1. Ken Garland


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    Ken Garland From the ManifestFest, the anniversary of the publication of Ken Garland’s First Things First manifesto, 22-23 November 2014, Warsaw, Poland British designer, writer and activist. He is most famous for his involvement in the anti-war campaign of the 1960s as well as for his First Things First manifesto, in which he encouraged designers to make use of their talents for the benefit of society. Signed by many designers, architects and artists, this document was published in 1964. In 2000, the manifesto was re-written and published in leading design magazines around the world. In 1962 Garland has founded Ken Garland & Associates studio, which led the Campaign Against Nuclear Disarmament. Among Garland’s clients are: Galt Toys, Paramount Pictures, the British Labour Party and the Ministry of Technology. Garland has lectured at Central School of Art and Design, University of Reading, Royal College of Art and the University of Brighton. He has also published numerous books, including Mr. Beck’s Underground Map and A World in Your Eye. www.design-crit.pl/manifestfest.pl

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    • Sheila Levrant de Bretteville - Tone +


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      Sheila Levrant de Bretteville Tone + From the ManifestFest, the anniversary of the publication of Ken Garland’s First Things First manifesto, 22-23 November 2014, Warsaw, Poland This presentation will consider how tone of voice, historic moment, site specificity, mode of production and distribution contribute to the affect and effect of responses from a diverse audience. The presenter wishes to extend an invitation to all to participate in the signification of this conference. Sheila Levrant de Bretteville American designer and lecturer whose works reflect her interest in feminism, participatory design and various needs of local communities. Sheila Levrant de Bretteville was one of the s cosignatories of the First Things First 2000 manifesto. In 1971, at California Institute, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville initiated the first design studio dedicated for women. She also was a co-founder of The Women’s Building, public cultural centre for women, along with it’s part – Women’s Graphic Centre in Los Angeles, where women could learn, work as graphic designers and accomplish their on projects. In 1981 she initiated the visual communication program at the Otis Art Institute at the Parsons School of Design. Since 1990 she is the Graphic Design director at Yale University, one of the oldest and the most important Graphic Departments in United States. www.design-crit.pl/manifestfest.pl

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      • Jan Sowa - Dialectics of design or the unbearable persistence of avant-garde


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        Jan Sowa Dialectics of design or the unbearable persistence of avant-garde From the ManifestFest, the anniversary of the publication of Ken Garland’s First Things First manifesto, 22-23 November 2014, Warsaw, Poland According to legend, in 1796, Hegel, Schelling, and Hölderlin, sharing a dormitory room in seminar in Tübingen, wrote together a short text called today The Oldest program of the German system of idealism. Their vision of a future world, where poetry becomes “a teacher of mankind” built a general discursive framework for the project articulated in details, more than 100 years later, by the avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century. Their constitutive postulate - the elimination of the boundaries between art and everyday life can be aptly described in terms of the Hegelian dialectic: the positivity of art confronts the negativity of life, to eventually abolish (Aufheben) both in the future world of avant-garde synthesis. That manifestation of redefinition of what can and should be a creative activity, accompanied by rejection of the Kantian aesthetic sphere of pure, devoid of practical value beauty, has permanently transformed the horizon, not only of the art itself, but of all kinds of creativity understood as endowing the world sensually perceived with forms born in the mind. The essential purpose of the avant-garde rupture has never been achieved: art and life remained spheres separated from each other. Very few or simply no one longer believes that the blurring of boundaries between them could have ever happened. On the other hand the avant-garde project seems to be something more than just one of the many aesthetic manifestos already entirely and completely belonging to the past. Avant-garde is more like an undead zombie: not able to live fully, it cannot also eventually vanish and, in persistently recurring manifestos, it constantly reminds that poetry should be a teacher of mankind, that is - in more contemporary words - the creative act should be socially significant. Design, that is as much a child of avant-garde as ready-mades, situationism or conceptual art are, carries this unresolvable tension, therefore even though it is the most commercialized part of the post avant-garde heritage, it is systematically destabilised by the postulates of its social (and in the broadest meaning of this world – political) commitment. This commercialization and marketization is nothing else then weird and faked, yet actual incarnation of the avant-garde postulate of blurring the boundaries between art and life (between individualized and personalized aesthetic creativity and standardized, endlessly repeatable industrial production). It is also, unfortunately, this moment, when as Marx wanted the tragedy is repeated as the farce. The is why design will rather not settle down in any market balance as long as it is haunted by subsequent phantoms of social responsibility, until, as a hero of a Greek tragedy, it will not fulfil its fate destined at the moment of its avant-garde conception. Jan Sowa studied Polish philology, philosophy and psychology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and at the University of Paris 8 in Saint-Denis. He works in the Department of Anthropology of Literature and Cultural Studies at the Jagiellonian University. Since 2009 he has actively cooperated with the Free/Slow University of Warsaw. He has published a collection of essays A Season in the Puppet Theater (2003), as well as the monographs Rejoice, Late Grandson! Colonialism, Globalization and Radical Democracy and The King's Phantom Body: Peripheral Wrestlings with Modern Form (2011). He has published all together about one hundred texts and reviews in Poland and abroad. www.design-crit.pl/manifestfest.pl

