Listen while you work

While you’re chasing away the end-of-summer blues, Core77 has a great set of articles they’ve commissioned entitled Hack2Work. (Props to whoever came up with the scull-and-crossbones–inspired coffee mug and Artimide lamps logo.) Among my favorite posts is Michael Bierut’s inspired take on designer-client dynamics entitled How to Make Your Client’s Logo Bigger Without Making Their Logo Bigger, Liz Danzico’s Check Please: How to Learn About Your Clients From Their Table Manners, Alissa Walker’s pithy Dos and Don’ts For Your Design Firm Blog, and, most of all, Lisa Smith’s Listen While You Work: Try These Podcasts Instead of Music.

Smith, who sports a longer list of queued podcasts than I do (which is truly saying something), shares classics like This American Life and Kurt Anderson’s Studio 360 along with new favorites like UBUweb’s Avant-Garde All the Time, which highlights “audio works that you really should know about about but most likely don’t.” Also new to me: podcasts from the Slought Foundation, which features “leading theorists and practitioners of our generation in conversation about contemporary debates in art and architecture, geopolitics, and critical theory.” First on my new podcasts playlist: Werner Herzog in conversation with Karen Beckman from 2007.

Oulipo in NYC

I’ve been a fan of the Oulipo—a literary group founded by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais—since high school, so I was thrilled when Prem alerted me to the group’s reading at the New School a few weeks ago. Yale French Professor Jean-Jacques Poucel’s introduction stressed that the Oulipian model depended not only on constraints but on their verifiability:

Like any formal rule, a constraint must be verifiable, tested against the work’s “user’s manual,” while also evoking some notion of beauty, perhaps related to shape, economy or force — or, potentially, a surprising mixture of yet other features. As such, writing under constraint is not a virtual or imaginary game, but a set of concrete methods playfully developed in a real forum that values proven and intellectually satisfying results.

Readings included Ian Monk’s lipogrammatical bit of exotica, "Iris"; Anne F. Garréta’s lengthy but nonetheless fulfilling exegesis "On Bookshelves"; Hervé Le Tellier’s lovely, cryptic, "All our thoughts,"; Jacques Roubaud’s hilarious “Correspondence” from McSweeney’s 22; Harry Mathews’s hilarious "35 Variations On A Theme From Shakespeare"; and more. (For those new to the Oulipo, the works of Georges Perec and the Oulipo Compendium are both highly recommended.)

Update: Michael Silverblatt’s Bookworm podcast has a nearly identical program. Listen here.

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Some fantastic video podcasts by the photo agency Magnum are available here. Two favorites so far are Alec Soth’s Niagara [Quicktime] and Dennis Stock’s The Hippies [Quicktime].