Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘design’

16 JULY, 2009

Neighborhood Design Watch: Cardon Copy


What an exotic cat and a stellar cleaning lady have to do with visual aestheticism.

Imagine, if you will, the days before Craigslist. Local business was done mostly through neighborhood flyers announcing anything from a yard sale to a lost cat. Today, these dinosaurs of communication still exist, although much rarer, and remain the same visual atrocities they always were.

Enter Cardon Copy — designer Cardon Webb‘s bold mission to hijack these unseemly pieces, redesign them with a powerful visual message, and replace the original with its aesthetically upgraded version.

Part neighborhood Banksy, part Pixelator, part utterly original, the project is pure conceptual genius.

Besides being a noble crusade for everyday visual literacy, Cardon Copy is also the most brilliant self-promotion by a designer we’ve ever encountered.

And we love the extraordinary lengths Cardon has gone to with this, indiscriminately and cleverly redesigning even the most illegible to make it, well, just as illegible but oh-so-much easier on the eyes.

We can’t wait until someone (psst, Cardon, need a new project?) hijacks Craigslist listings, no less visually atrocious than your typical neighborhood flyer, and embarks upon a similar digital mission.

Dev-design geeks, start your engines.

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15 JULY, 2009

Technofuturism: La Vitrine


How 35,000 light bulbs are beaming our way into the human-algorithm future.

Interactive displays are nothing new, but as the technology behind them gets increasingly sophisticated, the boundaries of the possible expand to extraordinary frontiers. Case in point: La Vitrine‘s LED installation in Montreal.

As people walk by the display, 35,000 LED light bulbs respond to their presence and movement with a variety of shapes and patterns. Partly reminiscent of MIT’s Fiber Optic Cloud, the project is a reminder of our ever-deepening relationship with technology and the human-algorithm future that lies before us.

The installation, developed by Moment Factory, is part of the Quartier des spectacles lighting plan, a pilot project aiming to redefine traditional urban architecture. In 2008, it was awarded the Grand Prix Créativité Montréal for Urban Planning.

14 JULY, 2009

Retrospective on Futurism: N55


What snail shells and walking houses have to do with 13 years of art-science.

Remember Danish art collective N55 of walking house fame? Turns out they’ve been in the business of revolutionary ideas since 1996, and they have a book to prove it.

The N55 BOOK is a 200-page tome chronicling 7 years of innovative thinking — an accumulation of manuals for various things made by N55, from a clean air machine to a modular boat to a portable fish farm.

Perhaps the most fascinating part is the incredible retrospective the book provides on the relationship with public space and the art-science of sustainability — something that only recently reached critical mass, but has clearly been on the minds of the brightest creative innovators for nearly two decades.

Besides the practical concept-models playing with space and motion, the book also includes a series of exceptionally compelling essays on broader themes like the intersection of art and reality, the ownership of knowledge, and the ritual of living.

There is no meaning in talking about art without imagining persons, their behaviour, things and concrete situations. When one wants to talk about art, one must therefore talk about: persons and their behaviour with other persons and things in concrete situations.

The N55 BOOK is available as a free PDF download. It comes highly recommended as an intellectual and creative indulgence.