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45 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 31 January 2011

Andrew Marr talks fonts with the graphic designer Neville Brody, whose Anti-Design manifesto criticised the fear and lack of risk inherent in the art world, and challenged fellow artists to come up with something truly dangerous. Objects, overlooked and rejected, lie at the heart of much of Susan Hiller's work, which has been described as "investigations into the 'unconscious' of our culture." Hiller has been inspired by Minimalism, Fluxus and Surrealism, and Alex Danchev celebrates the best and worst in artists' manifestos. And the Nigerian writer EC Osondu, who works and lives in the US, explores the frayed bonds between his adopted country and his homeland.

Producer: Katy Hickman.


    “When was the last time you encountered any culture that you can say was really dangerous, that actually challenged anything?” so questions the Anti-Design Manifesto launched by the graphic designer Neville Brody. The former art director of The Face and Arena magazines has now taken over as head of the Royal College of Art’s Visual Communications department, where he plans to challenge the norm. While graphic design has become heavily associated with commercial art, Brody insists it’s a discipline that was born out of social engagement and the desire to give form to ideas and feelings, and that this role is needed more than ever in the digital age.

    Research Studios - Neville Brody

    "Standing tall on the roof of the world …we hurl our defiance at the stars!" so proclaimed the Futurist Manifesto as it was splashed across the front page of Le Figaro in 1909. Its revolutionary claims and often violent language caused a huge stir and started a trend that continues today. Alex Danchev has collected together the voices of movements, and individuals, from the Surrealists to the Cannibalists, the Dadaists to the Stuckists. Incendiary, outlandish and sometimes absurd, the Artists’ Manifesto documents the ideas that have inflamed artists over the last century.

    100 Artists’ Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists, edited by Alex Danchev, is published by Penguin Classics.

    100 Artists' Manifestos

    Susan Hiller is one of the most influential artists alive today. Highly acclaimed for her mixed-media installations and video projections, her work explores dreams, memories and supernatural phenomenon. Born in the USA in 1940, Susan Hiller has lived and worked in Britain since the early 1970s. Works including recordings of extinct languages and a collection of British seaside postcards attest to her fascination with the overlooked and ignored, “I particularly like the way the shapes of things shift when you look at them hard.” As a major exhibition of her work opens at Tate Britain, Susan Hiller discusses her interest in the unconscious mind, and explains why recycling her own work leads to renewal.

    The Susan Hiller exhibition at Tate Britain opens on 1 February and continues until 15 May.

    Tate Britain - Susan Hiller

    Winner of the 2009 Caine Prize for African Writing, E C Osondu was born in Nigeria but now lives in the United States. His book, Voice of America, is his debut collection of short stories which explore the frayed bonds between his adopted country and his homeland. These 18 tales offer snapshots of African life from refugees fighting for food and miracle preachers promising fertility, to police malpractice and the difficulties making a new life in America. At the heart of this collection is the need to find a voice amid the dreams of escape and the struggle for survival.

    Voice of America is published by Granta.

    Voice of America


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