Monthly Archives: May 2009

Michel Foucault, This is Not a Pipe (1968), Excerpt

Michel Foucault. This is Not a Pipe (1968)

6. Non-affirmative Painting.*

Magritte pipe This is a surrealist plumber

Separation between linguistic signs and plastic elements; equivalence of resemblance and affirmation. These two principles constituted the tension in classical painting, because the second reintroduced discourse (affirmation exists only where there is speech) into an art from which the linguistic element was rigorously excluded. Hence the fact that classical painting spoke – and spoke constantly – while constituting itself entirely outside language; hence the fact that it rested silently in a discursive space; hence the fact that it provided, beneath itself, a kind of common ground where it could restore the bonds of signs and the image. Magritte knits verbal signs and plastic elements together, but without referring them to a prior isotopism. He skirts the base of affirmative discourse on which resemblance calmly reposes, and he brings pure similitudes and nonaffirmative verbal statements into play within the instability of a disoriented volume and an unmapped space. A process whose formulation is in some sense given by Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

  1. To employ a calligram where are found, simultaneously present and visible, image, text, resemblance, affirmation and their common ground.
  2. Then suddenly to open up, so that the calligram immediately decomposes and disappears, leaving as a trace only its own absence.
  3. To allow discourse to collapse of its own weight and to acquire the visible shape of letters. Letters which, insofar as they are drawn, enter into an uncertain, indefinite relation, confused with the drawing itself – but minus any area to serve as a common ground.
  4. To allow similitudes, on the other to multiply of themselves, to be born from their own vapour and to rise endlessly into an ether where they refer to nothing more than themselves.
  5. To verify clearly, at the end of the operation, that the precipitate has changed colour, that it has gone from black to white, that the “This is a pipe” silently hidden in the mimetic representation has become the “This is not a pipe” of circulating similitudes.

A day will come when, by means of similitude relayed indefinitely along the length of a series, the image itself, along with the name it bears, will lose its identity. Campbell, Campbell, Campbell. [1]

* Translator’s note: the original title of this chapter is “peindre n’est pas affirmer” literally, “To Paint is Not to Affirm”.
[1] Foucault’s reference is not to Magritte but to Andy Warhol, whose various series of soup cans, celebrity portraits and so on Foucault apparently sees as undermining any sense of the unique, indivisible identity of their “models.” See Foucault’s comments on Warhol in the important essay “Theatricum Philosophicum” reprinted in Language, Counter Memory, Practice (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1977).

this is NOT a posterous post

Design Seminar 2 » Blog Archive » one cozy minute of isolation

one cozy minute of isolation

By lou suSi March 4th, 2009

a crisp, saturday evening in autumntime

down in the fort point area of Boston, the mobius annual artrages fundraiser party takes over an entire floor of commercial space to create an atmosphere of surreal, unbound creativity — the crowd warms the space — the rawness of the space goes unnoticed as people walk through and enjoy the art installations, participatory music and performance art, roving performances, and the company of so many amazing, creative people — lights and sound cascade and echo across the hardwood floors — there is a sense of celebration, uncanny premeditation and a joy for the subconscious enjoyment of this ocean of possibility

the night sings of timelessness — suspension of clocks and watches — a quarternote of one moment

i am waiting in line — the half hour passes fairly quickly as i talk with the waiting people — there is an installation up ahead — conversation in the line compresses time even further — there are people to watch, performances to figure out and discuss, distractions and thoughts pouring in like sunlight

as i get closer i see a man in a dark suit — very much a sombre sight — serious and cleancut — either a bit of business is being conducted or there may be a funeral, i can’t quite figure it out — but he is opening and closing a wooden door { the door to the installation } — letting people in and out, one by one — he is pleasant enough, but tall and calm in demeanor

every once in a while there is another person — shorter, wider — dressed in overalls and a thermal shirt, workboots and a red and black plaid hunting hat — he seems to have tools and occasionally goes into the wooden space between the flow of the line — he’s a bit nervous, but all smiles —  almost a living contradiction to the suit

