Wednesday, November 18, 2009

60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future - Mini-interview with editor Lucas Dietrich

Pagespreads from 60. Innovators Shaping our Creative Future - boundary-pushing UK fashion photographer Nick Knight scores a mention, and UK fashion retail patriarch Paul Smith lends his thoughts on innovation in fashion design.

Martin Margiela and Viktor & Rolf are included as influential innovators in the Fashion category.

Parisian photographer / street artist JR creates incredible giant poster portraits as part of his 28mm project. Above - in the Favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro, many men have been lost to crime and violence. Women - wives, mothers, sisters and daughters - are central in this troubled society, holding family and community together. JR posted largescale photos of the impressive women he met in Morro da Providencia on facades across the entire favela. The result is spectacular - all across the hillside, these community matriarchs look down protectively upon their neighbourhood. AMAZING or what?? More of JR's incredible work can be seen in the book.

Another fabulous work by Parisian phtographer / street artist JR - he pastes this striking portrait along a steep set of stairs in the Favela Morro da Providencia as part of his ingoing 28mm: Women project.

Today I'm sharing another fab mini-interview facilitated by Melbourne's Kate Scott during her recent internship at Thames & Hudson in London. Not only did Kate manage to secure an interview with Lucas Dietrich, editor of T&H's latest brilliant book - 60. Innovators Shaping our Creative Future... but she also somehow talked T&H into sending me my very own copy to review! Wowsers. How exciting is that?

The book is truly fabulous I must say... It brings together twelve distinct creative areas - spanning street art, photography, fashion design, architecture, sustainable design, new media and more. Each category is curated by twelve different contributors, and the book also includes contributions from established greats in each creative field - these include Tom Dixon and Paul Smith.

The result is a collection of incredible, truly inspiring work from all over the world - If you've ever wondered what all the Maison Martin Margiela fuss was about (like me about 6 months ago), or questioned whether street artists really can make a positive difference in the world... or pondered which international designers really are leading the way in sustainable design, you really must check this one out! You'll be well armed for up-to-date, informed discussion at your next work function, client Christmas party, or just your Auntie's boxing day BBQ!

What is your definition of an innovator?

Before we embarked on the project we suspected that no single definition would be applicable across all the areas in which we publish. Hence the division of the book into twelve areas of creative enterprise, curated by twelve critics, writers and curators who are innovators in their own right, to give their assessments. Although there are intriguing resonances among many of the sections, no catch-all definition emerges. The closest I myself have been able to come up with is someone who reframes expectations from within a given discipline or practice to create at a body of work that redefines that discipline or practice for another generation.

What were some of the shared preoccupations of the practitioners featured in this book?

Openmindedness, highly original repurposing of ideas new and old, understanding of the past but focussed on the future.

Did any themes emerge during the production of 60. which you didn't necessarily foresee when you first embarked on the project?

We expected to see preoccupations with the environment, technology, politics and social issues, but many of us have been surprised by just how much ingenuity and fresh thinking you can contain in a 408-page book. It's genuine confirmation of humanity's will to create.

Tell us a little bit about about graphic designers Why Not Associates, and why they were chosen to design 60.

In 1994, Why Not Associates designed one of the most influential and innovative graphic design books ever published, which heralded a generation of publications of books on graphic design and typography in the early days of the internet and web design. Their past achievements and their recent work in the arts sector struck the right balance between their innovative approach to typography and bold statement.

The works featured in this book are overwhelming beautiful. Is beauty always a natural extension of innovation, do you think, or was there a curatorial bias at work?

A great question, which ineluctably leads to a subjective discussion. All I myself can say is that I truly hope beauty is an extensions or byproduct of innovation.

Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto's Final Wooden House in Kumamoto, Japan, 2008.

How do you think this list of 60 innovators would be different if it was published ten years ago, and different again if it was published in ten years time?

Within a 20-year time-frame, I would suggest the names might change but the fundamental preoccupations that innovators grapple with will not: how can improve our individual and collective lives, how can we learn new things and open new minds, how can we preserve our cultures and planet, how can we communicate more effectively. One might perceive shifts in themes or attitudes over the years, but humanity is, after all, evolving, not an accumulation of sea-changes. Which is why we need innovators to stand out, to hold a mirror to ourselves and to suggest novel ways of moving forward to address the future.

La Boca del Lobo (2006) - paper installation by Brooklyn-based street artist Swoon, in collaboration with Alison Corrie and Polina Soloveichik.

Thanks so much to Kate Scott for this fab interview... :) next time you're in a good bookshop I highly recommend checking this one out!

1 comment:

  1. super interview. and you have given me a perfect chrissy present idea for someone. thanks lucy : )