Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand | Audio

Episode 122: At Arm’s Length

This week Jessica and Michael talk about how life is starting to change with the COVID-19 outbreak arriving in the United States, from cancelled vacations to remote work, and to the ways people seek what Jessica calls “visual graphic reassurance.”

Looking at Luō Dàwèi’s One Thousand Families, a collection of intimate portraits taken by families in China under quarantine, Jessica says,
During times of crisis, people want to make things. There’s a surge in the keeping of journals when there’s a war… it’s a response to the feeling of vulnerability, like corporeal vulnerability. My life is under attack. I am imprisoned in my house. I have to make something to say I was here, to say I mattered, to say this day happened… It’s like visual graphic reassurance. -Jessica

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Michael Bierut + Jessica Helfand Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Eye and Communications Arts magazine, she is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director’s Hall of Fame. Jessica received both her BA and MFA from Yale University where she has taught since 1994. In 2013, she won the AIGA medal.

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