Archive for the ‘Things in the world’ Category

it was twenty years ago today

June 5, 2009

Sorry to bring up a bummer, but China is doing all it can to make sure you forget this image. But, it’s pretty important that we remember the things totalitarian states want us to forget. One awesome thing about the internets is that they’ve moved us past the era when technology helped a totalitarian state achieve absolute control over the distribution of information (as it was for much of the twentieth century) to an era when technology actively helps resist totalitarianism.

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The NYT Lens blog has a good expurgation and analysis of this and three other photographers’ images of Tiananmen Square, including how the photographers smuggled the film out of a country already deadset on erasing the memory of the event.

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Heather Benning’s Dollhouse

May 22, 2009

So, I know that many people have already blogged about this (we found it on Famille Summerbelle’s blog, who found it on Design Shimmer), but I am insanely in love with Heather Benning’s life-sized dollhouse from 2007. What’s not to love? Farmhouse? Check! Dollhouse? Check! Canada? Check! The Saskatchewan artist converted an abandoned farmhouse in Manitoba into a full-sized, livable dollhouse. And, oh, how I’d love to live in it.

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Oh, and on a doll-related note, a current project of Benning’s is Field Doll, a 12-foot tall mixed-media sculpture of a doll that Benning has carried around with her on her travels.

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Enjoy more photos of Benning’s delightful dollhouse after the jump.

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postage

May 12, 2009

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Sorry for the lack of posts from Owen and me lately — we’ve been on vacation. We promise to have some fun posts about our trip soon, but before that happens, I thought I’d post a little something in honor of the latest postal rate increase.

The USPS has only released a handful of stamps at the new letter rate (44¢), but I’m pretty psyched about these new Simpsons stamps and think the new king and queen love stamps are pretty lovely. Hopefully they’ll release some new artist stamps soon like the Nevelson, Noguchi or Chales and Ray Eames ones. If none of the designs from the USPS suit you, they now link to a few different outside companies that will print your designs on postage stamps.

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We’re past this now.

April 22, 2009

So the New York Times Magazine this week was The Green Issue. The articles are pretty good, and they’re online with what looks like a lot of other media. I am excited for instance about electric cars that swap batteries rather than refuel. The weekly profile is on Stewart Brand (Whole Earth Catalog, WELL, Clock of the Long Now), who is fascinating and inspiring. But here’s my gripe: Windsor?
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For this issue, the magazine’s feature headlines are all set in this most un-current of types. I know that I am a type geek, but I bet you can see it too this time: these bulbous, deco-a-go-go letters signify the past as surely as tie-dyes with bell-bottoms. Look at the characters “2009”: it looks frickin’ ludicrous to see our current date clothed in this type. It looked old-fashioned the first time Woody Allen used it (he favors the condensed cut) and it’s only gotten more willfully apart-from-the-times in the dozen times he’s kept using it since. (It looked old-fashioned even in the 1970s; like so much of the vernacular type of the day it was stolen from the art movements from half a century ealier.)

The rationale seems to be because it was used for the Whole Earth Catalog, but that doesn’t fly with me. This indicates to me the reader that environmentalism is best thought of as a phase from the 70s. If you’re going to report on the state of the world right now, NYTM, please please don’t use the vernacular type of yesteryear. In fact unless you want to evoke the 70s best to just keep your ITC locked away.

Ok, rant over.

Water water every steer.

April 22, 2009

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Happy Earth Day folks (though we hope that by April 2009 you’re thinking of the Earth more than one day a year)! I’ve been thinking a lot about how difficult it is to reframe one’s thinking into ecoefficient decision making. I for one am a fan of infographics for this.

Good Magazine has an infographic comparing the water consumption involved in various things you might do in your day that clearly shows something that few of us consider. While using a low-flow showerhead may save a dozen gallons a day, opting out of a pound of beef saves 1500 gallons.

The experts don’t want to be preachy about it, but jeez. First Michael Pollan showed us how inefficient an example of sunlight-calorie rationing meat was, and now this? Less beef, people. Many more people eating somewhat less beef, please, for the future?

Also, folks at Good? Nice infographic. You had me at 1500 green drops.
Meat is Murder Water.

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via Kottke.

