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Contrary to what the title alludes to, the title is about an actor. Jeff made a comment today in class that made me recall a reaction I had recently while watching a movie called Trouble in Mind.

If anyone has ever really gotten me to talk about movies I have seen, and trust me there are not many, I am obsessed with the work of John Waters.  My favorites include an actor whose stage name is Divine.  Divine was part of a group known as the Dreamlanders, a group of friends and actors who are featured in Waters’s films.  I knew Divine had acted in a few films without Waters directing and later in his career, he was wanting to take more serious roles (which is why he declined being part of a Pink Flamingos sequel), one of which is Trouble in Mind.  

Jeff mentioned today in class that when you see Bruce Willis is in a film, you usually know what type of film it is going to be.  I can think of this with a few other actors, but that is aside the point.  I knew this movie was going to be different from what I had seen Divine in before, but I almost found it jarring how different it was.  John Waters’s films are known to be somewhat obscene and gross and Divine has been a part of it along the way, even as far as eating dog feces in the final scene of one movie.  Trouble in Mind was the complete opposite of that.  He still plays a somewhat kooky character, and, for the first time, played a role that included no scenes in which he was in drag.  I had a hard time getting past that.

However though, maybe this film is what Divine needed.  His character not had a personality and a character that could fit inside of a Waters film, but also a character that could be more related to at the same time.  He broke out of  what he was known for and confused the audience that knew him for his past work.  However, Trouble in Mind was created to be the opposite of a Waters film.  It was designed to be accessible and seen by the masses instead of a film that is only shown during a midnight showing.  If that is really what Divine was going for, he succeeded. Accessed 4 March 2014. Used here under Educational Fair Use Only. Accessed 4 March 2014. Used here under Educational Fair Use Only. Accessed 4. March 2014. Used here under Educational Fair Use only. Accessed 4. March 2014. Used here under Educational Fair Use only.

I can remember flying back from San Diego in 2003 and reading in a magazine a review for Cyndi Lauper’s album At Last, which had just come out.  I, for the life of me, can not recall who wrote the review or what publication it was in, but the opening line stated,

Can you believe this is the same woman who sang “She-Bop?”

While there are stark differences between the subject matter of this album (standards) and one of the most notorious songs off her debut solo album, which came out 20 years earlier at that point, several of Noël Carroll’s points resonated with me while reading the first chapter and parts of the second that made me recall this comment and realize how often prescriptive evaluations are used to show off reviewer’s opinions and tell us, as the consumer of music, what is worth buy and what is not.  So often we hear that artists or writers are going back to their roots with what they are working on, saying they are wanting to go back and recreate the feeling or sound of a past work.  Is that really what these reviews and evaluations are for?  Do we really need a song about masturbation on every Cyndi Lauper album that has come out since 1983?  Why do we do this, it is because so many people want to call themselves critics, when all they really do is hold back creativity and allowing an artist to evolve.  On page 24 of Noël Carroll’s book, On Criticism, he states,

No prescriptions should stand in the way of the explosion of artistic creativity.

And then later, on page 44 he writes,

The nature of criticism is to evaluate artworks-to discover what is valuable or worthy of attention in artworks and explain why this is so.

While the person who reviewed the At Last album, the first time I read it, made me feel as if she was expecting another She’s So Unusual, my feelings changed after reading these chapters and understand where the critic was coming from, it just did not work in a way that Carroll describes criticism.  I am not sure how to change what the reviewer said to make it fit in Carroll’s view, but I know for one thing, comparing it to past albums or songs does not fit in the framework.

Below are my ten museum examples and some explanation as to why I selected them.

Immersion Museums

H.R. Giger Bar and Museum (Gruyères, Chur, Tokyo, New York)


A bar/museum which immerses the guest into the artwork of H. R. Giger.  I chose this because I really like Giger’s artwork and this is an opportunity to visit the worlds he has created.  Where else are you going to get to sit right next to the Space Jockey?

