PLACES : ZHANG XIAO & AARON ROTHMAN
On November 4, 2008, water rose over Kaixian, China — the final chapter in a history that dated back two millennia. Located on the Yangtze River, 180 miles upstream from the Three Gorges Dam — the largest water control project on earth — Kaixian was the final town submerged by the dam’s reservoir. Zhang Xiao, a photographer then working for a newspaper in nearby Chongqing, documented the town’s final dismantling. We are pleased to present a portfolio of his images.
PLACES : AN XIAO MINA
In January 2011 An Xiao Mina traveled from her native Los Angeles to the Beijing arts district of Caochangdi to work in the studio of artist Ai Weiwei. She arrived to find an uneasy place. Months earlier the residents — a mix of local and international artists and provincial migrants — had been notified by state authorities that Caochangdi was slated for demolition. Here Mina recounts a volatile but gratifying year spent "in a city that seemed to change with vertiginous speed."
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 nonsense diagrams.
OBSERVATORY : ROB WALKER
A recent book on "the art of the art assignment" offers a pleasing antidote to recent discourse on the subject of creativity. It's messy, open-ended, inspiring, chaotic, useful, and gave me a new appreciation for the assignment as a form.
OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Steven Heller discusses the big ideas that have changed graphic design – including the UPC code, teen magazines, white space and the pointed finger.
PLACES : DOLORES HAYDEN
Earlier this week we published Michael Ezban’s study of Monte Testaccio, the Roman landfill that has been, at various times, quarry, wine cellar, military bunker, festival site and inspiration for landscape architects. Today we present another source of inspiration: Giambattista Nolli’s map of Rome, engraved in 1748, with a poem by architect and urbanist Dolores Hayden.
D-Crit: Design as subject matter. Criticism as literary genre.Learn at SVA >>
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Nendo's Bell-Orgel collection for Tokyo's Isetan department store.
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.