From the archive
Interview with Experimental Jetset, from “If We’re Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants, What Are We Reaching For?” by Rudy Vanderlans
EXPERIMENTAL JETSET: “For us, one of the many ways to underline the physical, material qualities of a design is through the use of self-reference. The referring of an object to itself or to its own context can be seen as a form of “materialization.” To quote the British conceptual art collective Art & Language: “In order to perforate art with reality, it [art] has to be folded back into itself.”
We think the same can apply to graphic design. Using Helvetica, with its self-referential qualities, helps us create designs that function as a part of reality instead of as a representation of reality. In short, one of the reasons why we use Helvetica is this self-referential attribute.”
RUDY VANDERLANS: “Isn’t everything you create a representation of some sort? My words are a representation of my thoughts. My thought a representation of my experiences…Isn’t everything you create a representation of some sort? My words are a representation of my thoughts. My thought a representation of my experiences…”
EJ: “Yes, and your experiences are formed by the world around you. We agree. But let’s extend that line of thinking. Now imagine that the world around you is trying to be a representation of your thoughts. Wouldn’t it just go round and round then, since you would only experience your own representation? We’re not against representation in general. But we do think that a material environment that just tries to represent its audience will lead to some kind of cultural degeneration.
In our view, design should have a certain autonomy, an inner logic that exists independently of the tastes and trends of so-called target audiences. As the ways to measure the taste of the public are becoming more refined every day, culture is in real danger of turning into a gigantic mirror that offers nothing but a false reflection.”