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Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: SEPTEMBER 05, 2013


Jessica Helfand on Brevity

FEATURED THIS WEEK : JESSICA HELFAND

Jessica Helfand on Brevity

The premiere episode of our new podcast series: Insights Per Minute. Just as certain ideas fit into an essay and others are more suited to a tweet, we believe that 60 seconds of a singular voice is a powerful format for new, uncluttered insight.
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OBSERVATORY : KAREN GREEN

Bough Down

More than four years after her husband's suicide, Karen Green has put together a transcendent book about surviving him. Aesthetically, it's as good as anything. Formally, it's like nothing else, with a brilliant mixture of art and prose poetry. We've excerpted below the book's beginning — including its cover, a work of art in itself — and we're also reproducing some images from "How On Earth," a series of paintings Green made in which text from the book is a part of the landscape.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : NICHOLAS CHRISTAKIS

Nicholas Christakis on Networks

This installment of Insights Per Minute features Nicholas Christakis on networks. "Social Networks are like carbon. You can take carbon atoms and connect them one way and get graphite, which is soft and dark, or another way and you get diamond, which is hard and clear."
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NEWS FROM DESIGN OBSERVER GROUP SPONSORS

The School of Visual Arts MFA Design Program students work individually and collaboratively during two intensive years to develop objects of value through electronic and handcrafted means.
Online Information Session October 12 >>
Design For Social Innovation >>
SVA Website >>

PLACES : ADELHEID FISCHER

Walking the Darkness Home

"In August 1905, Louie Muir, wife of the conservationist John Muir, died of cancer. Among those who sent condolences was President Theodore Roosevelt, who had once camped under the stars with Muir in Yosemite Valley. Roosevelt himself  was no stranger to loss. When he was 26, illness claimed his mother and young wife on the same day. To Muir, he offered this tonic: 'Get out among the mountains and trees, friend, as soon as you can. They will do more for you than either man or woman could.'" A century later Adelheid Fischer, struggling with her own grief, got out among the mountains and trees — in her case to the Grand Canyon, a dangerous and redemptive place that by turns epitomizes and defies the expectations (and clichés) of the famous landscape.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : RALPH CAPLAN

Ralph Caplan on Titles

Our third installment of Insights Per Minute features Ralph Caplan commenting on titles: When people ask "what do you do?" they are really asking, "what are you called?"
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN THACKARA

Flyways

I’m sad. The family of swallows that spent the summer in the eaves behind my office have headed south for the winter. Most of them will follow the west coast of Africa to avoid the Sahara; a few may travel further east down the Nile Valley. They’ll take it easy and stop every few miles at first to build up their fat reserves — but then they’ll speed up. In four months, as Christmas beckons here in the north, they’ll reach their destinations: Botswana, Namibia or South Africa.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : ROB WALKER

Rob Walker on Seeing

The second installment of our new series — Insights Per Minute — features Rob Walker on seeing. What if we judge what we see on whether or not we like it?
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Signs of Labor

The American Worker is celebrated the first Monday of September with the observance of Labor Day. It is also the day that marks the symbolic end of summer, the closing of most swimming pools, and the beginning of school for most children. Labor Day became a national holiday in 1882. This week we look at a selection of images that personify the hard work and dedication of the American worker.
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OBSERVATORY : ROB WALKER

No. 1 Object

Here's a brief and possibly ridiculous appreciation of an unquestionably ridiculous object: The Number One Hand. Its history popped up in the "news" recently, and I can't resist using that as an excuse to make the case for a thing that is so silly, it's perfect.
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OBSERVATORY : ALEXANDRA LANGE

A World of Paste and Paper

Today's obsession with digital renderings sparked two exhibitions that suggest a handmade, but far from quaint, corrective. At the Museum of Modern Art, “Cut ‘n’ Paste” gives pride of place to Mies van der Rohe’s large photo collages, then mixes in postwar graphic design, contemporary photo-manipulation, and projections of digital renderings on a movable scrim. At the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, “Composite Landscapes” offers a similarly interdisciplinary look at the history of landscape collage, mixing working drawings and client-driven renderings with Mrs. Gardner’s travel scrapbooks and artist-made collages.
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OBSERVATORY : MARK LAMSTER

Architecture's Proto-Blogger

I began teaching a course in architecture writing last week, an occassion that forced me to think about critics and writers I might recommend as exemplary. The usual suspects naturally came to mind (Lewis Mumford, Ada Louise Huxtable, etc.) but I couldn't quite figure out where to begin until I came across a copy of G. E. Kidder Smith's Source Book of American Architecture, a compendium published by Princeton Architectural Press in my first years working there.
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SVA
Online Information Session
October 12 >>



Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Milton Glaser Podcast Interview

Podcast interview with Milton Glaser, graphic designer, illustrator, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, and 2010 recipient of the National Medal of Arts.
Listen >>
More Design Matters Archive >>

CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Food Not Bombs

Report on Food Not Bombs, an activist network, now about to turn 30, that distributes free vegan meals.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

past post past post past post

PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2009

Reclaiming the Ruin

The second coming of Detroit.
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Leah Buley

Build Your Own Brand: Strategies, Prompts and Exercises for Marketing YourselfBuild Your Own Brand: Strategies, Prompts and Exercises for Marketing Yourself
Robin Landa

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