March 4, 2012

3D Printer Build – Part 1

by hstrykdiy

Just a little update from MakeHaven – The 3D Printer build is underway. In one day they got pretty far with the build, you can read the full post here by MakeHaven member John Scrudato. They have almost finished frame of the printer (a Reprap Prusa Mendel) and all 3 axes are working great. Next step is to build the extruder and attach the motors. As John writes, “Then we can connect a PC and start printing some plastic!”


February 29, 2012

MakeHaven – A New Maker Space in New Haven

by hstrykdiy


I’m excited to announce that New Haven, CT has its own maker space and I am an official member! We’re called MakeHaven and we’re just starting out, so we’re in the process of getting furniture, growing our inventory and planning our mission and goals for the year. This Saturday we will be meeting to start making a 3D printer. (I will probably be spending my time documenting the process and working on some sewing.) So far, a majority of the members are into computing, coding and circuit bending. I plan on rounding out the space with my various crafting skills. We had a mini introduction to soldering this Tuesday and I did my first ever soldering. (I think, when it comes to burning hot object near my hands, I will stick to my trusty hot glue gun.) It’s been very exciting to be a part of this space from the very start. We were discussing all the possibilities for projects we could work on together. I was happy to find that not only are they up for some crafting, but home brewing, cooking (the space has an old kitchen!) and everything and anything to do with DIY. We have a great group of members who are passionate about DIY and I feel so lucky to continue on where our class left off and have a space so close to home! I hope to post our progress here on the DIYCultures blog. Classmates, if you are looking for an escape from the big city and looking to craft and solder, just let me know!

February 29, 2012

DIY Times

by hstrykdiy

via http://nataliebyrne.tumblr.com:

“The DIY Times is great zine series all about people with a DIY attitude to life, whether that’s printing t-shirts, making tables or running a music festival. They have about 20 pages in each zine with a screen printed cover. DIY Times is by NO GUTS NO GLORY is a community based collective of creative people from around the UK, established in November 2009 by Nathan Blaker based in Exeter UK.”

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February 6, 2012

Realizing Empathy: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Making

by Nick Brewer

This is a pretty unique way to take a look at the process of making. That the process of creation, whatever the medium is the ability to empathize with the materials and people who will be interacting with it.

From the author Slim:

It is a book about how making works (as a process), what it means (to make something), and why it matters (to our lives). One of the central theme is the relationship between the act of empathizing with the act of making.

If you feel like donating to his kickstarter campaign, the address is http://kck.st/whvn03.

January 26, 2012

Art Hack Day

by Nick Brewer

This seems like a really fun event for makers and artists alike in the NYC area. They are also promoting participation by putting the hacks online during the event.

Art Hack Day is an event dedicated to cracking open the process of art-making, with special reverence toward open-source technologies. Between January 26 – January 28, artists and collaborators will inhabit 319 Scholes to create and explore the participatory nature of technology, bringing together hackers whose medium is art and artists whose medium is technology. The event will be streamed to online audiences, who will be encouraged to participate through various platforms to be listed soon on the ArtHackDay.net website. Visitors are invited to engage and interact with the projects online throughout the hack, as well as join the teams on Saturday night for a closing exhibition, live performances, and a massive party.

- Hacking begins Thurs Jan 26, 7pm -
– Live-streaming tour of the event Friday Jan 27 3pm -
– Exhibition open to the public Sat Jan 28 7pm -
– Live performances & party open to the public Sat Jan 28 9pm -
– @319 Scholes St, Brooklyn (3 blocks off Montrose stop on the L) -

January 23, 2012

DIY Days

by Nick Brewer

Saturday, March 03, 2012 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

DIY Days is a traveling incubator of creative entrepreneurs. The daylongevent consists of talks, workshops, intimate chats, and networking focusedon new models of funding, storytelling, distribution, and discovery.DIY Days have been held in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York,and Philadelphia. In 2011, it went global, with events in Barcelona, London,Singapore, Seoul, and Hong Kong.

For more information visit http://diydays.com/

January 23, 2012

WorkBook Project

by Nick Brewer

The WorkBook Project (WBP) is for those who want to be creative in the digital age. The WBP, through its website, R&D projects such as festival From Here to Awesome and roving conference DIY Days, provides insight into the process of funding, creating, distributing and sustaining as a creator of media (film, games, music, design, software).

December 18, 2011

No Beard? No Problem!

by rygielia

 

 

I’ve been noticing these beard hats here and there on the internet and a few sites have begun selling them… but I figure the only thing cooler than having one of these would be making it on your own and saving some cash in the process. After a bit of digging, I’ve found some instructions on how to crochet one of these bad boys.

