Ursus Wehrli gave a pretty funny TEDtalk a few years back, introducing us to his concept of 'cleaning up art.' It was a sonewhat humourous exploration of a fascination with neatness and organization, applied to works of art--demonstrating ultimately, that a work of art is more than the sum of its parts and breaking art down into its essential elements subtracts from what it is.
His latest project is called the Art of Clean Up and exends his initial investigation into everyday life. Nothing is exempt from Wehrli's obsessive need to clean up and organize, campsites, leaves in a forest, alphabet spaghetti. Its quirky and strangelt compelling on some levels. I think there is a bit of a link to the conceit in Eco's book, Infintiy of Lists, which I recently blogged about. Eco maintains that we create lists and categorize when life seems unmanageable or unknowable. Wehrli's work comically examines a similar thread it seems.
There are quite a lot of blogs devoted to this idea of neating things up--and it seems to be something of a cultural dynamic--maybe Eco is onto something, feels that way.
Oivallus, which translates as 'a sudden insight' in Finnish, is the title of a three-part research project undertaken by the Confederation of Finnish Industries. It is research on education, business and the future. I found this via OkDo (a site always worth checking with). I have looked online and not been able to find a full english translation of their findings, but I'm sure it's out there somewhere. OkDo has some of the findings,
The first Oivallus report asserts, for example, that in the future work will require more creativity and interdisciplinary thinking and doing, the motivation behind entrepreneurship will lie in a purposeful life instead of mere profit, the collaboration between different generations will become closer, and the public sector will increasingly develop services together with citizens and companies.
Anyway, there are some useful insights offered up, and they seem to have ramifications way beyond Finnish industry if you ask me.
I came across the interesting work of Alice Arisu. She is currently studying Theories and Methods of Communication at the University of Milan. Her site has this to say about her and her work,
She loves contemporary art, kitsch, vintage furnishings, England, writings and advertising. Her artistical approach is also bound to advertising: her images are prompt, straightforward, her sentences just like catchy slogans. She investigates the sphere of uneasiness in each of its forms: while dealing with others and with ourselves, whil (not) recognizing ourselves in a mirror, while living in a wrong body, whose hold we lost, or which has been violated; while seeing it corrupting outside and inside.
Recently, collage has given her the possibility to analyse the sad microcosm of female figure as it's seen by stereotypes and medias (not necessarily historical ones, besides the retro imagery), flattened and bound in a humiliating role.
To be analysed with bitter irony are thoughts and feelings of as smiling as false woman, distorted, living an unnatural life, imposed to them as unique (only? boh!) possible expression of femininity.
I have spent a little time checking out her work and it is pretty much what she writes of herself. I am going to be teaching a class on theology and media culture in a few weeks, might have to reference some of her imagery-maybe I'll use this one for the syllabus cover--haha! Sure that would go over well with the powers that be!
Having worked my way through the summer reading list, I have turned my literary attention in a couple of new directions. I will be teaching a class on theology and media culture in a few weeks, so I have been reviewing my thoughts and ideas about that subject and delving into new works exploring that very large topic. The other direction is lists--I am quite fascinated by lists--I actually dont make that many, I tend to avoid them most of the time--I have top ten lists for instance, but I also recognize that they play a significant role in helping us--not only get things done in life, but also in making sense of life itself. Umberto Eco has a book on lists--of course he does! He's a semiotician! It's belongs in the company of two other books he has published fairly recently (The History of Beauty and On Ugliness--both of which I have enjoyed and used in a number of environments), and is called The Infinity of Lists. The book reflects on why we make lists and categorize things and Eco, explores this trait throughout human history.
Eco's thesis is that our cultural 'infinity of lists' is connected to an uncertainty about our identity--we make lists, to determine, in some way or another, who we are. That's an interesting equation to work with. It's a lush book, filled with a wide array of images, and available cheap on Amazon.
By the way, my favourite book of the summer, was not one on my reading list. Douglas Coupland's biography of Marshall McLuhan, You Know Nothing Of My Work, was by far the most interesting read of the summer for me.