Category Archives: technology

Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008)

Addio Rauschenberg

Retroactive I (1964) by Robert Rauschenberg

Photo from the Flickr collection of ALFAP

Robert Rauschenberg (October 22 1925May 12 2008) was an American artist who came to prominence in the 1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art and best-known for such works as Retroactive I (1964) which “collaged” images of current events gathered from magazines and newspapers. A large press photograph of John F. Kennedy speaking at a televised news conference was the source for this screen print on canvas. He juxtaposed the image of Kennedy with another photo silkscreen of a parachuting astronaut. The overlapping, and seemingly disparate, composition creates a colorful visual commentary on a media-saturated culture struggling to come to grips with the television era. (see Susan Hapgood’s Neo-Dada, Redefining Art 1958-1962)

The painting was described by John Coulthart in 2008 as a work that could easily serve as an illustration to J. G. Ballard‘s The Atrocity Exhibition. Coulthart added that “Rauschenberg was one of a handful of artists who seemed to depict in visual terms what Ballard was describing in words. In this respect Robert Hughes’s discussion of the “landscape of media” [in The Shock of the New (1980)] (Ballard’s common phrase would be “media landscape”) is coincidental but significant.” [1]

The energy of art

No-Stop City, Interior Landscape, 1969

No-Stop City, Interior Landscape, 1969 by Archizoom Associati

It was American experimental musician Rhys Chatham who first pointed out that the energy of art is always equal (except in periods of extreme hardship such as famine and war, where production tapers off), but has at the same time the tendency to displace itself. In music for example, the energy in the 1950s was in rock and roll, in the 1980s it was to be found in house music and techno.

The energy in international design in the late 1960s and early 1970s was clearly to be found in Italy. Displayed above is No-Stop City, a “radical design” architectural project by Archizoom Associati first introduced to the public in 1969. It is a critique of the ideology of architectural modernism, of which Archizoom felt that it had reached its limits. The artistic discourse of that era was buzzing with the term neo avant-garde, in a period that corresponds with Late Modernism or early postmodern art. The term neo avant-garde was rejected by many, but the term can be interpreted to refer to a second wave of avant-garde art such as Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Nouveau Réalisme and Fluxus.

If you want to read up on this period, please consult the following excellent volume:

The Hot House (1984) – Andrea Branzi [] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Prices in Amazon Europe are around 40€, in America starting from 12USD, a bargain.


World cinema classics #39


Erotissimo is a 1968 FrenchItalian film directed by Gérard Pirès. Its theme is a satire on the use of sex in advertising and sexual objectification of women. I’ve mentioned this film before and posted a different trailer, but this trailer is superb, good rhythm, extremely funny (sorry French only!), nice score and stunning visuals.

Previous “World Cinema Classics” and in the Wiki format here.

Icons of erotic art #7

Although French artist Francis Picabia’s work from the 1940s such as [1], [2], [3] and Woman with Bulldog [4]; which borrowed generously from soft-core pornography, is a much more likely candidate for the Icons of erotic art series, today I wish to celebrate Picabia’s entirely unerotic 1915 work: Portrait of an American Girl in the Nude[5], a drawing which depicts a spark plug supposedly representing Agnes Meyer. It is a satirical homage to the machine age and the American pin up girl.

Images sourced at Lemateurdart and K-Punk.

I have been looking for host body


I viewed Enki Bilal‘s film Immortal (starring Charlotte Rampling) over the weekend and liked it, although story-wise it’s not a very good film. It rendered the graphic novels which I was so crazy about when I was in my early twenties quite beautifully: the sense of futurism mixed with decay, high tech mingled with dirt which you will also find in Tanino Liberatore‘s RanXerox. The feeling of loneliness and of alienation, the wide open spaces and futuristic, multi-level cities, the cast of humans mixed with “non humans” make for interesting viewing. However, if you can spare the time and the money, go for the original graphic novels.