Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘design’

16 FEBRUARY, 2012

David Brooks on the Dangerous Division Between Reason and Emotion, Animated

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The false division of the self, or what’s wrong with using physics to assess human behavior.

Yesterday, we marveled at a fantastic short film that captured Michael Pollan’s classic Food Rules in animated stop-motion vegetables. Another wonderful motion graphics entry from the same RSA film competition by Tomas Flodr is based on an RSA talk The New York Times’ David Brooks gave about his newish book, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement, which echoes an older RSA sketchnote animation about the divided brain and the dangers that lurk in modern society’s propensity for prioritizing the left brain over the right. (Something at which Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Anne Lamott would all have raised an eyebrow.)

We have inherited a view of ourselves that we’re divided selves. We have reason over here and emotion over here, and if anything, they’re on a teeter-totter — that if reason is up emotion is down or vise versa, and society advances to the extent that reason can suppress the passions. So this has created methodologies of studying human behavior that try to use the methodologies of physics to do social science, which emphasize the things we can count and measure, and which amputate all the rest.”

For more, see Brooks’ TED talk and, of course, the book itself.

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15 FEBRUARY, 2012

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules Animated in Stop-Motion

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182% of brilliance, three weeks in the making.

The fine folks at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, known for their brilliant sketchnote animations of talks by prominent authors and scientists, recently launched a competition, inviting emerging filmmakers to bring RSA talks to life in fresh ways. This fantastic stop-motion entry by Marija Jacimovic and Benoit Detalle, which took more than three weeks to create, is based on Michael Pollan’s iconic Food Rules and is the most refreshing take on the classic since Maira Kalman’s illustrated edition.

You can give this gem your vote here and help the talented duo win £2,000.

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14 FEBRUARY, 2012

Designer Kelli Anderson on Disruptive Wonder and the Hidden Talents of Everyday Things

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Exploring the intersection of irreverence and whimsy, or how to expand what we demand from reality.

Kelli Anderson is one of the most talented, thoughtful, inspiring young designers working today, bringing to each project an artist’s flair, a scientist’s rigor, and a philosopher’s deliberation. In this fantastic talk from TEDxPhoenix, she pulls the curtain on the machinery of her magic — something she calls “disruptive wonder,” a mechanism for revealing the extraordinary talents of ordinary things.

From a solar-powered popsicle truck, a kind of “physical infographic on wheels,” to a holiday card that makes paper interactive, to a wildly believable counterfeit New York Times from the utopian future, to an ingenious paper record player, her projects probe our most fundamental assumptions — about political reality*, about material experience, about design itself — to deliver a potent cocktail of irreverence and delight. Let these 16 minutes make your day:

The world is full of order that doesn’t necessarily deserve our respect. Sometimes there is meaning, justice, and logic present in the way things are — but sometimes there just isn’t. And I think the moment that we realize this is the moment we become creative people. Because it prompts us to mess things up and do something better with the basic pieces of experience.”

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14 FEBRUARY, 2012

Vintage Valentine’s Day Postcards from the Early 1900s

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“If she be not fair for me what care I how fair she be.”

There are a million better ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a card — perhaps by revisiting the very first kiss in cinema, smiling over artist Eero Saarinen’s endearing list of his wife’s positive attributes, exploring a love story in geometric diagrams, getting goosebumps from Virginia Woolf’s love letter to Vita Sackville-West, or even taking a sobering look at the psychology of love. But if cards must be your thing, they can at least come with the vintage charisma of the early 1900s, thanks to The New York Public Library’s digital gallery.

The era’s Valentine’s greetings come with a rather limited visual vocabulary — little girls, little boys, cupids, flowers, hearts.

There is also the occasional playful delight:

And what’s love without some indignant bitterness?

Then there’s gangsta Valentine:

And, of course, some classic anti-Suffragette mild misogyny:

But my heart belongs to this “wireless telegram” circa 1903:

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