Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘design’

27 MAY, 2009

Pick One: Hipsters Take on Culture, By Way of Helvetica


Start Trek vs. Russia, the 1970′s vs. Christmas, or why death is better than Uggs.

If there ever were a formula for cool, it wouldn’t be far from simplicity + social statement + Helvetica. And Pick One is just that. Part social experiment, part art project, part brilliant head-scratcher, it’s artist Ben Nyberg‘s clever stab at getting your priorities straight — and it’s as playful or as serious as you want it to be.

All you do is go through pairs of cultural items — from Google to guns to God, and everything in between — and pick the one you prefer within each pair, which gives it a score of 1 point.

After a couple of hundred clicks, we lost patience in trying to reach some sort of end — we suspect it’s an infinite loop that randomly pairs each item with every other, then starts all over again — and voyeured over to the Top 10 and the Bottom 10, based on the crowdsourced cumulative score of each item.

It’s a sign of the times when The Internet ends up amidst the most fundamental of human needs. Then again, if it were up to us, it would even rank four positions higher.

And a note to all the budding social psychologists and ethicists out there — you may want to rethink your career path: Morality, which appears in the pick-pairs, didn’t even make a cameo on the Top 10. Neither did art — ironic, in the context of an art project.

Pick One is also a testament to its own hipsterness — there’s no question about the psychographic composition of a crowd that hates Uggs more than hate itself, George W, or death.


25 MAY, 2009

ComplexCity: Visualizing the Hidden Patterns of Urbanity


Warholian city maps, or what a Parisian lover has to do with urban infrastructure.

Cities are living organisms. And their veins — the interconnected streets and walkways and alleys — are what keep the city’s vitality in flux. Each city has a different “circulatory system,” a different flow of its livelihood, a unique pattern that holds its cultural DNA.

In ComplexCity, Korean artist Lee Jang Sub explores the concealed aesthetic formed by the infrastructure of the city and its evolution across time.

Although the project started in the artist’s hometown of Seoul, he has since dissected the street patterns of other global cultural epicenters.

Something intangible about the shape and color of each pattern seems to capture an incredibly authentic piece of the city’s vibe and uniqueness — the rose bushes of Florence, the black lace on the stocking of a Parisian lover, the aristocratic iciness of winter in Moscow.

ComplexCity: Rome

ComplexCity: Paris

ComplexCity: Moscow

The ComplexCity patterns are available as wall prints and absolutely stunning lighting, made from backlit Korean rice paper — a fitting metaphor for the delicate natural texture of the city.

via Coudal

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20 MAY, 2009

Into Post-Digital Creative Culture: OFFF 2009


What Lisbon and spaghetti have in common, or why failure is the key to creative success.

Since 2001, the OFFF festival has been showcasing the best of post-digital creative culture — interactive design, motion graphics, new music ventures, and other explorations of all media platforms.

OFFF is spreading the work of a generation of creators that are breaking all kinds of limits. Those separating the commercial arena from the worlds of art and design; music from illustration, or ink and chalk from pixels. Artists that have grown with the web and receive inspiration from digital tools, even when their canvas is not the screen.

The 3-day event is part design conference, part multimedia trade show, part digital animation festival, celebrating our new relationship with visual media.

OFFF dreams about the future, and then writes the code for it.

This year’s event, titled Fail Gracefully, wrapped earlier this month and was a cultural gem from start to finish — literally: Even the opening sequence for the festival, directed by Ilya Abulhanov and produced by Prologue Films, is a hypnotic piece of neo-digital genius.

The panel roster was equally impressive — including our favorite data visualization artist, Aaron Koblin, the iconic Paula Scher, and revolutionary film director and animator PES. (Remember Western Spaghetti? Yep, that guy.)

The discussion revolved around the notion of “graceful failure” as an essential strategy for creating in the digital space — we wouldn’t do it any justice by summarizing, but you can read the transcript from the Fail Gracefully panel here.

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