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The Design Observer Group
Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: OCTOBER 13, 2011


An Interview with Kevin Slavin

FEATURED THIS WEEK : ROB WALKER

An Interview with Kevin Slavin

As co-founder of the game development company Area/Code, Kevin Slavin has been thinking about the broad issues of interaction design for a long time. But it’s only recently that the results of thinking have found their way into more broadly public forums. This summer, his talk at TED, and an essay he contributed to the catalog for “Talk To Me,” the MoMA exhibition, emerged more or less in tandem — and intentionally or not, they made an interesting pair. This Q&A began with a conversation via Skype, followed up over email.
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PLACES : DENIS WOOD

Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas

In Everything Sings, geographer Denis Wood and his landscape architecture students mapped a neighborhood in Raleigh, North Carolina, finding poetry in the distribution of wind chimes and the mailman's delivery route. “What neighborhoods do is transform the common, ordinary stuff of the city — water and sewer, electricity, streets — into the real stuff of our lives,” Wood writes. "If this weren’t such an ordinary, everyday thing, you’d think it was magic." Here, we present a selection from the atlas, including four new maps drawn for Places.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JULIE LASKY

Faraday Utility Bike

Nothing on the road is more prosaic than a vehicle designed for hauling loads. Unless, of course, the vehicle has been imagined by a leading industrial design firm working in partnership with an innovative American bicycle manufacturer.
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FROM OUR SPONSORS

Felt & Wire Shop, a curated marketplace of designer papergoods, gifts and also an industry blog. Shop here for beautiful unique gifts, journals, note cards, posters and stationary.  Bessie Anderson, recent college grad and major lead-head, at the Ladies of Letterpress conference in Asheville, N.C..
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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.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Should We Boycott the New Barnes?

What are the ethics of designing, building and visiting this post-lawsuit institution?
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PLACES : KATHERINE L. HESTER

Hill Country Fossils

Following Enrique Ramirez’s essay about reading Austin, Texas, through film, we present a poem set in an exurban subdivision in the Texas Hill Country: The more that we build, the easier it is to forget: /
these limestone hills will always be / the bottom of a sea that is no longer, and sunk / somewhere within it / are cabins chinked with stone.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JULIE LASKY

Media Design Matters

Beginning in May 2012, 10 graduate students from a range of disciplines will work with three core faculty in Art Center's graduate Media Design Program to apply communications strategies to concrete social problems. Fieldwork will be undertaken in partnership with external organizations, beginning with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and UNICEF’s Tech Innovation Team.
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PLACES : ENRIQUE RAMIREZ

I Watch Slacker to Read Austin in the Original

Back in 1991 Richard Linklater's Slacker — shot in 16 mm on location in Austin, Texas, for a budget of less than $25,000 — became an indie cinema phenomenon. Twenty years later it remains a resonant portrait of Austin at a pivotal and poignant moment when, as Enrique Ramirez writes, "the city had not yet become the self-conscious nexus of music and media — and money and fame and power — epitomized by the spectacle of the annual festival SXSW."
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CHANGE OBSERVER : RAMSEY FORD

Expert Thinking About Global Aid

As designers, we are definitely not economists and most of us don’t have Ph.Ds from Harvard or sophisticated algorithms for understanding conceptual impact. But as design matures into a serious field of study, it must develop a deeply critical point of view. Here's some suggested reading to foster that evolution in the area of global development.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 10.09.11

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 : DEBBIE MILLMAN

Dori Tunstall

In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Dori Tunstall discusses branding through the lens of a Design Anthropologist and the place the designer has in the future of human relating and interaction.
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A totally unvarnished and uncoated look at what goes on behind the glossy world of print production.
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Don't miss the chance to pivot this fall.
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From Mohawk Fine Papers a curated marketplace of designer papergoods and gifts.
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D-Crit: Design as subject matter.
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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

Creative Support for Japan

Creative responses to the crisis in Japan.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2008

Little Rock's Emerging Nonprofit Corridor

The non-profit sector is a major player in promoting green urbanism. Here's what's happening in Little Rock.
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