Thursday, January 28, 2010

Seth Carnes and "i heart poetics"

I adore Ettore Sottsass’s Valentine red typewriter. I have always been extremely drawn to the geometry of its design and its implied passion. It’s interesting to compare his aesthetic approach to the Valentine and that of his unconventional furniture pieces that followed with the founding of the 1980s group Memphis. Inspired by a Bob Dylan song on a fateful evening, the collective churned out rebellious designs in vivid colors, irregular shapes, and slick glossy patterns. Sottsass described the pieces as a visual opulence; that no one “should put only Memphis around: It’s like eating only cake.” However, between the Valentine and Memphis, I feel that Sottsass never lost his taste for boldness and the color red.

I have to say, though, Sottsass’s Valentine typewriter reminds me of contemporary artist Seth Carnes’s i heart poetics project; a spin on traditional magnetic poetry often associated with refrigerator décor.

Carnes’s project, which is part performance art, consists of him creating magnetic strips of random words from a typewriter, and viewers (participants) are encouraged to arrange the words to their liking on to an enormous steel tablet as a poem. Carnes may not create his participatory poetry piece on Sottsass' famous typewriter, but he fashions valentines out of them nonetheless.

For a glance at Carnes and his project, check out this video from his website.

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