OBSERVATORY : RICK POYNOR
Like a lot of viewers, I first encountered Phil Sayer’s photographs in the pages of Blueprint
. Then I got a job on the magazine and met the man himself. Photography was absolutely central to Blueprint
and a whole cast of photographers did great work. For my money, Sayer was always the best, an image-maker whose way of shooting people helped to give the magazine a visual impact and presence that it has never equaled since.
PLACES : JOSH SIDES
In March 1991 a bystander with a Sony Handycam videotaped a group of LAPD officers beating a motorist named Rodney King; a year later, when a suburban jury acquitted the police of charges of excessive force, South Central L.A. erupted in riots that lasted for days. Historian Josh Sides assesses the public and private efforts to repair the physical and psychic damage; 20 years later South Los Angeles has changed remarkably — though as Sides notes, some of the deepest changes have resulted less from official initiatives than from the "demographic dynamism" of the city.
OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE
St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice approaches architecture and decoration like a crazy quilt, confident that all good things go together. Architect Carlo Scarpa, in the 1950s, managed to make a different kind of loot look modern.
PLACES : AARON PALEY & AMANDA BERMAN
Can an ephemeral intervention inspire systemic change? Aaron Paley and Amanda Berman argue that the semi-annual CicLAvia — which bans car traffic from parts of Los Angeles — is prompting Angelenos to alter their mental maps and reimagine the urban future. As they write: "CicLAvia enables Angelenos to perceive the metropolis not in terms of time and aggravation — of the traffic-choked distance between freeway ramps — but instead in terms of spatial experience and free mobility."
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. This week's focus is Hannah Höch (1889-1978), a German Dada artist who was one of the originators of photomontage.
OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Khoi Vinh discusses starting a studio in late 2001, his greatest accomplishments as design director at NYTimes.com,
what he likes and doesn't about comic books, spending spring break in college setting type and what he feels is the proper way to think about the online relationship of publisher and consumer.
CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Report on a visionary residential complex for aging gay boomers.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2006
In the Seattle Public Library, Rem Koolhaas and OMA work to transform architecture into media interface.