Context Tasks level 4

]The Artist as Producer – Maria Gough ( 2005) Extract Introduction

Upon his return from the Soviet Union in early 1927, Walter Benjamin draws a portrait of Moscow for Martin Buber’s Berlin Journal Die Kreature. In this portrayal, the dominant feature of the city’s physiognomy is not a particular building or place but rather a passion – a ruling passion – for experimentation: Each though, each day, each life lies here as on a laboratory table. And as if it were a metal form which an unknown substance is by every means to be extracted, it must endure experimentation to the point of exhaustion. No organism, no organization, can escape this process. An immediate consequence of this unrelenting desire to extract the unknown. Benjamin explains, is a vastly accelerated pace of topographical and administrative metamorphosis. ‘Employees in their factories, offices in buildings, pieces of furniture are rearranged, transferred and shoved about…Regulations are changed from day to day, but streetcar stops migrate too. Shops turn into restaurants and a few weeks later into offices. Experimentation is not process sequestered in a laboratory, but rather pervaded every aspect of daily life in Soviet Moscow.

Woven into – and by – this laboratory of a city is a Constructivism, the most ground-breaking development in the visual arts in the Soviet Union in the decade or so following the October Revolution of 1917. Like the ever-shifting terrain in which it develops, Constructivism is similarly driven by a ruling passion for experimentation. Over the course of the early 1920s, it puts on the laboratory table one problem after another – composition, construction, excess, faktuma, tectonics, economy, modularity, purpose, structure, function, production, process, the object,  and most fundamentally of all, the artists right to exist…    

Discuss this in relation to ‘The nature of Interdiscplinarity in Art & Design’


5 Responses to Context Tasks level 4

  1. This piece about Le Corbusier is by Charlotte Rowley – Level 4

  2. Zara Noble says:


    Term used from about 1970 to describe changes seen to take place in Western society and culture from the 1960s on. These changes arose from anti-authoritarian challenges to the prevailing orthodoxies across the board. In art, postmodernism was specifically a reaction against modernism. It may be said to begin with Pop art and to embrace much of what followed including Conceptual art, Neo-Expressionism, Feminist art, and the Young British Artists of the 1990s. Some outstanding characteristics of postmodernism are that it collapses the distinction between high culture and mass or popular culture; that it tends to efface the boundary between art and everyday life; and that it refuses to recognise the authority of any single style or definition of what art should be.

    A fascinating movement, that interests me greatly, full of parady and mockery, very ironic, iconic as well as being very contradictory and complex.

  3. Did Postmodernism begin the idea of an interdisciplinarian artist?

    After all, this is where ‘art’ was recognised in all forms, from poetry to film. People couldn’t get away from it. Authors weren’t just writing for a book any more they were writing in the hope their book would be turned into a film; it all became about the ‘multiple’, turning one thing into another and producing it quickly and so wouldn’t it make sense for an artist to learn ‘multiple’ skills to keep their work fresh in an increasing consumer society

    Gab Mann

  4. Rob Cubbon says:

    To truly study Art and Design you need to be able to turn your hand to anything, this applies not only to Art and Design but Fine Art, Fashion etc. Without the constant development and change work would stagnate and become derivative while others accelerate with new techniques and new methodologies. Art history has followed a trend over the centuries and to be a succeseful interdisciplinarian you cannot be afraid of change and in a state of constant learning, absorbing everything around you, not just art or design topics, many sources of information must be intergrated. The Contructivist mindset and Postmodern disciplines illustrate this though their shape shifting, flexible behaviour.

  5. Saiyme Gultekin says:

    I feel the true nature or purpose of the practising interdiscerplinary artist is to rejuvinate and create new artifacts and objects by useing modern technologies in collaboration with old tried and tested methods. Postmodernism i feel alongside interdiscerplinarianism has no definition except maybe the rejection of defintion’s or pigeon holeing. I would further say that 21st centurary ideologys (such as equal rites for women) and dedvelopments in technology has enabled every body to become an artist for instance the development of mobile telephones with cameras allows an individual to become a photographer, they can produce art within a split second, without haveing to have expensive equipment or training

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