as i get closer i can see that the wooden door opens into an outhouse construction labeled with a large ‘#1’  above the door — the man in the suit talks to each person at the head of the line — he literally helps each person in and out of the installation — i can see each person being pulled up and out from behind the door — everyone that emerges from the installation seems happy, pleasant, a bit relaxed

i look at the artrages map — apparently the piece is called ‘claustrophillick enclosure #1’ — i am almost at the front of the line — people are wondering what’s inside

i finally get to the front of the line and the man in the suit welcomes me — he explains that one person is allowed in the space for exactly one minute — he warns that the space is tight and if i have any fear or phobia of being alone, enclosed in a tight space, then i may want to reconsider experiencing the enclosure

he opens the door, reaches in and helps a young woman get up and out of the space — the interior of the outhouse is lined with a pink, floral cushioning material — the woman stands up, readjusts to the light of the mainspace and moves to re-gather with friends at the party — the man then helps me curl up inside the womblike fabric of the inner space — as he closes the door i am completely alone, surrounded by darkness — it is warm — the scent is that of flowers, perhaps the previous visitor to the enclosure

since i am enveloped in pitch black — my attention is drawn immediately to a subtle soundtrack — no real music, or at least no instrumentation — just many sounds, a soundscape — water dripping — passing traffic — a jet flies by — little girls singing together — songs from a playground — hopscotch or jumprope comes to mind — a muffled heartbeat becomes the most overwhelming sound in the mix

the space is warm and soft — very accommodating

my eyes begin to grow accustomed to the dark — i see what looks like someone moving, directly in front of me — just the silhouette — a little scary — i am looking into a mirror — a mirror on a medicine cabinet that is clearly marked ‘PRIVATE’ — an image of an angel dangles from the edge of the cabinet — i am facing my reflection in the mirror of the medicine cabinet — i notice a sign that says ‘Open Me’ — i open the door to the cabinet and can see restroom signs, the symbols for ‘Men’ and ‘Women’ — between them is a small jar with a magazine clipping — the image of child inside the jar — just the child’s face — there is also another clipping that says ‘True Love’ — and then i notice a sign that says ‘Close Me’ { very reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland | Through the Looking Glass } — i close the medicine cabinet and quite suddenly the door opens up — the man in the suit asks me how i am doing, let’s me know my minute in the claustrophillick enclosure is up, and reaches down to help me exit the outhouse — my eyes hurt a bit as they begin to readjust to the light

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blogpost to Design Seminar 2 for The Dynamic Media Institute @ MassArt :: in response to Kevin Brooks’ session on Storytelling and Narrative …

Whitewash and Art Protest NYC Outdoor | Creativity Online

Whitewash and Art Protest NYC Outdoor

Activist group covers allegedly illegal New York City outdoor ads with art.

From Google Creative Lab's Ji Lee.
From Google Creative Lab’s Ji Lee.

To clear space for public communication and highlight what’s believed to be the illegal use of public space in New York City, a local activist group whitewashed over more than 120 billboards and replaced the ads with art.

To spotlight allegations that media company NPA Outdoor doesn’t hold the proper city licenses for a number of street-level billboards in lower Manhattan, Jordan Seiler of the Public Ad Campaign organized the New York Street Advertising Takeover to reclaim those spaces. On April 25, armed with maps Seiler created to point out the allegedly illegal billboards, 13 groups of two went out to whitewash boards between Canal and 30th streets. Later, more than 40 artists—the “Delete” poster above is from Ji Lee, creative director at Google Creative Lab and former branding director at Droga5–followed to produce art work on the newly ordained public canvases. Two whitewashers, one artist, and one videographer were arrested during the event.

“I don’t think anybody is trying to suggest we replace advertising with art work, but that we understand that advertising is a preventative factor for visual communication in our public environment,” Seiler says. “If I have something to say as a concerned individual and that needs to written on the wall in some way so that the world knows about it, advertising often prevents that from happening.”

Seiler says the idea for the project sprang from his ongoing work with Public Ad Campaign, recent interactions with mashup artist PosterBoy and a personal investigation into the legalities of billboards.