Check it out here: http://sunmoonearthandstars.blogspot.com/2011/05/pet-peeve-rant-and-free-crochet-pattern.html

December 18, 2011

‘The new domesticity: Fun, empowering or a step back for American women?’

by hstrykdiy

The new domesticity: Fun, empowering or a step back for American women?

An interesting article from the Washington Post about surge in interest in DIY and crafting.

At one level, this stuff is just plain fun. “Sometimes a can of jam is just a can of jam,” as Freud (never) said. Our tech-saturated generation craves creative hands-on activities, and nostalgic hobbies such as canning, knitting and baking fit the bill. We’ve realized that just because something was historically devalued as “women’s work,” that doesn’t mean we have to shun it to be taken seriously in the world.

December 13, 2011

your loving brother

by noah

your loving brother by philip seymour hoffman

and with our bare hands we turn to one another
reach below a universal line of sight
and lift our tent.
tremendously it begins to rise.
we watch our tent adhere to the environment surrounding.
our hands the creators of our universe
our minds the collaborators of our hands
our experience the distinction between our minds
our knowledge the harkening of our experience
our culture the reason for such knowledge.

heavy winds will rotate the perspective of our tent
but as shade will absorb a glare ceases to harm.
we are the spiritual center of our universe
inquiring among orbiting planets
taking breath among foreign agents
forging a new magnetism of place.

<3
noah

December 12, 2011

Libraries Make Room For High-Tech ‘Hackerspaces’

by Nick Brewer

Submitted by Laura Alejandra Gonzalez:

Libraries Make Room For High-Tech ‘Hackerspaces’ : NPR

I’d like to make my own addition to this, Phil Torrone wrote a great article for Make about this same topic a few months ago. I’d love to see these types of tools being offered for everybody to use.

I propose we think about what role the public library can or should have. I’m really interested in what everyone thinks, so please post in the comments. I have more questions than answers, but my “gut” says we’re not going to see public libraries as the centers of learning state-to-state that they once were.

If the only public space where 3D printers, laser cutters, and learning electronics happens is in fee/memberships-based spaces (TechShops, hackerspaces), that will leave out a segment of the population, who will never have access. FabLabs often are geared towards under-served communities, so perhaps it will be a combination of FabLabs and hackerspaces.

What if we were to convert just 1% or even 10% of the 9,000 public libraries in the USA to TechShops? I say TechShop because I think they could get it done with the right amount of funding, or at least coordinate the effort. Since 1% of the USA’s public libraries is about 90, that’s close to the TechShop goal in 5 years; 10% would be 900 locations — not a bad goal.

December 8, 2011

Buy Nothing Christmas Alternatives

by hstrykdiy

For the first issue of ‘Counter Craft’ I will be including a page of alternative gift ideas. What are some of your favorite alternative gift ideas? They can include buying local, craft ideas, anything you can come up with!
Post here or at the ‘counter craft’ blog.
ALSO I am accepting ideas for craftivist projects in solidarity with the Occupy movement!

Buy Nothing

a page from Crafti-ZINE Edition 01 made by The Wellington Craftivism Collective

December 8, 2011

Everyone should take a moment to read this…

by StephiaMadelyne

Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states as Big Government claims ownership over our water

water

http://www.naturalnews.com/029286_rainwater_collection_water.html

“(NaturalNews) Many of the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. are quickly eroding as the nation transforms from the land of the free into the land of the enslaved, but what I’m about to share with you takes the assault on our freedoms to a whole new level. You may not be aware of this, but many Western states, including Utah, Washington and Colorado, have long outlawed individuals from collecting rainwater on their own properties because, according to officials,that rain belongs to someone else..”

Utah news reports that collecting/using rainwater is ILLEGAL

 

 

December 8, 2011

Corporate Takeover of DIY

by StephiaMadelyne

Because I think we should start a running list of when/where DIY is being corporatized – the exploitation of DIY and DIT movements:

The above was a facebook ad in the corner of my screen this morning and it got me thinking… When corporations jump on board and mis-appropriate the terminology – what does this do to the REAL movements, what I consider to be the honest and subversive practices of DIY as I know and love them?
Any thoughts, examples, feedback?
December 6, 2011

D-I-T (as in donate it together)

by Ariana Stolarz

Just got a gift from Facebook. It’s that time of the year. This time, they sent me an invitation to “Share the Good Cheer” ($50 for the educational cause of my choice). Here is the list of schools (from DonorsChoose.org–An online charity connecting you to classrooms in need).

As I am not familiar with these schools, I’d like to invite the class to help me identify the school you’d like to donate these $50.

Thanks so much!

