Crap = Good is a blog and online platform regarding contemporary visual culture, extending itself by organizing ‘competitions’ and communal exhibitions. Initiated, curated and edited by graphic designer and visual artist Pieterjan Grandry. Crap = good tries to develop, document and describe following ideas.
Internet has changed the structure and distribution of knowledge. It is a vast, global, information reservoir. Websites like Wikipedia developed a new way of researching, offering easy access to the public. Besides, people interested in particular topics create online communities where they can exchange information about various topics with others from all over the world. It is an alternative way of learning, much different from the academic way and usually much more practical. Amateurs can become experts and experts can learn from amateurs. It is directed more to experiment and the topics can vary from very specific scientific subjects to banal ones. With the increasing speed of internet, uploading became easy and video became a popular medium for people to share their thoughts or give tutorials about their field of knowledge and expertise, be it dancing hip-hop, plumping, cooking or programming. With the fast development of computers and software, they can even make their video’s look as professional as they aspire, supplying them with titles, images and graphics.
All this knowledge is there for a long time, and has been used as well. But it wasn’t until the economic crisis in 2008 that this existing knowledge started appearing so largely outside of the www and entering the ‘real world’. With the massive unemployment rates followed by the 2008 crisis, people have experienced that our economical and political system isn’t as solid as one thought, or as they made one believe. We lost some of our faith in the system and became more sceptic towards it, developing a new perception of time or ‘work-time’. This subtle change in mentality gives room for the phenomenon of applying internet-knowledge, which is free, open source, and got defined as DIY-culture (Do It Yourself). It offers one the possibility to develop personal interests. By spending time developing these various fields of interest,
people spend less time in the big market economy and move away from it, setting up small-scale business, producing locally, and orienting their practice away from this established system and its connected politics. Linked to that, we perceive that by moving away from this big economy, we are also moving away from its visual culture, and establish a new one.
Crap is good investigates this new aesthetics and it’s subject in the creative field, it documents projects realized by small groups or individuals in search of independence and with attention to experiment.
Looking at graphic design, we see a huge amount of self-publishers appearing, people setting up small independent printing presses or organizing pop-up book events, all with a specific visual aesthetics connected to it. But even if one looks deeper into this aesthetic we find similar ideas occurring in all of the creative branches. Furniture design; going back to the mid-century concept, using bended metal, simple materials, flat pack furniture, a regained interest to the properties of material and the rise of eco-design. In photography we see a come back of the documentary style, photographers are stepping out of the high tech studio or entering daily life, editing less and showing more, be it analogue or digital. In architecture one perceives this new way of thinking in the contradiction between the big established offices who are closely connected to the current economic system and the small younger ones. Big commercial offices have answered the public’s demand for a more ecological or social approach by colouring their design green and do very little for social wellbeing or sustainability, while the small offices are organizing urban farming projects and aim for social engagement with simple solutions or local interventions.
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