

Ding Jinhao inscription on stone relief at Luxor Temple (May 2013) (click on image to view source)

runic inscription by Norse Halfdan at Hagia Sophia (400 AD aprox) (click on image to view source)

runic inscription by Norse Halfdan at Hagia Sophia (400 AD aprox) (click on image to view source)

15 year-old Jinhao went Halfdan on a stone relief at the Luxor Temple with the totally unoriginal graffiti marker: Ding Jinhao was here (in Chinese) in May of this year. A Norse named Halfdan did likewise on a parapet of the Hagia Sophia (Istanbul, Turkey) some 1,113 years ago and now that graffiti (ahem, runic inscription) is a historical marker itself. There should be a book with phrases that prospective graffiti makers could consult that would aid those without creativity when they are fucking up really, really old shit. If you’re going put a single mark (or series of marks) on something that had survived fairly well for some 3,000 years before you came along, why not put some more thought into it? Critique of the graffiti itself aside, the act troubles a ton of people (rightly so). I mean, the graffiti was noticed and an investigation took place. The Chinese tracked this kid down in a day! Do you know how many human atrocities take place around the world everyday that go unnoticed and/or not investigated? This case of Jinhao and his inscription has had this big viral outrage of Oh, my gosh! (and other such more heavy, intellectual speculation). Kudos to the art world on this one! Rapists, murders, human traffickers and the such go unnoticed and authorities have a hard time investigating or even tracking down the perpetrators, but the world is rocked by this 15 year old Chinese tourist how wrote his name on a piece of 3,500 year old stone. Let this be a lesson: Don’t mess with Art History peoples or we will track your ass down and make you apologize! (or make your mom apologize as was the case with Jinhao)

Klein blue, who knew?

The Monotone Symphony (1960) done in International Klein Blue

The Monotone Symphony (1960) done in International Klein Blue

‘The blue sky is my first artwork’ said Yves Klein // He signed the sky in 1948 

In 1958, at the Iris Clert Gallery in Paris, Klein served blue cocktails (made with Gin, Cointreau and Methylene Blue) that caused visitors to urinate blue for days.

He created blue monochromes.

He painted with nude bodies of women covered in blue in his Monotone Symphony (1960).

12 years after he signed the sky, Yves Klein got a French patent on the color blue. Well, his color blue anyway. International Klein Blue (IKB // patent # 63471) is Klein’s blue. It is Hex Value #002FA7, Pantone #286 (96%)
Godfrey, Tony. Conceptual Art (pp. 89-70)
(Click on image to read more about International Klein Blue)

What typeface is the Declaration of Independence set in?

Declaration of Independence (1776)

Declaration of Independence (1776)

The typeface used for the Declaration of Independence is Caslon. Caslon was designed by William Caslon I in approximately 1722. Printed by John Dunlap, this broadside is all that is left of the original Declaration of Independence that George Washington read to his troops on 9 July 1776.

For more information visit the American Treasures of the Library of Congress:

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trt024.html (or click on the image)

For more about the Dunlap Broadside:

http://fontsinuse.com/uses/1666/the-dunlap-broadside


the tin book

Tullio D'Albisola

Tullio D’Albisola

The futurist sculptor Tullio D’Albisola created a book that aligned itself with the machine and movement. In his ‘litho-tin’ book “Tactile Thermal Olfactive Futurist Words in Freedom (1932),” D’Albisola combined his lithographs along with poetry by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in an experimental book that reflects the Futurist view of the book as object (the book object). D’Albisola spent over 4 months creating this rare book made out of tin, ball barings, and wire. Tin is a disposable material used by D’Albisola to reference the temporarily of commodities and mass printed ephemera. He gave the reader a familiar yet unfamiliar experience with text – the few who have actually had the opportunity to experience one of only two that exist in the public sphere (this one at home in the British Library).

European Cultures: Studies in Literature and the Arts, International Futurism in Arts and Literature (p. 483)

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