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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: JANUARY 12, 2012


Reassessing the Saul Bass and Alfred Hitchcock Collaboration

FEATURED THIS WEEK : PAT KIRKHAM

Reassessing the Saul Bass and Alfred Hitchcock Collaboration

Drawing upon a wide range of sources, including interviews with designer and filmmaker Saul Bass and film director Billy Wilder, this article reassesses the evidence, scholarship and debates about the contributions made by Bass to three films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
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PLACES : DAVE JORDANO & AARON ROTHMAN

Detroit Re-Photography

In the early 1970s photographer Dave Jordano documented a series of buildings and places in his native Detroit; in 2010 he returned to the same spots. The result is the Detroit Rephotography Survey, selections of which we are pleased to present here. As our photo editor Aaron Rothman notes, Jordano's then-and-now images "implicate us in the changes they depict," and work as a kind of antidote to the cool aestheticism of ruin porn.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER

Package It Black

A product called Marlboro Black might call to mind everything negative and dangerous about cigarettes. But that strategy might not be as suicidal as it sounds. Maybe wrapping smokes in the graphics of a warning is a form of design jujitsu: the allure of the unsafe.
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Learn to be a design critic through SVA's D-Crit program.Design as subject matter, criticism as a literary genre and the range of tools with which to practice design criticism.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

Read All That? You Must be Kidding Me

The issues surrounding reading and writing that Ellen Lupton raises in an essay for Graphic Design: Now in Production have been with us for decades. From Amusing Ourselves to Death to The Gutenberg Elegies to The Shallows cultural critics have clanged the alarm about the fate of reading in an electronic age. While these issues do possess a design dimension, addressing them largely from a designer’s perspective misses some central points.
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PLACES : JERRY HERRON

The Forgetting Machine: Notes Toward a History of Detroit

"What does it add up to, all this abandonment of lives and buildings, neighborhoods and property? It doesn’t seem to add up to anything, other than the decontextualized spectacle itself and the demographic souvenir-hunting opportunities it provides. This city is never coming back; whatever happens next will be without urban precedent because the context of city no longer applies in this place where history has finally run out." Here Jerry Herron reflects on his home city of Detroit, tracking the excesses of ruin porn, the decline of Hudson's, and the improbable hopefulness of the retrofitted carpark in the gutted theater.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

A Reading List for Mr. Monti

When the new Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Mario Monti, gave his acceptance speech to the Italian Senate before Christmas, he used the word "growth" 28 times and the word "energy" — well, zero times. Why would this supposed technocrat neglect even to mention the biophysical basis of the world's economy? Well, Mr. Monti is better described as a theocrat, than a technocrat. His main job is to keep us all believing in the impossible: an economy that expands to infinity in a finite world. It's important that we stay mesmerised: once we stop believing in his make-believe world it will all come crashing down.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 01.08.12

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

Life Support: Can Architecture Make Us Healthy?

The very idea of a healthy city is, for many, something of an anethema concept. "I view large cities as pestilential to the the morals, the liberties, and the health of man," wrote Thomas Jefferson—a stigma that remains deeply ingrained in the American psyche. Current events, and a new exhibition, suggest the opposite just might be true.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Carin Goldberg

Carin Goldberg was a staff designer at CBS before establishing her own firm, Carin Goldberg Design.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Solo Kota Kita

Report on a design-oriented sysem for providing information about community resources in Indonesia as an aid for budgeting.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2007

The Lost Public Art of Gordon Matta-Clark

Gordon Matta-Clark infiltrated the worlds of art and architecture, revealing deep complacencies in each.
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