Monthly Archives: September 2009

Tetris Live

Combo

Another fabulous stop-motion film of street art in the making by Blu in a collaborative effort with David Ellis (via Good).

Killed by the Internet

The internet wields its power to revive and destroy, but the destruction that it brings is not always negative. A recent article in the Telegraph looks at 50 things that are being killed by the internet.

The humorous ones:

#4 Sarah Palin (I can only hope)

#22 Enforceable copyright

#34 Mainstream media

#44 Trust in Nigerian businessmen and princes

The sad ones:

#13 Memory

#14 Dead time

#50 Your lunchbreak

A Fine Morning

breakfast

After a long week, Saturday morning breakfast has never looked so good.

Picnic Day Three

Picture 8

As Picnic came to a close, I finally was able to sit down with three speakers to have a conversation about their work with technology: Katrin Verclas from MobileActive, Jeremy Ettinghausen from Penguin Books Digital Publishing, and Greg Skibiski from Sense Networks. Video of the interviews will be featured on the Picnic website in the near future.

Dream Big

This video tells the story of an beautiful dream, to make a book that encouraged kids to dream amazing dream. It’s the story of An Awesome Book written, illustrated, and published by Dallas Clayton. See the whole book here.

Sushi Camera

Picnic Day One

picnic

Too caught up in schmoozing to post anything yesterday, but I had the chance to enjoy several sessions. First off was ‘The Arab Social Web’, with the speakers Mohamed Najem, Co-founder of Social Media Exchange and Moeed Ahmad, Head of New Media at Al Jazeera, discussing how social media enable people in their region to circumvent censorship and other restricting factors.

The best session of the day was ‘Once Upon These Times: New Stories for New Audiences’ with Jeremy Ettinghausen, Digital Publisher at Penguin Books, and Matt Locke, Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 Education. They presented six stories about storytelling, using successful examples to drive home key points:

1. You Suck at Photoshop, key point: hide stories in unexpected places

2. Surrender Control, key point: give yourself ridiculous restraints

3. We Tell Stories, key point: experiment outside your comfort zones

4. I am Cherry Girl, key point: invent a character without a storyline

5. Yu-Gi-Oh!, key point: give fans stuff to play with

6. Smokescreen, key point: create stories you can binge on when you want

I had the chance to sit down with Jeremy after he spoke. What was supposed to be an interview turned into a lovely discussion about books and the industry, but I’ll hopefully have the chance to catch up with him, and other speakers in the coming days.

Ik houdt van fietsen

Ik houdt van fietsen

Riding around this morning, I spotted an ‘Amsterdam houdt van fietsan’ (Amsterdam loves bikes) poster. Not that Amsterdammers need a campaign to convince them. As autumn begins, I hope this is the year I fulfill my dream: to catch a falling leaf while riding my bike. I’ll stay busy with that until the film Riding Bikes with the Dutch by Michael Wolfgang Bauch comes out.

Hello Picnic

picnic

Yea, PICNIC starts today! Three days of creative inspiration at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam and, hopefully, a chance to chat with a few of the speakers. Stay tuned…

Book Cover Archive

book archive

A good book is even better when it has an eye-catching cover. The Book Cover Archive captures some of the best of them. Unfortunately, browsing through the covers, I realized I missed the exhibition for the Best Dutch Book Design of 2008, which closed on Monday. I guess I’ll have to be content with this online collection until next year.

Fruit Tree

Autumn in Amsterdam

Wandering around Oude West, I spotted a red apple hanging in the tree. What a beautiful, perfect apple, I thought. Strange though, I never see fruit trees in Amsterdam. It did look a little too perfect though. Then I saw an orange, a banana, a pear, and a bunch of grapes. The joke was on me. Perhaps they were hung there by children in the school a few doors down. I imagine that they spend their free moments looking out the window at all the unsuspecting adults who catch a glimpse of the tree, do a double take. Then stop to take a closer look and really see.

Bon Voyage Elliott

setting sail

“He is like a mist that floats and vanishes abruptly.”

Monologism as Poetry

monologism

Art everywhere in Berlin. Monologism as Poetry, an installation by Vittorio Santoro, part of the exhibition Conflicting Tales: Subjectivity.

