Readers who are interested in philosophy may already be aware of the work done by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Their exploration of Rhizomatic Concept touched on the necessity for one to exist in order to permit the other. Clearly we focus on the good and bad moral contrast in most cases however we can apply this thinking tool to any concept we choose to explore. Is the opposite of a chair a non present chair, a floor, or perhaps a sitting person? Art and philosophy can and will choose these grey areas of human thought in order to establish something of a general consensus.
Rhizomes in nature are root bundles or fleshy growths on the roots of living plants. These biological expressions often contain high concentrations of nutrients on which the plant can feed. Within the Rhizomatic Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, the rhizome represents a set of non-related entry and exit points for information taken from data. This may sound fairly abstract, however it basically means that instead of reading huge data sets (lots of numbers and information) in start to finish linear ways, plotting it all and finding the outcome, this alternative method looks at the whole and cross references sections within data to find specific patterns. It's a more holistic method of analysis which can be applied to complex relationships like those found in society.
Because of this abstract nature, looking for opposites and relationships between them in large-scale observations, this has inspired a lot of well thought art in response. Playing on rhizome theory of philosophy and statistical analysis has helped British artist Gheorghe Virtosu to establish a trend within abstract colour and form. Showing how dependency and contrast play together in the role of expressing striking imagery helps to highlight how opposites in life do the same for us. By showing that contrast and comparison can become beautiful and eye-catching, we can perhaps see how deeper understanding of our own situations can be found.
Of course, Gheorghe Virtosu has a continual theme which can be spotted in his work, however what does it allude to? There appears to be a great deal of tension within the joining of opposites, the colours and shapes each stretch to breaking point in order to remain static in their fixed places. We're drawn to the drama of flow and the energy that clings like gravity in visual magnetism. Clear definition of movement can be felt in the flowing and sudden works, although a stable image, the opposites and their relationships to one another spark intuitive appreciation for their personalities.
Want to have a go? Learn the basics of abstract painting online in your own time.
When I hear the word Brutalist, I'm instantly transported to my days on Park Hill in Sheffield, where I lived for over a decade. It's a famously brutalist building with a thousand self-similar maisonettes all squished up in a wiggly concrete labyrinth. It truly is a labyrinth, as upon moving in to my first place, it wasn't for many years before I had memorised the entire layout. Every nook and cranny had its own community living there, in which people knew each other's name and we all did our best to look out for each other. That is if you made an effort to blend in, if you kept yourself to yourself, that's exactly what you got. I was so enchanted by the place that I wrote a book, which some of you may already know.
However, this 1960s concrete behemoth was part of a culture of building brash and unapologetically unaesthetic structures which fulfilled a defined purpose. Car parks, factories, office blocks, and housing estates all got their fair share of the style. We've all likely seen a brutalist building, it's made of concrete, it's got huge fascias, and it's blocky. Little or no effort was taken to make it look appealing, when creating functional and affordable solutions to everyday problems like housing, competition was not an issue. It wasn't important to appeal to those who could be choosy, these were buildings with a social purpose.
It's way out of date now, and we likely won't be seeing any brutalism soon when it comes to new builds. We associate it with the time, and often with dilapidated states. However the concept has carried on. It may have had a rest period, through the 1980s, but simple, effective, and non-swish design has resurfaced. Where? Online. Even this website could likely be considered brutalist, it's got everything it needs. For Alternative Fruit, it's the content which makes the experience. There's even a website dedicated to brutalist design.
Web-design likes simple and effective lay-out. Often websites include funky graphics and CSS wizardry that makes everything flow like icy water. That's cool, I love playing with flashy websites, but often I just want the information, the data, the pictures etc. When it comes to that, simple and non-distracting is best. Often websites become extremely large. As you may see from the archive sections, it is easy to create years of material if we just keep writing it. This also resembles the brutalist ethic, just make it how people want it and keep doing the same thing until you run out of time, space, cash or resources.
Effective, simple, and well-planned concrete architecture had its heyday and it could have been much longer than it was. The thing that let it down was a culture of disrepair. It was during the 80s and 90s when many council estates and publicly owned buildings were not looked after as well as they ought to have been. This created the run-down and dilapidated look that we know now. If we can learn anything from this, it's that we can keep things at their best by taking care and paying attention, not letting things slowly turn to rot. Websites have much less entropy than a concrete building, provided the server remains stable, but keeping things up-to-date and refreshed is also part of the formula.
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