Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Advent of the Holidays

Tomorrow the month of December begins, along with one of my favorite holiday traditions: the advent calendar. Although the advent calendar of my childhood will always remain my ideal, there are many inventive and creative designs that makes the advent calendar more than just another decoration. The calendar above, by David Fussenegger, is one example.

The Eric Carle Dream Snow pop-up advent calendar.

The Könecke Advent Sausage, designed by Butter, is truly German.

Noix de Coc advent boxes that can have left two sides of the box blank for custom designs (via Bodie and Fou).

A DIY Beer advent calendar.

And Modern Cottage‘s calendar made from an antique type drawer.

A Call for Articulation

Poet Taylor Mali slams the prevalence of the interrogative tone and calls for a resurrection of articulating with conviction (via somethingchanged: wearethedigitalkids).

Chalkboard Newspaper

In Monrovia, Liberia, Alfred Sirleaf runs the Daily Talk, a news and information service that uses a blackboard display to show the daily headlines. Volunteers across Liberia send updates to Sirleaf, which he then presents to the public. The chalkboard news feed brings information to people like refugees who want to participate in their local and national community, but don’t have the means to stay informed. For those who cannot read, he uses symbols and pictures to get the message across. His long-term goal is to decentralize the Daily Talk and make the information available in other cities across Liberia.

I was reminded of Sirleaf during the final weeks of the World Pulse Voices of Our Future program, which trains women to use social media for citizen journalism. His motivation to inform society about the news that affects them resonates with the ideas presented in the article ‘The Power of Information‘ by Gertrude, a correspondent from Zimbabwe that I had the opportunity to work with during the program. Gertrude wrote about the need for information across her country, interviewing the elder Gogo Moyo from the remote village of Binga.

‘Despite all the colourful speeches that we hear from politicians during election campaigns, we are in actual fact cut off from the rest of the world. There are no schools nearby, the roads are poor and we have no clinics. We have no access to local radio and television. We do not know why we have to vote and the effect of that vote,’ adds Gogo Moyo.

The people of Binga do not want to be only recipients of news. The little exposure they have had with the media has made them appreciate the power of information and the positive change that it can bring. There is therefore an urgent need to build local capacities and abilities of marginalised and vulnerable groups in the strategic and creative use of communication to express their needs, to make their voices heard, to manage their own communication, and to participate fully in their own development and bring about long-term social change.

(Chalkboard Newspaper via PSFK)

IDFA Recommendations

My insider at IDFA tells me these films are ‘must sees’:

American Radical (David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier, Canada/USA, 2009)
Defamation (Yoav Shamir, Israel/Denmark/Austria/USA, 2009)
Kings of Pastry (Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker, USA/England, 2009)
Videocracy (Erik Gandini, Sweden/Denmark, 2009)

A Festival of Documentaries

IDFA (The International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam) begins tomorrow! One of my favorite events of the year, IDFA showcases an array of documentaries across a diverse range of topics from filmmakers around the globe.  The festival runs from 19-29 November and already a few films have caught my interest:

Constatin and Elena (Andrei Dascalescu, Romania/Spain, 2008)
A chronicle of the love of a Romanian couple, married for 55 years, as they fill their days and accept their mortality.

Countryside 35×45 (Evgeny Solomin, Russia, 2009)
This documentary follows the man that has to photograph the inhabitants of the remote villages in Siberia, profiling the people he meets along the way, in the process to replace all Soviet passports with Russian identity papers.

Pianomania (Lilian Franck and Robert Cibis, Germany/Austria, 2009)
These filmmakers document the work of concert technician and piano tuner Stefan Knüpfer. ‘Armed with humor, patience, and a generous dose of creativity, he fiddles with the grand pianos as long as it takes for their sound to seduce the pianists.’

The Red Chapel (Mads Brügger, Denmark, 2009)
Comics Jacob and Simon, North Korean by birth and adopted by Danish parents as children, head to Pyeongyang after they receive permission to perform a vaudeville act.

Tapped (Stephanie Soechtig, Canada/USA, 2009)
This documentary is a critique of the growing bottled water industry, outlining the environmental problems and the rising power of corporations.

Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam (Omar Majeed, Canada, 2009)
Taqwa is an Arabic word that means ‘piety’ or ‘god-fearing’. This film documents the journey of Islamic punks in the United States whose music blends punk and hip hop inspirations with ancient Arabic culture and instruments.

View the full festival program here.

Le Creativ Sweatshop

le creativ sweatshop

“Creativity is something you constantly work on. Some say you are lucky to be so creative, but it’s something you work on every day.”

— Ndeur (Mathieu Missiaen)

Specializing in paper designs, the conceptual agency Le Creativ Sweatshop (The Creative Sweatshop) works across a spectrum of media that cater to their quest for creativity. (via Yatzer)

We Feel Fine: The Book

snowy

Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, the creators of We Feel Fine, have announced the completion of the book We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion heading to stores on December 1. The book chronicles the mission of the project: to aggregate the range of emotions expressed in blogs online and collectively present them for exploration.

The 288-page book contains photographs from over 1,000 individual bloggers, statistics from over 13 million individual feelings, hundreds of infographics, dozens of back stories and in-depth profiles, and countless insights into the ups and downs of everyday life.

The book can be pre-ordered on Amazon.