28 February 2013
Hey hey the MLE,
As you know, we share the MOTHandRUST London studio with a few other creatives, which is great and very inspiring. Well, if you actually take the time to talk to people, which I don't do cause I'm a bit of an antisocial workaholic.
Anyway, finally after about two years of sitting near Mr Tak Hoshino I actually stopped by his desk this morning to meet him and to see what he was doing. And I was amazed! I am sharing a studio space with a genius! Who would have known!?
Tak has his Masters in Civil Engineering and is an Architectural Design lecturer at the University of East London. This is one of his latest projects:
- Made a steel ring out of a rod and played for a while
- Replaced my hand holding the ring with an axel
- Replaced my hand holding the axel with a vertical rod
- Replaced my hand turning around the rod with a steering post
- Learn more here, with images:
Here are this assumptions:
1. We makes artefacts (prosthetics) to support our biological (mental, physical and collective) existence.
2. Without them we cannot sustain our life
3. Therefore all artefacts are part of our biological existence (biofacts) as tools.
4. All tools have handles, connections to our bodies.
5. They are not supported by the genetic morphogenesis.
6. But by the support of our language (and the structure of social interactions)
Confused? Well, like I said, he is a genius, and as such he obviously is not easy to understand. Unless you speak with the man directly, and when you do it all makes sense…
He had a lovely video on his computer of this device in action, twirling beautifully around someone in a big room. The movements of both the person and machine together were so graceful.
Tak: So, I built my prototype and tested it out and thought - it could help teach people to dance!
Me: Of course, I love it!
Tak: But then I thought it could also serve to demonstrate the movements of the cosmos. The person is the Earth, the smaller wheel the moon, and the larger wheel the sun. Everything moves about the room using the same laws of physics as our solar system (talked in detail about physics here, no idea what he was on about).
Me (thinking in my head): So this is what this guy sitting near me does? WTF? Why don't I talk to people more often?
Me (speaking out loud): Of course, I totally understand! Can I write about this on my blog?
23 February 2013
Happy weekend Suzan! Unlike you, I'm not up and around at many design events lately, but hopefully the glorious internet keeps me from being totally clueless! As you know I am a bit of a Pinterest addict, although actually at times I feel a bit overloaded and jaded from all the visual "inspiration" aka bombardment that a Pinterest session sometimes leaves me with - too too many beautiful pictures of stylish interiors, clothes, objects, places, food, whatever. But when I saw this odd-cool image pop up the other day on one of my friend's boards, it sort of cracked through all the pretty designy stuff and I was pro-Pinterest once again. It's an image of a denture shop in Rawalpindi, India, taken by a Hungarian-born photographer called Ferenc Berko – whom I had never heard of before. Just a quick google search tells me that he was actually a pioneer in the use of color film, took quite amazing documentary-style photos of people and places all over the world, and passed away in 2000. So there you go. Yay Pinterest!
20 February 2013
Greetings my good good friend and partner in matters of business,
I am happy to tell you that (unlike photography today) I am down with design today! (I think). Why? Well, cause I go to D&AD talks sometimes. No really I do! No, no, they are actually not that boring. They take place in this big auditorium and I feel a bit like a uni student, which is a good feeling as I loved being a uni student. Those were 8 years of good times.
Anyway, John Warwicker... He's always intrigued me cause I've always thought of him as this really successful musician as well as a founder of a really successful graphic design studio. I mean, how does he do these two things so well?
Well, I found out that he does not in fact do these two things well. Underworld has been around for like 34 years, since 1979, I had no idea. He was a member of Underworld, but only as a keyboard player in 1986. Underworld's best known (and possibly only known) hit was the famous Born Slippy released in 1995. It was not even released as an album, just the b-side of some random EP. It probably would have never been discovered had it not been used on the Trainspotting soundtrack. All this to say that Warwicker was long gone from Underworld before this hit, and had nothing to do with it, and he was actually never a really successful musician.
However, it is reassuring to know that he did do well with design, co-founding Tomato in 1991 in London along with Steve Baker, Dirk Van Dooren, Karl Hyde, Richard Smith, Simon Taylor and Graham Wood. I've always liked the collaborative nature of Tomato, its members come and go and they all seem to have a ton of projects happening outside the collective. Here is the Tomato site:
What did I take away from his talk? Well, he was actually quite hot. And he had these cool plaid trousers on. I kept thinking that they would look better tapered in and shortened though.
What else? The talk began with this slide for us all to read:
From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. As seventy-three I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grew. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may will have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie.
Katsushika Hokusai, postscript to 100 views of Mount Fuji, 1839
This really resonates with me. As everyone who knows me knows, I am slow. I like to look around, think about things, and be in the present, be in the moment. I don't like to be rushing for what's ahead, for the finish. Getting there is at least as much fun as arriving. As annoying as it is to many people, including myself, perhaps it is good in some respects, as Hokusai's postscript points out.
I'm pretty lucky that I actually like what I do. It is something I see myself doing my whole life and fortunately I am not rushing towards retirement. Which is a good thing actually, cause it's not like my retirement savings are massive.
K, I'm done now. Looking forward to our meet tomorrow!
Posted in: design
15 February 2013
Since we recently celebrated Chinese New Year – and now we're working on this new packaging project for the Chinese market, I've had China on the brain. Okay, I know it's really old and you've probably already seen it, ....but I'm posting it anyway in the off-chance that maybe you haven't come across this gem, which is an oldie but a goodie. The title and tagline says it all pretty much: "Accidental Chinese Hipsters: A loving gaze cast upon the grandmother wearing dayglo jeggings and a visor." So it's just a collection of pictures of Chinese people, mostly elderly, totally ignoring (and probably oblivious to) any Western fashion style standards. And the result is hilarious but also endearing - they're wearing crazy colors and patterns and it's not necessarily that they don't know that it looks silly or ugly – it's more that it's functional – and looking silly and ugly is actually quite alright. Finding parallels between these image-oblivious Chinese and image-conscious hipsters is brilliant, and actually done really affectionately toward both groups. It's written by 20-something Alison Kuo, a Chinese-American artist who grew up in Texas, and I guess these kinds of observations/ironies/commentaries about Chinese culture always strike a chord with me because of my own sort of similar background. But cross-cultural issues aside, the truth is that Chinese people just love making fun of other people, especially each other. But who am I kidding, this will probably be me in like 20 years (or sooner....)!
14 February 2013
Hey hey the MLE,
Today I would like to tell you about exhibition I went to last weekend. I am currently referring to the brochure which states, "Juergen Teller is one of the world's most important photographers of our time." Which is making me laugh a bit cause when my friend Halina mailed me saying "Would you like to come see Juergen Teller with me and Hugo at the ICA?" I replied, "is Juergen Teller Hugo's boyfriend?" Whatever, I'm not going pretend like I'm down with photography these days cause I'm not obviously.
After seeing David Lachapelle with you a few weeks ago, I was sort of expecting to see crap fashion photography like his, stuff which would both bore and offend me at the same time. But I was thankfully surprised! Teller's view of fashion is humorous - something I love to see in fashion, which I feel takes itself way to seriously sometimes.
He also includes self-mocking photos of himself (first image), another thing I appreciate because I feel people take themselves much too seriously sometimes. He even includes self-mocking photos of his baby (second image). As you know, I don't really like babies other than Ania, but that photo is so cute.
Suzan xxPosted in: photography