Wikipedia on the Halting Problem: “In computability theory, the halting problem is a decision problem which can be stated as follows: given a description of a program and a finite input, decide whether the program finishes running or will run forever, given that input.” Alan Turing proved that, at least for his own purely abstract-but-nonetheless-computer-like Turing Machine, the...
Once more, for John
As the candy settles in his stomach a sense of doom regrows its claws around his heart: little prongs like those that hold fast a diamond solitaire. There as been a lot of death in the newspapers lately. Before Christmas that Pan Am Flight 103 ripping open like a rotten melon five miles above Scotland and dropping all these bodies and flaming wreckage all over the golf course and the streets of...
I highly recommend this wonderful two part essay and portfolio (Part 1 / Part 2) on the special properties of Polaroids by photographer Peter Miller, published on Andrew Phelps’s great blog Buffet. Miller’s lightning bug photograms are amazing, as are the condoms.
The nine categories of magical effects, according to Wikipedia: production, vanishing, transformation, restoration, teleportation, levitation, penetration, prediction, and escape.
A great column from Steven Pinker for NYT on Chief Justice John Roberts’s Oath of Office flub.
More on Duchamp's Readymades
One of the things I’ll be attempting to do this year is to extend the number of the voices included here beyond simply my own. When I got the following note from artist and writer Angie Keefer in response to my previous post about Duchamp’s “Bottle Rack,” I asked if I could share it here in its entirety. I was grateful for Angie’s agreement. — RG Angie Keefer...
Ten great things from Rad Mountain’s Design Remixed talk last night: 1) Peter Max’s Paper Airplane Book; 2) the illustrations of Dick Bruna; 3) This Is Cape Canaveral and 4) its illustrator Miroslav Sasek; 5) the mid-’70s British animation series The Flumps and how it inspired 6) Garrett Morin’s Good Magazine video collaboration Mr. Trash with help from 7) Golden Lucky...
From the Summation of Seth Siegelaub’s 1971 Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer And Sale Agreement: “We realize that this Agreement is essentially unprecedented in the art world and that it just may cause a little rumbling and trembling; on the other hand, the ills it remedies are universally acknowledged to exist and no other practical way has ever been devised to cure them....
What’s old is new again, according to New York Magazine’s John Heilemann: “Though claims of fresh starts and clean breaks are de rigueur for incoming presidents of both parties, the Democrats have tended to be more explicit—and extravagant—about it. Franklin Roosevelt spoke of ‘writing a new chapter in our book of self-government,’ John Kennedy of ‘creating a...
“Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our...
Japanese artist Akiyoshi Kitaoka’s eye-singing record sleeves are extraordinary (via DO). Kitaoka did the new Animal Collective cover, which reminds me a bit of this classic optical illusion of flying birds. Update: more here.
Rad Mountain at Design Remixed, Paul Sahre at FIT
Two great AIGA/NY events coming up I want to share to close out the week. Coming up this Wednesday at our monthly series Design Remixed, I’ll be hosting Damien Correll and Garrett Morin of the illustration collective Rad Mountain at the Soho Apple Store (details). Then, on 6 February, the amazing Mr Paul Sahre will be speaking at Katie Murphy Auditorium at FIT (details). Design Remixed is...
I’m so excited to have the opportunity to be in DC for the Obama Inauguration next Tuesday. As the big day draws near, I was re-reading this excellent post from London’s The School of Life on Obama’s roots as a Chicago community organizer. Community organizing as we know it now was also the brainchild of a Chicagoan, a man named Saul Alinsky who developed his approach while...
On "Bottle Rack" by Marcel Duchamp
I’m interested in Marcel Duchamp’s “Bottle Rack” from 1914. “Bottle Rack” is thought to be Duchamp’s first unaltered readymade. He purchased the kitchen tool at a bazaar near Paris’s city hall and left it in his studio for several months trying to figure out what to do with it. He remarked to his sister Suzanne that he considered it a sculpture...
With the recent rebranding of Pepsi, I found myself thinking back to New Coke. Conspiracy theories about the product abound. Was the soft drink built by Coca Cola in order to fail? Some think so. Reasons include: 1) Changing the flavor of sugar-sweetened Coke dramatically in order to be able to change it back to its “original” flavor—albeit one now sweetened with the much-cheaper high...
Regift is a show curated by artist and writer John Miller and opening at the Swiss Insitute in New York on February 18th. With some of my favorite artists including Sophie Calle, Trisha Donnelly, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Dan Graham, Louise Lawler, Allen McCollum, Lawrence Weiner, and many more, this show is one I’m very much looking forward to checking out. The press release includes an...
Design Judgement Test
A friend shared this test of “design judgement” with me and I just had to share a portion of it here. I think it was developed in the mid-1940s (this edition is 1948) and used for some time, though the current consensus seems to be that it is not a very strong diagnostic of a designer’s ability. To wit [PDF]: [The test] has attracted wide attention to determine its...
The Table of Contents of Jane Smiley’s 13 Ways of Looking at a Novel: Introduction What is a novel? Who is a novelist? The origins of the novel The psychology of the novel Morality and the novel The art of the novel The novel and history The circle of the novel A novel of your own (I) A novel of your own (II) Good faith: a case history Reading a hundred...
Before we all had the Internet, there was Websters Encyclopedia of Dictionaries.
A clip from the cult classic They Live, mentioned during Michael Rock’s presentation for AIGA/NY last fall. OBEY.
On "A Date With Robbe-Grillet"
Above: A still from Alain Resnais’s film Last Year at Marienbad. The screenplay was written by Alain Robbe-Grillet. I’ve talked about pantoums before, but we get the form (and word) from Malaysia, where it is an ancient type of verse, though it was not introduced to English until 1812. In a pantoum, the second and fourth lines of the first stanza are repeated as the first and...
In another great post from the Walker’s design blog, Chad Kloepfer writes about the Great Bear Pamphlets, published by Dick Higgins, founder of Something Else Press. Something Else was the original publisher of Emmett Williams’s Sweethearts, Daniel Spoerri’s An Anecdoted Topography of Chance, Claes Oldenburg’s Store Days, Dieter Roth’s 246 Little Clouds, and much...
The thread of experience
From a fantastic article in this month’s Frieze by Ronald Jones about how designers are adopting (and adapting) some of the strategies used in Conceptual art: In 1981 the art critic Robert Pincus-Witten differentiated for the first time between two kinds of Conceptual art: between what he called ontological Conceptualism and epistemological Conceptualism. Acknowledging the distinction...
Reflections on Recent Work
Above: Portrait with I AM A MAN (Memphis) poster. Photograph by Yoko Inoue. I was really honored and excited when the editors of Idea Magazine asked me to be a part of their new issue, How does graphic design change? In the description that frames the issue, the editors write, “It is apparent that the line between the private and public domains of activity is blurring. The movement to...
In a few bookstores over the holidays, I’ve taken a look at Annie Leibovitz’ new monograph At Work and thought, “Nice book. Bad kerning.” Designer David Croy agrees, and offers a great little mini-kerning lesson here. I’ve also found this kerning lesson from David Jury’s book About Face to be very helpful. Jury sorts letters into the basic shapes of triangles,...