Tuesday, 29 January 2013


Could it be argued that fine art should be assigned more ‘Value’ than more popular forms of visual communication?

Firstly, this essay will compare the values associated with fine art against the values of more popular forms of visual communication, a term that in itself needs defining. As visual communication can be associated with a range of different creative subjects, a specific field needs to be selected to compare the fine art culture against. Moreover, ‘more popular’ is a term which can be applied for two reasons one, more people like that form of visual communication, and two, it is more accessible and therefore more popular.  Graphic design is a form of visual communication that is freely available to the majority of society, and therefore will be the subject that is compared to art. The essay will define and compare the values associated with each subject, focusing on the commercial and social benefits, as they have most relevance to modern society.

The term value has many meanings, but when used in context with fine art, value has three main definitions, “commercial”, “social” and “essential” (Findlay, 2012, P9). Moreover, fine art also has historical value as well. The commercial value of art is defined by money, and the business that surrounds the buying and selling of art.  The social value of art can be defined by how people react to specific pieces of art. The essential value is in the eye of the beholder (personal taste).  Finally, historical value can be given to a piece of art for numerous reasons, such as if a piece of art captures an important historical moment.
To begin with, a definition of the subjects will help define the initial differences. Graphic design is a modern creative subject that uses a mixture of type and image to communicate a message to an audience.

“The graphic designer is basically organising and communicating messages.” (Heller, 2000, P9)

Essentially, graphic design is all around us, it can be seen in newspapers, magazines, on posters and billboards, it influences society on a daily basis as they are submerged in a sea of visual communication. One important factor that needs be acknowledged is graphic design has function; it is created for a purpose. In the world of design most work is created for a client, they will set the constraints that the work has to meet, each piece of design has a lot of different factors that need to be taken into consideration before creating the piece. Moreover, graphic design also has historical importance, the Russian constructivist movement consisted of Russian designers such as El Lissitzky, who created propaganda for the masses during the Russian revolution, “El Lissitzky was an important propagandist”. (Gerber, 2010, P99)

Contrasting the direct functionality of graphic design, art is a subject in which pieces of work are usually created purely for aesthetic purposes, and have little or no functionality; “art serves no necessary function” (Findlay, 2012, P13). The purpose for creating such works of art range, some artists create pieces of art purely for commercial purposes, while others try to capture feelings, or moments in time, it really depends on the artist and their influences. Here we can highlight a fundamental difference between the two subjects; graphic designers revolve around the client and audience when creating pieces of work, whereas artists create work for themselves unless otherwise commissioned.   An important factor we must acknowledge in the early stages of this essay is the phrase ‘art for art’s sake’, which basically means that “art does not have to serve purposes taken from politics, religion, economics, and so on.” [5] but can be created purely because of its aesthetic qualities. This prompts the question, if art has no immediate function, why is it so valued?
To discover why art holds so much importance the values discussed in the introduction need to be revisited. Firstly, Commercial value regards money and all things associated with the pricing and selling of a piece of artwork. There are two markets for pieces of art, primary and secondary.

“There are two distinct markets, which are interrelated and sometimes overlapping: the primary market for an artist’s new work and the secondary market for works of art that are second-hand (or third- or twentieth-hand.” (Findlay, 2012, P14)

Works of art from the secondary market often generate more money when taken to auction than pieces of art from the primary market. Evidence of this can be seen when reviewing the most expensive works of art ever sold. Paul Cezanne’s ‘The card players’ was created in the years 1892/93 and is to date the most expensive painting ever sold, it was bought for 250million dollars by the family of Qatar at a private sale. Pieces of artwork belonging to the secondary market often have more commercial value, as there is more money is circulating in this market. Therefore, when assessing the commercial value of art, pieces from the secondary market will be used.

The value of pieces of art from the secondary market can be affected by numerous factors, however when a piece of art is being assessed for auction there are five factors that are considered; “ Provenance, Condition, Authenticity, Exposure and Quality” (Findlay, 2012, P39) each of these factors affects the commercial value.  A professional involved with the “conservation and restoration of works” ” (Findlay, 2012, P41) usually assesses the condition of a piece of artwork, they will review the condition of the artwork and then create a “condition report” (Findlay, 2012, P41) that is reviewed by dealers when pricing. The authenticity of artwork is usually specified in the “auction catalogues” (Findlay, 2012, P41) which hold detailed information about each piece of artwork; if a piece of art is not genuine then it is usually worthless. Moreover, exposure is simply defined by how much publicity a piece gets. A collector can increase the exposure of his artwork by lending the piece to galleries and museums, in doing so the piece can gain more commercial value due to its exposure to the public. A very important factor affecting commercial value is quality, the quality of a work of art is judged on three main criteria;

“Mastery of medium, clarity of execution, and authority of expression are vital criteria applicable to all works of art, regardless of style or subject.” (Findlay, 2012, P47)

For a piece to be deemed ‘high quality’ it is usually reviewed by a collector and must excel in all criteria. Finally, provenance is a quality that all pieces of art from the secondary market have; it is created when a work of art changes hands and has a history of past owners. What is interesting about provenance is how it can be affected by the status of its previous owner. An example of this commercial gain can be seen in the sale of Rothko’s Untitled (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose) by Sotheby’s.

