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The Design Observer Group
Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: NOVEMBER 29, 2013


Is Design Benign?

FEATURED THIS WEEK : ROB WALKER

Is Design Benign?

Why not spend some of your long holiday weekend thinking about Design and Violence, the subject of MoMA's current online "curatorial experiment"? Admittedly, 3D-printed guns and the like are not a fun subject. But it's all great food for thought: Not just about the Web-based exhibition itself, but about how we frame "design" as a critical topic.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : MEGAN WHITMARSH

Megan Whitmarsh on Originality

Megan Whitmarsh is a Los Angeles based artist who works predominantly in textiles. She has worked with Robert Wilson, Todd Oldham, Amy Sedaris, David Byrne, the New Museum, and MTV. On this episode of Insights Per Minute she considers originality.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN THACKARA

Desert of the Real

I was stopped in my tracks by this perplexing sight in one of those endless corridors at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Who commissioned such a thing, and why? What, if anything, was in their mind? Where did they procure that cheesy stick-on foliage? Is that a robot digging away behind the window – or does it have a driver? What does he make of the living wall that’s not, in fact, alive?
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NEWS FROM DESIGN OBSERVER GROUP SPONSORS

Design History, Theory and Practice in Rome - the birthplace of Western typographic tradition. The Masters Workshop in Rome is an exciting way to learn about type and typography, book and lettering design, as well as architecture, art, archaeology, epigraphy, and even Italian cuisine.
Summer Masters Workshop in Italy >>
MFA Design Department >>
SVA Website >>

OBSERVER MEDIA : ALEXANDRA LANGE

Alexandra Lange on Performance

Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, author and Design Observer contributor. On this episode of Insights Per Minute she contemplates performance.
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OBSERVATORY : ADAM HARRISON LEVY

Artist's Cookbook: Alex Katz

With all the rich food recipes and lush Thanksgiving slideshows, we thought you might appreciate a more utilitarian approach to food. And when it comes to food, painter Alex Katz keeps it simple. He has eaten the exact same breakfast for the past twenty years.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : STANLEY HAINSWORTH

Stanley Hainsworth on Acting

Stanley Hainsworth is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of Tether, and a branding genius (think Gatorade, Starbucks, Lego). In this episode of Insights Per Minute he talks about acting.
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PLACES : PETER BO RAPPMUND

800 Miles: Photographing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline

Last week marked the 40th anniversary of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act, which intensified the oil rush on Alaska’s North Slope and ended one of the most vigorously fought conservation efforts in American history. Photographer Peter Bo Rappmund has documented nearly every mile of that massive structure. “There is a tension,” he writes, “between the reality of its elegant utilitarian function and the sheer audacity of the consummation: a perfectly engineered, efficient structure dedicated to the ruthless and expedient exhaustion of nonrenewable resources.”
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OBSERVATORY : MARK LAMSTER

On the Line with God's Tailor

I'm not much of a Biblical scholar, but I recently had the pleasure to contribute a short essay to the collection Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Artists Wrestle with the Torah, edited by that redoubtable Man in Blazer, Roger Bennett. The conceit: take up a portion of the Torah, and reinterpet it in the manner of your choosing. Aimee Bender,  A.J. Jacobs, Sam Lipsyte, and Adam Mansbach were among the luminaries to take the bait. And yours truly, of course. 
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OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN

Terry Teachout

In this interview with Debbie Millman, Terry Teachout discusses the early days of blogging, the poetics of theater, what it's like to be a drama critic for The Wall Street Journal, and his new book, a biography of Duke Ellington.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

Graphics of Authority

Police cars of the past used to display little more than a star on the side of the vehicle. The usual look for the car was black, with reversed white door panels and the official city emblem or star was emblazoned on the side. Today, the look of police cars range from friendly and approachable "community peacekeepers" to intimidating “SWAT-style enforcers,” to low profile “stealth” vehicles.
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CHANGE OBSERVER : PAUL POLAK

End Poverty or Bust

Five years ago, Steve Bachar and Paul Polak decided to create a venture capital fund that would only invest in companies capable of: Transforming the livelihoods of at least 100 million customers living on $2 a day or less; Generating at least $10 billion in annual revenues; and Earning sufficient profits to attract commercial financial investment. There was only one problem. There were no companies to invest in that met the criteria. Among social entrepreneurs, design for scale is as rare as hen’s teeth.
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Audio: Design Matters Archive

AUDIO: DESIGN MATTERS ARCHIVE

Gong Szeto

Gong Szeto, director of design and product design at Peak6 Investment.
Listen >>
More Design Matters Archive >>

CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Project Dose

Hospitals and healthcare facilities in developing countries face problems ranging form overcrowding to underfunding and a lack of available staff, medical equipment and supplies. Project Dose helped solve one of those issues.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2001

The High Line

High Line photographs from Joel Sternfeld.
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RECENT BOOKS RECEIVED

Why Photography MattersWhy Photography Matters
Jerry L. Thompson

Five Conversations on Graphic Design and Creative Writing Five Conversations on Graphic Design and Creative Writing
Maura Frana, Leigh Mignogna, Liz Seibert

A Logo for London A Logo for London
David Lawrence

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