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Behind the Scenes of TED

Why TED is really in the package design business.

We’re off to TEDGlobal for what’s bound to be the intellectual equivalent of a Roman feast. Starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to follow along with exclusive daily updates, highlights and photos here on Brain Pickings.

But, in the meantime, what better way to celebrate the tremendously fascinating week ahead than with a special behind-the-scenes look at all the incredible energy — physical, intellectual, emotional — that goes into the making of a TED talk?

In a way, this only confirms our belief that TED is very much in the package design business.

TED takes what’s already out there — most speakers have published extensive books, written dry research papers, even given long talks at other conferences — and packages it brilliantly and beautifully. Stuffed in a bite-sized 18-minute box, glossed with shiny production value, and placed in the exuberant context of the (as some would argue, “cultish”) conference itself, each talk is a premium package that makes the ideas inside all the more appealing. It makes them feel richer and more valuable and more meaningful, and thus, it makes them matter more.

And when ideas matter to us, we internalize them, we propagate and advocate them, we tell our friends about them, we make them — truly — ideas worth spreading.

So here’s to intellectual package design — the true currency of ideas.

via TEDBlog

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Animation Spotlight: Peripetics

Bursting hearts, crumbling houses, or why catastrophe never looked this good.

Today’s short-and-sweet is just that: Peripetics, a brilliant piece of motion art to which no verbal description does justice. So all we’ll offer is a short contextual introduction, straight from the makers — innovative CG studio Zeitguised.

Zeitguised made a piece in six acts for the opening exhibition at the Zirkel Gallery. It entails six imaginations of disoriented systems that take a catastrophic turn, including the evolution of educational plant-body-machine models and liquid building materials.

There’s something incredibly powerful about conveying doom through pure aesthetic, technical and conceptual magnificence — if the Apocalypse looks anything like this, we may just stick around and watch.

Go ahead, gawk.

via Coudal

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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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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.

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