In every design form, being a product, an industry, a piece of furniture, a collage Artwork, a book cover, a poetry or even a white canvas, the author indicated the importance of the final product as to be a surface of reference on which people can build their own ongoing visual standardization of form and function which guarantees the easiness of use for as much people as possible.
The idea of standardization is not quite new. Greeks experienced this system before when they gave Architecture a “Coda of design” that Architects should follow in terms of proportions that in later days, anyone could understand this or that ancient building to be a Greek building or a Roman one. In fact, it wasn’t only Greeks who followed standardization system. Romans, Byzantine, Persians, Egyptians and Muslims had their own systems as well. Surprisingly, those systems guaranteed the one image design for each of those civilizations. Maybe the aims of those systems were not the same as in our paper here, because in our paper the system is more human rather than traditional, religious or superstitious.
The author raised a question in a form a wondering in which the practice and idea of design were able to redefine the place of artistic activities as they developed in the beginning of the twentieth century. In fact, the difference of aims in the standardization systems gave the author the ability to redefine modern forms and functions to be communal in space and time rather than in scriptures and doctrines. In a way that he already answered the question thoroughly in the text. This reminds me of the transitional period between the late romantic era and the modern one. The transition in which Art became less superstitious and more humane, in which Art started to speak of man and for people’s needs rather than personal aesthetics.
As the author went through the examination of his argument, he offered two totally different examples of forms of design in which he placed an Architect, Behrens, as the creator of objects that follow directly people’s needs and who is involved in the mass production of communal equipment in order to reduce the objects produced to a certain number of typical forms. Unlike the poet, the Architect deals with fine-tuned end products which directly deal with human demands and experience. In simple words, Behrens wanted to simplify objects’ forms as much as they meet the function of it. A form that follows function in which its streamline of production is called Types.
The poet, Mallarme, on the other hand is dealing with visual actions of words where one can experience motion, appearance, colors and shapes manifested in imaginative forms. These streamlines manifestations are also called Types. A good example of the dancer is a good approach here.
Although it is hard to establish a common ground for both the Architect and the Poet in terms of the visual of the end product experience, the author had gone too far in comparison that he wanted to establish a functional experience that both examples can perform in their own practical production. To put it in another way, the engineer works on a physical product based on the previously talked about streamlines of types when the poet works on visual products based on the streamlines that he called both “Types”. The two forms of products are conjoined in one graphical experience the end user can inhabit its language.
The idea of a form that follows function is not entirely clear if we measured it from the point of view that describes physical forms being so simple that they are standardized but the form of standardization in which the engineer and the poet are following in order to give a communal experience of a form of life is where form follows function appears. And here I quote the author: “The correspondence between the form of objects and their function, and between their icons and their nature, is at the heart of the idea of type”.
The poet believes that his types are purely represented in the world of artefacts where everyone is exactly where they should be. In other words, one can tell that this idea of forms that follow functions is what distinguish both the Architect and the Poet. The idea that they both work on the same level of types to guide everyone right away to their exact place and location. Those locations, being a physical experience, a visual memory, a reading or even an imagination are in a way of another controlled by the same types formulated in one communal existence by the creator.
In order to explain more about this link, the author had to bring some more examples in the poet’s forms of design because apparently describing a poet is much harder in terms of visuals. In this instance, the example of the dancer who doesn’t trace figures with her feet, instead she dances with her dress which she unfolds then refolds, making herself a fountain or a butterfly. This form of dancing which was greatly used in different promotional products as an advertising approach was clear in some of those days production lines. The dancer later became an important figure that lot of vendors adopted her image to be placed on their products. This is not a coincidence that the connection became very clear through the connotation of the object magnified as a visual. This example shows what the poet can gave in common with the visual product of the engineer in a sense that they both share a communal surface in the shape of a Type where signs, forms and acts become equal.
The author later spoke of a contrasting world transformed in his example of the poet as to be the illusionist and the engineer as to be the real. Both the engineer and the poet share one material world in a way or another that the engineer being a neo-Gothic Reverie or the poet being a modernist because both of them adapt one material world by working on its basic everyday elements and objects. In addition, this shared world of basic elements helped shape the common ground of a function being followed by a form.
In the second part of the text, the author commenced another attempt of comparison. This time came two aspects of the object, sign and form, as an example of differentiation between activity and action. And here I would like to mention that the author didn’t clearly indicated activity and action in their basic meaning, instead he explained them as forms of Arts and everyday objects on which I relied to improvise their meaning to become action and activity where Forms of Arts are called actions and Forms of everyday objects are called activity. This can be understood more in the previous response paper.
The relationship between Art forms and Life forms can be clearly understood in the paper that both are related to the current times of modernity in a sense that they share the same surface of design as form will always be simplified to meet its basic function. This can also be seen in the minimalism of the orthodox icons as to meet its own function in the bible; two dimension with no detailed distraction. The difference between the modern forms of Arts and the previous example is not the visual only, but the philosophy behind the simplicity of the image that in the Orthodox icons, the form of the image follows traditional function where the autonomy of the icon painting is considered to be functional only if it refers exactly to the scripture with no relation to human understanding while in the second example of the modern image, the form follows the human functions where autonomy refers to be only a human communicational understanding. I here quote the author: “Pictorial flatness was never synonymous with the autonomy of art. The flat surface was always a surface of communication where words and images slid into one another”. In addition, the author relied on another explanation of a shared surface that although painting a poetry are keeping distances between the both, they do share on imitation of each other.
At the end, and in order to frame the link between the engineer as an industrial design and the poet as a symbolic writer as they are sharing one surface, the author classified two major links. One was by the development of the typography and its uses over the modern era in graphic design and design in general and the ideal relationships where dimensions became readable from different spatial perspectives as in the dancer example and the autonomy of a painting the on the other hand, the author explained three notions of graphic design shared surface that I could barely explain it better than the author himself when he indicated the equal footing on which everything lend itself to Art; the surface of conversion where words, forms and things exchange roles and the surface of equivalence where the symbolic writing of forms equally lends itself to expressions of pure Art.
All to be considered, the purity of Arts and the combinations of its forms with the forms of life share one surface which instantly help forms go together.