I wrote this text as a foreword to an illustration book I designed. The text itself went through many stages, and I had lots of help to get it to where it is now, and I'm pretty pleased with it overall. Through the many versions, the biggest change I did in the end, was to switch the introduction and the conclusion. It made more sense to have the lighter text at the end and the heavy stuff kicking it off strong. I put the latest version of the book here on issuu.
When setting out to create this type of project, it's hard to actually imagine the diversity of work that will be needed to construct what you are holding right now. Thoughts become come intertwined and fall into sequence, particularly the thoughts involved in the progression of any artistic endeavour. Context, intentions and references, all flow together to step by step form a shape to all these ideas and ambitions.
The physical and mental processes behind the work itself are usually ignored or left personal in favor of the end result, but those moments of change and doubt are really at the backend of what is actually made. They are the fabric, the real structure.
It is important to me to be able to communicate to you the processes that actually go into creating this book. Without this introduction, you would merely read texts and see pictures, but you would be left without a taste for the process, for the parts that I have weaved and spun together, and the moments I will remember.
I see this book as a way to expose ideas, to suggest views, to react in a unusual manner. I see this book as a vision of what I do and what I think about. This book has my name on it, and as such is an extension of my thoughts and my ideas, all in an artistic form.
I originally chose an exerpt of Mythologies by Roland Barthes to form the basis of this project. The text I had selected was, in my mind, open to be manipulated and turned into whatever I wanted it to say through my pictures. I chose it because of its very flexibility. I wanted to use this excerpt for my own purpose, my own ideas, the ones I wanted to communicate with this project. I had a clear vision of how I was giving the text new meaning, but at the same time I realised I was too deep into my own thoughts and I risked losing the reader.
So I had to make new decisions: To keep the text or not. To change the ideas that I wanted to pass on to the reader. To change the photos in order for them to flow better, in order for me to be better understood. [Whether or not to keep the text, to change my ideas I wanted to pass on, or to change the pictures, in order for them to suit better, to be understood.]
I chose to keep the work I had done and to go forth and nurture it. I realised that what I was trying to say was too heavy a load for a ten-line text, and that the nature of my images were not allowing for an open reading of the text. I went on to add eight new passages, stories I had read, essays that had nurtured my own thoughts on these touchy subjects. Through these poems, stories and essays, I hope to enable you to conceptualize and visualize how this book came into being.
I am frustrated about the way we go about most things in out current civilisation. I feel like things have gone too fast or too far. We're all caught up with trying to fit in to a mold or fit into a group that prescribes a certain set of principals by which to live. In reality, we only appear to adapt - we are actually alone, playing it off like we are a part of the whole, but in the end caring only about ourselves Not to live in a group, but actually to live alone, to pretend to be in an organism but in the end to care about only ourselves.
These principles embedded into our psyches through the group dynamic manifest themselves through attitudes and behaviours in the everyday life. A combination of technological and psychological advancements have enabled us to be autonomous, more independent of one another. Independent in the way that one lives for oneself —because that's mainly how it is now— on a daily basis. People consider all the things they need to do, how to act, and how to go about obtaining the things he or she needs to live and be comfortable, but all the while they forget to consider what it is they really need, and how much of it, in order to be happy. [One considers? to do, act and gather what he or she needs to live and be comfortable, while forgetting to consider what? they really need, and how much of it they actually need.] I'm certainly not the first to point out these flaws in our generalised attitudes, but I do believe they are worsening and that it's new technologies that are partly to be blamed.
I see these selfish trends being deeply etched into our mindsets, and more generally inscribed into our attitudes in the way that many feel it important to protect any advancements — in professional scientific or technoligical fields— by patenting in intellectual property for example.
It materialises as such; making an advancement, that then is required to be recognised as someone's work, but then anyone wanting to use parts of someone else's advancement or production need to pay (remuneration) by agreeing to copyrights and licenses. Recognition is one thing. Retribution is an other.
Recognition for one's work is fine - I appreciate wanting to be acknowledged as the creator or inventor of something, but protecting it, binding it into property in a way that I can then not use someone's work to nurture my own thoughts or practices to spread and nurture others seems very unhealthy to me. Like a pride hierarchy.
There is an overall selfishness that I can not understand, a lack of participation in the bigger picture, that does not make any sense to me. Personal profit, in an economical sense, is the main focus for many, and it seems to be an excuse for bad conduct, an excuse to do and use resources in ways that consider only the profit of one and to disregard the effects it has on others —I'm talking about privatising or wasting, or both— big or small, today or tomorrow. Attitudes in the ways we buy things, in the ways we promote products and services, how we use one another to at the end of the day get richer, without ever considering ethical aspects.
By looking at products, applications, programs, and immaterial items that are more and more present in our daily lives, even with those that we could argue to be healthy or ethical, we can realise that many products come hand-in-hand with a series of values, a set of principles that are more or less apparent. It is our job to question these value on a moral basis. In the liberal societies of which we are part, we are more and more required to determine ourselves, to position ourselves relatively to these technologies and these advancements. It is important to not take things for granted and to question our environment.
As a student in communications, in observing these intrinsic morals, I can support early theorists statements about all objects and forms having the power to communicate. Through looking at some of these products, from designed objects to classroom layouts, we are able to extract the values and visions that are important to the creator, manufacturor or distributor of the product in question.
Aristotle is an interesting case study on the subject of morals. He developed his ideas around the ethics of how to live an ethical life. He was not ever suggesting a way to distinguish good from bad, he always considered morals as a questionning tool. Aristotle would consider The good life. A good life would be one in which a person could justify their actions to be good choices or bad choices according to a certain set of morals. He does not make one-sided judgements, and is aware of the fact that different people can consider the exact same thing good or bad. He does not deepen the field of morals in its first literal sense.
The good life, has come to refer to the kind of life one would want to live in which they find happiness. I try to consider the concept of the good life when examining my environment or decoding the implicit morals behind such-and-such a product. What vision of the good life are these products conveying? What morals do such items transmit? If I chose such-and-such piece or product to use, to consume or to implement into my life, what do these items communicate to me about the good life, and, eventually, what vision of the good life will I relay to those around me by using and adhereing to them?
If I am to convey and communicate ideas through this book, artistic or not, I should consider this object as a platform through which to suggest thoughts, thoughts that I wish to conjoin with some of my values, some of my morals. By writing this text, I am doing just this and bringing together the literature and images to illustrate some of my concerns. In addition, I am embedding some morals that are dear to me, by exposing self-doubt.
I needed to inject some honesty to the way this project came to be, and came to have this shape, by explaining my process in the introduction. But this is not finished. This book is not a guide to listed answers. This is merely a way to further question subjects that I spend a lot of time thinking about but in a different manner. Trying to make sense out of it all, trying to act and react upon everything, and eventually— to go forth.