“Sotheby’s sale in May 2007 included Rothko’s Untitled (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose), which belonged to David and Peggy Rockefeller. Because the proceeds were destined for charity, David Rockefeller allowed himself to be photographed with the work, and Sotheby’s waged and extremely aggressive marketing campaign leaning heavily on the Rockefeller provenance. The painting sold for $72.84million.” (Findlay, 2012, P40)

This is a clear example of the high culture that can be associated with fine art, the value of the Rothko painting increased, not because the painting was historically or socially valuable (things which benefit the public) but because of the status of its previous owner. It is clear that the commercial value of art is defined by many factors that are reviewed and judged by a select group of dealers and collectors, this is evidence of the selective culture that surrounds fine art. The same cannot be said for graphic design. However, making a comparison between the commercial value of fine art and graphic design is impossible, as  works are created on completely different terms. An artist will create a collection of self inspired work that is then introduced to the art community through a dealer and then and sold at auction. However, a graphic designer is commissioned to create a piece that meets the specific needs of a client, that same client pays them for the work completed. We could compare the yearly earnings of a graphic designer against the amounts made by art in the secondary market. However, even the most expensive designers in the world would not make $72.84million (the price paid for Rothko’s Untitled (Yellow, Pink, Lavender on Rose) in a whole year, if they worked solidly completing project after project. This is evidence that fine art has more commercial value in society than graphic design. However, it is not society that is giving art the renowned price tag, but actually a collective of wealthy art collectors and executives.

Modern society relies on money to continue functioning, which could explain art cultures dependency on it.  However, this still does not explain the extortionate amounts invested into certain works of art. Firstly, fine art and money have a historical relationship, since the Renaissance period art has been created for commercial gain.

“The quickening of commerce in the Renaissance, and the development of a mode of production centred on the expansion of value, brought a great springtime romance between art and money”. (Mattick, Jr, 2000, Pp 65)

Today, capitalist culture requires artists to create work for money, as money is essential to survive in society. Moreover, on the other side of the coin are the investors. Works of art were first collected by royal families and displayed in museums to use as a signifier of their wealth and power, “The museums were created out of princely and royal collections ... as important signifiers of national power and dignity” (Mattick, Jr. 2000, Pp 65 & 66). Things have not changed; art is still used by the wealthy as a signifier of power. However, it is also used as an investment and a safeguard for money. In current society the financial system is in a state of disrepair, in 2007/2008 we saw the global financial market collapse, businesses, banks and governments were all affected, “Autumn's market mayhem has left the world's financial institutions nursing losses of $2.8tn(Houghton and miffin co. 2013) With a financial system that is so unstable, fortunes could be jeopardised. The rich needed a way of protecting their money, and commodities such as property and art are the answer. By investing money in art the monetary value is safe from implications caused by the banking system. If anything, their investment gains value with the right exposure. The large investments from arts high culture are responsible for the commercial value of art. Additionally, the high value keeps the market selective, as the majority of the public cannot afford to invest in a piece of art from the secondary market.

The social impact of a work of art is strongest when it evokes a reaction or opinion from an audience; which is in turn is discussed creating social interaction. By discussing a piece of work people are directly communicating with each other, it challenges people to see the deeper meaning and express what they see and why.

“Everyone in the company had an opinion... everyone spoke up, and the effect on the moral was great” (Findlay, 2012, Pp 65 & 66).

Moreover, social interaction in turn creates further social impact, both direct and indirect. Direct social impact is further defined in ‘Measuring the economic and social impact of the arts: a review’ By Michael Reeves.

‘Direct social Impacts... ‘elevate’ people's thinking and contribute positively to their psychological and social well-being and enhance their sensitivity.’ (Reeves – 2013)

According to this definition, viewing aesthetically engaging work and discussing your opinions, results in a better state of mind and an enhanced understanding of the subject. Moreover, indirect social impact inspires “creativity” and “Enhances innovation”. When assessing the two works of art all social impacts will be assessed.

Graphic design also has social impact, a well-produced poster can evoke a reaction from the public, in turn creating a discussion about the graphics or the product advertised. However, graphic design also interacts with the audience directly, providing people with helpful information communicated in an understandable way.

