COUNTER-SIGNALS #4: IDENTITY IS THE CRISIS
16.5 x 23.5cm, 352 pages, offset printed, softcover. 2021
The fourth issue of Counter Signals aims to invoke and assemble writing and images that query the aesthetic claims and political-economic stakes of identity, in design and in cultural production more generally.
“Visual identity” names the highest order project within the discipline of graphic design, historically constituted in post-war capitalist europe and the us. it enlisted the concepts, forms, and techniques of design modernism towards the consolidation of globalizing language technology corporations like olivetti and ibm. the project of “corporate identity,” as it became known, reflected and advanced the dematerializing production trajectories of industrial capitalism, organized by concepts of “scientific” and then cybernetic management. graphic design was used to formally unify corporate information products and their publicity, through totalizing identity systems and the powers of the logo. in this advanced capitalist superstructural project, the corporate identity standards manual produced not only signs and products, but subjectivities as well: the white-skinned, white-collared, grey-flanneled heterosexual male professional class. the production of these subjectivities was understood, within the dystopian collectivity of the corporation, to compose a distinct and homogeneous “corporate culture,” and thus to extend a process by which corporations came to aesthetically appear as sovereign entities on an equal footing with nation states.
With contributions from Jack Henrie Fisher, Nathan Brown, Ulrike Jordan, Gerd Conradt, Lisa Vinebaum, Samo Tomšič, Bea Walker, Verónica Casado Hernández, Nat Pyper, Werker Collective, Evan Fusco, Michaelis Pichler, Andrea Garcia Flores, Angel Gonzalez, Chris Lee, Mahmoud Keshavarz, Hannah Bruckmüller, Michal B. Ron, Jorge Cano, Anuar Portugal, Carlos Quiroz, Erin Madarieta, Alex Lahr, Sean Martin-Iverson, Jacob Lindgren.