Superlative necessity

April 4, 2007


Some interesting musing on the decorative has been going down at things magazine. Things asks “What is the New Decoration?” and references an intriguing tome titled Patterns in Design, Art and Architecture. Things writes that “digital pattern isn’t merely about cloaking or concealing technology, it’s about expressing technology.” I suspect that sentence is going to bug me for a while, I’m not sure what expressing technology means. Woodblock printing was a technological development over a thousand years ago and it must have been deliriously technological to print with moveable type in the 1400s. But of course when we say technology we generally mean our own most recent technological developments; as Brian Eno has said, “Technology is the name we use for things that don’t work properly yet.”

It does seem like there is a new attitude toward decoration, a desire to embrace it’s extrusions from our latest techno toys. The artworld is perhaps loathe to consciously acknowledge this, but despite all insistence to the contrary, white cubes feel like little decorative temples – boullion cubes of pattern.

[Top image: photo by Johnny Magee, 2006]


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