Keep Calm and . . . full circle

April 8, 2009

Y’all know about this poster, right?

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The classic sfgirlbybay edition as seen in the final issue of
Domino magazine, RIP.

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Maira Kalman’s version from
The Principles of Uncertainty. She’s wrong about the WWII thing, sort of (more on that later).

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Threadless typetee
‘s clever reversal (note inverted crown); the 1937 original poster hung in an old bomb shelter, apparently.

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Optimistic crafty homage by Matt Jones, available on 20×200; snarky, but true parody by Osborne Villas from flickr.

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Printable 2009 calendars by etsy seller littlebrownpen, available in a version for Women and one for Men.

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Rubber stamps
from Rubber Soul; lip balm from etsy seller leastlikely2breed (these should totally say keep calm and carry balm instead…)

But OK, what about these? Yikes!

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These are very very real though I think they are not intended to be quite so creepy as they come across. via BoingBoing via David Byrne!

I trace and analyze this phenomenon as best I can after the jump.

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seahorses!

April 6, 2009

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I have an obsession with seahorses, and this exhibit, “The Secret Lives of Seahorses” at the Monterey Bay Aquarium looks absolutely amazing.

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April 5, 2009

Part of my commute every day is on Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). I’m lucky in that I’m commuting from south of downtown San Francisco to Millbrae: against the tide; I never have a problem getting a bench to myself. Sometime around January, something caught my eye on the platform. It was a great big bird.

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Wow. There are a lot of things that these say to me. After the jump.

These are the works of Berkeley artist  Mick Wiggins. If you’d like to read his statement or other outsisde context before my observations, feel free. I only came upon this context after writing this.

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Front page news

April 3, 2009

My view of the paper in its vending bin Thursday morning.

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My thoughts went sort of as follows:
1) Things are really tough for The Chronicle that they are selling above-the-fold front page space for ad space. (after the initial shock, and taking the photo, it appears to be a folded-over piece that is printed with half the masthead)

2) Or am I looking at it the wrong way, this isn’t about the demise of print media but about more innovative advertising strategies? I can’t remember the last time I’ve paid attention to an advertisement in a newspaper (I just read Seth Godin make a good point about this, that they’re invisible), and this one turned my head from 5 yards mostly by virtue of its nontraditional placement.

3) The ad covers the news as if to say, this is the cover story of the day. The grafitti tag covers the whole thing with the (possibly unintentional) message of No, I am the story.

4) Ooh, Paul Smith store!

Science + Art

March 25, 2009

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Artist Michael Bartalos has teamed up with the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco for a special project that brings together two of my favorite things: science and art. His current project is an ongoing piece called The Long View, wherein he will create sculptures using recyclable goods found in Antarctica. He’ll document his progress on the Academy of Sciences blog, as well as on his own website. I, as a lover of found-object art with a purpose, am excited to see something that promotes sustainability awareness with flair.

Science is pretty.

March 18, 2009

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Since I feel like there is never enough fuss made over the crazy discoveries that happen in the world each day, I’d like to share a pretty one. Here is a shot of a newly discovered, luminous, non-stinging rainbow jellyfish found near Tasmania. While it may not seem particularly significant or exciting at first, it proves that science can be beautiful.

Photograph courtesy Martin George/QVMAG

More Than Meets the Eye

March 12, 2009

Let me be the first to say all of the experts are happy as can be that Obama’s the man for America. He’s got a lot of good ideas, and one of the best is getting the populace involved in making the changes he got elected to make. We’re excited, and hopeful.

And I think his graphics were (and are) top notch. He had a logo that will probably be studied by designers decades from now. He had the saavy to get capital-P Propaganda’s biggest fan Shep Fairey to do his iconic poster; hard to imagine another politician being half as astute about the importance of these things. When he launches a neo-WPA poster program, we’re all over it.

I say all of this not because we plan to make politics a big focus here at the experts agree — we don’t, fonts and photos and funnies are funner — but as preamble to posting this parody poster because it’s hilarious, even after seeing hundreds of parodies.

CHANGE INTO A TRUCK • Tim Doyle, for Nakatomi

Change Into a Truck • Tim Doyle for Nakatomi

Oh and we probably won’t do a lot of Transformers posts either…I think I was just feeling a little nervous about my first post as an expert.