Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘video’

03 OCTOBER, 2011

Charles Eames on Design: Rare and Wonderful Q&A from 1972

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A lucid reflection on the role and culture of design by one of the most iconic and influential designers of all time.

Legendary design duo Charles and Ray Eames shaped the mid-century modern aesthetic and influenced the voice of design for decades to come. They were also prolific filmmakers, perhaps best known for the iconic Powers of Ten film. In this fantastic Q&A from 1972, found on the excellent compilation The Films of Charles & Ray Eames and reproduced here in House Industries’ typography journal, Madame L’Amic of the Musee des Art s Decoratifs in Paris asks Charles Eames 29 questions about design, covering everything from the balance between form and function to the role of computers in creativity to the impact of influences. His answers are a timeless treasure trove of wisdom and insight on all that design is and should be.

I’m particularly taken with this bit affirming remix culture and combinatorial creativity:

[Is design] a creation of an individual?

No — because to be realistic one must always admit the influence of those who have gone before.

You can also listen to the full audio of the interview in this Japanese video of questionable legality:

And for the ultimate Eames fan, see Ph.D. student Kevin Mackice replicate the interview with his young son Carter to an amusing, refreshing, and surprisingly philosophical effect:

The entire collection The Films of Charles & Ray Eames is an absolute gem — I highly recommend it.

HT Ace Hotel Blog / @gary_hustwit

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03 OCTOBER, 2011

People Who Became Nouns: The Music Video

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Boycott, Maverick, Guillotine, Shrapnel, Cardigan, Sandwich, Silhouette, Zeppelin, Leotard, Lamborghini.

Finding your name in the dictionary as a noun is a sure-fire litmus test for having made a impact on culture and history. Just look at OED-approved fine folks like Charles Boycott, Samuel Maverick, Joseph-Ignace Guillotine, Henry Shrapnel, and Lord Cardigan. But there are unsuspected downsides to being reduced to a noun — just ask suffragette and women’s rights pioneer Amelia Bloomer, now equated with a baggy pair of women’s underpants.

Now, thanks to NPR‘s Robert Krulwich and Adam Cole, there’s a delightful music video about them.

Semi-relatedly, this reminded me of a lovely illustrated children’s book called If You Were a Noun.

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30 SEPTEMBER, 2011

Arthur C. Clarke Predicts the Future in 1964, Gets It Oddly Right

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How to walk the line between futurism and absurdity, or why the satellite is more important than the A-bomb.

Earlier this week, we explored 5 vintage visions for the future of technology. In this fantastic clip from a 1964 BBC Horizon program — the same series that to this day explores such illuminating topics as the nature of reality, the age-old tension between science and religion, how music works, and what time really is — legendary science fiction writer, inventor, and futurist Arthur C. Clarke predicts the future.

A half-century before most of today’s technologies, he presages the digital convergence with uncanny accuracy and reminds us, with eloquence and lucidity foreign to most of today’s quasi-futurists, of the very essence and purpose of predicting the future in the first place.

The only thing that we can be sure of the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic.

One day, we may have brain surgeons in Edinburgh operating on patients in New Zealand. When that time comes, the whole world would’ve shrunk to a point and the traditional role of the city as a meeting place for men would’ve ceased to make any sense. In fact, men will no longer commute — they will communicate. They won’t have to travel for business anymore, they’ll only travel for pleasure.

For more of Clarke’s striking futurism, treat yourself to Profiles of the Future — his fantastic anthology of essays written between 1959 and 1961, exploring the ultimate possibilities of the future with equal parts visionary imagination and astonishing accuracy.

via Open Culture

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28 SEPTEMBER, 2011

Lessons for the Living from the Brink of Death

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How to take life one ephemeral dinner party at a time, or why hope is a gift of the hopeless.

Lessons for the Living is a poignant documentary by Lily Henderson exploring the unique subculture of hospice volunteers as they contemplate their own philosophies of life and death. This grounding excerpt from the film follows Kathleen, who is both a hospice volunteer and a hospice patient. She has been preparing for her own death for over a decade, but has managed to master that art of living from sheer presence — a powerful lesson, indeed, for the rest of us.

I’ve talked to people who say they feel sorry for me for not having any hope. I say, hope is a thief. I am living today as fully as I am able.”

Kathleen has since passed away.

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