Identity & Non-Identity
At the far end of a very long room, Dutch designer Armand Mevis showed
about 500 of us examples of identity and his work with partner Linda
van Deursen. Using Cindy Sherman, Madonna and Belgian fashion designer
Martin Margiela, who transmogrify or hide themselves through identity,
Mevis delineated the concept. Sometimes, as in the case of French conceptual
artist Daniel Buren, Mevis implied that identity should be questioned,
but sometimes, as in Madonna's case, linked it directly with commercial
Likewise, some of their work is revolutionary, some of it merely commercial.
Netherlands-based African artist Meschac Gaba created a fictional "Museum
for Contemporary African Art," for which they created an identity,
replacing a lack of something with a fictional representation of it.
A book for MetaTag - The Society for Old and New Media, focuses on the
designers' individual identities by offering two solutions to every problem,
Mevis' in English and van Deursen's in Dutch. The book reads in dual
directions, further emphasizing the parameters of 'identity' as a concept,
and introducing the question, "is identity permanent?"
Posters spanning ten years advertising performances at Het Muziek Theater show
that their identities as designers have evolved and matured over time, as they
have developed the Theater's public identity. Mevis pointed out that restrictions
on graphic programs help clarify identities, as in inivitations for the Stedelijk
Museum Bureau Amsterdam, which represents that city's young artists. These are
always 15 x 21 cm, horizontal, black and white, and use only typography. Still
they represent an astounding variety of visually exciting statements. (MH)