Titanic, The Artifact Exhibition


Designed much like the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. each visitor gets a boarding pass and works their way through the exhibit in that person’s role.  I chose this one, not only because I really enjoyed seeing these items that have been recovered, but it also made me incredibly angry when I left.  In the gift shop, RMS Titanc, Inc. the only company which has ownership rights was selling coal they had brought up to the surface that was on the ship.  When I saw they were selling artifacts, I immediately equated the exhibition to grave robbing.

Conner Prairie (Indianapolis)


A living museum where visitors become part of the environment. Actors see you as living in their time period.


Hotel 21c (Louisville, Bentonville, Cincinnati)


A hotel, bar, and art museum.  Shows how contemporary art can fit into every day lives.

Shot by Warhol (IU Art Museum Exhibition)


Exhibition which primarily focused on Andy Warhol’s Photography and had a few other items, such as the Brillo Boxes and a Silkscreen.  When I saw the Elizabeth Taylor silkscreen, I was really disappointed.  When I see paintings in a book, they do not look as detailed and when I see something in real life, it comes alive. It looked just like the book when I saw it in real life.

Corvette Museum (Bowling Green, KY)


Exhibition showing the history of the Chevrolet Corvette.  I like this one cause I have seen this collection many times and it has been in the news lately due to a sink hole swallowing several of the cars. The organization has announced before they send the damaged cars off for restoration, they are going to display them, as they are to show what all these cars have gone through and how they will return to their former glory.

The Children’s Museum (Indianapolis)


Hear me out on this one.  I like it because it allows all visitors, not just children, the opportunity to see into the lives of past Hoosiers.  In particular they have on display Ryan White’s boyhood bedroom and Mustang that was gifted to him by Michael Jackson.  The Ryan White story was before my time, but it gives the opportunity for children to see into the life of someone who was just like them and thrown in to the limelight when people found out he was suffering from AIDS.  It gives everyone the outlook that he was just a normal person, just wanting to be a kid, when the people in Kokomo, IN wanted to make sure that did not happen.

An American Legacy: Norll, Blass, Halston and Sprouse (Indianapolis Museum of Art)


The Indianapolis Museum of Art had an exhibit, which featured the fashion designs of Hoosier fashion designers.  This exhibit showed that one does not have to be from New York or some exotic land in order to be a successful designer.  I (sadly) was not able to go to this exhibit, but later found out that Stephen Sprouse grew up about 30 miles north of where I grew up.  It is still my goal to own a Sprouse item in my lifetime.

The Vacuum Museum (St. James, MO)


If you are saying WTF, then my goal has been accomplished.  Much like what Warhol did, the operators of the Vacuum Museum are going after the same idea.  Take a mundane object and make it a piece of art. According to the website, they pride themselves with the fact every vacuum is still operational.


Henry Ford Museum (Deerborn, MI)


The Henry Ford Museum is just random. A really cool place to visit, but it is just one of those places that seems to have no flow and has everything you could think of.  The chair President Lincoln was sitting in when assassinated is on display, same as the car President Kennedy was in when he met the same fate.  These items are on display with items such as the first pre-fabricated house and a neon McDonald’s sign.

Raoul Hausmann. Der Geist unserer Zeit

Raoul Hausmann. Der Geist unserer Zeit. 1919 Used here under educational fair use only.

Right now, there is a text book that I very much regret selling back to the bookstore as we had a whole unit on the Dadaism Movement and its role in design and culture during the Weimar Republic.  This time period in Berlin has always been described as a period where the arts were able to flourish.  I have a paper written about this, unfortunately it is not written in English.

Dadaism, as defined on Wikipedia,

The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature, poetry, art manifestos, art theory, theater, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works. In addition to being anti-war, Dada was also anti-bourgeois and had political affinities with the radical left.

Known as the anti-art, this is the same art movement which Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain came out of (  It was an era of critical design, where one did not really want to look at the past, but rather look at the future critically, asking if what they have now is the path they should be following and using art to find these new paths.  The movement stripped away the conventions of all traditional art, design, and politics in order to find their own future.  As seen in the piece of our time, titled Der Geist unserer Zeit, which translates to The Spirit of our Time,   Unfortunately, many who took part in the original Dadaist movement did not survive the Second World War and the philosophy ended when Nazism began.