Find photos of NYSAT art work, below, and more on Flickr.

Muybridge High Five by I Am.

Muybridge High Five by I Am.


By Aakash Nihalani.

By Aakash Nihalani.


by Peru Ana Ana Peru and Anera.

by Peru Ana Ana Peru and Anera.
in the war of art vs design … who will win? ;] … stay tuned to find out more …

Specimen A on the Behance Network

Specimen A

As society advances, our senses become less and less reliable as tools for discerning truth in our surroundings. A piece of fruit that appears wholesome and natural was most likely genetically altered to be larger or have a thinner skin. A piece of furniture which gives the impression of being hand-crafted and unique may have in fact been mass-produced in a factory.

“Specimen A” is a commentary on industry’s attempt to mask the true nature of products via external appearance. At first glance these cocoon-like structures appear organic, yet they are created from entirely man-made components such as thread, lace, handmade paper, burlap, and other fabric. Mechanical cogs and gears are visible as well, tearing through the outer shell to reveal the structures’ suggested identities as disguised machines. The uselessness of these creations, suspended indefinitely within a frame, highlights the perfunctory nature of so many manufactured objects in modern society.


Tom O’Keefe of My Card, My Work tweeted this little deal up from Behance … amazing work by teegan white that appears to be a completely organic + nonsensical contraption … sculptural installation that reminds one of semi-purposeless marionettes … amazing texture … but hidden just below the surface, tucked away, are these low-fi aspects of machinery …

..:: What is DESIGN? ::.. ..:: Designers’ Talk Discussions on LinkedIn ::..

10:14 pm – ..:: WHAT is DESIGN? ::.. ..:: Designers’ Talk Discussions on LinkedIn ::..

Fred Showker, Editor and Publisher of DTG, recently posted the following question in the Designers’ Talk Discussions section of LinkedIn:

My question: WHAT is DESIGN?

So many readers often write to ask about becoming a design professional. Many ask “What is Design” or “What is Graphic Design?”

Among the established definitions you’ll find that just about anyone you ask — you’ll get a different answer. So, in the May issue of DTG we’ll be asking …


My studies at The Dynamic Media Institute at MassArt bring up many questions about design, media, communication and creativity. The question What is design? seemed to perfectly resonate with recent thoughts and discourse with the fantastic community engaged in these discussions at DMI.

Here is my response:

WHAT is DESIGN? What an excellent question. And what an important question to ask ourselves on a daily basis.

Here is my quick interpretation of design …

First of all, I think of the word design as more of a verb than a noun. An active process. A process that can contain elements of expression, research, planning, thinking, doing, conversing … but design is best when there is a lot of active exploration, research and process behind the end result.

As a second notion to consider … here is a layman’s linguistic deconstruction of the word as interpreted by someone personally and professionally involved with design for a decade or more. So here is my breakdown by syllable …

The ‘de’ part of DESIGN … ‘de’ reminds me of the word ‘di’ in Italian, both in phonetic | aural similarity and in direct translation of meaning … ‘de’ = ‘of’ in English.

The ‘sign’ part of DESIGN … ‘sign’ is the root of the word ‘significance’.

Literally translated DESIGN means ‘of significance’. More importantly, the interpretation I come away with is something more like the infinitive ‘to bring significance’. I think of it as a process where the designer brings meaning … actually brings something significant to the world. Or at the very least to a certain targeted audience.

So … in the end, we not only need to ask from day to day the all-important question ‘WHAT is DESIGN?’, but we also need to continually update and define ‘WHAT is the role of a DESIGNER?’ … the answers to both of these questions are shifting and changing more and more often in these times, due in part to the speedy development of new technologies and also immensely influenced by a confluence of so many eclectic fields coming together to define and design new significance, new meaning, new thought, and new methods of communication.

View the original LinkedIn Answers question and responses here:

Current Location: home
Current Mood: [mood icon] accomplished
Current Music: crimeshow television audio backdrop

recent post on LinkedIn … check it out!