Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘art’

24 MAY, 2011

The Interface is the Message: Aaron Koblin on Visual Storytelling at TED

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What 10,000 sheep have to do with Johnny Cash, Marshall McLuhan and the evolution of storytelling.

I was thrilled to see my friend Aaron Koblin, presently of Google Creative Labs, take the TED stage earlier this year. I’m an enormous data viz geek, I’m deeply interested in the evolution of storytelling, and have been a longtime supporter of Aaron’s work. This talk is an excellent primer to both the discipline itself and Aaron’s stellar projects within it, but also an insight-packed treasure chest even for those already immersed in the world of data visualization. Perhaps most interestingly, Aaron revises iconic media theorist Marshall McLuhan‘s revered catchphrase, “The medium is the message,” to a thought-proviking, culture-appropriate modernization: “The interface is the message.”

An interface can be a powerful narrative device, and as we collect more and more personally and socially relevant data, we have an opportunity and maybe even an obligation to maintain the humanity and tell some amazing stories as we explore and collaborate together.” ~ Aaron Koblin

Aaron mentions a number of projects previously featured on Brain Pickings: The Sheep Market, A Bicycle Built for 2,000 and The Johnny Cash Project, if you’d like to take a closer look.

For more on the kind of magic Aaron is making, you won’t go wrong with Data Flow 2: Visualizing Information in Graphic Design — easily the most comprehensive compendium on data visualization candy around.

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23 MAY, 2011

Cement Eclipses: Tiny Street Art Sculptures by Isaac Cordal

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What tiny people have to do with the sleepwalking hypnotism of urban routine.

I love the work of London-based street artist Isaac Cordal, whose makes big social commentary by way of street art sculptures with tiny human figurines. Since 2006, Cordal has been placing minuscule cement pieces on streets, sidewalks, walls and other corners of the city across Europe, exploring “the voluntary isolation of human beings” from nature. Cement Eclipses is a beautiful new 256-page anthology of images from the project, many never-before-seen, offering a thoughtful look at his tiny-big gifts to the public and inviting an exploration of their meaning in a sociocultural context.

Cement eclipses is a research project of urban space that runs between the fields of sculpture and photography. The sculpture is used as a starting point and photography as a witness to the execution of installations for later viewing or exhibition.” ~ Isaac Cordal

My favorite has to be this piece titled Sleepwalker, which adds to the come-hither allure of the tiny scale the ephemeral mystery of playing on shadow:

Vulnerable and expressive, the vignettes in Cement Eclipses are as much a conversation about solitude as they are an invitation to examine our role as citizens and fellow human beings in a shared urban reality.

via Colossal

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20 MAY, 2011

Live Now: Existential Affirmation by Design

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Publishing’s most positive tear sheets, or how a placemat can change your whole outlook on the day.

We were first moved by the contagious positivity behind the Live Now project more than a year ago, when it was a lovely website and growing community of designers and illustrators with a shared commitment to spreading messages of strength and hope. Today we’re thrilled that the movement has taken the form of a book, a kind of collector’s object of optimism.

Live Now gathers 85 of the project’s participants in print form, with a different page for each heartening design. Like the recently featured Everything Is Going To Be OK, Live Now‘s messages exhort the viewer to find the positive in the present moment – something much more attainable when you’re looking at such a beautiful reminder.

'Live Humbly' by Mikey Burton

'Harmony' by Eric Smith

'Friendship' by Emil Kozak

Eric Smith first founded Live Now following a diagnosis of cancer, and what started as a personal project of resilience grew organically into a “movement of happiness.” Today, Smith practices art direction, design, and illustration via his studio, IDRAWALLDAY, and continues to collaborate with a host of creative partners.

The basis of our message is that happiness is here for everyone—that there is a bigger picture for your life, and a will for each one of us. Do the people in your life “feel” your love? Do we inspire happiness in everyone around us? That’s our plan. ~ Eric Smith

'You're Going Places' by Ed Nacional

'Overflowing Optimism' by Chad Kouri

'Break Your Routine' by Mikey Burton

Rip out a life-affirming lesson from Live Now and share it with someone you love. Like the sentiments that inspired them, we guarantee that what you just gave away, you’ll more than gain in spirit.

Kirstin Butler is writing an adaptation of Gogol for the Google era called Dead SULs, but when not working spends far, far too much time on Twitter. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA.

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.