form+zweck 13:

Five Levels of a Wink

Fünf Ebenen eines Augenblicks

form+zweck 1996

ISBN 3-9804679-1-0

128 p.

Price: 24 Euro



The end is near. Death is being talked about, written about, studied; bodies are being chopped up, stripped down, disposed of, and, layer by layer, scanned into the digital archive. The very notion of work is in demise, the welfare state is dying; following the end of modern age the time has come for the sweet decomposition of post-modernism. Species are becoming extinct. The senses, first immaterialised and accelerated, now revolve around what is horrible, what is ugly and what is disgusting; the screens offer only fragile defence against the body parts and the corpses which impress us in the internal world of these devices.


Ettore Sottsass summed it all up recently in Münster when he pronounced that the art of design was now obsolete. Design, he said, amounted to making more beautiful canons. ...


Neither has death passed us by. Our editorial team is also facing axtinction. Dangers are lurking everywhere for producers of texts. It is not only the fight for survival, for a writer's very existence. In an oppressive atmosphere which imposes brutal selection criteria; collaboration between graphic designers and authors often leaves the graphic designers with blood dripping from their fingers - at least, that is, according to a recent edition of Emigre. I n the battle to survive in the print media it is form which has proved to be the victorious principle. At a press conference for fuse, David Carson was entirely in earnest when he said he believed the best way to combat the growing illiteracy among the youth of America (and the increasing number of people cancelling their subsciptions to leading newspapers) would be to make the written word more difficult to read: theadded satisfaction, he said, involved in deciphering the letters was a key factor in the consumption of texts. What have things come to when illiteracy is to be combated with a flood of images, when words are only the material for the designers become artist, that is to say when the designer casts off his inhabitions in a craving for the limelight?



... Of course, the plundering of the bodies of both man and beast, of things and significant signs, as well as the joy over the emphemeral which is constantly evoked, have the aim of creating a situation of acceptance, of familiarisation, of capitulation, The images of the ephemeral represent it as something positive; something which inuces a sense of identity, and the appropriate labels are soon in place: deconstruction, grufties, design.

We do not believe that the author is dead simply because hos existence does not pay. But the ephemeral nature of the author's existence not only reflects an economic process, or a mere trend: the ephemeral existence of the author is, aside from outside influences, a result of self-abnegation, of reduced superstition when it comes to the sacredness and the veracity of the printed word. It is the author alone who can dispel the fate that it is always those who speak, that is who are authors, who are right. This is a task which can hardly been demanded of the reader.

Jörg Petruschat