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Saul BassAnatomy of Film Design$
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Jan-Christopher Horak

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813147185

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813147185.001.0001

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Organizing Knowledge Through Communication

(p.305) 7 Civilization
Saul Bass

Jan-Christopher Horak

University Press of Kentucky

Saul Bass’s work presupposes that civilization is based on the development and implementation of language as a mode of communication, whether spoken or pictographic, and that much of this communication is about our history. It is no accident that all of Bass’s narratives about the historical development of society, whether Why Man Creates (1968) or 100 Years of the Telephone (1977) or The Solar Film (1980), are structured as journeys to the far horizon. Bass’s essay films, such as Why Man Creates, are meditations on human knowledge. For Bass, all design is about communication, and communication is what defines civilization. Communication is seen as a creative and intellectual process that is dependent on finding the best possible solution to a design problem; this is accomplished by focusing attention on the audience’s needs and desires, as well as on the message to be communicated. In Phase IV (1974) Bass not only warns against our continued destruction of the planet but also theorizes that the essence of humanity is the ability to communicate intelligently.

Keywords:   communication, essay film, Why Man Creates, Phase IV

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