So what’s my point? As written in the chapter by Ilpo Koskinen, part of the argument focuses on asking are designers also artists?  Koskinen points out, “As they key early publication, the Presence Project, related, ‘we drew inspiration from the tactics used by Dada and the Surrealists, and especially, from those Situationists, whose goals seemed close to our own” (91).  He later goes on to quote Dunne, where he said that designers must fight being labeled as artists (98), stating that “What we do is definitely not art in terms of methods and approaches, but that’s it…Art is expected to be shocking and extreme” (98).  Is critical design not shocking and extreme?  Would anyone look at Dunne and Raby’s Poo Lunchbox or Blood Bag Radio and just shrug their shoulders saying they were expecting this?  Shocking and extreme was at the center of Dadaism, a movement that helped form an entire culture, through both art, design, politics, theater all working together hand in hand in order to shape the future together — why do they all need to be separate now?  In Der Geist unserer Zeit, by looking at that image, can you see all of those things?

In the comments section of this video, YouTube user Bridget Orozco states,

[H]ow is using the flood tool painting? I’m classically trained in analog and digital mediums but f*** did I have to learn things like anatomy and color theory, composition among a billion things. I never liked this guy’s craft required no talent.. notice I call it a craft not an art, and not even a good craft.

Maybe this is part II of my previous post, but this video and the comment, I think, go hand in hand with Arthur Danto’s book chapter, The Philosopher as Andy Warhol.  The comment above is a firm example, shown by Danto, “…to the very art that Warhol’s critics saw as mindless and meretricious.”  While the critics are having an easy time saying what they believe is art, I do not believe they are creating a supporting argument as to why this is not art.  As we see in the video above, Andy just sits there and clicks a few buttons in order to create a portrait.  Sure it appears to be very easy and as if anyone can do it, in fact this could go with the fact that he was not the one creating every piece of work that went out with his name on it.  He created the work through his factory artists, which is how he was able to champion the idea of mass produced art.  Was your Marilyn Monroe silkscreen made specifically by Andy Warhol and him alone? Probably not, but it was created in the process that he saw what art could be.

Maybe Warhol’s factory process was in fact a way for him to challenge what people wanted to view as art and if that is the case, he definitely succeeded well up until his death in 1987.  However, Danto states on page 69 that Warhol’s artwork had little do to with the pretensions of the artworld  and I disagree with that statement.  I think a lot of Warhol’s artwork had a lot to do with with the pretensions of the artworld, due to the fact that we are still having this debate today.  Andy said anything and everything can be art, but what I have heard no one dispute, is that there is an artist behind the design of the Brillo Box, the Campbell’s Tomato Soup Can, or an image painted using the Commodore Amiga.  These designs facilitated Andy Warhol’s artwork and made us realize that an artist is always working behind the scenes.

I once overheard someone say, “nothing gets my apartment cleaner than a paper I should be writing.”  Not to say I put off writing as much as I can by any means, I actually enjoy it, but I have been afraid of writing papers where I do not have the information to back up the claims I wish to make, fear of making claims that are a little far fetched based on the evidence I have found.  However, with my future plans in place, this is something I am needing to overcome if I plan to succeed in the areas that I wish to pursue.

Since Thursday’s class, I’ve come to realize, it is not the paper I need to be focusing on though.  We must be able to motivate our reader, cause if we do not, well, then they are not going to read it and there will be no point to us even writing, but most of all, we must motivate ourselves first.  What is the outcome we are looking for?  Maybe this is why I was always afraid of making far-fetched claims cause I never knew what I was looking for other than text to fill a page.  Motivate myself through primary research, discovery, and testing.  I still have no idea what I want to write, but I know what I want to do in order to write.  If I can be excited for writing, then imagine the experience I can give the reader.

In my bedroom at my parents’ house, I still have a blown up image of H.R. Giger’s portrait of Deborah Harry on my wall.  I think most the reason I put it up is cause I think it symbolized both my teenage angst and how Blondie is one of my favorite groups.   My parent’s understood it, but the image itself kind of scares some people the first time they see it in all its glory hanging on my wall.