 

December 5, 2011

from BrainPickings weekly newsletter

by StephiaMadelyne

 

The 11 Best Art and Design Books of 2011

From the Periodic Table to Craigslist, or what the greatest graphic designer of all time has to do with Moby-Dick.

>>> To keep this email manageable, you’ll only see a couple of sample images from each book – but there are many more on the site, so be sure to click through for a proper peek. <<<

After last week’s look at the 11 best illustrated books for (eternal) kids of 2011, this year’s best-of series continues with a look at the finest art, design, and creativity books of 2011 – tomes that capture your imagination and encapsulate the richest spectrum of what it means to be a thoughtful, eloquent visual creator.

RADIOACTIVE

Marie Curie is one of the most extraordinary figures in the history of science. A pioneer in researching radioactivity, a field the very name for which she coined, she was not only the first woman to win a Nobel Prize but also the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, and in two different sciences at that, chemistry and physics. InRadioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout, artist Lauren Rednisstells the story of Curie through the two invisible but immensely powerful forces that guided her life: Radioactivity and love. It’s a turbulent story – a passionate romance with Pierre Curie (honeymoon on bicycles!), the epic discovery of radium and polonium, Pierre’s sudden death in a freak accident in 1906, Marie’s affair with physicist Paul Langevin, her coveted second Noble Prize – under which lie poignant reflections on the implications of Curie’s work more than a century later as we face ethically polarized issues like nuclear energy, radiation therapy in medicine, nuclear weapons and more.

It’s also a remarkable feat of thoughtful design and creative vision. To honor Curie’s spirit and legacy, Redniss rendered her poetic artwork in cyanotype, an early-20th-century image printing process called critical to the discovery of both X-rays and radioactivity itself – a cameraless photographic technique in which paper is coated with light-sensitive chemicals. Once exposed to the sun’s UV rays, this chemically-treated paper turns a deep shade of blue. The text in the book is a unique typeface Redniss designed using the title pages of 18th- and 19th-century manuscripts from the New York Public Library archive. She named it Eusapia LR, for the croquet-playing, sexually ravenous Italian Spiritualist medium whose séances the Curies used to attend. The book’s cover is printed in glow-in-the-dark ink.

Full review, with more images and Redniss’s TEDxEast talk, here.

SAUL BASS

Saul Bass (1920-1996) is one of the most iconic and influential visual communicators of the 20th century – possibly the most famous graphic designer of all time – having broken out of the conformity of the 1950s to shape the aesthetic of generations of designers and animators with his bold and lively film title sequences and graphic design. (His insights on creativity and advice on doing quality work are also a timeless treat for any creator.) Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design is the first and highly anticipated definitive monograph on the creative visionary. Designed by Bass’s daughter, Jennifer, and written by renowned design historian Pat Kirkham, the formidable 428-page volume features more than 1,400 of Bass’s illustrations, many never before published, that offer an unprecedented look at his legacy and the creative process behind his most celebrated posters, title sequences, and logo designs.

I want everything we do to be beautiful. I don’t give a damn whether the client understands that that’s worth anything, or that the client thinks it’s worth anything, or whether it is worth anything. It’s worth it to me. It’s the way I want to live my life. I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.” ~ Saul Bass

Publisher Laurence King put together this epic video of the making of the book, to give you a sense of the scale and ambition of the project.

From his iconic title sequences…

… to his unforgettable posters…

…to his legendary logos for mega-brands like AT&T, Quaker Oats, and United Airlines, the monograph contextualizes his most significant works and analyzes each film project individually to dissect its graphic elements and motifs. Had Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design been released before the publication of this selection of the 100 best graphic design books of the past 100 years, it would most certainly have been included, and quite possibly would have topped the list – it is, truly, one of the most beautiful, inspirational, important design books you’ll ever lay eyes and hands on.

Full review here.

MISSED CONNECTIONS

You might recall Sophie Blackall, known for her distinctive children’s book illustration, as one of the brains and brushes behind these brilliant design makeovers of the mundane. Since 2009, she has been capturing Craigslist missed connections in her delightful illustrations and unmistakable style of Chinese ink and watercolor, brimming with charm, romanticism and soft whimsy. Now, Blackall joins our running list of blogs so good they became books: Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Foundcollects the best of these poetic visual what-if love stories, each told in a shorthand “missed connection” ranging from the lyrical (I Gave You My Umbrella but the Wrong Directions) to the warm-and-fuzzy (We Shared a Bear Suit) to the shared love of the tragicomic (Ice Skating in Central Park We Collided).