“Graphic design can help the world: When we are providing information, we are hopefully enlightening others; when we are providing directions , we are helping people find their way through the world; and even when we are selling widgets, we are boosting the economy”. (Holland, 2001, P125)

However, the strongest pieces of work will bring people together socially, whether they agree a fine painting is beautiful, or are moved by the message communicated by a graphic poster. For a more accurate comparison of social value, a renowned piece of work from each subject needs to be selected, and their values assessed and compared. Therefore, the essay will focus on the piece ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Somebody Living’ by artist Damien Hirst, and ‘Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge’ by Russian constructivist El Lissitzky.

Damien Hirst is a famous British conceptual artist and art collector who for the past decade has been producing massively publicised and debated artwork. His piece ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Somebody Living’ featured a thirteen-foot long tiger shark suspended in a formaldehyde filled vitrine. The shark belongs to Hirst’s controversial series ‘Natural History’, which consisted of a range of animals and fish suspended in formaldehyde. Some of the animals were dissected, which for members of the public unfamiliar with contemporary art, would have been a shocking sight. Creates in 1991, the piece became somewhat of an icon for Hirst and is described as “his most famous series”. (Hirst, 2013)

Hirst’s idea was financially supported by Charles Saatchi who commissioned £50,000 to cover the sharks shipping costs from Australia, and the formaldehyde preservation process. The piece was eventually sold to Steven Cohen, a wealthy American business man, the price paid is undisclosed but is it rumoured to be between 8-12 million pounds;

Several New York media reported that the only other firm offer aside from that made by Tate Modern came from Cohen, and that the actual selling price was $8m. New York magazine reported $13m. But the $12m figure was the most widely cited” (The Independent, 2013)

A tremendous profit was made from the piece, the sale of which is another shining example of the financial elite investing in art. Additionally, Hirst is also involved in the high culture surrounding art, he profits massively from his work and is the world’s richest living artist; “Hirst is not only the world's richest artist, but a transformative figure who can be assured of his place in history”. [Kunzru 2013]  Hirst’s financial gain is the result of his connections to the art world and his target audience. As his pieces are worth so much money, they are not made with a public audience in mind, but instead tailored to suit the minority who can afford to invest. The only reason Hirst pieces have any social impact is because of the media attention his pieces get, and because of the gallery exposure they undergo.

Due to the exposure of the sculpture from the press, the shocking nature of the piece was introduced to the majority of the public, causing debate and controversy. Firstly, a tiger shark is a creature that most English people would never encounter. Therefore, seeing the real thing, motionless and only a few inches from your face would have been a daunting yet exciting experience. It is here that we see the social impact of Hirst’s piece, as its controversial content caused members of the public to socially interact and voice their opinions regarding the piece.

El Lissitzky was a Russian constructivist, known for his simple use of geometric forms and innovative photomontages. Contrasting the beliefs of conceptual artists such as Hirst the constructivism movement emerged in soviet Russia in 1913 with the belief that art should “reflect upon and contribute to society in some way” (Gerber, 2010, p40). The belief that art should help better society explains the constructivist involvement in the Russian revolution. Propaganda posters were produced to communicate various messages, such as political messages, to boost public moral and recruit for the revolution. The idea of social betterment turned Lissitzky’s attention to propaganda, which is when he created the piece that is defined as his most important work, ‘Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge’.

The poster was aimed at the common people of Russia, which caused two problems for Lissitzky. Firstly, “many of those in the targeted communities were illiterate” (Gerber, 2010, p24), therefore the message would have to be communicated using little or no text. Secondly, the message would have to be distributed to the masses, so the form that work took also had to be carefully considered. Here we see a fundamental difference between the two artists, Hirst creates his work for a select group of people in order to gain profit whereas Lissitzky revises every element of his work so it is suitable for his target audience.
Lissitzky’s poster was designed for the common people of Russia, and therefore relied heavily on shapes to communicate its message. The large triangle grabs the audience’s attention immediately due to its strong red colour. Red is also the colour associated with the revolution, contrasting this is the white which is the colour associated with the opposition forces. The triangle is shown to be piercing deep into the white circle, a representation of the power the revolutionary movement had over the monarchy. As the message had to be distributed to a large audience Lissitzky’s work often took the form of a poster, this enabled the message to be distributed and displayed publicly.

The poster would have had massive social impact, not only were Lissitzky’s posters aesthetically engaging, they also distributed important messages to communities that would otherwise have been unable to receive the information. Moreover, in a time of desperation, where education is unavailable and money is short, forms of art and visual communication would have been virtually inaccessible. Therefore, seeing a visually appealing piece would cause direct social impact and lift people’s moral.

