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THINGSText: Akira Natsume

In the latest issue of GASBOOK, media-mix projects were carried forward together with some different media ; Information and interviews were provided in Shift and Design-Plex and arts works were in CD-ROM. This style is based on GASBOOK concept since its launch, that is to examine characteristics of each medium and to select a medium which is the most appropriate means of communication for the individual matter.

In Shift, we tried to establish the communication between readers and creators with standing on the world wide point of view, and in Design-Plex, we provided information in plain language for wide-ranging readers. I believe that the special feature titled ‘The creations toward to the year 2001’ which reached total 32 pages in Design-Plex, was turned out quite interesting by cooperation of Mr.Ohashi from Design-Plex and Mr.Oguchi from Shift.

At the end of this special feature, there was a comment by Mr.Hachiga who is a sole editor of +81, a magazine already familiar in Shift. ‘Creators of the generation full of humanity’ These words has hit my mind and I realised these words are what I have been looking for.

So, I decided to send a mail to Mr.Hachiga who has just finished editing +81, vol.3.

I guess you’re familiar with overseas information through editing +81. What does words ‘digital design’ remind you of?

I don’t know so much about overseas but I guess nobody really minds the words ‘digital design’ nowadays.

I guess so, too. As a matter of fact, computers such as Macintosh became so common therefore nobody brings up the words ‘digital design’ in a meaning at one time. I bought a Macintosh after I saw Typography Now. By that time, I thought whole book was made with using Mac but while later, I was very shocked because I knew that actually not so many of them were done by Mac. Also, Mr.Tanida Ichiro who is famous for his 3D computer graphics used airbrush for his early works. All these things made me to understand that words ‘digital design’ stood for a design as if done by computers. However while working on GASBOOK, I’ve started to feel the existence of new design streams which are interactive media such as internet, CD-ROM and games. Well, people use computer in various ways have been increasing and it seems nonsense to categorise things whether it’s done with computer or not. By the way, I’ve heard that you featured Antirom for the latest issue of +81, how’s response?

The magazine hasn’t come out yet, so I don’t know responses. For this feature, I asked Nick, a member of Antirom, to introduce Tomato Building where offices of Antirom and Tomato are in at Soho. People working in the building such as an accountant and also the inside of the building itself were introduced by him and the article came out to be a very humane.

That sounds good, I’m really looking forward to read it. I like Nick’s articles in Shift very much and contents with humaneness. You wrote in Design-Plex that those people present multimedia works in GASBOOK are creators of the generation full of humanity. These words hit my point.

Well, even the computer is only a tool which human beings have developed for human beings sake. So, I think it’s rather important to have intentions to change things into better directions from this point on than to deny our ancestors’ efforts for developments.

I often hear someone says ‘Japan isn’t good’ and ‘American is like this and that’ but I feel very strange about this type of opinions. Which country is good or bad, this kind of partial ideas seem to me similar to what some people said when computer came out, ‘I prefer handwork and I don’t and won’t use a tool like computer’ without trying to use a computer. Although I’m not quite sure it’s a matter of generation difference or individual sense, I’ve got a feeling of something goes wrong in the world because of this kind of people who are possessed by these weird ways of thinking and fusses they make so much about it.

Talking about music, it’s a common sense that everyone has different taste and value. However somehow it seems that the computer related industry and the graphic design world are still left behind in this sense. For the music world, there are none makes noises about a work is done with computer or not. Also none makes big deals about comparing Japanese music and Western music, right? I feel comfortable being in record shops because there are the world, various languages and genres and many more things just like the internet. A record shop is a spot I can find things I look for, if I go there, I can meet my own value. I think music is ahead in terms of sense, both listeners and creators.

However it’s not in some other field like the graphic world, there are still people who stick to strange ideas. To me, these people are very peculiar.

Yes, I think the changes in music environments took place very quick. I wonder any independent label scene existed in the graphic design world before but for music, it has existed from years ago. I feel this kind of gap means a lot. Nowadays, meaning of the word ‘design’ is questioned, I guess. I think graphic design is to design ‘something’ at the end, not like Fine Arts and Music which can stand by itself and make business. However recently, I’m feeling some kinds of atmosphere like independent label scene is rising in graphic design field. Since I started making GASBOOK, I have had not a little intention to make a visual communication magazine with featuring people creating works like those musicians in independent label scene. As sometimes people buy a record or CD because of the cover design, the expectation and desire for visuals are increasing, say, to choose the visual which fits to one’s own sense.

A while ago, magazines was trying hard making up new genres of musics but now it seems they can’t come up with any more new names, fashion and other stuffs are also the same case. I think the tendency of information for information’s sake are fading out. I feel things are heading into an interesting time right now. In other words, it’s getting difficult to express various things in words, well, maybe it’s only for me, thought.

Also the reason why I raised questions about 1990s and the 21st century in Design-Plex was that I felt many things were heading into transition stages in the middle of the century’s end. Of course, new genres’ works will come out from now on but I think the way of development in the 21st century will be different from the way in the 20th century. And I believe the core for movements in the next century subsists in human beings. I would say what individual person feels will gain the importance. What kinds of impressions do you have for 1990s and the 21st century?

I have an impression for 1990s which is someone declared ‘Remix is the only thing we have’. However we shouldn’t give up hope and believe that new expressions will be born in the 21st century, too. Someone may say ‘What? it’s just a copy after all.’ or ‘See, remix again’ but always some new expressions and creations will come out somehow. I really hope it’ll. Well, probably my real point is that I don’t want to give this hope up.

The situation which the society has accepted, such as someone who only copies others works but nothing else and calls himself a designer, should be over. It’s the real end of century that people feel imitated designs are good enough and accept such a situation. Also, it may be a characteristic of 1990s that many creators have taken an attitude of what’s wrong with copying. In this mean, probably 1990s is the time when this kind of things have been allowed. Who’s wrong, one who allows or one who designs? But I still think people compromise too easily. Well, let’s say a design work was a copy of something, but very high level of imitation and impressive, then it would be acceptable. However I doubt nerves of some people who just brings some references and makes works by copying them and call themselves designer. This kind of things are allowed during 1990s but I hope not in the 21st century.

It’s really my wish. Somehow there are too many people to be affirmative about imitating, that’s why I want young designers to be more vigorous. I want something not only an imitation. I want them to try doing something more than just imitating. Please, try. I’m longing for designers who will breakthrough this situation to come out in the 21st century.

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