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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: AUGUST 18, 2011


The Politics of Desire and Looting

FEATURED THIS WEEK : ADRIAN SHAUGHNESSY

The Politics of Desire and Looting

The riots that ripped through English cities during four days in August were more ferocious and catastrophic than similar outbursts in the recent past. They have caused a prolonged and unprecedented bout of soul searching amongst all strands of British society. How could this happen? What caused it? Who is to blame?
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Underground Vietnam Military Patches

Having an appreciation for design, I have long been interested in military patches. This started as a teenager, when friends of mine were drafted to serve in the Vietnam War. Stripes and bars were common, but other patches were somewhat mysterious.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

Funerary Portraits: Snapshots in Stone

For many people, a cemetery is a morbid location, a reminder of the hopefully distant but unavoidable end to our earthly tenancy. I have never been one of those people. I won’t say I feel at home in cemeteries (let’s not tempt fate too flagrantly) but these highly atmospheric and deeply revealing sites of remembrance have always struck me as some of the most fascinating places to visit when traveling.
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FROM OUR SPONSORS

Almost one billion people on the planet don't have safe and clean drinking water. Mohawk has partnered with charity: water to help bring clean water to developing nations.You can help contribute by visiting our Drop in the Bucket campaign.
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Drop in the Bucket >>
Mohawk Fine Papers >>

Society, the economy and the context for design are rapidly changing — providing new opportunities for designers who are prepared for the complexities of the future. Attend the "Pivot: AIGA Design Conference" this fall in Phoenix for inspiration, incredible networking and actionable insights on the changing design industry. 
Learn more about "Pivot" here >>
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OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER

Renovations at the Museum

New York Magazine's great Intel interview column always concludes with the same question: "What makes a person a New Yorker." (Pharrell Williams: "The will to make it.") For me, the mark of a true native is the ability to navigate the American Museum of Natural History without a map. If you can make it from the Hall of Minerals from the African Mammals without a plan or a wrong turn, you're a New Yorker.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : TOM VANDERBILT

Interface Time

MoMA's new exhibition "Talk to Me" purports to be about "the communication betwen people and things." If only it were that straightforward.
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PLACES : ANTHONY DOERR

Village 113

Anthony Doerr is among the best American writers on the subject of memory and place. In this selection from Memory Wall, which won the 2010 Story Prize, an elderly seed keeper guards the history of an unnamed village on the Yangtze River soon to be inundated by waters rising behind the Three Gorges Dam: “Here, a thousand years ago, monks lashed themselves to boulders. Here a hunter stood motionless sixteen winters until his toes became roots and his fingers twigs.” As the seed keeper prepares for the future, her son returns to the village as a security liaison for the dam engineers.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER

Wear And Tear

The issue of wear and tear gets at a crucial crossroads: Designing something that is meant to be lived with vs. designing something that is meant to be replaced. Are worn-and-torn gadgets embarrassing — or oddly appealing?

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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 08.14.11

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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OBSERVER MEDIA : RICKY JAY

Celebrations of Curious Characters: Taking it on the Chin

Ricky Jay is an actor, a historian, a magician and a collector. He is also a superb storyteller with a keen eye for the most gruesomely enchanting detail, and he delights in tales of the most delicious oddity. 

Design Observer is pleased to share a selection of recorded broadcasts — all read and authored by Ricky Jay — brought to you along with the visual catalyst that inspired its tale. This is the third of four installments.
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PLACES : EMILY MITCHELL

States

Continuing our reading series on place in fiction, fabulist Emily Mitchell conjures up an alternate history of these United States. Travel to New York, the land of mirrors. Learn why Vermonters shout in public on the first Wednesday of November. Pull back the curtain on the great hoax of Louisiana. And remember, always, the official motto of Pennsylvania: “When in doubt, breathe, but not through your mouth.”
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Sappi
A totally unvarnished and uncoated look at what goes on behind the glossy world of print production.
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AIGA
Don't miss the chance to pivot this fall.
Pivot: AIGA Design Conference 2011 >>


Mohawk
Almost one billion people don't have safe and clean drinking water
Mohawk & charity: water. Helping to bring clean water to developing nations >>
SVA
D-Crit: Design as subject matter.
Criticism as literary genre.
Learn at SVA >>

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.
Listen >>
More Design Matters Archive >>

CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Transensing: Glassware for the Blind

Award-winning glassware for the visually impaired.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

past post past post past post

PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2008

The New U.S. Embassy in Berlin

In creating a new U.S. embassy in Berlin, architectural design is just one of the challenges.
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Change Observer

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