Spring 2021 ︎ SUNY Purchase ︎ (DES3240) Design Issues
BackgroundI love my family; but like…in the truest sense of the word. That is to say, I accept their criticism and jokes as being from people who ultimately care. I used to carry around a big ass spiral bound sketchbook all the time, and one of my cousins used to call it my “manifesto.” I secretly kinda loved it. The point of this story is that the term manifesto has a clear cultural location; the product of someone who has an “agenda.” However, I think you can also see a definite aspirational “stance” in manifestos.
Choices for Required Readings
(Please note, do not do a book report. Pick a long one or several short ones, try to find associations between them. Give yourself time to look at related material or analysis or interpretation of them. )
- Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels︎
- The Revolutionary Theatre by Amiri Baraka︎
- Futurist Manifesto by Tommaso Marinetti︎ (Also sharing Destruction of Syntax, also by Marinetti)
- A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Harraway︎ (I feel like everyone I know who has read this doesn’t fully understand it but it’s full of really poetic and interesting language)
- S.C.U.M. Manifesto by Valerie Solanas︎
- Dogma 95 - The Manifest︎ (If it helps to have a video, here ya go)
- The Art of Noise by Luigi Russollo︎
(if you want to see what they were talking about)
- The Suprematist Manifesto by Kazimir Malevich︎
- Agile Manifesto︎(This is boring and short, but this is the software paradigm from which the sillicon valley maxim you might occasionally hear “move fast and break things” derives)
- De Stijl Manifesto︎
- First Things First by Ken Garland (1964)︎ &
First Things First from AdBusters (2000)︎ (statements on the state of graphic design from two very different designs)
- An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth by Bruce Mau︎
(This verges on self-helpy, but worthwhile to read)
Questions to think about while looking at one or more manifestos
- Why do dictators and problematic white folks need manifestos?
- Is the “centralized urgency” of the manifesto still appealing? Necessary? Relevant?
- Do centralized (aesthetic) ideas help homogonize visual culture? Is that a dangerous direction?
- Wikipedia page on manifestos︎ The list here is pretty comprehensive, and nicely organized (political, technological, artistic)
- Cate Blanchett in Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto︎ You can watch this on Amazon Prime, but if you ever have the opportunity to watch it as a multichannel installation, it is your homework to watch it. See this page to see which manifestos are in that. (It’s where the thumbnail for this page is from if that wasn’t already evident)
- Burn it Down! A Discussion on Feminist Manifestos︎ Came across this when I was updating the page, haven’t watched this yet (it is about an hour), but it is probably helpful in gathering and understanding how to look at multiple texts comparatively.
Things discussed in classThe Paranoid Style in American Politics︎ I mentioned this because we talked about the position of authority that the person writing usually takes (not just as an author but agency / purpoprted understanding of a topic). The essay discusses conspiracy theories and how the theorist makes themselves the person who is the arbiter of the knowledge that is part of the conspiracy theory. That relationship I felt was similar to the manifesto form which by nature gives authority to the manifesto writer(s).
Summary of the Communist Manifesto︎
I thought this was a good summary of the content and I thought our discussion of it up ended up being a little bit reductive. This and the SCUM Manifesto were the main ones we talked about.
Audiobook of the Communist Manifesto︎ If you prefer to consume the content that way.
Other stuff I didn’t really have much else, but I think that I was concerned about coming off like I was pushing the SCUM Manifesto or forcing that content on anyone. I was more interested in an idea of talking about manifestos in general.
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