H. R. Giger, Brian Aris. Accessed on 8 Feb. 2014. Used here under educational Fair use only

However, I was in a discussion once with a person who is a self-proclaimed artist about the image, Giger’s work, and his art aesthetic.  When asked what medium was used, I said it was a photograph that was airbrushed.  The person responded with, “airbrushing is a not a real artist.”  I was confused and unable to think of a counter example, cause, really, I could not really think what made an artist an artist and what what did not constitute as art.  Sure when we hear about airbrushing, we usually associate it with magazine covers, taking something that one person could view as perfect and making it more perfect, but the Giger example is almost the exact opposite.  He took a photograph that one could say was perfect and made it a lot uglier — but is there a difference between a person doing touch-ups on a magazine or a person completely changing the visual, emotional, intellectual, etc aesthetics of an image?  Could the same be said about another artist such as Andy Warhol (who also did a digital painting of Deborah Harry, but that is for another blog post) who would take every day items a person could find in the grocery store, in the home, or on the farm and turn them into works of art.

Jeffrey Bardzell synthesizes on page 29 of his paper titled Commentary on Tractinsky’s ‘Visual Aesthetics’ in The Encyclopedia of Interaction Design that aesthetic experiences and/or responses, “…contributes directly to human knowledge and understanding of the world.”  What I am trying to say here is, Giger took a medium that we know for getting t-shirts made at the mall with and completely changed our  connotation as to what it can be used for.  He challenged our understanding of the world and made us see a medium and the image many people had for a singer in a new light here.  Warhol did the same thing.  He made us realize that everything we have in our lives, that someone designed or created that, and that is could and should be seen as art, whether it be an airbrushed image or a reproduced Brillo box.

While reading Folkmann, in particular the area which discusses the platform of conceptual-hermetical, it reminded me a lot of a particular song, which the writer says is about one thing, but has been used in ways that reflect the exact opposite.

As Folkmann states on page 42, “[H]ow meaning is staged and how the design reflects this meaning through its actual presence  and unfolding in a physical setting by means of sensual aspects of form, materials, and color, for example.”

I can remember seeing a documentary about the Fleetwood Mac album, Rumours, where the members of the band went through each song on the album and spoke of the recording process, what was happening when the song was being written, and what the song was about.  I believe it was John McVie, when discussing the song “Don’t Stop,” that stated it was not written for Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign (it was heavily used in commercials, rallies, etc, I was not old enough at the time to remember), but rather his ex-wife Christine wrote it about their divorce.  I later noticed the irony while at the IU Homecoming game, when the announcer said the year’s Homecoming theme was togetherness and announced the Marching Hundred was going to play the song, “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac.

Why is it this song, which is, lyrically, about a marriage falling apart, being played as having a positive message of looking forward to something or togetherness?  I believe it it is through the aesthetics as described by M. N. Folkmann through the platform he calls conceptual-hermetical, or the way we understand or interpret something.  Folkmann would, on the following page state,

“[O]ne of the central capacities of the imagination seen within the context of aesthetic artifacts is to create new modes and models of relating the sensuous-material and the ideational-conceptual.”

To relate this back to “Don’t Stop,” the song itself has a very uplifting aesthetic to it.  The chorus is telling the person to look forward to something, the music is very cheery sounding, even though it was inspired by a negative point of a person’s life, it has the ability to change its meaning through parts of the whole.  On page 44, Folkmann points out,

“[O]bjects wanting to be perceived as aesthetic, as discussed above in the context of the aesthetic relationship – can sill be separated from other objects.”

This is the point I am wanting to make with this and what I got from Folkmann.  Even though the lyrics and meaning of the song come from a difficult time person, the aesthetics of the song in its given context change how people interpret the meaning.  When used in President Clinton’s 1992, the aesthetics of the song were used to make people look forward to electing him, that he will bring a positive administration to the United States, and the Marching Hundred performing it at Homecoming used the same aesthetic, both past, present, and future alumni are together to work for a better tomorrow.

