Posts Tagged ‘design’
Brazilian designer Niege Borges is collecting, diagramming, and sharing the most famous (and infamous) dances from film and television. She explains:
In 1518, a bunch of people from a french town called Stransbourg were affected by something called dancing mania. It began with one lady named Frau Troffea dancing in the street and end up with, more or less, 400 people dancing on for days without rest, resulting in some deaths of heart attack, stroke and exhaustion. This project is, in some sort of way, a memorial for Frau Toffea. From the silliest little dance to the most elaborate dance sequence of the history of cinema, there were a lot of dancing in the last decades (not enough to kill anyone, I hope). Here are some of these dances.
From Tom Cruise’s BVD’ed turn in Risky Business, through Monty Python’s “Fish Slapping Dance,” to Monica’s and Ross’ “TV dance” (above), readers will find a growing set of instructive pictographs at “Dancing Plague of 1518” (and more of Borges work, here).
[TotH to CoDesign]
* George Bernard Shaw
As we measure off our rugs for cutting, we might send wondrous birthday greetings to Stevland Hardaway Judkins**; he was born on this date in 1950– prematurely. The incubator into which he was placed had an incorrectly-regulated flow of oxygen; too much flowed in, aggravating the retinopathy that was a function of his early arrival, and leaving him blind. As a young child, he turned to music, picking up the piano, harmonica, drums and bass, and singing in his church choir. At 11 he was discovered by Motown Records, where producer Clarence Paul bestowed what became the youngster’s trademark name after stating “we can’t keep calling him the eighth wonder of the world”: Little Stevie Wonder. Little Stevie released a single in 1961, two albums in 1962, but broke big in 1963 with “Fingertips (Part 2).” In the mid-60s he dropped “Little” from his name, and began to agitate for more creative control over his recordings.
In 1971, as he came of legal age, Wonder got that artistic freedom (and an unprecedented royalty rate) in a new Motown contract… and the hits began to roll. Over the next five years he released five albums– Music of My Mind (1972), Talking Book (1972), Innervisions (1973), Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974), and Songs in the Key of Life (1976)– from which come the vast majority of what most would consider to be his greatest hits, including “Superstition” (1971), “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” (1973), “Higher Ground” (1973), “Livin’ For The City” (1973), “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” (1974), “I Wish” (1977), and “Sir Duke” (1977).
He’s sold over 100 million recordings, won 22 Grammys (plus a Lifetime Achievement Grammy), earned an Oscar, and been inducted into the Songwriters and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame… among many, many other honors.
** Stevie was born in Saganaw, Michigan; his mother moved the family to Detroit when he was four, and changed the family name to Hardaway (her maiden name); later she changed Stevie’s last name to Morris– his legal surname ever since.
Through the month running up to the November election, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is featuring the responses of four design firms to the challenge of “re-branding America.”
This week’s entrant, MGMT, started from the observation that the U.S. flag is, in fact, an infographic, representative of both America’s history and its modern identity: 13 stripes = 13 original colonies; 50 stars = 50 states– good as far as it goes, but what else, MGMT asked, might a flag communicate…
Readers can find Mendes entries here.
As we stand to attention and salute, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that President John F. Kennedy took to television to report to the nation that Soviet nuclear missiles had been stationed in Cuba, and that in response, the U.S. was launching a naval blockade– and the Cuban Missile Crisis began.
Fifty years later, with the benefit of recently-declassified documents, it’s clear that the crisis was even more dangerous than it felt at the time… and as Ploughshares notes, its effects are with us still.
Knolling is “the process of arranging like objects in parallel or 90 degree angles as a method of organization.” It was coined by Andrew Kromelow, a janitor who worked for Frank Gehry.
At the time, Gehry was designing chairs for Knoll, a company famously known for Florence Knoll’s angular furniture. Kromelow would arrange any displaced tools at right angles on all surfaces, and called this routine knolling, in that the tools were arranged in right angles—similar to Knoll furniture. The result was an organized surface that allowed the user to see all objects at once.
Sculptor Tom Sachs, who spent two years in Gehry’s shop as a fabricator, adopted the term from Kromelow, and employed the phrase “Always be Knolling” (abbreviated as ABK) as a mantra for his studio; from his 2009 studio manual, 10 Bullets:
BULLET II: ALWAYS BE KNOLLING (ABK)
- Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use.
- Put away everything not in use. If you aren’t sure, leave it out.
- Group all ‘like’ objects.
- Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself.
As we hold the line on chaos, we might recall that it was on this date in 1923, that the 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding, died in the Presidential Suite of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. An “America First” proponent, Harding had promised a return to normalcy after World War I. In the event, he delivered an administration plagued with corruption– including the infamous Teapot Dome scandal; one member of his cabinet and several of his appointees were eventually tried, convicted, and sent to prison for bribery and/or defrauding the federal government. It’s no mystery then that Harding has consistently ranked at or near the bottom in rankings of Presidents. But given that Harding entered politics from a career as a journalist, it may come as a surprise that he earned this obituary comment from poet ee cummings: “The only man, woman or child who wrote a simple declarative sentence with seven grammatical errors is dead.”
… which of course means “love of words,” then what does one call “love of logos”?
Whatever, James I. Bowie, Ph.D., of Northern Arizona University’s department of sociology, has it. As Imprint reports, He has just launched Emblemetric, a website that discusses his research into the trends in logos. From its About page: “Emblemetric reports on trends in logo design, using quantitative analysis of data from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.”
Consider, for example, his consideration of verdant varieties…
One of the most prominent trends in logo design in recent years has been the proliferation of leaves as design elements. As companies have attempted to adopt images that reflect our society’s increasing concern for the environment, the leaf has become visual shorthand for eco-friendliness.
As we burnish our brands, we might recall that it was on this date in 1982 that “Mr. Las Vegas,” Wayne Newton, attended a White House Dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. When asked as he entered why he had been included on the guest list, The Midnight Idol responded, “I’m an American Indian. I guess that’s a connection.”
Designer Revital Cohen is fascinated by the relationship of the natural with the artificial. A frequent collaborator with with scientists, bioethicists and animal breeders, she creates objects that are critical, provocative… and all-too-plausible.
Consider, for example, her recent work, The Immortal (pictured above)…
A web of tubes and electric cords is interwoven in closed circuits through a Heart-Lung Machine, Dialysis Machine, an Infant Incubator, a Mechanical Ventilator and an Intraoperative Cell Salvage Machine.
The organ replacement machines operate in orchestrated loops, keeping each other alive through circulation of electrical impulses, oxygen and artificial blood.
As we go with the flow, we might send fiendishly ingenious birthday greetings to Rube Goldberg; he was born on this date in 1883. A cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor, he is best remembered as a satirist of the American obssesion with technology for his series of “Invention” cartoons which used a string of outlandish tools, people, plants, and steps to accomplish simple, everyday tasks in the most complicated possible way. (His work has inspired a number of “Rube Goldberg competitions,” the best-known of which, readers may recall, has been profilled here.)
Goldberg was a founder and the first president of the National Cartoonists Society, and he is the namesake of the Reuben Award, which the organization awards to the Cartoonist of the Year.