Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Let me tell you a great story.

Jamie Reid is an extremely important designer. He designed the cover for "God Save the Queen", the pivotal Sex Pistols album from 1977, which was released to coincide with the Queen's Silver Jubilee Celebrations, and was subsequently banned from all airwaves. At the time, it was all seen as a pretty fucked-up thing to do.
In 2001, a panel of English judges (composed of editors and artists) agreed that it was the "best record cover ever produced." Apparently, over the Beatles White Album. The point is, times change, and revolution metamorphoses into art. That's how stuff happens.
So here's what I want to tell you about Jamie Reid. Whether this is true or not, I don't know. But lore is sometimes more powerful than reality.
When Reid was doing the bulk of his punk, DIY work; when he was fighting uniformity; he wrote a manifesto. The first copy of this manifesto was produced on a typer. The next copy was a photocopy of the first. The next, a photocopy of the second, and the ninth, a copy of the eighth. You have gotten the picture. If you have ever played with a photocopying machine (especially an older one), you know that as you copy things, they degrade. So as each copy of this manifesto was produced, it was more and more corroded and destroyed-looking. But then, to wrap it up, he bound it in sandpaper. So as it was shelved, being removed and put back in place, it would destroy the shelf and every book it touched. It corroded the other books. It destroyed the world around it. It had a vicious personality.
And there.
One of the most complete, most satisfying conceptual executions ever created.
That is design at its apex. That is thinking.


Alex Tea said...

This sounds like a similar concept to one that Christian Marclay has used with his vinyl releases. Storing them in sandpaper sleeves that corrode not only the record inside, but the covers of those stored next to it, and releasing records without sleeves or dust covers at all.

Anonymous said...