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The Design Observer Group
Design Observer

WEEKLY EMAIL: APRIL 18, 2014


The Conceptual Advertising of J.G. Ballard

FEATURED THIS WEEK : RICK POYNOR

The Conceptual Advertising of J.G. Ballard

From 1967 to 1970, the British author J.G. Ballard published a series of disturbing conceptual advertisements in several publications at his own expense. While the ads are well known to his admirers and scholars, there has been little attempt to place them in a broader context in relation to design and advertising. Ballard’s project anticipated the emergence of culture jamming, subvertising, design fiction and speculative design.
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PLACES : PETER DEL TREDICI

The Flora of the Future

The native plants movement has got it all wrong, says botanist Peter Del Tredici: “Landscape architects — and anyone else who works directly with vegetation — need to acknowledge that a wide variety of novel or emergent ecosystems are developing before our eyes.” In an engaging photo survey of ecological niches in the city, Del Tredici makes the case for spontaneous urban plants as flora of the future.
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OBSERVATORY : FRANCISCO LARANJO

Critical Graphic Design: Critical of What?

Critical graphic design is a vague and subjective term. The meaning of the word “critical” in relation to graphic design remains unclear, resulting in an overuse and misuse in design magazines, books and websites. And in recent years there has been disenchantment and even skepticism toward graphic design work that is labeled as critical.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN

Michael Donovan & Nancye Green

On this episode of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie talks to Michael Donovan & Nancye Green about their partnership in marragie and design, about how good business is good design, and about what it's like to work for yourself.
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PLACES : CHRIS REED & NINA-MARIE LISTER

Ecology and Design: Parallel Genealogies

The word “ecology” has been co-opted so widely that it has lost real meaning, yet ecological thinking remains a powerful lens for understanding complex adaptive systems. In this rigorous overview of the term's origins and evolution, Chris Reed and Nina-Marie Lister explain how contemporary ecological models of “open-endedness, flexibility, resilience and adaptation” can inform design thinking.
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OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER

The Focused Obsession of Photographer Rob Amberg

In 1973 photographer Rob Amberg moved to Madison County, NC and became a documentary photographer. Though other great documentary photographers in the past have simply  “dropped in,” taken their images and left (take the WPA photographers, for example), Amberg and his wife live on a small farm in the same county he photographs. His subjects have been neighbors and acquaintances, friends of friends and strangers he has met.
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OBSERVATORY : ADAM PLUNKETT

How to Visualize Poetry — And How Not to

Having known next to nothing about visual poetry when I picked up an anthology of it this past year, I thought that I’d find one of two things in it: poems with drawings on them in the old tradition of illuminated books; or elaborate graphic representations of poems, backward ekphrases of, I don’t know, the river Acheron in Rothko paint.
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OBSERVER MEDIA : SANDRA NUUT

Sandra Nuut on Fashion

Sandra Nuut is investigating spaces for contemporary fashion curation inside and beyond the museum, and is analyzing the collision between culture and commerce. On this episode of Insights Per Minute she ponders the love/hate relationship she has with a coat.
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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.
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE

Project

Rock Girl Benches

Rock Girl in Cape Town offers real and symbolic safe places for girls and women.
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OBSERVATORY ARCHIVE

past post past post past post

PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 1989

Western Civic Art: Works in Progress

In 1989 Phoenix, Arizona, commissioned one of the first public art master plans. The city now has one of the strongest public art programs in the country.
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RECENT BOOKS RECEIVED

Collaborative Media: Production, Consumption, and Design InterventionsCollaborative Media: Production, Consumption, and Design Interventions
Jonas Löwgren and Bo Reimer

The Petropolis of TomorrowThe Petropolis of Tomorrow
Neeraj Bhatia and Mary Casper

Oitoemponto: Architecture & intérieursOitoemponto: Architecture & intérieurs
Marie Vendittelli

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