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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: MARCH 29, 2012


The Elements – Molecules, Atoms and Quarks – of Style

FEATURED THIS WEEK : MICHAEL ERARD

The Elements – Molecules, Atoms and Quarks – of Style

The secret of good writing, argues Chris Johnson, lies in the composition of the composition – in the atomic structure that forms the whole. The cipher shared by great poets and the best brand namers is essentially that the littlest things mean the most. In a world of ever increasing messages and diminishing attention spans, writers will survive who understand Microstyle.
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PLACES : AARON ROTHMAN

We Are in a Western Town

For almost half a century Robert Adams has been photographing the man-altered landscape of the American West — immersed, as Aaron Rothman says, "in its impossible paradoxes." Inspired by a major retrospective now touring the country, Rothman ponders the enduring power of the photographer's legacy. "Adams does not indulge in the easy, and ultimately hollow, device of opposing the splendor of nature to the despoliation of man," he says. "At the heart of his work is an argument against seeing ourselves — and the places we live — as separate from nature."
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

On Display: Museum of Broken Relationships

I found the Museum of Broken Relationships by chance in the old part of Zagreb. Who could resist such an intriguing name? So in I went, imagining that it was some kind of art concept. It turned out to be much more straightforward than that. This is a museum about the experience and aftermath of breaking up with someone you once loved or still love, a public space consecrated to a universal experience of sadness and loss.
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FROM OUR SPONSORS

This spring Sappi is hosting a national road show, in collaboration with 826 National, to launch Special Effects, Volume 5 of The Standard. Issue 5 shows designers how the creative use of special effects can make a printed piece dimensional, tactile, intriguing and sometimes interactive. The next event is April 3 in Seattle.
More about Volume 5 of The Standard >>
View the road show schedule and registration details >>
Find out more about Sappi here >>

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.
Watch videos of presentations by the Class of 2011 >>
The D-Crit Program >>
SVA Website >>

OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER

A Letter to a Critic, Departed

Dear Herbert:
Please excuse this impertinence. I know we weren’t friends—who am I kidding: you didn’t know me from Adam, and I was no fan of yours—but I found myself on Duane Street this morning (don’t ask) and it occurred you might be interested in what’s been going on in your absence.
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PLACES : MIMI ZEIGER

The Interventionist's Toolkit: Project, Map, Occupy

In the latest installment of her series on DIY urbanism and interventionist practice, Mimi Zeiger surveys some of the events and exhibitions organized in New York City last year and inspired by Occupy Wall Street. Along the way she analyzes the unfolding dynamic between the grassroots tactics of activist artists and designers and the institutional strategies of the city's cultural leaders.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE

'Deco Japan' + Designing Women

A dancer in a liquid, backless dress stares at herself in a horizontal mirror, feet resting on a black square of a checkerboard floor. Also reflected in the mirror: the curving tubular steel of a cantilever chair, its seat daringly upholstered in a tiger stripe. Where are we?
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 03.25.12

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. This week's focus is vintage clothing labels.
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OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR

The Covers of J.G. Ballard's Crash: An Update

In 2004, I wrote an essay for Eye magazine about the difficulty that cover designers had interpreting Crash, J.G. Ballard’s most disturbing novel. A shorter version with pictures was later published on the Ballardian website. Since then, quite a few new Crash covers have appeared — three in Britain alone. Finding a bizarre Croatian edition on a trip to Zagreb, as well as a new Serbian edition, provides a good pretext for an update.
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SVA
D-Crit: Design as subject matter.
Criticism as literary genre.
Learn at SVA >>
Sappi
Sappi, AIGA Seattle and 826 National debut The Standard 5: Special Effects and you're invited.
Get Seattle tickets >>


Mayo Clinic Transform 2011
Designers and leaders talk innovation in healthcare.
Join us >>
Core 77 2012 Design Awards
An Annual Celebration of Excellence, Enterprise and Intent
Register Now >>

Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey is a designer and illustrator and author of Supply and Demand: The Art of Shepard Fairey.
Listen >>
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Everything Must Go

A new blog speaks to our current interest in shedding material goods.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

past post past post past post

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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RECENT BOOKS RECEIVED

How to ArchitectHow to Architect
Doug Patt

Wandering the Garden of Technology and PassionWandering the Garden of Technology and Passion
Pierluigi Serraino

The Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, and PlaceThe Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, and Place
Tom Lynch & Cheryll Glotfelty, editors

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