Travels in Visual Culture
By Rick Poynor
Princeton Architectural Press, Paperback, 9781568986074, 208pp.
Publication Date: June 1, 2006
Explicit sexual imagery has erupted in every medium and on every surface. While some react to it by pointing and laughing, hardly anyone has stopped to seriously consider its impact. Behind this phenomenon lies the normalization of pornography, which along with the complete turnaround in social attitudes to it, has been one of the most momentous developments in contemporary life. In Designing Pornotopia, Rick Poynor explores recent advertising and design and the invasion of sexual imagery into everyday life, revealing how advertising walks the fine line between prudish and vulgar imagery.
Developing the discussion of Poynor's previous anthology, Obey the Giant, Designing Pornotopia covers a wide area of subjects, from magazines, billboard advertising, branding, illustration, photography, tattoos, and music graphics to architecture and includes interviews with architect Rem Koolhaas and maverick American graphic designer and performance artist Elliott Earls. Along the way Poynor reassesses the early work of Peter Saville and tracks the unstoppable rise of Stefan Sagmeister, among others. Poynor's concise, riveting prose constantly challenges the reader with strong and thought-provoking arguments. In its timeliness and poignancy, this anthology is a truly indispensable addition to the bookshelf of anyone interested in visual culture and its effects on our daily lives.