Every day hundreds of strangers reach out to other strangers on the strength of a glance, a smile or a blue hat. Their messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. I’m trying to pin a few of them down.” – Sophie Blackall

Both playful and profound, Blackall’s delicate drawings – many of which are available on Etsy as prints – immortalize the ephemeral with a wink and a wand, breathing into these mundane encounters a kind of magic that transforms them into open-ended modern-day fairy tales.

Some of the illustrated messages were written by their smitten authors moments after the encounter took place, and others decades later. Some are written to an impossible love interest, a person famous or dead or forbidden for one reason or another, and some lament the loss of a familiar lover. Hopeful, pensive, lonely, drunken, optimistic – they span the entire spectrum of human emotion.

Original review, with more images, here.

CULTURAL CONNECTIVES

These days, news of the Middle East is a frequent staple of our daily media diet, but these media portrayals tend to be limited, one-dimensional, and reductionist. We know precious little about Arab culture, with all its rich and layered multiplicity, and even less about its language. Cultural Connectives, a fine addition to my favorite books about language from my friends atMark Batty, aims to bridge this gap though a cultural cross-pollinator in the form of a typeface family designed by author Rana Abou Rjeily that brings the Arabic and Latin alphabets together and, in the process, fosters a new understanding of Arab culture.

Both minimalist and illuminating, the book’s stunning pages map the rules of Arabic writing, grammar and pronunciation to English, using this typographic harmony as the vehicle for better understanding this ancient culture from a Western standpoint.

The book jacket unfolds into a beautiful poster of a timeless quote by Gibran Khalil Gibran, rendered in Arabic:

We shall never understand one another until we reduce the language to seven words.” ~Gibran Khalil Gibran

Full review, with more images, here.

344 QUESTIONS

344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment was the most popular book amongst Brain Pickings readers this year – a delightful pocket-sized compendium of flowcharts and lists to help you figure out life’s big answers by ever-inventive designer Stefan G. Bucher, he of You Deserve a Medaland Daily Monster fame.

Besides Bucher’s own questions, the tiny but potent handbook features contributions from 36 beloved creators across various disciplines, including Brain Pickings favorites Christoph NiemannStefan SagmeisterMarian BantjesDoyald Young, andJakob Trollbäck.

Let’s be clear: I want this book to be useful to you. There are many great how-to books and biographies out there, and even more gorgeous collections of current and classic work to awe and inspire. But looking at catalogs of artistic success won’t make you a better artist any more than looking at photos of healthy people will cure your cold. You’ve got to take action!” ~ Stefan G. Bucher

(Sure, this may be somewhat remiss in overlooking the basic mechanism of combinatorial creativity, but it’s it’s hard to argue with the need to make ideas happen rather than just contemplating them.)

This gem is also one of my favorite creativity-catalyzing activity books for grown-ups.

Though Bucher designed the book as a sequence, it also works choose-you-own-adventure-style and, as Bucher is quick to encourage, asks for hands-on interaction – dog-earing, marginalia, doodles. “If you keep this book in mint condition, I’ve failed,” he says.

We are all different people, but we face a lot of the same questions. The point of this book is to give you lots of questions you can use to look at your life – in a new way, with a different perspective, or maybe just in more detail than you have before – so you can find out how you work, what you want to do, and how you can get it done in a way that works for you. Specifically.” ~ Stefan G. Bucher

Originally featured here.

VISUAL COMPLEXITY

Data visualization is a running theme of visual literacy here, andManuel Lima has been one of its biggest champions since 2005 when, shortly after graduating from the Parson School of Design, he launched VisualComplexity– an ambitious portal for the visualization of complex networks across a multitude of disciplines, from biology to history to the social web. This year, Lima released the highly anticipated Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information – a rigorously researched, beautifully designed, thoughtfully curated anthology of the world’s most compelling work at the intersection of these two relatively nascent yet increasingly powerful techno-cultural phenomena, network science and information visualization. It’s a winsome addition to these essential books on data visualization and a powerful tool in your visual literacy arsenal for navigating the Information Age.

Philipp Steinweber and Andreas KollerSimilar Diversity, 2007

A visualization of the similarities and difference between the holy books of five world religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism.

From the sacred meaning of trees and their age-old use as classification systems to the science behind network thinking to the stunning and visually expressive products of cutting-edge digital visualization, Lima – author, designer, and deep thinker – not only explores the multiplicitous allure of networks, but also crafts an important analog artifact to contain these rapidly vanishing digital ephemera. (You know, in case you were wondering why computational creativity should belong in a book.)

