Ubiquitous Helvetica

August 25, 2006

Helvetica the Film

In 2007, look for this new documentary by director Gary Hustwit. The films release is expected to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the existence of Helvetica – the font we all know and love (and all too often take for granted). Personally, I am thrilled that the conversation about the effects, uses, and emotional resonance of a (agan, taken for granted) tool for communication, will be out in the public forum, at least a little. How do we relate to information, and how much significance does a font carry with it?

This subject is unendingly interesting to me. And while it may not be much more than touched upon by Hustwit, it begs many questions. What is it that helps something communicate effectively? Shape? Color? Context? Mood? And what are the constraints of this kind of thinking? Do different shapes and colors evoke different ‘instinctive’ responses, depending upon evolutionary contexts? I remember somewhere reading that certain ethnic groups have built a tolerance for cows milk after generations of milk being a part of their culture, while people descended from cultures without this sort of relationship with cattle, are more predisposed to being lactose intolerant. Does visual salience relate in some way to chemical and evolutionary contexts? Or is it a matter of individual context? It is likely a combination of variables, and surely, there are certain statistics that can point to ‘what works’ & ‘what excels’ etc.. But which variables do we point to as the sources of our intuitive feelings?
Obviously, no new questions from me, but I have faith that Hustwit will have something unique and thought provoking to say about Helvetica.
Hustwit, has directed many feature length documentaries, including I am Trying to Break Your Heart (the Moog (Robert Moog), and Drive Well, Sleep Carefully (Death Cab for Cutie). I am very much looking forward to seeing his skills focused on expanding this conversation.

{the film}


Time Fountain

August 10, 2006

Time Fountain

This is one of the coolest garage art projects I have ever seen.
See the {video} or go {here} for more..

100 Birds

July 25, 2006

Thai Pigeons..

I have always loved this photo, so I figured I’d share it. Pigeons in downtown Bangkok, just near the palace in Dec 2001.  Choose your own analysis (none specifically intended).

Space Ivadors

How could I leave this out?

Space Invaders: Add one mob of willing participants, 1 lecture hall, a knack for stop-motion, good chunk of free time, and a undiluted dose of dorky enthusiastic nostalgia, and viola!

Carpet Invaders

July 18, 2006

Persian Space Invaders Rug

Polish artist Janek Simon has designed, appropriated and/or programmed Space Invaders (remember?) to be projected to the floor as a playable Persian rug. Now that I see it, the juxtaposition seems natural. I am without words. I just want one.

{link to gallery 2020}

David Byrne - Arboretum

I’ll freely admit, I am a long-time David Byrne admirer (admirer might be putting it too mildly). His latest art-book, “Arboretum” (due to be published in late July by McSweeneys) is a playful critique(?) of this particular way of classifying or displaying largely abstract or plastic relationships & information. I’m in love and I haven’t even read it. What?..

{more pictures}


Amanda Congdon Unboomed

It’s a little shocking. And…It’s complicated (apparantly). It seems that (famed Vblog) Rocketboom ‘anchor’ Amanda Congdon has abruptly left the Boom-team for reasons that are still being sorted out. Both Andrew Baron and Amanda Congdon have released information to viewers indicating their respective stories – both facinating (links below).

The implications of this shift could be dramatic, and no doubt you will hear more than you could ever want to hear about the drama as it continues to unfold over the next several days & weeks. The internets very own soap opera.

However, instead of focusing on the gossip & speculation of ‘the break-up’, I thought it much more interesting to step back and appreciate the immense novelty this really is.

Most of us have watched online (your favorite blog or bulletin board) or offline (think Maury Povitch et al) dramas unfold, but seldom do we see something like this; Very unique & intelligent e-celebrities, who have been catapulted into the spotlight (by, well, us) and finding immense success, and then having this kind of quarell out in the open. What I find so remarkable is that this spat is very much of the tone and tempo that Rocketboom climbed to the top with, human-ness.

Rocketboom found success by finding strength in its own human and ‘real’ voice. We all fell in love with the very authentic, often un-edited ‘dorky/awkward’ moments, and jangley cadence that have become synonimus with RB. While the ‘show’ generally showcased the lighter notes of this natural style of entertainment, it is only logical that the disintigration of the relationship central to ‘the Boom’s’ success be just as heart wrenchingly real.

It’s not hard to detect the emotion & uncertainty in Amandas voice (and her own quirky discomfort with exhibiting it for all to see – despite her best efforts to remain her usual sortof-composed self) as she addresses viewers from her personal vblog ‘unboomed’. No doubt Andrew is having a moment of his own (though currently less ‘transparant’ than Amanda). It will be absolutely fascinating to track their tradjectory and growth over the coming weeks, as more floats to the surface.

We are in new cultural territory here, and it will be intereting to see how things unfold. Hopefully out here in the open.

Naturally, our hearts go out to Amanda & Andrew, though, we can be pretty sure we wont be without them for much longer. Go the boom!