To conclude, the commercial value of art is assessed by various factors such as quality and condition. However, works of art such as Damien Hirst’s ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Somebody Living’ still sell for a tremendous amount, despite the artist having little or no input in its creation. This is due to the financial elite who invest money into art as a safeguard for their fortunes and a signifier of power. Contrasting this, graphic design is often freely available, its a form of visual communication for the masses. In terms of commercial value art undoubtedly has more. However, this is of no commercial benefit to the public and only profits wealthy collectors.

 Moreover, the social value is easier to compare, it is strongest when a piece of work evokes social interaction. El Lissitzky created his propaganda poster ‘Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge’ for the common people of Russia, every aspect was designed with that specific audience in mind. Therefore, it has social value as it informs, educates and causes people to interact with one another. In a time of desperation, Lissitzky’s poster gave hope. Moreover, Hirst’s piece, the physical impossibility of death, also has social value. Its controversial nature causes discussions and disagreements between art critics and the public alike.  Both subjects have the opportunity for works to have massive social impact, it is achieved through the content and message of the work. Therefore, despite the obvious difference in commercial value, other values are equal.


Findlay, Michael (2012) ‘The value of Art, Money, Power, Beauty’ 1st ed. Prestek Verlag.
Heller, Steven. Chwast, Seymour (2000) ‘Graphic Style’ 2nd ed. Abrams.

Gerber, Anna (2010) ‘Graphic Design, The 50 most influential graphic designers in the world’ 1st ed. A & C Black Publishers Ltd.  

‘The American Heritage ‘New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy’’  [Internet]  Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. Available from < http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/art+for+art's+sake> [Accessed 12/01/2013]

Paul Mattick, Jr (2000) ‘ Capital Culture: a reader on modern legacies, state institutions, and the value(s) of art’ 1st ed. McGill-Queen’s University Press.

‘The Guardian ‘Banking Crisis Timeline’ [‘Internet] Published by Guardian News and Media Limited. Available from <http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/08/creditcrunch.marketturmoil> [Accessed  20/01/2013]

Holland, DK (2001) ‘Design Issues: How Graphic Design Informs Society’ 1st ed. Allworth Press. 

Kunzru Hari. ‘Damien Hirst and the great market heist’ [Internet] Available from <http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/mar/16/damien-hirst-art-market> [Accessed 25/01/2013]

Reeves, Michael. ‘Measuring the economic and social impact of the arts: a review’ [Internet] published by Available from <http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/media/uploads/documents/publications/340.pdf> [Accessed 25/01/2013]

‘Damien Hirst; Read more about the artist’ [Internet] Published by Damien Hirst.com. Available from <http://www.damienhirst.com/biography/read-more-about-the-artist>  [Accessed 25/01/2013]

Anon. ‘Art of making money: How does a dead fish sell for £12m and who's writing all the cheques?’. Available from <http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/art-of-making-money-how-does-a-dead-fish-sell-for-16312m-and-whos-writing-all-the-cheques-769504.html> [Accessed – 25/01/2013]

‘Damien Hirst Biography’ [Internet] Published by Damienhirst.com. [Internet] Available from <http://www.damienhirst.com/biography/read-more-about-the-artist> [Accessed 25/01/2013


Damien Hirst. (1991) ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ Published by Saatchi Gallery. Available from http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/aipe/damien_hirst.htm [Accessed 25/01/2013]

El Lissitzky (1919)  ‘ Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge’ Published by LDM:Graphic design Dept. Available from < http://blog.ldminstitute.com/graphic/?p=679> [Accessed 25/01/13]

Thursday, 10 January 2013



The Church of Scientology accepts that intelligent life exists throughout the universe and has for millions of years. Xenu, a galactic overlord, features prominently in their mythology. Xenu's actions have direct influence on how humanity on Earth has developed. However, this information is available only to Scientologists of considerable rank inline with their acceptance of revealing the truth is stages as followers are properly prepared.

Mythology of Xenu

75,00,000 years ago, Xenu headed the Galactic Federation, which was an organization of 76 planets that had already existed for 20,000,000 years. The planets were suffering a tremendous problem with overpopulation. Xenu's draconian solution to the matter was to gather large numbers of people, kill them, freeze their thetans (souls), and transport the frozen thetans to Earth, which they called Teegeeack. The thetans were left in the vicinity of volcanoes, which were, in turn, destroyed in a series of nuclear explosions.
Members of the galactic Federation eventually rebelled against Xenu, fighting him for six years before he was finally captured and imprisoned on a planet that today is barren desert. Within the "mountain trap" on this unnamed world, Xenu still lives.

How The Story of Xenu Influences Scientology Belief

The thetans who were captured and exploded on Earth are the origin of body thetans. Each human has his or her own thetan, which Scientologists purify through auditing until the practitioner reaches a state of Clear. While a Clear's own thetan is now free of destructive engrams, his physical form is still inhabited by body thetans: clusters of these ancient, executed thetans.
Clears work with the body thetans through a system similar to auditing, assisting the body thetans to get past their own traumas, at which point they leave the Clear's body. All body thetans have to be so processed before a Clear can reach the state of Operating Thetan, wherein one's thetan is completely free of external limitations and can fully express it's true potential, including operation outside of a physical body.

