Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Decisive Moment

What Cartier-Bresson understood by the decisive moment is best explained by the famous quote from his lengthy introduction to the book: “Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression.”

Cartier-Bresson always emphasised the importance of composition, and liked to “instinctively fix a geometric pattern” into which a chosen subject fitted.

 

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Decisive Moment

Postcards

“In the age of texts and twitter, the postcard is a dying art form. This underrated medium marries an iconic image of place with personal reportage. The postcard ‘voice’ is one of new experiences and disappointed expectations, in a life edit that merges the essential with the inessential. What do we think matters at a single moment in time? It’s a question posed poignantly by some of the work on the filling pages.

So let’s indulge in some A6-size nostalgia. We asked a writer to create a message, and send it on to an illustrator, who created an image. From the image, to the stamp, to the postcard voice, our writers and illustrators explored all the available space. And the postcard brought cards from the most unexpected places.”

Just thought it was really interesting and enlightening of what a postcard is when the foreword of the book so succinctly described it so: what do we think matters at a single moment in time?

To communicate this particular concern at that instant, usually it would be the writers who would source for the postcard with the most appropriate image for that content; or as I believed since it is so for me.

But to have this process reversed in this book, with the illustrator creating the image after the message was written, is intriguing as to how the whole personal reportage of the writer could be distorted or enhanced. Then again, a postcard wouldn’t come about if not for the illustrator’s ideas translated into the image. It seems like the initiation of this image and text relationship is a hen and egg question: who is imposing whose ideas on who? Perhaps this is why the writer wrote ‘And the postcard brought cards from the most unexpected places’.

Postcards

The greater interestingness of art over another does not rest on the greater number of things that stylistic decisions in that work allow us to attend to, but rather on the intensity and authority and wisdom of that attention, however narrow its focus.

Pg35-36, On Style by Susan Sontag

Note to self: It’s much more important to focus on one thing that you want to say than to try to do so many; thereby lacking in intensity. It’s not about trying to be ‘fanciful’ but making decisions so that only that point stood out clearly.

Sputniko!

Just attended a British/Japanese artist talk organised by The Japan Foundation and it was awesome and rewarding for my 2060 brief!

Previously for 2060, there had been talks on speculative and critical design but they tend to have a more serious and practical tone. Hence when I saw Sputniko! works, I was really excited because her works, despite being also of speculative design, they were presented in a very lighthearted and humour way. Her design ideas are often furthered into music film of diegesis style that have strong distinctive Japan Pop culture elements. As a result of such presentation, the message in her works become receptive for a broader audience. For instance, with the intention to demystify mythologies with science in her latest work “Red Silk of Fate-Tamaki’s Crush”, she started with the concept to recreate the East Asia myth about the red silk of fate by genetically modifying a silkworm to produce red string with love hormones-oxytocin. Following on, she would incorporate the idea and product into her film. Hence, in “Red Silk of Fate-Tamaki’s Crush”, it unravels a story about the protagonist Tamaki, an aspiring genetic engineer, who engineers her own “Red Silk of Fate” in the hope of wining the heart of her crush.

More could be found on her website: http://sputniko.com

Another thing that was really inspiring and worth learning was how she used social platforms to seek collaboration even during her RCA days to help in the realisation of her projects. She mentioned how she came to such working methodology was actually due to  initial skills gap with her peers in RCA having come from a Math and Computer Science background instead of having years of art foundation. TO BE CONTINUED 🙂 

Sputniko!

A recent campaign by Peta brings into attention the extreme cruelty involved in the fashion industry of exotic skin products. Conceptualised by Oglivy & Mather Advertising Bangkok, a pop-up shop, The Leather Work, was created within Bangkok’s bustling mall. The shop showcased leather goods as per usual but within the interior of these goods, they present the cold hard truth of the cruelty behind this business using snake’s or crocodile’s still-beating heart or an alligator’s intestines that contract and expand in the interiors of the bags or smearing fake blood on consumers when they took off the shoes or gloves upon trying.

The campaign msg in the video was: “For the exotic skins industry, cruelty is a daily business.”

 

Personal Reflection
Personally I think this concept to bring across the cruelty behind the glamorous products was ingenious. As Peta headlined it-“Beauty often blinds people to cruelty”, such a direct confrontation placed within the products itself to the direct consumers has such a strong affect. Those internal organs are ghastly but it is the truth which the consumers were blinded with.

More often than not, I think shock is an important affect and method to bring across statement(s) to people and possibly induce change in us.

In a way, I thought this was really relevant to my previous Unit 5: The Expanded Designer and our current 2060 in the aspect that design has the power and social conscience to influence the society and world.