Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Notes about James Marston Fitch: "The Esthetics of Plenty" 1961

There is a crisis in design. Our design is flabby. Because we are too rich? Too wealthy? It seems that high levels of artistic accomplishment occur only in wealthy cultures...
Massproduction has made the consumer into an ignorant. He has to make his choice between a range of limited products and cannot discuss with the craftman and neither the craftman can be informed about how to improve a product. Modern mass production has succeed in filling our material needs but with artifacts whose esthetic quality is ordinarily quite low. The limits of time and space have been destroyed. Wisdom from a very narrow range of materials and techniques is gone. This wisdom made craftmen know the products intimately and the consumer learning them. Our material and culture discoveries have destroyed our comfortable local esthetic and the concept of relativity has been applied to our esthetic standard (the severe crisis in foundation in the 19th)
It relates to William Morris question: Why do high rates of productivity and high esthetic standards seem so often to be mutually exclusive?All is designed to maintain a minimum of material quality with more security, more sanitary. The soviet consumer seem to be even less demanding than its american counterpart. The soviet design has no more leverage on societ manufacture than the us and is as much a prisoner of his managment.
Is there a solution? exploration of a new kind of integration of modern mechanized production? Maybe it is possible to combine modern production and local knowledge. Folk knowledge could be preserved, and should be preserved and could be combined to the standards of performance.
The escalator effect in which satiety is never overtaken makes is necessary a kind of education: that of learning to be an adult, or in fact to be human...as the psychologist Norman Brown would say it would involve the reconstruction not only of human society but of human counsciousness as well.

By Cati in Product Design

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