First things first

The First things first manifesto was first published in 1964 and was signed by 22 artists. We were questioning if the manifesto is still up to date, what was the main argument and what would we add to the manifesto. As far as I am concerned, artists still for instance design daily use products, its boxes and stuff but they want art to be more important and they want more proper jobs. Now art is not only understood by paintings or sculptures but now in the digital software era, artists are able to do everything to make life easier by designing stuff.

During this CTS session, we watched a Charlie Chaplin’s movie Modern Times (1963) which was related to the situation at the time. Big factories were manufacturing goods without artists, craftspeople but previously designed and made by them. This led to negative reactions on the mass production so the organisation against started to develop. One of these was Arts and Crafts Movement (1880s) and it spread from the UK to America or Japan. We saw few examples of work produced by William Morris (1834-1896) followed by his quote ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’ (The Beauty of Life, a lecture before the Birmingham Society of Arts and School of Design (19 February 1880), later published in Hopes and Fears for Art: Five Lectures Delivered in Birmingham, London, and Nottingham, 1878 – 1881). 

We also went through Design for a better world: The Bauhaus (1919 – 1933, Germany). They embraced functionalism, geometric formalism and machine aesthetic. Under the Nazi pressure, Bauhaus closes and many artists emigrate to the US.

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