Public Acknowledgement Or Denial of Xenu

Scientologists are not made aware of Xenu until they have reached a stage known as OT-III. Those who have not reached this rank frequently actively avoid any materials that refer to Xenu, considering it improper and even dangerous to read them. Those who have reached the rank of OT-III often publicly deny the existence of the Xenu myth, although this might be more understandable in the light of the idea that such knowledge is dangerous to the unprepared.
The Church of Scientology has, however, effectively admitted to the mythology for many years. The Church actively pursues legal action against those who attempt to publish Xenu-related materials via copyright law. In order to claim copyright on a piece of material, however, one has to admit that the material does, in fact, exist and that they are the author of it.

What's the Deal with the OT3 Materials?

Disclaimer: The OT3 materials are copyrighted by the Church of Scientology. We know that. In fact, we're really, really, really sick of hearing about just how copyrighted they are. This page does not contain links to the actual OT3 materials, and does not contain any copyrighted material except that which is protected by the Fair Use clause. What you'll find here is a synopsis of the OT3 basics in our own words, and a short discussion of how we feel about them.
If you're dying to read the OT3 materials exactly as they were written, search for them online. There are plenty of places you can read them word for word. You can even read them in L. Ron Hubbard's handwriting if it pleases you. To the Google mobile with you!
If there are any Scientology words in here you don't get, take a look at the Simple Scientology Glossary on this site.
Anyway, on with the show.
What ARE the 'OT3 materials'?
OT3 is one of major auditing steps in Scientology. Scientologists sometimes call it "The Wall of Fire". All auditing up the point of OT3 is pretty laid-back, without too much weirdness. Even OTI and OTII are fairly boring as far as content goes. It takes years for a Scientologist to reach OT3.
When they finally do get to the point where they are ready to do OT3, they actually have to be invited to do the level. And before they're allowed to look at the OT3 materials, they have to sign a waiver stating that they will never reveal the secrets of OT3 to anyone, and that they will not hold the CoS responsible for any emotional damage that may result from reading them. When they've finally jumped through all these hoops, they are led into a locked room and given a folder to read, which is said to contain some of the innermost secrets of Scientology. The contents of that folder are called the OT3 materials.
What do the OT3 materials say?
This may be really difficult for lower-level Scientologists to believe, but here goes: In the OT3 materials basically say that 75 million years ago, an evil being named Xenu decided to solve a population problem on his galactic colony by exiling a bunch of people to Earth. Xenu then did a ton of horrible things to these people, like drugging them, placing their bodies around a volcano, and blowing them up with H-bombs.
But that really only took care of the physical problem - Xenu didn't just want the bodies gone, he wanted to make sure the 'thetans' (spirits / souls) of those people didn't come back and reincarnate on his colony. So when the souls started leaving the bodies, he captured the souls and forced them into a huge implant station that was kind of like a movie theatre. There, he made them watch movies that 'implanted' them with false pictures of Christ, and other historical events that Hubbard says didn't actually happen.
The souls were so screwed up from this implanting that they roamed aimlessly around Earth for millions of years. When human beings started evolving, the thetans started entering their bodies and inhabiting them, and thus these thetans are called 'body thetans'. And body thetans, says Hubbard, are the source of all human misery.
But that's just the theory portion of OT3. The practical portion of OT3 involves getting rid of these body thetans. The PC uses the Emeter to locate body thetans that are stuck to his body, and talk to them, auditing them until they blow (go away).
All subsequent OT levels after OT3 also deal with body thetans.
No, seriously. We've seen the evidence.
But if that's true, why do ALL Scientologists deny that that's what's on OT3?
To be honest, we're not totally sure why upper-level Scientologists insist on publicly denying the fact that the OT materials have anything to do with Xenu. I mean, c'mon guys. The cat is so totally out of the bag. I mean, the cat has been out of the bag so long that if you asked the cat about the bag, the cat would be like, "Oh, the BAG? That was forever ago." And then the cat would roll its eyes and go back to being out of the bag. There are copies of the materials floating around in L. Ron Hubbard's own handwriting, and let me tell ya, the guy had very distinctive handwriting.
But ESK believes the real reason for the denials is probably nothing more than severe group pressure. No Scientologist wants to be the first one to come out and say, "Yup. Xenu's in there. Body thetans too. Deal with it." Most likely because they'd be bringing all the wrath of hell down on themselves from CoS higher-ups, and they'd be declared on the spot and thrown out.
They can't tell lower-level Scientologists what's in OT3 - that's a high crime, punishable by expulsion. And it'd be kind of weird to tell non-Scientologists one thing and tell Scientologists another, so the secrecy puts them in a bit of a pickle. They are essentially forced to lie.
Lower level Scientologists who have not yet reached OT3, however, deny it because they really, truly, factually, honestly, utterly don't know. They've probably never even heard of Xenu or body thetans, or if they *have*, the only people they've ever heard about it from were non-Scientologists. Even if they are repeatedly told by strangers and non-Scientologists that Xenu is at the core of OT3, they think, "Well, that can't be true. I've been in Scientology for years, and I've never heard mention of any 'Xenu'. This guy's not even a Scientologist - what does he know?"
Most lower-level Scientologists find reference to Xenu and aliens ridiculous, and they immediately think of it as obvious fallacy.
So what you end up with here is an entire society of people who will deny to the death that the OT3 materials contain any reference to Xenu - the higher-ups because they don't want to get in trouble, and the lower-downs because they really don't know about it.
Why are the materials so secret within the church?
Well, there's the Scientologist answer to that question and the skeptical answer to that question. The Scientologist answer is that if you're not spiritually ready to read the materials, and you look at them anyway, you could die, or at the very least, ruin your case (make yourself unable to have further Scientology auditing).
The skeptical answer is that if Scientology let people read those materials before they're fully indoctrinated into the church's ideology, they'll leave.
How can anyone fall for that? Are these people all idiots?
No, they're not idiots. They're not idiots at all. A lot of OTs are really intelligent individuals. Please realize that by the time anyone is allowed to look at the OT3 materials, they've spent several years of their life in Scientology, and have spent tens of thousands of dollars on the CoS. Their friends and sometimes family are mostly, if not all, Scientologists. Everyone around them - people they love and trust - are often talking about how amazing the materials are, how life-changing they are, how brilliant it all is (without actually saying what's in the materials, of course). That kind of environment can make anyone believe anything.
Not to mention the fact that if they reject the materials as false, they'll be thrown out and separated from friends, family and loved ones.
The point has also been made that the OT3 materials aren't any "weirder" than any other religion. We'll leave the decision on that one up to you.
So that's why critics and the media make fun of Scientology?
Well, yeah. You gotta admit, it's kinda funny.
But personally, we at ESK think that making fun of Xenu all the time is really missing the point. If Scientologists want to believe in Xenu, they're welcome to do so. What really ought to be criticized are the practices of Scientology management, such as physical abuse in the Sea Org, denial of basic medical services, disconnection, and other issues of malfeasance.

