Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘design’

10 JULY, 2009

Animation Spotlight: Invent


The frontiers of creativity, the art of printing, and the beauty of not printing.

Today’s short-and-sweet is a stop-motion animation by design students Matt Robinson and Tom Wrigglesworth, using nothing but printers and (we shudder to think how many sheets of) printing paper.

Invent was done in response to the D&AD Student Awards brief set by Hewlett Packard. The brief:

Present an idea which promotes HP Workstation’s ability to bring to life anything the creative mind can conceive.

And while the animation is indisputably brilliant, it’s also an indisputable tree-killer. Then again, it’s art, which probably makes it okayish.

But there’s nothing even remotely cool about the everyday waste of printing paper. Which is why we dig the new i.Saw USB-powered chainsaw — a spoof, of course, promoting Papercut, a neat free app that plays a chainsaw sound every time you print.

Genius. And a The Office episode in the making.

03 JULY, 2009

Illustration Spotlight: Plan 9.001


The 1’s and 0’s of home, or what the Olsen twins have to do with John Locke and God.

Every once in a while we stumble across something we don’t quite get, but can tell is brilliant. Case in point: The Plan 9.001 Flickr set from an artist by the cryptic name of 9000.

Full of wondrous, beautifully art directed charts, graphs, diagrams and other fascinations that capture the human condition, the illustrations are part poetry, part art direction, part homage to geek culture — and all genius.

Most of the images are left to exist in their self-contained reality, with no caption or explanation, inviting you to make sense of them ever which way you wish.

And some are brimming with keen cultural commentary, oozing both from the images themselves and from the quotes accompanying — mismatched at first glance, like this odd psalm that we had to Google-translate, but deeply profound in context.

Indeed, there’s a certain preoccupation with the God — a quest for divinity in the godless, lonesome, conflicted world the artist seems to inhabit. Or, you know, it’s just a mockery thereof.

And while we’re not quite sure what to make of it it all, we urge you to explore the Plan 9.001 set and the rest of 9000’s rather diverse but uniformly bizarre body of work — if for no other reason than that it has intrigued us more than anything we’ve come across in a long, long time.

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30 JUNE, 2009

The Open_Sailing Project


Drifting villages, or what the Apocalypse has to do with your social life.

Here’s a little-thought-about fact: Oceans cover 71% of Earth’s surface, yet 6.7 billion of us cram into the other 29%, elbowing our way through pollution, overpopulation and various other delights of contemporary civilization.

Enter Open_Sailing, a visionary initiative pioneering an entirely new form of marine architecture.

The project aims to reinvent our habitat by designing a sustainable, technologically sound sea-based lifestyle, shielded from potential natural and man-induced disasters. An “International Ocean Station” to the International Space Station, if you will.

In practical terms, this translates into a drifting, inflatable “village” of modular shelters surrounded by ocean farming units and energy pods. All components are fully flexible — fluid, pre-broken, reconfigurable, pluggable and intuitive — and powered by innovative technologies that maximize energy efficiency and ensure a sustainable, self-sufficient model.

Initiated by Royal College of Art designer Cesar Harada, the project has drawn an international, multidisciplinary team of 15 designers and engineers working under the mentorship of various marine experts.

We want to live at sea. And we want to do it well: comfortably, sustainably and safely. We want delicious food, a great social life, space to work and play. We’ve come together; a diverse team from all walks of life to design our future on the ocean. With our combined skills, we’re pioneering innovative architecture, navigation and sea farming techniques.

The first Open_Sailing prototype is 50 meters in diameter and fits 4 people. An inaugural test will set sail from London to Rotterdam, and results will be available in July.

While the project is very conceptual, the vision behind it is firmly grounded in reality (we’re underutilizing our natural habitat and overexploiting the parts we are using), urgency (where do we go next?) and visionary problem-solving — and that we can appreciate. With the right tools, thinkers and technologies, we think Open_Sailing can change the world — literally.

Thanks, Jake