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The Design Observer Group
Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: JANUARY 27, 2012


A History Of The World In 100 Objects

FEATURED THIS WEEK : ADAM HARRISON LEVY

A History Of The World In 100 Objects

I've been told that our civilization will be known for our diaper landfills and our nuclear waste sites. Other fragments of our culture might survive as well: bits of Tupperware, mountains of lithium batteries or maybe the traces of our highway system. The foundation of a skyscraper might make for a breakthrough excavation but the islands of plastic bottles floating in the oceans may prove puzzling. Perhaps we will bury a cache of digital archives somewhere, to be deciphered one day like the hieroglyphics on an Egyptian sarcophagus.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

In Response to An Anatomy of Uncriticism

Alexandra Lange has an interesting piece in the latest issue of Print about the sacred cows of graphic design. I was agog to hear what she would say about the field’s self-congratulatory ways and deep-seated reluctance to criticize sainted figures and celebrated institutions. Weirdly, though, she almost entirely sidesteps the issue. Most of the examples in her essay are peripheral to graphic design.
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PLACES : MICHAEL LUNDGREN, AARON ROTHMAN & JOSH WALLAERT

If There Be Such Space

Photographers Michael Lundgren and Aaron Rothman share an interest in the perception and representation of natural landscapes, and they have ventured together and separately to some of the same places in the American Southwest. Yet their voices are clearly distinct. This slideshow, drawn from a collaborative exhibition at the University of Virginia, explores the convergence and divergence of two artists working independently to measure the space between the self and world.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Married at Moss

The closing of Soho design emporium Moss marks the end of an era, one doomed, I suspect, by the flood of internet images and the ease of price comparisons. The only time I was able to enter the world of Moss was when I was spending other people's money, a.k.a. when I got married, and registered there. After that experience, I encountered many, many other designers who chose the same rite of passage, selecting their grown-up things from Murray's museum-like shelves.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA

Virtual Boring Agent

I've seen this Virtual Boarding Agent a couple of times now at Orly Airport in Paris. It's a life-sized, life-like, two dimensional human figure that talks pleasantly about liquids and gels. It's spooky, clever and very well executed — and most people seem to ignore it after a first casual glance.
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PLACES : AUSTIN TROY

Thirsty City

The urbanization of the American West is the result of diverse factors, including global industries, transport infrastructure and sunny weather. But in this arid region one factor above all has empowered the growth of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson — the importation of water. Environmental scientist Austin Troy assesses the massive infrastructure needed to move water long distances — and the massive quantities of energy that make it possible to take a shower in Southern California.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER

Project Project Japan

Floating cities. Capsule towers. Buildings that mutate. A reimagination of the physical landscape. Such were the promises of the Metabolists, the Japanese avant-gardists who emerged as a phenomenon in 1960 and reached their apogee a decade later as cultural heroes. They are back again today, and in all their modular glory.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 01.22.12

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 : JOHN THACKARA

Navy Yard, GradComD, Brown Bag, Hard Hat

My talks and encounters in the US next week are about design for life after the industrial growth economy. I hope to see some of you there.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Kurt Andersen

Kurt Andersen is an award-winning journalist, author and host of the Peabody-winning NPR program Studio 360.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Acumen Sexy Sanitation Challenge

Acumen Fund announces winners of its "Sexy Sanitation" challenge.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2006

The State of City Planning Today

A veteran city planner and educator analyzes the anemia of U.S. planning, and detects signs of life in neighborhood activism.
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Change Observer

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