making the work vs. making the rules

Phil Ford

Piggybacking on Jonathan’s post yesterday, I’ve found a great site, Design Observer, which just published a post on the CD cover design of Beck’s new album, The Information. There’s no cover design as such: instead, there’s a sheet of stick-on decals, a sheet of grid-ruled paper, and some directions to the buyer: make your own album cover art and upload it to a website. Every cover will be a unique result of the interaction between creator and consumer.

The Design Observer post goes on to point out the long history of such projects in the visual arts avant-garde, and the way such projects make hay from the tension between making the work vs. making the rules for making instances of a work. Popular music, as Jonathan pointed out yesterday, is constantly cutting listeners in on the compositional process (if that’s the right word), and Dmitri Siegel’s smart essay shows how the remix phenomenon both draws from a certain tradition of the visual arts and feeds back into it.

About Phil Ford

Chairman of the Committee for the Memorial to the Victims of Modernism
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