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        • Alison J Clarke - How Things Don’t Work: Victor Papanek and the Humanist Design Agenda


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          Alison J Clarke How Things Don’t Work: Victor Papanek and the Humanist Design Agenda From the ManifestFest, the anniversary of the publication of Ken Garland’s First Things First manifesto, 22-23 November 2014, Warsaw, Poland Victor Papanek, author of the bestselling book Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change (1971) generated a popular polemic and powerful critique so as to inspire a generation of designers to turn their backs on conventional product design. Instead, 1970s design students embraced a political, humanist agenda that placed toys for disadvantaged children, hospital apparatus, and ‘indigenous’ technology for ‘developing countries’ above the mere styling of desirable consumer items. Attacking the corporate ‘Aspen Crowd’ accused of peddling design as an empty utopian practice, Papanek’s clarion call heralded a long overdue manifesto for industrial design: For he sought to expose how things don’t work both in the literal and metaphoric sense. This talk explores the origins of Papanek’s rhetoric and questions just how radical his ideas for change really were, and why they came to hold such an intractable allure. Alison J Clarke 
Professor of Design History and Theory and Director of the Victor Papanek Foundation at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. She specializes in histories and ethnographic research concerning the politics and social relations of design. After receiving her Masters in Design History from the Royal College of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Clarke went on to complete her PhD. in social anthropology and material culture under the supervision of Professor Daniel Miller, at the University College London. She is the author of Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950s America (Smithsonian Press) and Design Anthropology: Object Culture in the 21st Century (Springer). Clarke has been a design expert in major BBC television series, including the award-winning The Genius of Design (BBC 2). She lectures internationally, and she is a co-founder and managing editor of the journal Home Cultures: Architecture, Design and Domestic Space. She publishes in both anthropological and design historical academic spheres. Recently she has co-curated the exhibition How Things Don’t Work: The Dreamscape of Victor Papanek (2014), with Jamer Hunt and Fiona Raby, at Parsons School for Design, NYC, exploring the deconstruction of product design’s traditional cultures. www.design-crit.pl/manifestfest.pl

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          • First Things First Manifesto – written by Ken Garland – interpreted by the Fall Art 202/302/702 class


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            This piece represents the culmination of my students' final project for the Fall 2014 Art 202/302/702 – Advanced Design course at Lehman College. Each students was given a segment of text copy from Ken Garland’s "First Things First" manifesto (1964): Each student took their segment of copy and created a treatment as a poster after the style of a well-known and important designer from the following list: Filippo Tommaso Marinetti Kasmir Malevich Theo Van Doesberg Jan Tschichold Laszlo Moholy-Nagy Joseph Albers Emil Ruder Alexey Brodovitch Saul Bass Otl Aicher Bradbury Thompson Barbara Kruger Michael Johnson Each student researched their designer in an effort to understand his or her aesthetic and design philosophy, and then incorporated this into their own piece. Thereupon each student created a simple motion graphics piece from their poster composition, employing what is known as the parallax effect.

