Mary Lim

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

va: reading response (He Might be Giant & Adbuster)

He Might be Giant: Shepard Fairey by Michael Dooley – Reading Response
Fairey is mostly known for his "Giant" stickers, where he slapped on large type onto abandoned buildings. It was his way of exposing and subverting consumer culture's susceptibility to propaganda. One example is a sticker that said "Obey your thirst." Dooely also mentions Fairey's tendency to be obscure. Public perception was divided, where some were in complete support and others, who found him delusional. One quote that stood out to me was how Fairey was "ambivalent on his role in capitalizing on the capitalists." He viewed his actions with a sense of mission, to reveal the underpinnings of advertisements. However, what once was an anti-advertising campaign, had turned into a a product. The "Giant" stickers turned into his own brand. There is something ironic and paradoxical about the way in which Shepard Fairey talks about his reasoning behind "Giant" and his capitalization of it.

Adbuster Veronique Vienne Interviews Kalle Lasn – Reading Response
In this article, Vienne interviewed Lasn, one of the publishers of Adbusters magazine. Lasn mentioned "true cost" or the consequences of a new product. Lasn mentions the "severe psychological costs associated with design and the marketing of products." He even goes as far as to say it is a mental illness. In this aspect, designers are, one could say, the perpetrators. He brings up two kinds of products, one that is appealing and another that is functional. Later on in the interview, Lasn brings up another term called "bio-mimicry" (or mimicking nature).

This article raised important implications that come with being a designer. Designers have to think about what they're designing, who they're designing it for, and especially, the consequences of the design. This reminded me of a brief talk with Emmy about using technology; just because we can design it, doesn't mean we should. This also reminded me of the project we are doing in Frank's class where we have to make an androgynous body product. Instead of thinking within the confines of femininity and masculinity, the project breaks the boundaries between the two and opens the playing field. Designers do have a sense of responsibility, and one should use it responsibly.

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