PLACES : DESPINA STRATIGAKOS
Are we really ready to be post-feminist? Inspired by a series of Van Alen Institute roundtables held this spring — and by the alarming attrition rate of women practitioners — Despina Stratigakos advocates for an expanded role for next-wave feminism in architecture and design. Understanding feminism "as a matrix of politically conscious social, spatial and environmental strategies," she argues, could spur us to experiment with new models for a "more sustainable and inclusive architecture culture."
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OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE
Doris Duke's Honolulu mansion, called Shangri La, falls into the category of so bad it's good, except in this case all the over-the-top elements are museum quality. I appreciate seeing rubies and rugs and architecture and landscape and lighting all together. This mixing is what a design museum should do, but too often one category is broken out from the domestic herd.
PLACES : GABRIELLE ESPERDY
Back in the '70s, second-wave feminists were organizing and agitating, forming alternative communities, creating new spatial practices and attempting to pry open what a contemporary reporter called the "exclusively male preserve" of the American architecture profession. Gabrielle Esperdy revisits their "amazing adventures fighting for gender equality" and measures the distance we've traveled since. It's pretty far, she concludes — but not far enough.
OBSERVATORY : JESSICA HELFAND
Bill Moggridge was the first person I knew who understood that interaction design could be a revolutionary medium for change. He understood that the screen was a blank canvas with no visible lingua franca. He made everything sound possible and could make the dullest design project sound utterly fascinating — everything seeming somehow more exotic because of his glorious British accent. And he was unpretentious: a rarity among people whose gifts are so extraordinary, and whose contributions to public life are so indelible and rich.
OBSERVATORY : RICK POYNOR
The question that inevitably returns with John Stezaker’s collages is: how does he manage to gain so much traction and resonance from such limited means? Usually one of his pieces will consist of just two found photographs, or a film still and a postcard, and put like that it may not sound like anything at all. The British collage artist, who never takes his own pictures, has just won a major prize for his contribution to photography.
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
Kindra Murphy is a graphic designer and Associate Professor of Design at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design whose client list includes Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, the Walker Art Center, the New York Times Magazine
and various non-profits. As I am prone to do, I discovered her incredible Flickr photostream quite by accident, and glad I did. Her collection of ephemera eye candy culls popular culture with such thoughtfulness it is worth sharing today.
OBSERVATORY : MARK LAMSTER
"A place fit for banking and prostitution and not much else...a crime of crimes...a vast prison...triumph of the herd instinct...outgrown as overgrown....the greatest mouth in the world...humanity preying upon humanity...carcass...parasite...fibrous tumor....pig-pile...Inconguous mantrap of monstrous dimensions!"