The Craftsman by Richard Sennett
Why do people work hard, and take pride in what they do? This book, a philosophically-minded enquiry into practical activity of many different kinds past and present, is about what happens when people try to do a good job. It asks us to think about the true meaning of skill in the ‘skills society’ and argues that pure competition is a poor way to achieve quality work. Sennett suggests, instead, that there is a craftsman in every human being, which can sometimes be enormously motivating and inspiring – and can also in other circumstances make individuals obsessive and frustrated. The Craftsman shows how history has drawn fault-lines between craftsman and artist, maker and user, technique and expression, practice and theory, and that individuals’ pride in their work, as well as modern society in general, suffers from these historical divisions. But the past lives of crafts and craftsmen show us ways of working (using tools, acquiring skills, thinking about materials) which provide rewarding alternative ways for people to utilise their talents. We need to recognise this if motivations are to be understood and lives made as fulfilling as possible.
‘Richard Sennett is a prime observer of society … one of his great strengths, the thing that makes his narrative so gripping, is the sheer range of his thinking and his brilliance in relating the past to the present’
Fiona MacCarthy, The Guardian
‘A lifetime’s learning has gone into this book … Sennett writes beautifully’
Roger Scruton, Sunday Times
Avant-garde Performance: Live Events and Electronic Technologies by Gunter Berghaus
How did the concept of the avant-garde come into existence? How did it stimulate developments in the performing arts? Written in a clear, engaging style, and supported by text boxes throughout, this volume presents some of the general characteristics of postwar avant-garde performance and gives detailed coverage to some of the most influential artists. Berghaus also explores hot topics such as multi-media and body art performances, making this text ideal for students of theatre studies and performance.
‘An extremely valuable introduction to the history and development of avant-garde performance.’
Nick Kaye, University of Exeter
Big Archive: Art from Bureaucracy by Spieker and Sven
The typewriter, the card index, and the filing cabinet: these are technologies and modalities of the archive. To the bureaucrat, archives contain little more than garbage, paperwork no longer needed; to the historian, on the other hand, the archive’s content stands as a quasi-objective correlative of the “living” past. Twentieth-century art made use of the archive in a variety of ways – from what Spieker calls Marcel Duchamp’s “anemic archive” of readymades and E1 Lissitzky’s “Demonstration Rooms” to the compilations of photographs made by such postwar artists as Susan Hiller and Gerhard Richter. In “The Big Archive”, Sven Spieker investigates the archive – as both bureaucratic institution and index of evolving attitudes toward contingent time in science and art – and finds it to be a crucible of twentieth-century modernism.
Dadaists, constructivists, and Surrealists favored discontinuous, nonlinear archives that resisted hermeneutic reading and ordered presentation. Spieker argues that the use of archives by such contemporary artists as Hiller, Richter, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Walid Raad, and Boris Mikhailov responds to and continues this attack on the nineteenth-century archive and its objectification of the historical process.
Spieker considers archivally driven art in relation to changing media technologies – the typewriter, the telephone, the telegraph, film. And he connects the archive to a particularly modern visuality, showing that the avant-garde used the archive as something of a laboratory for experimental inquiries into the nature of vision and its relation to time.”The Big Archive” offers us the first critical monograph on an overarching motif in twentieth-century art.
“The Big Archive” features an impressive cast of characters: Sigmund Freud, Marcel Duchamp, Alexandr Rodchenko, Andy Warhol, Sophie Calle–all masterfully catalogued and filed into Sven Spieker’s meta-archival project. This original and carefully crafted book reveals the extent to which modernity produced and was produced by archival technologies ranging from Wunderblocks to typewriters, from “boites-en-valise” to filing cabinets. Required reading for scholars working in the fields of psychoanalysis, media theory, and conceptual art.”
Ruben Gallo, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures, Princeton University
Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage by Branden W. Joseph
“Branden W. Joseph’s new book “Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage” is a necessary and timely one. In sum, Joseph has succeeded in substantially altering our notion of the so-called expanded field of art and film. With its meticulous research and precise mode of argumentation, “Beyond the Dream Syndicate” sets an important standard for future scholars…”
“Texte zur Kunst”"
“Beyond the Dream Syndicate is Branden W. Joseph’s admirable step outside
the art historian’s typically crisp disciplinary boundaries. This is a highly original, rewarding book, and one that will catch people by surprise. I imagine that this is a book for which many people have unconsciously been waiting.”
David Grubbs, Drag City recording artist
The Fundamentals of Sonic Art & Sound Design by Tony Gibbs
This book introduces a subject that will be new to many: sonic arts. The application of sound to other media (such as film or video) is well known and the idea of sound as a medium in its own right (such as radio) is also widely accepted. However, the idea that sound could also be a distinct art form by itself is less well established and often misunderstood. The Fundamentals of Sonic Arts & Sound Design introduces, describes and begins the process of defining this new subject and to provide a starting point for anyone who has an interest in the creative uses of sound. The book explores the worlds of sonic arts and sound design through their history and development, and looks at the present state of these extraordinarily diverse genres through the works and words of established artists and through an examination of the wide range of practices that currently come under the heading of âsonic artsâ. The technologies that are used and the impact that they have upon the work are also discussed. Additionally, The Fundamentals of Sonic Arts & Sound Design considers new and radical approaches to sound recording, performance, installation works and exhibitions and visits the worlds of the sonic artist and the sound designer.
Tony Gibbs is presently leader of the BA Sonic Arts programme at Middlesex University. Launched in 1995, this unique programme is one of the first interdisciplinary degree courses in sonic art. In addition to programme leadership and teaching, Tony has been responsible for the development of the technical resources of the Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts, Middlesex University’s innovative research centre, where he is currently involved in a range of activities including the development of an interactive 3D audiovisual system for use by composers, performers and other artists.
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