When Folkmann states that aesthetics, when used in a context of the aesthetic relationship, I think this is a good example of how it can change people’s understanding of the work.  It can take something with a negative experience behind it and change it to the exact opposite, something with a positive outlook.


I am actually kind of happy I waited a while to write about the Cross reading. While looking over my notes , I wrote down, “people know what to do because of experience.”  From this quote, I really believe this is the biggest take away I have from this paper.

Probably the only part of the reading that grabbed me was the section about Phillip Starke and the Juicy Salif.  It was a concrete example that backed up what Cross was saying in Design Ability on page eight, “…designing is not a search for the optimum solution to the given problem, but that it is an exploratory process.”  By looking at this lemon squeezer, would anyone really know why it was designed the way it was just by looking at it?  Probably not, because they do not share the same experiences as Startke.  Even if they read the same comic book, there is a good chance each person understood it differently, maybe they did not even pay much attention to the alien insects in the story, but rather the army fighting back the space invaders.  The experience shaped what Starke thought Juicy Salif should look like and fit into the home, he would then just have to leave it up to the engineers to figure out how it would work.  However, how would an alternative experience have changed Starke’s design?

Cross wants to say a lot of it deals with intuition, using the examples of two faces or a cup and two triangles or the Star of David.  Now having the chance to discuss this paper and coming back to it, I understand a lot of what he is arguing by this example.  A lot of things really depend on how the designer wants to look at things.  Starke got a plate of calamari, which probably had lemon on it, and he was able to draw a connection.  An example outside the reading is one I saw on Project Runway Allstars.  In the first episode, designers had to design a look for singer Deborah Harry.  Elena had a leather jacket that was not turning out the way she was wanting it to, but intuition told her to look at it differently.  She decided to put the jacket on the model backwards and the judges absolutely loved it, including the person it was being designed for.

What this comes down to, it really all depends on how the designer wants to look at things.  If you look at it just as a plate of squid or as a really bad jacket that cannot be worn any other way, then the intuition of design will be harder to come to.  It is when things are looked at in new ways, I believe, is what Cross was trying to argue is design thinking.

While reading Rowe, I wanted to find how each of the design processes used in the case studies were related to the design process I have taken part in.  Each case study and the design method used by the respective architect has its advantages and disadvantages, but what really surprised me, was how they are professionals in their field and doing some of the things they did.

To start with the first case study, it appeared as if they did not really understand the whole problem and it is the case study I found to be the most problematic. They were very much focused on how the buildings should appear together, but did not focus on the whole problem.  They would complete a design and then discover something they forgot, such as a parking lot, which they knew was going to take up a lot of space in order to facilitate parking for all the employees the new development was going to bring it.  What really stood out though was when they then had to change the design significantly because they did not take into account the geography of the development lot.  It was not until the very end when they said, “Oh yeah, we have to work with this body of water that is also here.”  It appeared to me they did not look into the whole problem before designing, which slowed down the entire process, which was to understand the area they were designing for.

The second case study I had issues with was the third case study.  It reminds me a lot of a project where my group was undecided as to what we wanted to do.  We decided to each come up with a few ideas and then decide from those.  As a result it just becomes messy and it never became clear to me while reading as if the architect was actually confident in the final design for the library.

The final case study I wish to look at is with the second.  It is the one that I relate the most to.  The designer had a vision and an aesthetic, one that was not given up on, however, problems appeared early as to how the design was going to fit around the body of water in the middle of the site.  They ultimately had to walk away from the initial design and go for a much simpler idea, however in the process, it appeared as if their aesthetic was lost and it became a much more standard design.

How does this all come together.  These are all mistakes I have made personally in my own design processes, but until you make them yourself, this is the only way to see them as they happen.  While I do want to say Rowe was able to identify some attributes of design thinking, it almost appears as if he inexplicably identified it as being a process trial and error, which in some aspects, that is true and it is better to find out early than after the actual physical development being started, but it just seems in all three case studies, the architects did not look into a lot of very important requirements into account.