PLACES : KATHLEEN ROBBINS & MARY CAROL MILLER
For several years photographer Kathleen Robbins and writer Mary Carol Miller have been focusing on the cotton farms of their native Mississippi. Theirs is a changing landscape and vanishing livelihood, the cotton farmers, in Miller's words, "as scarce now as the hulking, steel-framed gins that once dotted the flatlands between Memphis and Vicksburg. Most of the gins are now empty, rusting shells, and the men who steered their wagons under the canopies have died or retired or moved on to a more forgiving crop."
OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER
More stealth iconography: the visual identity of Anonymous. Despite being a kind of non-organization, its logo and its hijacking of the Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta
have established a familiarity-through-symbols that many multimillion-dollar brands and richly funded political campaigns would kill for.
PLACES : AMY BEEDER
A poem about Eastern European immigrants in the American Midwest: "They came for land. For hog-high wheat to Dixon, Weeping Water, Garland Falls; / came to Midland hamlets, made their farms from bogs & marshes, / fens & bottomland: immigrants from Kraków, Darkov, Lasko ..."
CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN CARY AND WILLIAM DRENTTEL
There are countless holiday gift guides circulating this year, including many aimed at design lovers. We’d like to recommend ten opportunities to donate to worthy endeavors and growing organizations. Give a gift that can have impact.
OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE
It is not just the iconicity of Henry Dreyfuss's 1952 Honeywell Round that the new Nest thermometer reinvents, but a number of Dreyfuss's insights about intuitive interactions and Honeywell's marketing insights about the place of the thermostat in the home. A hat-tip to Dreyfuss isn't just common courtesy, it's revealing.
OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA
How best do you help a resilient economy emerge in a region that has one foot in ancient ways and traditions — its other in the world of global universities and nuclear power?
PLACES : DAVID HEYMANN
In the third and last installment of this latest series on buildings and landscapes, David Heymann analyzes the very different ways in which works of sculpture and works of architecture occupy the landscape. And he looks closely at a grain elevator, and shows how a form which we usually experience as a familiar and even neighborly presence can come to seem evil.
OBSERVATORY : EUGENIA BELL
On the fiftieth anniversary of the Selectric typewriter, I was reminded not only of my first Selectric memory (green, my father's oak-panelled office on Long Island, circa 1975), but of the heavy nostalgia it wrought one summer day on the banks of the Mississippi when on a roadtrip, I stopped in the Quad Cities for lunch, and came across a typewriter repair shop in Davenport, Iowa (or was it Moline, Illinois?). The shop was packed with beautiful and obsolete machines of all vintages, but it was the mint condition taupe Selectric for $35 that found it's way to the trunk of my car for the long drive back home.
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.
OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Peter Mendelsund discusses how he became a book designer, what makes a great book cover, rebranding classic books and his fear of the Kindle and iPad.
Go on, tempt the fates. Enter the show celebrating the best design ever printed on Mohawk paper. Enter here >>
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he latest and most trusted information regarding sustainability in our industry.eQ from Sappi >>
CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Report on Alex Bogusky and Rob Schuham's COMMON project marrying capitalism and social change.
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.