OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE
I am torn about entering Criticism Kerfuffle 2010, entertained in Blueprint
, Words in Space
and Urban Omnibus
. There's fair, if not universal, agreement that more thoughful architectural criticism would indeed be a good thing. But it isn't just the writing that's the problem.
OBSERVATORY : MICHELLE HAUSER
Since 1839, a cavalcade of photographic processes have framed our perceptions of images. Each time a new method evolves — from the daguerrotype to the gelatin silver print — something quicker and more affordable comes along. With the emergence of digital photography, what was once essential to "fix" an image — light sensitive material, substrate and chemical reaction — is no longer necessary. Ironically, now more than ever, historic methods have come back into vogue.
CHANGE OBSERVER : PHIL PATTON
The recent announcement
that Sony would cease manufacturing the Walkman in Japan raised eyebrows. Who knew they were still making them? It also reminded us that the history of mobile sound playing and recording has had a powerful influence on the way we experience and even make music. So says an astute commentator — Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.
PLACES : JASON REBLANDO
For many Americans these are hard times, and Thanksgiving a test of fortitude. No wonder, then, that we are focused so much on another difficult era — the Great Depression — and that we continue to recall the New Deal that aimed to bring back good times. In this spirit Chicago photographer Jason Reblando has been documenting some of the Greenbelt Towns built in the '30s as part of the federal effort — derided back then as "socialistic" — to ensure decent housing for struggling citizens. Whatever the label, Reblando has found vital towns, positive results of the "intersection of place and politics."
OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE
How the Vanderbilt railyard became Atlantic Yards became downtown Brooklyn became the Barclays Center, lost and gained an architect and a developer, won an NBA franchise, and disappeared from Brooklyn in the process.
OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR
Where are the idealistic fonts, the artsy fonts, the non fonts, the political fonts, the funny fonts, the difficult fonts, the fonts that do not look like fonts, fonts that are frontiers of new belief?
That’s a very good question. The organizers of “Conceptual Type — Type Led by Ideas” posed it at a conference held in Copenhagen last week.
OBSERVERS ROOM : WILLIAM DRENTTEL
I dread the cycle of new product introductions pitched to Design Observer every holiday season — especially menorahs thrown our way as Hanukkah gifts. They always seem to include such wonderful pitch lines as, "a new generation of designers is re-imagining the menorah using everything from recycled bike chains to wrought iron for inspiration."
OBSERVATORY : EDWARD MORRIS AND DMITRI SIEGEL
Most People just don't get climate change. Few grasp the need and more important, the opportunity to transform our society. So the people who do get it need to be louder, more insistent and more effective at getting the message across. With the Green Patriot Posters project we looked to the graphic design and artistic communities for ways to invigorate and mobilize people to remake our economy for a more sustainable future.
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.
CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Report on Food Not Bombs, an activist network, now about to turn 30, that distributes free vegan meals.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2009
Learning from New Orleans, or why we really need a new New Deal.