I like architecture and urban planning, so you can see why I am intrigued by this lecture delivered from Gresham College (who has been all about talks open to the public since 1597 [!]) by Proffesor Thurley. This is totally one of those things you can put on and then walk away from, since there are only a few slides, and mostly a bunch of talking.
It traces the history of worker housing in Victorian Britain that sprung from the industrial revolution, but you will notice there are quite a few U.S. parallels, especially their take on light wells in the slums–the deleterious absence of which (amongst a gigantic amount of other basic things) was so famously documented in New York City by Jacob Riis in How the Other Half Lives (free and clickable, btw, through the Bartelby Project).
Here’s a video slideshow of some of Riis’ photos from New York City tenements (yeah, could not quickly find an online gallery with clickable thumbnails for those of us from the ADD generation *shrug*).
The second half–the “Splendor” bit– is about how London’s Italianesque architecture is a visual callback to the Renaissance Medici family, who so famously were both merchants and art patrons and basically shaped the architecture of Italy in doing so. Interestingly, London’s first futures markets rallied in pubs, which were razed to make way for London’s monuments to capitalistic wealth games and its financial center-ness.
Chicago’s coolest hackerspace, Pumping Station:One is having a 4-year birthday party / open house thingie on Saturday.
In case you’re not familiar, hackerspaces are, well–pretty self explanatory. You sign up for a membership, like a gym, and then you get to play with all the neat toys–oscilloscopes, 3D printers, drill presses, sewing machines, and a scanning electron microscope (duh!). It’s $40-$70 per month for a membership, for all that access to awesome future-creation. Also, they really do have a Tardis on the roof, just like that photo up there shows–not shopped.
I was going through pencil lead like mad from working on various sewing projects (I’ll share these soon, promz!) so I went to my IRL Staples for lead and found these guys instead. I find it positively hilarious, and I wonder why they haven’t thought of this before. I have been a long-time fan of Zebra mechanical pencils because 1) they are stainless steel and look pretty techno and 2) they last forever. So, while poking around to look at replacement lead I spotted these and thought I’d give them a shot. I love that they put the little aluminum eraser-binding bit in, but the parts that wear down are completely replaceable.
They’re much lighter than wood pencils, but the length is cool because they feel a bit “used,” as in, you’ve sharpened them enough and they’ve gotten shorter. I’m sure Zebra was just thinking of cost, but the attention to detail is a welcome surprise.
I couldn’t find them online, nor on the Zebra site, but they do have a cheezy childish version here.
Banks sell debt for pennies on the dollar on a shadowy speculative market of debt buyers who then turn around and try to collect the full amount from debtors. The Rolling Jubilee intervenes by buying debt, keeping it out of the hands of collectors, and then abolishing it. We’re going into this market not to make a profit but to help each other out and highlight how the predatory debt system affects our families and communities. Think of it as a bailout of the 99% by the 99%. — ROLLINGJUBILEE.ORG
Once I read about rollingjubilee.org and realized how brilliant it was, I laughed alone in my office for like, two minutes straight. Then I went straight to PayPal and sent them funds courtesy of Fractalspin.
[Emailed to Lego on 5/2/2012 since they have a charlimit on their comment form]
I’m a woman who has been a Lego fan since I was a little girl. I loved cars, and I loved hotel rooms, and I made the coolest spaceships and space stations from the random Lego sets my parents bought me. My style was “Airstream meets 2001: A Space Odyssey, plus Holiday Inn” (because, c’mon, every space cruiser needs a pool!). It was super fun building vehicles for imaginary adventures. Luckily, I still create stuff as an adult even though they aren’t space Winnebagos.
I gotta say though… I have yet to see one girl represented in your “Cool Creations” shout-out spread where you feature works by kids.
Granted, I may have overlooked some issues, but this kind of layout is typical.
And yet, your advertisements for your Legolands have a pretty fair split between the sexes.
What gives? It’s 2012 already, and we should be beyond this gender-skewed thing.
I’m guessing it’s one of two things. Either you’ve got a photo editor who favors boys’ creations, or you’re just not getting enough girls to submit the stuff they’ve made. If it’s the latter… that’s kind of disturbing, and I’m perplexed why you haven’t addressed it.
I love what your company represents–creativity, architecture, engineering, “building worlds” all that. But as I flipped through my last issue, I did notice it’s emphasis on superheros and cartoon drama. While that’s necessarily not a bad thing, you’ve created the heros as males, and since the viewer is supposed to identify with the protagonist, you might be turning off girls who “can’t see themselves” in that situation.
Don’t you think girls should be welcomed into fields of engineering and creating? It might be a bigger question that you as a company can simply answer and solve, but I’d really like to hear your thoughts on these issues.
Urbanized posits that city dwellers must not only forge an innovative self-reliance, they must imagine higher forms of living. The radical fluctuations of growth and decline happening in modern cities necessitate infinite innovation. Urbanized is an extraordinarily ambitious attempt to make sense of a world flowing into cities. This visually arresting film, like Hustwit’s past work, elegantly conveys the omnipresence of design in daily life. Essential viewing.
Here’s a hilarious book explaining how computers work, referencing meat needed as fuel, puppies, and a washing machine as integral parts.
In a classic internet video, Bjork explains how television works, comparing the electrical components to buildings in a city, and the wires are “elevators.” It bothers me that people find her “adorable” when she is acting like a child simplistically justifying the “magic” of electronics. What’s also sad is she is an electronic musician who should have technical knowledge of her tools (however, she relies heavily on producers, which could explain why she thinks electronics is a magical process). She is a grown woman and it is sad that this is considered cute.
Like Ms. Sherman, my creative process involves being alone, thinking, devising, mentally-sketching, tweaking, re-tweaking, re-thinking; sharing for feedback, and then re-tweaking some more. It’s emblematic of the contemporary, technology-enabled artist, in a way. Creative types have so many resources available: so many mediums to muck around in, so many visual sandboxes (like Adobe CSx–Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier); audio playgrounds (like Reaktor, Ableton, FL Studio) and platforms for interdisciplinary / cross-medium work (like Max/MSP, etc).
When I applied to art colleges, I was so disheartened by the rampant insistence that I choose a medium. I didn’t like the feeling of being forced to create within an established “language” (medium) that could be critically evaluated (by critics who specialized in media). Then I found California Institute of the Arts, was accepted, and played and played and played and finally found my voice. A voice that was me, and not limited to choice of media, but one that used media to express the ideas I wanted to introduce to the world.
And that, I feel, is true contemporary artistry. Knowing that the clay of the world is yours to play with and yours to enjoy.