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WEEKLY EMAIL: DECEMBER 02, 2010


New Contexts/New Practices: Six Views of the AIGA Design Educators Conference

FEATURED THIS WEEK : EDITED BY JULIE LASKY

New Contexts/New Practices: Six Views of the AIGA Design Educators Conference

Held October 8–10, 2010, at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, the AIGA Design Educators Conference “New Contexts/New Practices” offered a panoramic view of a transforming profession. By investigating how developments in technology, business, social priorities and even the very definition of design have roiled the field, the event sought to map a new, relevant landscape for design education and practice in the 21st century. Here we present comprehensive written coverage of the proceedings.
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PLACES : JUSTIN PARTYKA

Saskatchewan

This summer we featured The East Anglians, by photographer and folklorist Justin Partyka. Here we present his photographic exploration of Saskatchewan, especially the prairie landscape between Moose Jaw and Saskatoon, where, as he writes, "the extreme flatness exaggerates the presence of anything vertical. Grain elevators tower up majestically, looking like cathedrals of agriculture. Even people in the landscape, or just a simple fence post, seem to take on a monumental presence as they rise up from the land." As with The East Anglians, Justin encourages comments, and will respond to them.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Networks Before the Internet

Network charts — like this one from the Noguchi Museum's new and excellent exhibit — are a bit of an obsession for mid-century design historians. They are a quick and pseudo-scientific way to show how small and intertwined were the worlds of mid-century art, design and architecture.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JULIE LASKY

Bigshot Camera Update

A year ago, a child’s digital camera packaged as a kit of parts, was a concept in pursuit of a manufacturer. The search is still on, says Bigshot’s inventor, Columbia University computer scientist Shree Nayar. But there are new developments.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER

The Ugliest Object I Have Ever Owned

Notice anything here that doesn't seem quite right? This full-pager for Buick might not be the most absurd advertisement in history, but there's certainly much that defies logic, or at least common sense.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Jellyfish Farm

Scientists warn that most natural seafood could disappear by 2048. The tragedy is that fishermen, wholesalers, food processing firms, retailers, chefs and consumers, do not actively “want” to destroy the world’s fisheries. But they are prevented from seeing, and responding appropriately to, the bigger picture by the linear structure of supply and communication chains.
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OBSERVATORY : RICK POYNOR

Where Is Art Now?

Almost anyone who goes through a gallery door is likely to have heard about Duchamp and his urinal. The art world is less good at explaining how certain people get to be artists and decide what art is for the rest of us. It’s about power: whoever holds it gets to officiate and decide. Serious art criticism, like other kinds of criticism, might have given up on the idea of evaluation. But that doesn’t lessen the viewer’s desire to experience work that seems worthwhile or “good,” and this perception of quality in relation to a work’s properties and effects must originate somewhere.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : CHAPPELL ELLISON

Story Time With Starbucks

'Tis the season for nostalgia-laden rebranding! It's that time of year when large companies co-opt those warm fuzzy feelings as a selling tool. I've already spotted the first curious advertising trend, helmed by Starbucks and Whole Foods.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : NANCY LEVINSON

Art Talks

Some upcoming art talks: on Wednesday December 1, Adam Lowe of Factum Arte will be lecturing at the Park Avenue Armory about his collaboration with Peter Greenaway on Leonardo's Last Supper: A Vision. On Tuesday December 7, photographer Justin Partyka and architect Sir Terry Farrell will hold a public conversation about Partyka's Field Work: Photographs from East Anglia, now on exhibition at Eleven Spitalfields in London.
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PLACES : DAVID HEYMANN

A Cloud on a Lake

What is the connection of a building to its site? How does a work of architecture relate — or not — to a particular place on the surface of the earth? For architects and landscape architects, these are central questions — but the fundamental question, as architect David Heymann argues, is the "relationship between humans and nature." Here, in the first of a series that will appear on Places, Heymann explores how the relationship has been negotiated in works as varied as Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Blur Building, photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto's seascapes, and one of Mark Rothko's late period paintings.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

In the Air of Madrid

Ever since we organized Doors of Perception 3 on the theme "info-eco" in 1995, we've been preoccupied by the dilemma of environmental data. Our world is awash in eco information, we concluded then, but starved of meaning.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Sans Serif Seasons Greetings

'Tis the season when the minds of parents of small children turn to holiday cards. What are the mass market choices for the design-minded?
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OBSERVATORY : THE EDITORS

Holiday Books 2010

For this holiday season, Design Observer's contributing writers offer some recommendations for gifts and personal reading.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 11.28.10

Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JESSICA HELFAND

Pretty Pictures, Bad Judgment

Now that the new iPhone 4 gives you the option to photograph yourself without holding the camera in that bizarre, stilted position known to teenagers all over the globe, we can say goodbye to a kind of picture-posing that will, in future generations, read as an early twenty-first century cliché.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Gary Hustwit

Gary Hustwit, independent filmmaker, has produced six feature documentaries, including Helvetica.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

GlobalTap

Report on prototype for GlobalTap water refilling stations.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2000

Portfolio: Uneasy Spaces

New York City photographer Elizabeth Felicella focuses on what she calls "landscape of security."
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