Bauhau Turns 90

bauhaus

Last week in Berlin, I headed eagerly to the exhibition at the Martin Gropius Bau celebrating the 90th anniversary of the founding of Bauhaus. A few days before, I had read an article in The Design Observer criticizing the association of IKEA with Bauhaus:

“In the first half of the twentieth century, design reacted to industrialization, world wars, poverty, inflation, and class divisions. The Bauhaus arose out of a reaction to disastrous world politics and the inhumanity of urban living conditions, from the bullying architecture of the powerful to the class divisions perpetuated by luxuries only the rich could afford. By contrast, IKEA has evolved over time to refine a much narrower, and perhaps humbler, mission: to make home furnishings look good and cost less. The Bauhaus responded to the social urgencies after the First World War. What has succeeded the social inspiration of the Bauhaus is the business inspiration of retail giants like IKEA, which pursues a business model for the global marketplace.

Today, with the crash of world markets, design must more fully confront and re-evaluate its role in global business. This is what Bauhaus principles are all about: taking stock of the present states of technology, business and culture and crafting reasonable designs for the way we live now. A glut of cheap, uniform products in the marketplace can no longer be a virtue of global business. To pursue Bauhaus principles in the future, IKEA will have to increase the personalization of its products, improve ergonomics, reduce wastefulness and increase quality in order to create lasting value for the consumer.”

Yet, the exhibition in Bauhaus, especially Christine Hill’s DIY Bauhas installation, took on a lighter spirit. Focusing on the proclamation “People’s needs instead of luxury needs” by the second Director of Bauhaus Hannes Meyer, she takes a less harsh view of IKEA.

“Some mostly leftist designers may protest, but IKEA had and has achieved the pioneering influence on a broad spectrum of buyers that, as one of its central goals, the historical Bauhaus would have liked to achieve.”

Perhaps the danger comes when we believe that the pioneering influence Bauhaus wanted to achieve was merely a specific design style, rather than the manifestation of political and social goals that would in turn shape design principles and the consumer’s mentality.

All One’s Own

“It is a terrible thing to learn as a child that one is a being separate from all the world, that no one and no thing hurts along with one’s burned tongues and skinned knees, that one’s aches and pains are all one’s own. Even more terrible, as we grow older, to learn that no person, no matter how beloved, can ever truly understand us.”

— Donna Tartt, The Secret History (via Something Changed: Psychotherapy)

And yet, in spite of our existential solitude, isn’t the whole point to try, and keep trying? To create relationships over the years, continually making time and effort to know and grow with others, which most likely will be very few. But infinitely worthwhile.

Mobility for Change

MoMo

Photo by Jöran Maaswinkel

The first day of my week kicked off with a Mobile Monday afternoon around the great topic of utilizing mobile technology in emerging markets to create social change. Last fall, I worked on a research project related to mobile banking that focused primarily on the way the developing world is taking this up full force. I spotted this trailer for the recent documentary Hello Africa on the website of Mariéme Jamme, one of the speakers at Monday’s MoMo.

Physical vs. Digital Storage

mac storage

Amazing visualization of physical vs. digital storage on The Next Web. This is just one of many. Thanks Miss Bierbaum!

Looking at Your Whole Life

It’s easy to think that college classes are mainly about preparing you for a job. But remember: this may be the one time in your life when you have a chance to think about the whole of your life, not just your job. Courses in the humanities, in particular, often seem impractical, but they are vital, because they stretch your imagination and challenge your mind to become more responsive, more critical, bigger. You need resources to prevent your mind from becoming narrower and more routinized in later life. This is your chance to get them.

— A little advice for the upcoming school year that makes me a bit nostalgic for the energy of a classroom and the chance to buy new books.

On the Tip

on the tip

Trying to remember a forgotten word just became easier with Tip of My Tongue, a search tool that helps you out when you can’t seem to recall that perfect word. I spent all day trying to think of a word I couldn’t remember to test it out. A bit opposite of it’s intention, so I guess I’ll have to wait until a blank moment. (via booksbooksbooks: sanaminerva)