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            • Grzegorz Laszuk and the Raiders of the Lost Things - The First Things, the Lost Things


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              Grzegorz Laszuk and the Raiders of the Lost Things The First Things - The Lost Things From the ManifestFest, the anniversary of the publication of Ken Garland’s First Things First manifesto, 22-23 November 2014, Warsaw, Poland www.design-crit.pl/manifestfest.pl

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              • Ken Garland talks to Unit Editions part 2


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                Ken Garland talks to Unit Editions about his essay 'Structure and Substance' Buy the book here: http://uniteditions.com/shop/ken-garland Unit Editions: So your early ambitions were to be an illustrator? Ken Garland: They were, and I compared my work with other students who were doing illustration and I thought it just wasn't good enough. The switch to graphic design was for two reasons; first of all because I didn't think I was a good enough illustrator. Secondly, because graphic design appeared to me to be a more exciting area of work, quite simply. So that was fairly painless. I threw away all my work in illustration. I wish I hadn’t now, I’d love to see what I was up to then. But I just junked the whole lot, without compunction. Unit Editions: And where did you look for inspiration? You talked about studying with a wonderful group of graphic designers. Where were you looking for other graphic design that you thought was something to aim for? Were you looking to Europe? Ken Garland: Yes I was, very much so. I was looking at the work of the German graphic designers in the1920s, and at Swiss graphic design in the 1930s and1940s, and at current Swiss graphic design, which seemed to be single-minded. I wasn't quite so totally wrought up in Swiss graphic design as many of my fellows were. Many of my fellows were so enmeshed in that area that they couldn't see anyone could ever, for example, set anything in anything other than helvetica. I think helvetica was just coming into use then, or Germanic sans serif types anyway. It seemed to be rather narrow-minded to me then, and of course it does now, but that’s what we were into. The article I wrote, ‘Structure and substance’, compared two of my favourite designers; Karl Gerstner the Swiss graphic designer (with wider interests than other Swiss graphic designers I have to say), and Saul Bass, whose work I was becoming aware of in the middle- to late-1950s. Both of them seemed to me to be excellent examples. What I wanted to suggest was that we, in the middle of that, as it were, could combine the virtues of both. I think that’s the way I saw my own work: if possible, being a fusion of the work of Karl Gerstner and the work of Saul Bass. Karl Gerstner, incidentally, was my age and I met him in Switzerland when I went in 1960 to do a survey of Swiss graphic design and graphic printing for the Council of Industrial Design, who were the publishers of Design Magazine. So we became friends then. I met Saul Bass on his visits over here; he became a friend as well. I thought that there was a way in which graphic design could not be narrow-minded, not be channeled into over-specific tastes, but could take on all sorts of stuff. I thought that then and still do.

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                • Ken Garland talks to Unit Editions


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                  Five decades later, Ken Garland reflects on the legacy of his famous 1964 First Things First manifesto. Buy Unit Editions' Ken Garland: Structure and Substance here: http://uniteditions.com/shop/ken-garland

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                  • WEDF // Ken Garland // 14 May 2014


                    from West of England Design Forum / Added

                    Devoted, selfless and passionate; Ken Garland is a designer who has been at the forefront of Britain’s creative culture since 1962, where his involvement in the British Nuclear disarmament campaign became the driving force behind its visual message; a pursuit that he happily followed without pay. He then gained notoriety for writing the ‘First Thing’s First Manifesto’ in 1963, which rallied designers to a mantra of using their talents towards a more meaningful goal, opposing the notion that graphic design is most lucrative when serving the whims of advertising. After forming Ken Garland & Associates, (his own agency that he vowed would never grow beyond four people), Garland worked with such clients as Galt Toys, and designed everything from brands to children’s games and furniture, all the while ensuring he was still well practiced his other passions, photography and lecturing. Over 50 years after First Thing’s First, Garland is still a predominant figure in the graphic design industry, connecting countless generations of new designers through the inspiration and insight he has gained through his illustrious career. ‘Graphic Designers: where do we go from here?’ will showcase the values, wisdom and ideology of one of Britain’s most treasured designers through his own flair and enthusiasm.

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                    • kengarland


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                      ken garland on his First Things First manifesto

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