Wednesday, January 12, 2011

monarchy & vpro continued 3 (art in our merchant society, more digital design)

[oh well, i probably should have added what follows next to the previous post, but it would have become so terribly long.]

one thing certainly strikes me: last year's theme `the monarchy' certainly struck home a lot more than this year's theme `ode to paper'. in fact, looking at the designs which were pitched, the first thing that glares at us is that so many of last year's designs were so negative about our royal family. so let me make a small leap of imagination here.

first of all, last year the vpro chose as winner a non-committal design, bland even, which did not relate a lot to the briefing, but which did have the decided advantage that it would not give negative publicity (one must remember that the royal family still has the support of well over 80% of the population - incredible but true.). looking at the submitted designs, there were obviously enough excellent designs that -if made vpro cover- would have led to a lot of commotion under vpro members, and possibly non-members too.

so could it be that in our merchant society, the vpro hesitates to use covers which are really confrontational, which really touch on the societal issues at hand? i would not be surprised if the vpro was surprised last year by the vehemence of the designs offered. so that might explain the rather bland theme this year: `ode to paper'. no way that there will be controversial designs coming out of that theme!

ok, sorry for bitching, but it still is a fundamental issue: why would the vpro not be happy with the real societal response they had with the theme `monarchy'? is that not truly fantastic, if you can mobilize people's visual creativity around current societal debates? [ongoing, in case of the monarchy, for this great institution costs our society 114 million euros a year...if you can believe that in a time where we are budget-cutting hospitals, care centers, schools etc.].

so once more i hope the vpro will take the stance that controversy is better than blandness. we do not need blandness in this society which is sorely late for some real refurbishing. we do not need more bland television, more entertainment, empty amusement. we need sharp criticism of banking institutions, of greed, corruption, of discrimination etc. etc. IF we are ever to do better than our predecessors who made such a mess of things.


ok, then i still owe you my design for last year:

design frank waaldijk, VPRO Gids Cover 1, 2010
design frank waaldijk, VPRO Gids Cover 1, 2010 (click on the image for an enlargement)

the design was largely based on the vpro briefing, in which the television series `bernhard, scoundrel of orange' featured prominently. elements in the design: the picture of the st. bernard dog to me is the symbolization of the sanctimonious denial by bernhard of all his missteps, i added the halo for the same effect. the dog is in black and white, visualizing that all this was in the past (bernhard passed away in 2004; original colour photo of the st. bernard by daniel steger, under a creative commons license 2.5, which implies my design is under the same cc 2.5 license, see the original picture on wikipedia)

the orange crown was added, to picture bernhard as saviour of the monarchy. you will see the colours of our national flag in the background. all in keeping with the sanctimonious picture of our royal family as being good for our country.

the added text reads: `bernhard and the monarchy' ... however, i added a little venom, because in dutch this would read `bernhard en de monarchie' but if you look carefully you will see that there is in fact no space between `de' and `monarchie' so it really reads (though unobtrusively so):

`bernhard and demonarchy'


not a very brilliant design perhaps, but it finally gave me the opportunity to vent some of the indignation i felt as an 11 yr old, when bernhard wasn't even prosecuted for his corruption.

oh, i also made a version with lettering (but i could not easily obtain high quality fonts) because i thought it would be nice if the halo passed through the lettering:

design frank waaldijk with logo, VPRO Gids Cover 1, 2010
design frank waaldijk with logo, VPRO Gids Cover 1, 2010 (click on the image for an enlargement)

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