OBSERVATORY : ADAM HARRISON LEVY
The famous movie Star had twice failed to show up for the interview. On both occasions a hotel suite had been booked, film lights set up, microphones tested, food and drinks ordered. On both occasions we waited for over five hours for her to arrive. The crew passed the time by sending emails, making phone calls and gorging on the food. I paced.
PLACES : ANDREW ROSS
For decades Phoenix was one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., the Sunbelt apotheosis of the gospel of growth; today it's a prime casualty of the housing crash. Andrew Ross analyzes the contradictory political and economic forces, from free-wheeling libertarianism to steady dependence on federal largesse, that have shaped modern Arizona — and made it so emblematic of our thorny national politics.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR
The new issue of Granta has a rather fine cover by the British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman. The literary magazine
’s theme is horror and the Chapmans’ delicate pencil drawing on fragile 18th-century parchment shows something nameless, formless and unspeakable. Commissioned by artistic director Michael Salu, the brothers were an inspired choice. Few artists have embraced the ambivalence of horror with more relish.
OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER
The new Lytro camera promises to make images that are less a slice of visual information than a cube, from which you can choose whichever layer would make the most pleasing two-dimensional image for printing and framing. But what really matters is that the way most people consume photographic images now has nothing to do with printing and framing.
CHANGE OBSERVER : ELLE LUNA
My husband and I exited the train at Akihabara, Tokyo's electronic and anime paradise, where disheveled gamers play video games in 7-story arcades while tourists shop for the latest tech gadgets. Unexpectedly, a young girl dressed as a French maid approached.
PLACES : REINHOLD MARTIN
When a thousand demonstrators gathered in Lower Manhattan on September 17 to protest rising economic inequality, few predicted that the Occupy movement would spread across the country and around the world. Here Reinhold Martin explores how architects might participate in the provision of shelter on the protest sites. "Is it not time," he asks, "to refuse the so-called common sense of privatization and financialization, and to construct new processes, strategies or institutions dedicated to the common provision of shelter?"
OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA
It's easy for two people to look at the same information — such as this chart (above) about health costs — and perceive totally different things. What I see is an out-of-control Medical Industrial Complex that's heading, Icarus-like, for collapse. What many designers see is a sea of opportunity — and boy do they want a piece of that action.
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
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.
OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA
Hanging out with health system innovators in recent times I've been struck by two interesting things. The first is that the buzz in the investor community about health apps is palpable. This would be great were were it not for the second thing I've learned: there's almost no contact between the health apps crowd and the food system crowd. And this is weird.
OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Jake and Pum Lefebure of Design Army discuss how they met, the importance of sketching, work vs. family life, starting out on their own and keeping their firm small.
Go on, tempt the fates. Enter the show celebrating the best design ever printed on Mohawk paper. Enter here >>
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D-Crit: Design as subject matter.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Report on Local Projects' Give a Minute initiative to improve urban life.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 1983
Just before his death in 1984, the influential urban planner Kevin Lynch compiled a list of topics he thought important for the future of cities. The list is as relevant as ever.