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Re: [PPLetterpress] Re: Materiality

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  • Bryan Hutcheson
    By materiality are you referring to what Marx, Hegel, the phenomenologists and existentialists referred to as materialism? [Non-text portions of this message
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 1, 2000
      By materiality are you referring to what Marx, Hegel, the phenomenologists
      and existentialists referred to as materialism?


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Gerald Lange
      Bryan Well, my undergraduate minor was in Philosophy and half the department was made up of phenomenologists and the other half was made of logical positivists
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 1, 2002
        Bryan

        Well, my undergraduate minor was in Philosophy and half the department was
        made up of phenomenologists and the other half was made of logical positivists
        (if that's the correct term). They were in a constant undeclared war. At any
        rate, I have a fairly ok background in this stuff. In fact, I was considering
        pursing graduate studies under Glenn Gray, one of the more contemporary writers
        on phenomenology.

        So, to answer your question, in terms of a definition of materiality (Katie's
        term), which, by dictionary definition, is a "material nature or quality," only
        by linkage to that meaning. More to the point in terms of the discussion,
        technology, and specifically, typography, I'd think you'd find more clarity in
        this regard, in the work of Robin Kinross, who underpins his theoretical
        arguments in _Modern Typography: An Essay in Critical History_ and _Fellow
        readers: notes on multiplied language_ with consideration for the material
        basis of typography (printing, and the accruements of).

        There are, of course, several phenomenological studies on technology, though
        they are somewhat outdated and do not take into acoount the new digital twist
        in the road. But, we are moving a wee bit off track here I suspect.

        Gerald

        Bryan Hutcheson wrote:
        >
        > By materiality are you referring to what Marx, Hegel, the phenomenologists
        > and existentialists referred to as materialism?
      • Katie Harper
        Since I m being quoted, I guess I better weigh into this discussion about the computer as a tool, etc. One of the more fascinating aspects of teaching the
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 1, 2002
          Since I'm being quoted, I guess I better weigh into this discussion about
          the computer as a tool, etc. One of the more fascinating aspects of teaching
          the history of graphic design is the way we (artists, designers and our
          viewers, etc.) adapt to technological shifts. Seems like these technological
          breakthroughs always start out being fancy ways of doing the same thing that
          everyone is used to, and then subsequent generations find new things to do
          with the new tools until a new aesthetic has been created, which then
          becomes standard and all too soon, old hat. Back in the Renaissance, this
          process took several generations; we are in a much faster lane and it seems
          as though the techniques that the computer allows us to use become obsolete
          even before they are perfected. This goes, all too sadly, for whatever good
          and useful things that come out of the technological shifts. (I do not use
          the term "technological growth," because I do not view technology as an
          evolutionary or linear process that leads inevitably from inferior to
          superior. In fact, I don't even view evolution that way, but that is another
          story...)

          One of the things that I point out to my students about previous
          technological shifts is to look at the group of people involved in their
          development and use. As we go through the centuries, those people have
          changed from being an intellectual elite (the scholar printers such as Aldus
          Manutius) to every Tom, Dick and Harriet creating his or her own web site.
          More democratic, surely--I for one would never advocate a return to a time
          when the vast majority of the population was ignorant and poverty stricken--
          but not necessarily best for developing technology to its fullest in terms
          of its content, form or use to society. What we have today is almost the
          equivalent of everyone being able to print his or her own books in the
          1500s. There is a lot of bad stuff out there, and those of us who are trying
          to bail out the deluge with a thimble are losing the battle. But I'm sure
          this is what the monks said about moveable type, no?

          I have found that a lot of the recently revived interest in letterpress
          coincides with a general return, in the graphic design industry, to
          materiality, perhaps as a backlash against the computer, whose use as a tool
          to create more and more eye candy is becoming old hat. A recent article in
          PRINT talks about an entire wave of new design shops devoted to books and
          materials and the new wave of three-dimensional forms that print media can
          take, because this is where the "new" vocabulary of communication will come
          from, and it's captured the imagination of designers and their audiences by
          providing something more rewarding than eye candy on a computer screen. It's
          a specialty market, of course, and if it thrives, it does so outside of the
          mainstream. But it reminds us again that there is nothing new under the sun.




          Katie Harper
          Ars Brevis Press
          Cincinnati, OH
          513-233-9588
          http://www.arsbrevispress.com
        • Kathleen Whalen
          Kathy has updated the website, and although she says she s not too pleased with the way it looks on the wider screen she has access to at work, I think it
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 6, 2002
            Kathy has updated the website, and although she says she's not too pleased
            with the way it looks on the wider screen she has access to at work, I think
            it looks OK on the imac in the office here. Comments welcome!

            But it does include the two latest books, one about some Bewick bookplates
            and the other with some previously unpublished Seamus Heaney poems in it.

            All good wishes

            Graham Moss
            Incline Press
            11A Printer Street
            Oldham OL1 1PN England
            (44) 0161 627 1966
            http://www.inclinepress.com
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