As the book gained shape, it quickly became clear that it was not just about making the pool of knowledge more accessible, but also saving it for posterity. As I reviewed projects to feature in the book, I was astounded by how many dead links and error messages I encountered. Some of these projects became completely untraceable, possibly gone forever. This disappearance is certainly not unique to network visualization – it is a widespread quandary of modern technology. Commonly referred to as the Digital Dark Age, the possibility of many present-day digital artifacts vanishing within a few decades is a considerably worrying prospect.” ~ Manuel Lima

From the Bible to Wikipedia edits to the human genome, the gorgeous and thought-provoking visualizations in the book will make you look at the world in a whole new way, and the insightful essays accompanying them will vastly expand your understanding of the trends and technologies shaping our ever-evolving relationship with information.

Stefanie PosavecWriting Without Words, 2008

A chart of the structure of part one of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957). Each splitting of the branch into progressively smaller sections parallels the organization of the content from chapters to paragraphs, sentences, and words. Each color relates to one of eleven thematic categories created by Posavec for the book (e.g., travel, work and survival, sketches of regional life).

(More on Posavec’s brilliant project here.)

Reviewed in full, with more images, here.

MAPS

Iconic designer Paula Scher is one of my big creative heroes, herthoughts on combinatorial creativity a perfect articulation of my own beliefs about how we create. Since the early 1990s, Scher has been creating remarkable, obsessive, giant hand-painted typographic maps of the world as she sees it, covering everything from specific countries and continents to cultural phenomena. This month, Princeton Architectural Press is releasing Paula Scher: MAPS – a lavish, formidable large-format volume collecting 39 of her swirling, colorful cartographic points of view, a beeline addition to my favorite books on maps.

I began painting maps to invent my own complicated narrative about the way I see and feel about the world. I wanted to list what I know about the world from memory, from impressions, from media, and from general information overload. These are paintings of distortions.” ~ Paula Scher

(Cue in cartograms.)

A foreword by Simon Winchester contextualizes Scher’s maps as cultural objects, and an introduction by Scher herself offers a peek inside the mind and personal history that sprouted her cartographic creativity.

A Paula Scher map is both detached from reality and yet at the same time becomes an entirely new reality, one that manages to be useless and essential all at once. What follows here is cartography as living art – fun and whimsical, obsessively made, and knowingly offered, lovingly, to be read… Maps such as these are never ever to be replaced by the cold blinking eyes of the GPS. Use them, enjoy them, glory in their madness.” ~ Simon Manchester

Cherry on top: The cover jacket folds out into her legendary colorful map of the world.

NYT Transit, 2007 (left); Manhattan at Night, 2007 (right)

Tsunami, 2006

Artful and opinionated, MAPS is a beautiful antidote to the sterile objectivity of location-aware apps and devices, reminiscent of Ward Shelley’s analog data visualization and the poetic subjectivity of You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination, but presaging both and shining with Scher’s own distinct, quirky, visionary voice.

Originally featured, alongside Scher’s fantastic 2008 Serious Play talk,here.

VISUAL STORYTELLING

“We now live in a world where information is potentially unlimited. Information is cheap, but meaning is expensive. Where is the meaning? Only human beings can tell you where it is. We’re extracting meaning from our minds and our own lives.”

These words of wisdom come from legendary inventor and futurist George Dyson, who in a recent interviewcontemplated the growing disconnect between information and meaning in the age of data overload. Over the past several years, our quest to extract meaning from information has taken us more and more towards the realm of visual storytelling – we’ve used data visualization to reveal hidden patterns about the world, employedanimation in engaging kids with important issues, and let infographics distill human emotion. In fact, our very brains are wired for the visual over the textual by way of thepictorial superiority effect.

It would be ridiculous to try to express by curved lines moral ideals, the prosperity of peoples, or the decadence of their literature. But anything that has to do with extent or quantity can be presented geometrically. Statistical projections which speak to the senses without fatiguing the mind, possess the advantage of fixing the attention on a great number of important facts.” ~ Alexander von HumboldtPolitical Essay on the Kingdom of Spain, 1811

Visual Storytelling: Inspiring a New Visual Language, from the fine folks at Gestalten, gathers the most compelling work by a new generation of designers, illustrators, graphic editors, and data journalists tackling the grand sensemaking challenge of our time by pushing forward the evolving visual vocabulary of storytelling.

Vahram Muratyan: Paris vs. New York: L’obsession

From hand-drawn diagrams to sophisticated data visualization, by way of graphic design, illustration, photography, and information architecture, this magnificent volume of contemporary and experimental visual storytelling explores what it means to convey information with equal parts clarity and creativity, speaking with remarkable aesthetic eloquence about the things that matter in the world today.

