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The Design Observer Group
Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: NOVEMBER 09, 2012


Accidental Mysteries, 11.04.12

FEATURED THIS WEEK : JOHN FOSTER

Accidental Mysteries, 11.04.12

Poison. Before the days of advanced science and forensics, poison was the quiet, preferred method of murder. In the early days of science, poisons were usually kept in colored glass bottles that were various hues of dark amber or cobalt blue, as an immediate warning to read the label. Some poison bottles were shaped like coffins, and a scarce few clay bottles have been found shaped like a human bone. Eventually, the skull and crossbones were adopted for labels ― the universal sign of death, in case someone could not read.
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OBSERVATORY : WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

Memory

This poem shows the texture of memory — assertive and uncertain. You can feel the conflict through the sound, repeated like a memory trace with no image, a lost experience.
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PLACES : JOSH WALLAERT

State of the Commons

Wiki Loves Monuments USA, the contest sponsored this fall by the Wikimedia Foundation, attracted more than 22,000 photos of historic American places. Places’ own Josh Wallaert not only presents a selection of the best of these images; he also highlights a crucial problem facing public discourse. As more and more images are uploaded to tightly controlled and highly privatized sites like Facebook, "an increasing share of the Internet’s visual resources are locked away." So here's a charge to our re-elected president: it's time to make "massive investments in public information as a form of infrastructure."
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NEWS FROM DESIGN OBSERVER GROUP SPONSORS

Designers have the power to transform the world. Products of Design transforms designers, educating head, heart and hands to reinvent systems, create new types of value, and catalyze positive change through the business of making.
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For 15 years, the gold standard remains Sappi McCoy. McCoy boasts a remarkably rich, tactile feel that captures fine details, cool crisp blue tones and provides unparalleled readability and clarity.
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Sappi's paper selector tool >>
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OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE

"I Have Seen the Future": Designer as Showman

The exhibition “I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America,” hits all the high spots of industrial design within a single man’s oeuvre. There are the utilitarian objects of desire; zoomy planes, trains and automobiles; the Futurama, seen by 25 million people. But there are also odder, more emotional moments.
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OBSERVATORY : ED RUSCHA

Sign Painters

Growing up in the Southwest in the 1950s, I was exposed every day to hand-lettered signs, usually on wrinkly sheets of metal, say, for an unplanned watermelon sign or a hamburger menu. Some sign painters had the facility to make any word grouping look good and make any letter of the alphabet look stylish.
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PLACES : BELMONT FREEMAN

Past Perfect: Four Freedoms Park

Why is the design of memorials so fraught? Belmont Freeman reviews the design and politics of diverse memorials to American presidents, with a focus on Four Freedoms Park in New York City, the memorial to Franklin Roosevelt designed in 1973 by Louis Kahn that has only just been built. Freeman has high praise for the new-old monument, and notes: "How timely it is that the legacy of Roosevelt should be honored in such eloquent fashion at a moment when powerful political forces in this country seek to dismantle it."
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OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN

Aaron Draplin

In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Aaron Draplin makes with the shout-outs, drops a respectable number of f-bombs and talks about being comfortable in his own skin, midwestern pragmatism and why Oregon beats the shit out of SoCal.
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OBSERVATORY : ROB WALKER

On Dapper Dan

Ever heard of Dapper Dan? If not, and you're interested in subcultural styles, he's worth knowing about. Infamous for his customized creations that brazenly appropriated luxury logos, he helped pioneer a remarkable visual-remix aesthetic that was part of the spectacular style of early rap culture.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Cheryl Swanson

Cheryl Swanson, founder of Toniq, applies her background in anthropology and psychology to branding.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Project Mwana

A new effort to diagnosis and treat infant HIV/AIDS in remote African regions.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2001

Village Vices: The Contradiction of New Urbanism and Sustainability

A critique of New Urbanism focusing not on its traditionalism but on the unsustainability of its planning models.
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Guaranteed to Last: L.L. BeanGuaranteed to Last: L.L. Bean's Century of Outfitting America
Jim Gorman

A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonaldA Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald
Errol Morris

Collage Culture: Examining the 21st CenturyCollage Culture: Examining the 21st Century's Identity Crisis
Aaron Rose and Mandy Kahn

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