Web 2.0 and Bauhaus

If it’s as good as the US version, it will be worth keeping tabs on the Tech CrunchUK blog. As Sam Sethi writes in his first post there, which went up yesterday:

"Where are all of the UK start-ups? Besides the tenuous UK links to the success of Skype and the deservedly and often quoted rising star of the UK start-up scene LastFM; where indeed were all the other cool new UK start-ups to match Flickr, Delicious, Writely, Technorati, Six Apart etc?"

It will be interesting to see what he finds. Today’s post is all about Venture Capital, but I hope that as well as covering the biz side of UK Web 2.0, Tech Crunch UK focusses on the creative side as well. This might sound high-minded, but I remember a quote from Moholy-Nagy I saw stencilled on the wall at Tate Modern when they had their Albers / Moholy-Nagy Bauhaus show on a few months ago:

"Technical progress should never be the goal, only the means."

It’s interesting to compare Bauhaus to Web 2.0, actually, as I feel there are a certain number of
similarities, as both are design movements that address social issuesin a very conscious, practical way. Ideas of efficiency are prevalent in both, as is the goal of removing the traditional, hierarchical view of the content producer/artist and the audience. Instead of having the artist being the active one, ministering to a passive audience, a crucial component of Web 2.0 apps is designers giving control to users – allowing them to produce blogs, or tag objects etc. As the Tate curator wrote:

"Moholy experimented with ideas of style and authorship, and he even assigned the execution of some of his paintings – such as Telephone Picture EM1 (1922) – to a sign painter… It was around this time that he began to title works with a combination of letters and numbers akin to a scientific formula, reflecting his desire to purge the artist’s touch from his work and create instead a pure order from impersonal compositional elements.

"Similarly, Albers explored semi-industrial techniques to create a fiercely objective art. Appropriating a method devised for engraving headstones, he embarked on a series of abstract compositions created by sandblasting sheets of coloured glass. Made by experienced craftsmen using stencils designed by the artist, such works could be serially produced, bringing art into line with other industrially manufactured goods."

László Moholy-Nagy
A 19 1927
Oil on canvas, 830 x 990 mm 
Collection Hattula Moholy-Nagy

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