Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Machin-ery: Thoughts on Form and Content in the Digital World

Dada Typo is an umbrella in the rain of a digital renaissance. This is what poets say: it translates itself into innumerable languages and a self-fulfilling prophecy of your own desires. Dada Typo is a means to the end of imagination. Never content with simple mastery of a minor arsenal of technological gizmos, we reinvent ourselves with every step of progress and carry rearview mirrors to maintain a sense of lineage with history. We are not authoritative but speak with authority; we can help you do the same. The breadth of the world increases daily despite the constant ratio of pi and the rigid logic of modus ponens. It takes a world-wise and street savvy practitioner of communicative mysteries to maintain the delicate balance between the determined voice of the speaker and the doubtless wit of the audience, never captive but restless and demanding. Dada Typo is the archetypical circus seal juggling semiotic beach balls: entertaining at the very least, but also demonstrating incredible levels of competent complexity. We are multi-dimensional and can't agree upon the definition of dimensions. We can be linear without forgetting how to run in circles. Efficient without wishing to spare the effervescence of the sheer luxury of life. We quite like red roses. We like black roses also. In the end, a long conversation with us will leave you sleeping a little bit less, happily, caught up in the contemplation of words you never thought existed, but have always understood.

These images and text are from a design company based in Baltimore. I ran across them looking at the Situationist website


for Alex's and my class "Language: Most Dangerous of Possessions." Travis suggested that after reading McLuhan's "The Medium is the Massage" we might read Guy Debord's "The Society of the Spectacle," a 1960's radical text about an age "which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original." The website was designed by


and felt like one good resolution of the tension set up by the machine as it deals with and determines content.

As an example of a productive and human interdisciplinary response to problems of design, it may be as good as it gets.


Grabloid said...

This is really cool stuff, I think I've stumbled on this sometime in the past, but had forgotten about it, thanks for posting it!!! I have some great ideas that I've been talking with Vegor, Torben and Joe about that involves doing some really subversive stuff with print and design in the DADA class that Alex is teaching next semester. The DADAs were way ahead of their time with artistic juxtaposing of images, the typography that they did, and their print design...if they would've had the kind of technology that we have now I'm certain they would've utilized it much more potent way!

Yesterday Vegor was teaching me how to use all of this image software that I got on my computer to facilitate our efforts...I'm slowly learning...there are many amazing possibilities. It's crazy that you also made this post yesterday...probably right around the same time that we were talking about all of the ideas we had for subversive print/design. I'm really excited to work on this kind of stuff in the DADA class...I especially want to bring up issues of censorship and "poster policy" at UVSC in light of Alex's HUM 2020 poster not being approved, and I want to do some other, more sleuth/covert, things with print and design.

michael morrow said...

I'm sitting here arguing with myself about posting my feelings. They are so nontechnical. Anyway, you guys, this class has really been well worth the price of admission, including the past four years worth. Reading and listening you guys talk about technology's possibilities, including positive as well as adverse affects is absolutely fascinating to me. If I can just shut up and listen to you while you bs in the hall etc, I get fed to capacity. Thanks for being within ear shot.........