Tuesday 9 March 2010

Lecture Seven: Trash

Trash has traditionally been seen as the unnecessary by-product of progress: the further we advance, the more trash we generate. Green strategies in design, together with the use of recycled materials have become commonplace in recent years. But what about the discarded trash of our popular culture? Not only are old images, themes and footage recycled in communication design but an entire trash aesthetics has come into being – classic ‘kustom kar’ pinstriping, tattoo ‘flash art’, tiki art, musical exotica, pulp fiction, burlesque bump and grind and Z-grade movies have all provided a refuge for designers tired of the banalities of a mainstream culture increasingly run by multinational media corporations. When large banking concerns like HSBC start boasting that ‘understanding culture is our business’, how completely do you now want to be misunderstood? Run (don’t walk) to the nearest exit.

Context themes covered: spectacle, politics, ethics, power

See also:
The Wunderkammer in the Cellar
Utter Trash
Wrestling Midgets Are Killed By Fake Hookers
The Purple Death

Some websites you might enjoy visiting (what, you wanna read books on this stuff?)
Les Baxter
Big Daddy Roth
Frank Kozik
Mark Ryden
Korero Books
The Horse Hospital

Embedded YouTube trash bonanza (from the bottom up): Vintage Luchra Libra images from Mexico (give it a minute or two); Von Dutch, who paints a straighter line drunk than you ever could sober, talks about the origins of pinstriping with Big Daddy Roth; Martin Denny on ‘Hawaii Calls’; plus Maria Montez proves she’s the Queen of Technicolor in this scene from the 1944 film Cobra Woman

No comments: