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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: JUNE 30, 2011


The Texting Culture of the Philippines

FEATURED THIS WEEK : AN XIAO MINA

The Texting Culture of the Philippines

It must have been as late as 2005 when people still had to check if you were okay with texting. “You text, right?” a friend once asked. “Of course,” I wrote back. “I'm Filipino.”
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PLACES : KEN MCCOWN

Point of Astonishment

When landscape architecture professor Ken McCown traveled from the Western U.S. to New Zealand, he was reminded of the California landscapes he'd come to know well. And more: the panoramic vistas and unpolluted atmosphere — the clean air and clear light — were what he imagined the Golden State had been like once, "before the postwar suburban boom, when the state was less populous, the air not so dirty." Here we present McCown's photographic effort to capture the feeling of traveling in time as well as place.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN THACKARA

How to Make Systems Thinking Sexy

We will not transition successfully to a restorative economy until systems thinking becomes as natural, for millions of people, as riding a bike. That's a big ask. How do we get from here, to there?

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge [BFC] is one of the more important projects to address this task — and serving on the jury was by far the hardest work I did last year.

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OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER

Big Red: Antwerp's New MAS Museum

The Bilbao Effect remains in full effect. Last month I wrote about the Orange Cube, Jakob + MacFarlane's day-glo office building that would bring new energy to the Lyon waterfront. Perhaps you've read elsewhere about Zaha Hadid's new Riverside Museum along the Clyde, which has similar aspirations for Glasgow. The subject here is an even more ambitious project, one that would similarly spur the development of a once derelict industrial waterfront in a historic if somewhat provincial European city.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER

Order, chaos, order: Jennifer Shaw's 'Hurricane Story'

The chaos that followed Katrina made anyone who cared feel like a small thing arranged into involuntary scenarios devised by unseen forces. In Jennifer Shaw's Hurricane Story, the artist arranges things, and in doing so restores wonderful order to her story, and her city’s.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Geeked-out Gardening

The day after I celebrated his Kickstarter success with Tyler Caruso, co-founder of Seeing Green, which is about measuring the value of urban agriculture, I read a fascinating piece by Simon Kuper in the FT about the use of data to analyse every tiny aspect of a football match.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Welcome to the Hall of Femmes

Women that will be graphic design history.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

Speculative Fiction, Speculative Design

I had barely walked into Out of This World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It, an exhibition at the British Library, when I noticed a book cover that blew me away. Never having seen the strange dust jacket of England Swings SF before, I wanted to know who had created it, but there was no information. The design of is one of those prescient imaginative leaps into the future that vaulted so far it disappeared from the historical record.
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PLACES : DEBORAH GANS

Below the Sill Plate: New Orleans East Struggles to Recover

Soon after Hurricane Katrina, architect Deborah Gans traveled from New York to New Orleans to participate in a HUD-funded grant focused on relief housing for the large low-lying district of New Orleans East. Here she describes several years of design work — with colleagues and students at Pratt, as well as CUNY and NJIT — framed not just as disaster response but more broadly as "re-envisioning the coastal suburb in the age of global warming." Gans is candid about the limited results so far. "The current failure of this project," she says, "is coincidental with a much larger crisis in the rebuilding effort."
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CHANGE OBSERVER : WILLIAM UNDERHILL

Comradettes

The opening show for this new clothing collection made plain the back-to-basic theme: no catwalk or models, just a rack of clothes in an open wardrobe on the floor of a former factory with a pile of hammers as the only decoration. Slogans on the outside walls proclaimed: “Revolution is Glorious,” “Down with Luxury” and “Dress for Revolution.”
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Open Season on Dutch Cultural Innovation

In a memorandum titled More than Quality the Dutch Arts Minister Halbe Zijlstra has announced savage cuts to the country's arts budget. Among media arts & technology organizations to lose their structural funding are such long-term friends and partners of ours as STEIM, Waag Society, V2, Submarine Channel, and Mediamatic.
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OBSERVATORY : JULIE LASKY

Between Two Convex Mirrors: A Conversation with Tomi Ungerer

Described by the publisher Phaidon Press as “the most famous book author you have never heard of,” Tomi Ungerer is a continental treasure in his native Europe, an artist whose life and work embody the epic forces of the late 20th century. This interview was conducted in New York during one of Ungerer’s rare visits to the U.S.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 06.26.11

Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER

This City Is Driving Me Nuts

According to a new study published in the latest issue of the journal Nature, the brain structures of urbanites respond differently to stressful conditions than those from rural or suburban areas
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN FOSTER

DART St. Louis

Last April, more than 250 designers, art directors, photographers and illustrators took turns throwing darts at a map of St. Louis. The intersection where the dart landed became their destination. The dart-thrower had a month to find his or her assigned corner of the city and return with a photograph that made that spot come to vivid life.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey is a designer and illustrator and author of Supply and Demand: The Art of Shepard Fairey.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

How to Start a Movement

Interview with movement entrepreneur Jeremy Heimans, founder of Purpose.com.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

past post past post past post

PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 1989

Western Civic Art: Works in Progress

In 1989 Phoenix, Arizona, commissioned one of the first public art master plans. The city now has one of the strongest public art programs in the country.
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Change Observer

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