At this point although very informed about the Xenu story I still was confused as to how people cold believe such a myth. I tried to find accounts from ex-members who had reached the OT3 level, and came across a website explaining why people are susceptible to accepting the Xenu story. 


Moreover, while browsing the comments at the bottom I a personal opinion from an ex-member of the cult.

Moreover, I also conducted research into independently released information and documents that is currently available about Xenu.

This PDF. leaflet provides independently released information about the story of Xenu and its relation to Scientology. The document has been designed very simply, with a focus put on the body copy. I want to create a a similar document in the form of a book, this enables me to disseminate the information across a number of pages, leaving space for inforgaphics and illustrations. Moreover, this document is available for download, I had never though of distributing information this way before. Therefore, I will consider making the PDF. version of my outcome available online, to further distribute the information. 


I covered the 'Fair game' policy in my initial research, it states that anybody who is seen as a 'threat' to the Church can be, for example 'destroyed' or 'sued'. I think that the information could be seen as a threat to the church as it disseminated information which is supposed to be 'secret'. Therefore, before producing my outcome I need to research into the copyright laws surrounding Scientology.

Copyright laws were designed to protect the public, as all laws are. They were created "in the public interest". In the case of copyright laws it was deemed that the arts could benefit by giving financial protection to those people who create works of art and so encourage others to do the same. Copyright laws have since been extended to cover many other fields of human endeavour and creativity. However, the basic principle behind it remains the same.

      Within the copyright laws there are certain "permitted acts" whereby infringements can justifiably be made despite the wishes of the author or creator. One of these is in the field of education. Suppose a great playwright were to write a play that resulted in the turning point in the history of the arts in that country, and that the playwright for some reason refused all and sundry to publish their work. Would the copyright laws act to ensure that the wishes of the playwright were respected so that their work could never be studied and appreciated? No it would not! This is not in the spirit of the copyright laws. Places of education would be free to study their work. Copyright laws are there to help make these works available to the public and for the benefit of the public, not to suppress them.

