Menlo Park is an online journal about the collision-zone of art, design and human-made space. Some current practice attempts to define a relevant criticality interleaving the fields of contemporary art, design and landscape/building architecture. Has the criticality of the avant-garde been eclipsed by a notion of design that is a pure reflection of the dynamic of techno-culture? Has design been relegated to the role of aesthetic adjunct to a culture of engineering and technology (its interface designer)? Perhaps this problematic can lead us to explore the possibility of a new criticality that asserts a reformulated mode of inquiry that makes its place not in the hermetic world of art but rather inhabits, however strangely, the world of everyday or ‘applied’ making? This is a provocative debate that traverses academic and practice-based discourses. Menlo Park is a venue for this conversation.
Menlo Park takes its name from Thomas Edison’s research and manufacturing facility in New Jersey (1876-87). The original Menlo Park served as the prototype for the high-tech campus/R&D facility of today (the Lab). Likewise, Edison was the archetype inventor/ designer/entrepreneur. Needless to say, naming this online journal after Menlo Park is a playful provocation. Menlo Park is a venue for discussing the things that techno-culture has forgotten by engaging in a rigorous conversation about the future of the ‘complex’ that is the relationship between art, design and technology. Contemporary art and design share historical roots in the avant-garde but have become estranged cousins whose differences have calcified around an antiquated discourse of ‘pure & applied’ arts. Menlo Park asks artists and designers alike to put some pressure on this institutional division and to conjecture what criticality could mean in relation to contemporary making, building and planning. (af)
(first issue, vol. 1 no. 1: March 2013)
Andrew Forster, editor
Anja Bock, managing editor