Every field has some central tension it is trying to resolve. Visualization deals with the inhuman scale of the information and the need to present it at the very human scale of what the eye can see.” ~ Martin Wattenberg inThe Economist, 2010

Peter Ørntoft: Information Graphics in Context, a project illustrating a ranked list of social concerns in Denmark

Originally featured, with plenty more images and excerpts, here.

THE MAD FOLD-IN COLLECTION

Al Jaffee’s magnificent anti-authoritarian fold-ins, gracing the inside covers of every MAD magazine since 1964, have been a longtime favoritearound here. For the past half-century, Jaffeee, just as brilliant today at 90, has been poking fun at the established political order with his clever satirical cartoons that made no topic, ideology, regime, politician or pop star safe from skewering as the reader simply folds the page to align arrow A with arrow B and reveal the hidden gag image. Now, from Chronicle Books comes The MAD Fold-In Collection: 1964-2010 – the definitive treasure trove of Jaffee’s genius, a formidable four-volume set featuring 410 fold-ins reproduced at original size, each thoughtfully accompanied by a digital representation of the folded image so you wouldn’t have to actually fold your lavish book.

Covering up Whitewater (September 1994): The Whitewater scandal haunted the Clinton White House for years.

On the campaign trail! (December 1968)A nasty campaign, with Hubert Humphrey against Richard Nixon, in the midst of a nasty war.

Essays by Pixar animator Pete DocterNew York Times cultural criticNeil Genzlinger and Pulitzer-Prize-winning cartoonist and authorJules Feiffer contextualize Jaffee’s work and the tremendous influence it has had on generations of artists, comedians and ordinary people.

Here’s Jaffee on how his iconic fold-ins began – and confirmation thatcreativity is combinatorial:

In 1953, TIME magazine referred to MAD as a ‘short-lived fad.’ And now, fifty-umpteenth years later, MAD is still around, and I don’t think TIME magazine is doing too well.” ~ Al Jaffeee

Explore some of Jaffee’s gems in this excellent New York Timesinteractive feature from 2008 – a fine teaser for the full glory you’ll find in The MAD Fold-In Collection: 1964-2010.

Originally featured here.

MOBY-DICK IN PICTURES

Since 2009, former high school English teacher and self-taught artist Matt Kish has been drawing every page of the 552-page Signet Classics paperback edition of Herman Melville’s iconic Moby-Dick, methodically producing one gorgeous, obsessive drawing per day for 552 days using pages from discarded books and a variety of drawing tools, from ballpoint pen to crayon to ink and watercolor. Kish’s ingenious project joins our running list of blogs so good they became books with Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page, collecting his magnificent lo-fi drawings in a 600-page visual masterpiece of bold, breathtaking full-page illustrations that captivate eye, heart, and mind, inviting you to rediscover the Melville classic in entirely new ways.

I’ve read the book eight or nine times […] Each and every reading has revealed more and more to me and hinted tantalizingly at even greater truths and revelations that I have yet to reach. Friends often question my obsession with the novel, especially since I am not a scholar or even an educator any longer, and the best explanation I have been able to come up with is that, to me, Moby-Dick is a book about everything. God. Love. Hate. Identity. Race. Sex. Humor. Obsession. History. Work. Capitalism […] I see every aspect of life reflected in the bizarre mosaic of this book.” ~ Matt Kish

Originally featured, with many more images, here.

FLOATING WORLDS

It’s hard not to loveEdward Gorey’s, mid-century illustrator of the macabre, whose work influenced generations of creators, from Nine Inch Nails to Tim Burton. Between September 1968 and October 1969, Gorey set out to collaborate on three children’s books with author and editor Peter F. Neumeyer and, over the course of this 13-month period, the two exchanged a series of letters on topics that soon expanded well beyond the three books and into everything from metaphysics to pancake recipes.

This year, Neumeyer opened up the treasure trove of this fascinating, never-before-published correspondence in Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer – a magnificent collection of 75 typewriter-transcribed letters, 38 stunningly illustrated envelopes, and more than 60 postcards and illustrations exchanged between the two collaborators-turned-close-friends, featuring Gorey’s witty, wise meditations on such eclectic topics as insect life, the writings of Jorge Luis Borges, and Japanese art.

In light of his body of work, and because of the interest that his private person has aroused, I feel strongly that these letters should not be lost to posterity. I still read in them Ted’s wisdom, charm, and affection and a profound personal integrity that deserves to be in the record. As for my own letters to Ted, I had no idea that he had kept them until one day a couple of years ago when a co-trustee of his estate, Andras Brown, sent me a package of photocopies of my half of the correspondence. I am very grateful for that.” ~Peter F. Neumeyer

Equally fascinating is the unlikely story of how Gorey and Neumeyer met in the first place – a story involving a hospital waiting room, a watercolor of a housefly, and a one-and-a-half-inch scrap of paper with a dot – and the affectionate friendship into which it unfolded.

