The Visual Archive

Critical Thinking and Making — Fall  2020

WEEK 10 | Designing Programs

Karl Gerstner states that designers should not create solutions for problems but programs for solutions. For our last experiment, you will deconstruct a creative practice of your choice and appreciate the challenges of crafting language that instructs somebody else.


→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

Karl Gerstner
→ Designing Programs, excerpt, google drive & Canvas. Skim!
Monograph Review @eye magazine
Think program: catalog of the exhibition “designing programs/programming designs” @MoMA

Yoko Ono
Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions and Drawings (1964). Follow the link in the article to see an excerpt.

Sol Lewitt
Sol Lewitt devised guidelines and diagrams that allowed for artworks, such as his wall drawings, to be executed by his assistants.
→ Wall Drawing 104 Executed by Eric Doeringer
→ TATE: Studio Visit


→ Prepare

1. Experiment 6: Designing Programs
Develop a program—a set of instructions—that guides somebody else to visually respond to a research inquiry and develop new records for their archive. Use this form to submit your set of instructions on or before Nov 10, noon.
→ The process can be inspired by the methodology of a specific artist, designer or a general creative practice. Here is an example from Fashion Design. You can—but don’t have to—include an object.
→ Step 1 needs to address ways to connect to a research topic (“identify an object”, “Visit an environment”, “Find a photograph”, …)
→ The set of instructions needs to include a way to document a “visual response”.
→ No need to enact your instructions yet

2. Pitch Your Archive
Prepare a concise deck with these slides that you can present in 3 minutes: Bring to class next week.

Designing Programmes by Karl Gerstner: More images on Page-Spread

  1. Your Name, Archive Title
  2. Statement:
    I am archiving _______ because I want to _______ in order to ________
  3. Methods:
    What do you collect? (pictures of …, pieces of …, scans of …) How do you collect? (every morning I take a picture of …, I use social media to …)
  4. Visuals:
    3 sample records (images, …) of your archive with captions
  5. Metadata:
    List 10 data items you could collect for each record ranging from basic (date, size, name) to creative/speculative (news headlines, poem, emotions)
  6. Precedents:
    1-2 projects that inspire you
  7. Audience:
    Who will learn from your archive? What will they learn.
  8. Prototype:
    The most up-to-date prototype of your archive. How you will circulate your archive: what medium, early design application.

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