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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: AUGUST 24, 2012


The Typeface of Truth

FEATURED THIS WEEK : MICHAEL BIERUT

The Typeface of Truth

Is there a typeface that inclines us to think that anything set in it is true? Errol Morris has done an experiment, and has concluded the answer is yes.
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OBSERVATORY : ASHLEY TOLIVER

King

This is a poem of atmosphere. Not setting, place, or landscape, because there was never a space with pharaohs and diesel fuel. Images slip into each other with the chaos of war or a bedtime story a child tells — battering rams at the end of your arms, battering rams that are quiet, long-drowned. This is anxiety wound into grace.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN THACKARA

Top Down Nature

Bordeaux, a city in the south of France, has plans to become a major European city. Huge investments in high-speed rail infrastructure are designed to make Bordeaux the ‘crossroads of South West Europe’. Within that global-mobility framework, nature is “one of the major projects of the decade ahead”. In Bordeaux 55,000 the city of Bordeaux has invited five multidisciplinary teams to develop projects that will explore ‘how best to transform 55,000 hectares (136,000 acres) into natural areas’.
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OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Critics Critical Criticism

Why do critics persist? Dwight Garner offered an answer in last weekend's New York Times Magazine. The key quote? "Give me an argument."
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OBSERVATORY : ROB WALKER

The City In Your Dreams

An intriguing blog offers stories that could be seen as mapping a dream space — a space where the unbuilt (as in demolished) environment of a real city persists, right alongside what's there now, and what has never been. Could it point us to the "collective unconscious" of New York?

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PLACES : AARON ROTHMAN, BRYAN GRAF, CHRISTINA SEELY, KIRSTEN KAY THOEN & LETHA WILSON

Landscape Photography: New Visions, Part 4

Landscape photographers have long looked to nature for inspiration, but these days the idea of nature is more slippery than it used to be. Aaron Rothman continues his investigation of new landscape photography by presenting four photographers — Bryan Graf, Christina Seely, Kirsten Kay Thoen and Letha Wilson — who are “expanding the idea of what is natural to include the effects of technological transformations and other human interventions, impositions and traces.”
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OBSERVATORY : RICK POYNOR

On My Shelf: André Breton's Nadja

Soon after he started designing book covers for Le Livre de poche, Pierre Faucheux learned that the imprint planned to issue a pocket edition of Nadja by André Breton. The memoir, published in 1928, is a classic of Surrealist literature often thought to be the text that best expresses the Surrealist mentality. Faucheux knew Breton and called him. The Livre de poche edition remains the best visual interpretation of the book.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 08.19.12

Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. This week's focus is clothing.
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OBSERVATORY : ROB WALKER

High Caliber Expression

Shooting an enemy's book sounds crazy, and maybe it is. But a bullet-riddled book makes a mighty argument for the power of words to spark a reaction. The limits of words, too: Okay, shooting a book is weird, but it’s also a kind of physical essay on the frustrations of the life of the mind.
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OBSERVATORY : MARK LAMSTER

Literature's Harshest Criticism

What is the most brutal piece of architectural criticism in the realm of literature? My own choice is from W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz, and it is remarkable for being one of the most bitter, sustained, and effective eviscerations of a building in print, and that includes criticism of the non-fictional variety.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : WILLIAM DRENTTEL

Third Winterhouse Symposium on Design Education and Social Innovation: Participants

The Winterhouse Third Symposium on Design Education and Social Change is being held August 19-21, 2012 in New Haven, Connecticut.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : WILLIAM DRENTTEL & MICHAEL MOSSOBA

Winterhouse Third Symposium on Design Education and Social Change: Program Description

Winterhouse Institute is hosting a symposium at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, August 19-21, 2012. This symposium is an invitation-only gathering of twenty-five educators and interested parties to explore the practice of social design in design education. This summarizes the original program description.
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PLACES : AARON ROTHMAN, BLEDA Y ROSA, PATRICK MANNING, RICHARD MOSSE & STEPHEN TOURLENTES

Landscape Photography: New Visions, Part 3

A key challenge facing landscape photographers, writes Aaron Rothman, is that “our most important interactions with landscape, and our most profound effects on it, leave traces that are invisible, diffuse, too fast or too slow, too large or too small to be contained within the photographic frame.” In the third installment of a month-long series on new landscape photography, Rothman presents artists who have found compelling ways to visualize the effects of war in Europe (Bleda y Rosa) and the Congo (Richard Mosse), the landscape of American prisons (Stephen Tourlentes), and erosion in the Mississippi River Delta (Patrick Manning).
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 08.12.12

In the mid-19th century, during the early days of photography, it was a common practice to have your portrait made with the tools of your trade, hobby or passionate interest. Today, these images tell a wonderful story of trades and occupations during the growth of our nation.
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OBSERVATORY : RICK POYNOR

Sending Signals about Political Graphics

I can’t think of any other design or visual arts publication quite like Signal in form and content. “Journal” is exactly the right word here because Signal is half way between a magazine and a book in appearance and tone. Its dinky size, combined with astutely pitched, matt-laminated cover designs, make it immediately intriguing and attractive. Everything about its presentation says: read this (because it will be a pleasure).
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OBSERVATORY : MARK LAMSTER

Celebrating the Undecorated Shed

What, exactly, is the value of architecture? Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary this year, and presents some useful lessons as to the nature of architectural patronage.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

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Ze Frank

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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

BOOM

Report on a visionary residential complex for aging gay boomers.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

past post past post past post

PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2009

Reclaiming the Ruin


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