There’s a remarkable hue to Gorey’s writing, a kind of thinking-big-thoughts-without-taking-oneself-too-seriously quality. In September of 1968, in what he jokingly termed “E. Gorey’s Great Simple Theory About Art,” Gorey wrote these Yodaesque words:

This is the theory… that anything that is art… is presumably about some certain thing, but is really always about something else, and it’s no good having one without the other, because if you just have the something it is boring and if you just have the something else it’s irritating.”

From the intellectual banter to the magnificent illustrations, Floating Worlds, is quite possibly the most heart-warming art-and-so-much-more book this year, and certainly among the all-time favorites of my personal library.

Originally reviewed here.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

See the 5 honorable mentions here.

* * *

A big part of what makes great art and design books great is how timeless they are – why not catch up on last year’s finest?

December 5, 2011

I was given a Flower today, from this Exhibition

by StephiaMadelyne

Brooklyn Museum ~

Exhibitions:

Lee Mingwei: “The Moving Garden”

 Lee Mingwei: The Moving Garden detail

Lee Mingwei (American, b. Taiwan, 1964). The Moving Garden (detail), 2009. Installation view, Lyon Biennale (2009). Stainless steel, granite, water, fresh flowers, 2 x 4.4 x 39.4 ft. (0.6 x 1.34 x 12 m). Collection of Amy and Leo Shih, Taichung, Taiwan

October 5, 2011–January 22, 2012

Rubin Lobby, 1st Floor

The Moving Garden comprises a forty-five-foot-long granite table with one hundred freshly cut flowers that appear to grow out of a channel running down its middle. Created by New York–based artist Lee Mingwei, the interactive installation also includes single blossoms arranged around the channel, which visitors are invited to take when they leave the Museum, on the condition that they make a detour on the way to their next destination and give the flower to a stranger as a gift. As the day wears on, the flowers on the table disappear, one by one. The next day, they are replaced, and the cycle begins again.

Lee’s piece was inspired by his reading of Lewis Hyde’s The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, which explores the beneficial effects of gifts on both those who give them and those who receive. Another inspiration came on a spring day, when the artist was sitting along the banks of the Rhône River in Lyon and saw hundreds of flowers inexplicably floating downstream. This 2009 piece is one of many participatory works of art that Lee has been creating since the late 1990s.

Lee Mingwei: “The Moving Garden” was organized by Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum, in close cooperation with the artist.

Lee Mingwei: “The Moving Garden” is made possible by the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York and by generous support from Rong-Chaun Chen, Jane Lombard and Richard J. Lombard, Amy and Leo Shih, and Wen-Chuan Tseng.

Taipei Cultural Center logo

Lee Mingwei: The Moving Garden installation imageLee Mingwei (American, b. Taiwan, 1964). The Moving Garden, 2009. Installation view, Brooklyn Museum (2011). Stainless steel, granite, water, fresh flowers, 2 x 4.4 x 39.4 ft. (0.6 x 1.34 x 12 m). Collection of Amy and Leo Shih, Taichung, Taiwan
Lee Mingwei (American, b. Taiwan, 1964). The Moving Garden, 2009. Installation view, Brooklyn Museum (2011). Stainless steel, granite, water, fresh flowers, 2 x 4.4 x 39.4 ft. (0.6 x 1.34 x 12 m). Collection of Amy and Leo Shih, Taichung, Taiwan
December 3, 2011

Collaborative Consumption

by StephiaMadelyne

Goodbye, Stranger-Danger: Meet Collaborative Consumption

By Digital Strategy — October 18, 2011 – 5:19 pm

Enter “the C-Factor”: in recent years, the concepts of communitycooperation,collaborationcrowdsourcing, the commons, and collective intelligence have circulated widely—see Wikipedia, a communal exchange of knowledge and information. However, the latest displays of self-motivated communal action have proliferated beyond this. The early ‘50s throwaway mode of living characterized by hyper-consumerism and the production/consumption of disposable items is turning in favor of repetitive consumption practices over ownership. This is collaborative consumption: new practices of “bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping, redefined through technology and peer communities” (check the book What’s Mine is Yours). As this year’s PSFK conference, speaker Micki Krimmel, founder of NeighborGoods, eloquently put it:  “Do you really need a power drill, or do you just need a hole in the wall?”

