Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

11 JUNE, 2013

Design in a Nutshell: One-Minute Animated Primers on Six Major Creative Movements

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From Gothic Revival to Postmodernism, or how Bauhaus ushered in the age of minimalism.

From the fine folks at Open University — who have previously brought us delightful 60-second animated primers on philosophy’s famous thought experiments and the world’s major theories of religion — comes Design in a Nutshell, a lovely six-part series of their signature animated primers on six major design movements.

Gothic Revival gave us many of the ideas that changed architecture, including the magnificent vaulted ceilings of European cathedrals, and without it Lewis Carroll may never have given us Alice in Wonderland:

The Arts and Crafts movement emerged as a rebellion to the negative impact of mass-production and the Industrial Revolution, and its romantic ideals still reverberate today:

Bauhaus, one of the 100 ideas that changed graphic design, revolutionized design education by introducing a cross-disciplinary curriculum and embraced the intersection of innovation and inspiration:

Modernism emerged from a disillusionment with history after the World War and spanned every corner of creative expression, from art (e.g., Agnes Martin) to music (e.g., John Cage) to design (e.g., Charles and Ray Eames), becoming the single most influential creative movement of the 20th century:

After The Great Depression erased consumer demand, American industrial design set to out rebuild the world of tomorrow and reignite people’s appreciation for objects by making things that previously didn’t need to appear attractive now sleek and desirable, effectively bridging form and function and ushering in The Century of the Self:

Postmodernism criticized modernism for having failed at reinvigorating society and set out to transform culture politically, philosophically, and creatively, pushing society to question why things are the way they are:

Pair with the best design books of 2012.

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02 MAY, 2013

Who Invented Writing? An Animated Historical Detective Story

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From Sumerian cuneiform to hieroglyphics to Chinese script, a tale of simultaneous invention.

Theories of why humans write abound — for George Orwell, the impulse was driven by sheer egoism and aesthetic enthusiasm; for Joan Didion, writing provides vital access to one’s own mind; David Foster Wallace sought in it the nature of fun; for Joy Williams, it offers an escape from darkness into light; for Isabel Allende, it’s an irrepressible outpouring of inner life. But how did we get to write in the first place?

In this lovely short animation from TED Ed, Matthew Winkler, author of The Bloomberg Way: A Guide for Reporters and Editors, takes us on a historical detective story to figure out who invented writing and explains how symbols set writing and drawing apart as vehicles of meaning:

If you just draw what you mean, that’s art — not writing. In order for this to be writing, the symbol has to stand for the word.

Complement with this fascinating visual history of how sounds became shapes.

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22 APRIL, 2013

To This Day: A Collaborative Animated Spoken-Word Poem About the Lifelong Pain of Bullying

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Soul-stirring words in 20-second fragments of creativity.

To This Day is a beautiful short film based on Shane Koyczan’s spoken-word poem of the same title, exploring the debilitating lifelong trauma inflicted by early bullying. The project, in the style of The Exquisite Book and The Johnny Cash Project, was made by 87 animators and motion artists, each of whom contributed a 20-second segment of the narrative.

our lives will only ever always
continue to be
a balancing act
that has less to do with pain
and more to do with beauty.

Koyczan writes:

My experiences with violence in schools still echo throughout my life but standing to face the problem has helped me in immeasurable ways. … Schools and families are in desperate need of proper tools to confront this problem. We can give them a starting point… A message that will have a far reaching and long lasting effect in confronting bullying.

“To This Day” can be found on Koyczan’s spoken-word album, Remembrance Year, which is absolutely fantastic.

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