Copyright      How do copyright laws apply in the field of Scientology? Well there has always been the provision for quoting from a published work for the purposes of review or criticism. But what of unpublished works and works published under restrictive conditions? How may a critic quote from a work that has never been published in order to give a fair criticism of the content? It could be argued that the critic would have to reproduce a substantial part of the work in order to make their critical point. Maybe all of it. In any case, if it were an unpublished work with no intention of publication then why should it enjoy the protection of copyright law - a law that is there to encourage the publishing of works? Also if a work were published under restrictive conditions, perhaps because the work were not freely available at a fair or sensible price, then the same argument might apply.

      In the case of the secret teachings of Scientology, the Church of Scientology might argue that withholding the information is "in the public interest" in that the teachings can only be revealed to those who have reached the stage of spiritual evolution where they can be appreciated. And in being the custodians of these materials and in the event that many more people would become Scientologists in the future and the same comment about spiritual development would apply then it could be argued that copyright law entitled them to permanently withhold the information since this would therefore be in the public interest. Indeed, they have used this argument in court.

      The Church of Scientology is using copyright laws to withhold information from the public. Are they doing this for honest or dishonest reasons? In the case of doubt there is one way to find out. That is to publish their material. Not extracts but in some cases its entirety so there can be no argument about quoting out of context or misinterpreting what was written.


Despite this, there are countless documents have been released that educate people about the story Xenu , both printed and online. I decided to research further into the copyright laws.

The laws seem pretty clean cut, so if the teachings of Xenu are copyrighted it would be very hard to legally distribute the information.  My project seemed to hit a wall here, I cannot produce an outcome with the general public as a target audience, if I can't distribute the information. 

I then found this news report about how links had been removed from Xenu.net that The Church of Scientology believed breached the copyright laws. 


I used this site to collect a lot of my research, which means that the information which seriously violated the copyright beliefs has already been removed. Therefore, the information on 'Xenu' and the 'galactic federation' seem to be safe from the copyright laws. Furthermore, the information that I collected for my outcome has been collected from sources around the web, already published and available to the public, I am simply redistributing information which has already been published and exists free from copyright-infringement. 

Information Refinement 

  • 75,00,000 years ago, Xenu was leader of the Galactic Federation.
  • The Galactic Federation was an organization of 76 planets.
  • The group of planets had already existed for 20,000,000 years. 
  • The planets were suffering a tremendous problem with overpopulation.
  • Xenu's solution was to gather large numbers of people, kill them.
  • Then freeze their thetans (souls), and transport the frozen thetans to Earth, which they called Teegeeack. 
  • The thetans were dropped into volcanoes.
  • Then the volcanos were destroyed by a series of nuclear explosions. 

Book Research.

SI Special   Fabio Ongarato Design

SI Special   Fabio Ongarato Design
Large type and negative space make for a striking magazine spread.

SI Special   Fabio Ongarato Design
The experimental type compositions are eye-catching and therefore evoke more attention from the audience.

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Gertrude Contemporary – Still Vast Reserves
Disciplines Publication
Year 2010

SI Special   Fabio Ongarato Design

SI Special   Fabio Ongarato Design
This publication utilizes a stylish hard protective cover. I want to produce protective packaging for my book, something similar to this could be considered.

SI Special   Fabio Ongarato Design
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Derek Henderson – Mercy Mercer
Disciplines Monograph
Year 2010

SI Special   Fabio Ongarato Design

SI Special   Fabio Ongarato Design
This type has been composed across two pages, the negative space around the typography focuses the audiences attention on the type. Placing type like this would be a challenge as the type would be printed on different pages and have to line up. 
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Dale Frank – So Far The Art of Dale Frank 2005 –1980

Disciplines Book

Year 2008


This page shows a nice balance of type and image.

bleed - agency blog
These books use a card band to hold them shut, adding a new element to the front cover.

VV8LB9HSJmjvcfzvffYBQ9q2o1_400.jpg (343×480)

Believe in: You are the Map Maker — Collate
Modernist styled layout looks clean and minimal. Moreover, the spread also shows a choice of typefaces as they mix well on the page.

Josep Román Barri

Josep Román Barri
Simple striking cover.

This spread shows a good use of minimalist design. There is a nice visual balance between the two pages elements. 



This book uses a clever method used to close the cover and hold it shut. 

This book cover uses a limited use of colour and only a few visual elements to create a striking design.

Double page typographic spread, something I could consider for my publication.

The packaging for this book is made from tissue paper, due to its properties it is slightly opaque hides the detail of the cover. As the story of Xenu is a secret I want to experiment with creating some outer packaging for the book that hides the content.


Here the cover has been cut to cleverly show the illustration underneath. This hides the whole picture, making the audience interact with the product as they are  inquisitive to see the complete illustration. 

Handbound books have a certain quality that commercially produced books can never acheve. I want to handbound my book.

The cover for this publication is also relatively transparent, reflecting the theme of the book 'Emptiness'  .