Collaborative consumption has gained increasing popularity since Time magazine declared it one of 2011’s Trends to Watch. But while most new media literature places a central role in the medium (one architected to foster collaboration), and others put too much weight on the effects of the economic crash (as was the case with Time), we may want to approach the subject from the lens of a mediologist (long live Regis Debray!). In other words, while the crisis may have triggered a need to be more open to new ways of accessing what one requires, the motivations to participate in collaborative consumption platforms extend way beyond cost savings. The success of these practices sits at the intersection of new technologies of cooperation, social modes of organization, and cultural transformations. More specifically:  a reinvigorated meaning of trust that emerges from the convergence of new technologies and social networking, coupled with a need to be more open to new ways of getting what one requires, powered by an increased consciousness around environmental issues, leads to a successful practice.

Of course, digital technologies also help facilitate these transmissions. Platforms such as NeighborGoods make technically possible what was previously theoretically unimaginable: reliable forms of collaboration among otherwise unconnected individuals. Other examples, just to illustrate a few, include the swapping sites SwapSquidooU-ExchangeOurGoods, and ThreadUp, where users exchange books, movies, games, and kids’ clothes. FreeCycle andReUseIt are sites where people give unwanted items away. The car sharing and per-hour car rental, facilitated through platforms such as RelayRideGetAroundWhipcarZipcar,ZimRideNuRide, and GoLoco, is predicted to become a billion-dollar industry by the end of the year.

Most literature agrees that all these examples share another common element: direct links between producers and consumers, bypassing the middleman.  However, what if we view these practices as the emergence of a new middleman? What about the story of Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb, who was also a panelist at the PSFK conference in San Francisco?Airbnb intermediations present new characteristics, for sure. Yet, these new middlemen are in essence, connectors between a mutuality of wants and lacks.  What’s different this time is not just a matter of scale. The Internet’s architecture is designed to enable collaboration between non-related human beings who don’t even share a common locale. New notions of trust between strangers amend old definitions of collaboration, in particular, the idea that rules could mainly be enforced within tight circles of friends, families and acquaintances. Today’s examples of collaborative consumption, where reviews and ratings are published for the rest world to see, represent repeated plays of the prisoner’s dilemma. In other words, the incentives for defectors to pursue their goals are low when compared with the risks associated with being excluded from the game.

In sum, the Internet is built for cooperation. Transmissions in the form of collaborative exchanges circulate in a voluntary and self-organized fashion. Users are both transmitters and receivers of exchanges managed around centers of interest, and these transactions are activating collective intelligences by enabling new ways to access what one needs. As in the case of ParkAtMyHouse, these are creative and collaborative avenues of taking an object’s idle capacity and redistributing it among others in need, even when they are not a necessary part of one’s tight network. Goodbye, stranger-danger.

December 2, 2011

Apartment Gardening

by stephaniecorleto

While the system of hydropnic apartment gardening made from discarded plastic bottles is amazing (and something I am intend on trying!), what stuck with me was how she described our dependence on systems. This drive for autonomy and self reliance sparks all DIY initiatives:

I like many of you am one of the two billion people on earth who live in cities. And there are days when I feel how much I rely on other people for pretty much everything in my life, and some days that can even be a little scary.

-Britta Riley

But autonom and self-reliance do not mean alone. With the “R&D-I-Y”  – research and development your self. DIY does not have to be singular, as our class has been throwing around it is ‘Do-It-Together.”

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

November 27, 2011

Building community, kneading dough.

by alexandrakellyg

Last month, Nadezhda Savova, founder of Bread Houses Network hosted a breadmaking workshop in Clinton Hill at MIMA Studios.  The space was beautiful – newly refinished wood floors, an area for performance and a perfect, long table for us all to sit around and knead the dough.

In addition to several people from class, there were also community members from the nonsense listerv who attended the workshop.  We all introduced ourselves, bringing our varied experience and interest to the table before we put our hands into the group work of kneading the dough.  Nadezhda opened up my eyes to a few key elements in event planning to promote group cohesion amongst strangers:

1.  Candles.  This may seem simple, but as Nadezhda said, “It would have been a completely different workshop if there were no candles on the table”  And, it’s true.  The candles contributed to the intimacy of the workshop – a tone established by lighting and the collection of people around the candles themselves; almost imitating the gravity of a circle of people around a campfire.

2. Getting back to our hands.  “We are all constantly moving away from every sense except for the sense of sight,” Nadezhda said.  By collecting as a group to use our hands, there is a powerful quality of togetherness that is facilitated.  We are building something and connecting with a part of our bodies that we do not often used.

Here are the photographs of the event below – I encourage anyone who is interested in hosting a breadmaking workshop to consult Nadezhda for her global experience and inspiring dedication to group building through breadmaking.

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