Brand new, you’re retro

January 6th, 2004 § Two comments § permalink

Retrocrush is a huge collection of links to information about advertising, fashion, music, photography, design, and all sorts of other stuff from the past. I didn’t spend much time there, since five minutes at that site could easily turn into three hours; of the links I tried, though, by far the best was the collection of 1920s advertisements for the Chicago Rapid Transit Company. Sadly, there are no reproductions available of my favorites, but you’re welcome to buy this original for me.

More than mediocre

November 5th, 2003 § Comments off § permalink

Ira Glass, the host of This American Life, on the difficulty of creating something interesting:

Basically, anything that anyone makes… It’s like a law of nature, a law of aerodynamics, that anything that’s written or anything that’s created wants to be mediocre. The natural state of all writing is mediocrity. It’s all tending toward mediocrity in the same way that all atoms are sort of dissipating out toward the expanse of the universe. Everything wants to be mediocre, so what it takes to make anything more than mediocre is such a fucking act of will. Anyone who makes something for a living, or even not for a living, if they’re really excited about it… You just have to exert so much will into something for it to be good.

The appeal of sustainable building

February 5th, 2003 § Comments off § permalink

The Tofte Project is a brilliant chronicle of the renovation of a Minnesota cabin, built in 1947 on the shore of Lake Superior. Every aspect of the renovation reflects the owner’s commitment to sustainability; many of the construction materials were salvaged from other buildings, and the building’s designers took pains to integrate their work with the cabin’s surroundings and the community’s history.

More importantly, the building is beautiful, and the people who designed and built it took well-earned pride in their craftsmanship. Beauty and joy are the best fringe benefits of sustainable design.

Reading on a hell of a feeling

November 25th, 2002 § One comment § permalink

Prangstgrüp is a bunch of wacky kids at Columbia University who perpetrate goofy stunts on an unsuspecting public. Like, for example, performing a musical in a library. This is probably one of the ten funniest things I have ever seen.

The time will come

October 21st, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Oh my God, this is the coolest thing ever: Someone took a 1988 Macintosh SE and a 1923 Underwood typewriter and combined them into the ElectriClerk, a hybrid office monstrosity inspired by the machines that clerks used in the movie Brazil. The guy even created fake advertisements for the ElectriClerk. This is just gorgeous.

The saddest little lamp

September 23rd, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Anyone who’s ever made an unnecessary purchase from Ikea will identify with the company’s new television commercial, directed by Spike Jonze. (To see the ad, click on the television set.)

The Purest and Best

September 3rd, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Something I adore: Old advertisements painted on the sides of buildings.

Private and Public

August 23rd, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Private and Public is a collection of candid photographs of London pedestrians, taken over the course of a year and grouped by season. All of the photos were taken on the same 30-meter stretch of sidewalk. Although they were taken in a public place, they are intensely personal, and I’m glad I’m not in any of them.

Wait a minute. I just remembered an afternoon when I was walking across campus at UC Santa Cruz, near McHenry Library, when I suddenly noticed a woman taking a picture of me. She was standing by the side of a well-trafficked path, so I’m sure I wasn’t the only person she photographed. Still, I may already have wound up as part of someone else’s art project. Crud.

Actias luna

August 14th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Most people don’t pay much attention to moths. A printmaker in New York decided to look at them more closely, and he discovered that moths are beautiful. He digitally scanned the moths, then made 3 foot by 4 foot prints on watercolor paper. I would love to see an exhibit of these.

Look at me

May 31st, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

If you like photography at all, definitely check out Look at Me.

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