The book utilizes a cconcertina fold.

Card has been placed over the original front cover, leaving the spine exposed. This strengthens the cover resulting in better protection for the pages.  

There is a strong minimalist theme running throughout the book, this is achieved through the limited, pale colour scheme and limited use of illustration and block text. I want to produce my book in a similar fashion. 

This book uses an elasticated band to keep the publication closed.

Book Binding Research 

I want to produce my publication by hand, therefore I stared researching into hand-binding books. I have experimented with making books by hand before, and own a book called 'Making handmade books' I will use this book to collect research on possible ways I could produce my publication.

This is a simple yet effective way of binding the publication, the stitching technique isn't too complicated making production easy. I will consider this technique when binding my publication.

Above is a more complicated method of binding. It utilizes a complicated production method as the stich used to bind the pages is more complex. 

Packaging Research.

SI Special   Fabio Ongarato Design

SI Special   Fabio Ongarato Design
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Kerry Phelan Design Office

Disciplines K.P.D.O. Identity

Year 2010

SI Special   Fabio Ongarato Design
[column width="48%" padding="3%"]△


Disciplines Branding

Year 2008

James Kape | Work: James Kape Portfolio
James Kape | Work: James Kape Portfolio

Creative Product Designs
Askul Garbage bag 

Creative Product Designs
Creative Product Designs
Cadbury Milk & White Chocolates

Creative Product Designs
Peter & Wendy - Book Packaging 

Creative Product Designs
Beck - 8 bit

Moreover, I also collected research from a book called 'The Designer's Packaging bible'. 

In this design the outer spine has been removed to reveal the inner hand bound spine. This is relevant to my book as I am also hand binding my publication. The inner spine could be revealed to represent the books function of revealing the secrets of Xenu.

I have chosen to feature this design because of the aesthetically engaging band.

This design is relevant to my translucent cover idea.

Another possibility I hadn't considered was inspired by the design shown above. I could extend the length of the cover, so that it folds all the way around the publication.  

This design reminded me of the solar system. Starts and planets are directly relevant to my topic of space lord 'Xenu'. Therefore, I could adapt similar packaging to suit my publication.

Finally, I also looked at this design, it uses a hard outer cover which the book simply slides into. The cover provides protection as well as being visually engaging.

Logo Research

Moreover, I want to produce a logo for my book to be used on the cover, amongst other places. The logo needs to communicate a significant part of the Xeun story, although the logo may not instantly communicate what the books contents are, it will set the theme so the audience have some idea to the books context. Before I started researching into existing logos I highlighted the important parts of the story I wanted to portray with my logo.

  • Alien/spaceship
  • Earth/planet
  • Volcano

Alien  Illuminated Wall Art and Glowing Sign by LuxChroma on Etsy, $75.00
Classic alien symbolism

alien peace sign - Google Search

This image shows a simple full body alien design. When creating variations of my own I want to focus on the head of the alien. 

Alien Crossing Sign
Classic alien head shape

Interesting: It¿s a scientific prediction that will get dollar signs pinging in Steven Spielberg¿s eyes: We could make contact with aliens in less than 100 years


"An Alien's Guide to Planet Earth" by Toenail Willie
Illustrated logo, showing an alien holding the earth. One common theme I have noticed is the eyes, when illustrated aliens are often portrayed with large eyes.


(add spaceship research)


(add spaceship research)


Photograph taken of a live volcano.

Volcano road sign, a simplistic design similar to what I want to achieve.

Another road sign, this one has slightly more detail than the last.

Another example of volcano symbolism.

Super simplistic deisgn amost takes the design back to basic shapes.

This volcano looks slightly like a mountain due to the lack of smoke and lava, these are vital elements in communicating what the symbol represents.

More volcano symbolism. 

I really like this design, it shows a volcano erupting in the sea. It looks like it has been lino cut and hand printed.

This design uses negative space to portray the volcano. The design is simple, effective and clever.

This is a more illustrative verison showing a volcano with human features. I want to produce something much simpler than, less of an illustration and more of a symbol.

Page Layouts

Additionally, I want to produce the pages of my book in a visually engaging way that evokes interest from the audience, this will keep the audience interested in the information being presented. A restraint of the brief is that our information must be presented in the form of inforgraphics, I will need to consider how I will present these as I want each page to have a balance of negative space and visual media. Below is research into page layouts, I have chosen work that shows  balance as well as experimental layouts, as I want my book to have similar features. 

This design mixes typography with infographics. The page is well balanced  with a good mixture of text and image.

layouts - Nike Stadium Paris Magazine - Leslie David


Moreover, a constraint of the brief states that we have to present our information and data in the form of inforgraphics. Therefore, I collected a body of research into different ways data can be visually presented.