March 26, 2005

Transstudio's "Transmaterial"

Blaine Brownell has written the guide to new materials.
Throughout human history, material innovation has been defined by the persistent testing of limits. Transmaterial is a catalog of materials, products and processes that are redefining our physical environment..."

The book(pdf) is packed with examples and corrisponding links to all kinds of unbelievable materials...

- Light emitting concrete
- "Skatelight" wood
- Translucent Insulated Glazing Unit
- Pollution-Reducing Cement

...any many many more, with far more boring names any way more practicle and impressive uses.

Blaine is also the auther of "Infratecture: Architecture in the Second Machine Age," which is sort of an essay/philosophical deal. It includes sentences like...

"Like the internet, the new mega-scale building typology which is ubiquitous in the post-industrial age has been fertile territory for the implementation of urban metaphors."


"It goes without saying that the technological instruments of physical and virtual mobility, the automobile and telematics,have driven this transformation, allowing unprecedented levels of freedom and connection,as well as urban fragmentation and atomization."


March 25, 2005


I found this fantastic site about magnet via Notcot's post about Ferrofuild. It is a liquid magnet which can display magnetic fields in 3 dimensions. They even have video of an electromagnet hooked to a speaker output and dipped in the Ferrofuild. The liquid ripples and pulses to the sound of the music. Besides Ferrofuild, there are tons of other neat magnet info and links. They have a video of a running engine suspeded by magnets! Dig around and you can learn a ton.

March 23, 2005

2003: End of the "War Conflict List"

This is the most perfect proof of Samuel Huntington's infamous essay "The Clash Of Civilizations."

"...Conflict has become asymetrical...terrorist organizations disregard boundaries..."

Here is an interview with Huntington

The Big Triangle

Scott McCloud has written a book about Understanding Comics.

Here he breaks comics down as existing on two three factor graphs which form a kind of pyramid. To McCloud comics are in a special zone of containing the visual and text in varying forms of iconic abstraction, pure abstraction, and realism. Its not a new idea, but it is satisfying to see a graph like his.

Scott McCloud's book seems to be the definitive source for quality comics analysis.

I like this...

"If you've ever felt bad about wasting your life reading comics, then check out Scott McCloud's classic book immediately. You might still feel you've wasted your life, but you'll know why, and you'll be proud."

- Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons.

The book is incredibly highly regarded, and there is somewhat comprehensive wikibook about it.

Prison Design Boycott

I thought this was pretty interesting in context with the infamous Panopticon Prison designed by Jeremy Bentham. The design of his prison is so grounded in a philosophy many people may have issues with.

Often times I associate a designer's political power to be the form of gentle steering. These are cases where the designer assumes control over an issue in the present, instead of hoping to shift opinion for the future. To stop designing prisons is a brave idea. However, I hope the movement translates to designing better prisons. There will always be somewhere their to build a prison like the ones with problems today. It would be more powerful if an organization was begging and fighting for chances to design prisons. I would imagine a new model is possible. I have enough conifidence in capable architects to imagine a space where the pattern complications of prisons and convicts are addressed. Why aren't they? If designers do have the power to influence social issues like prisons, they should be blaming themselves.

via core77

March 22, 2005

Pixel Roller

via NearNearFuture

Amazing new device by rAndom which LED lights surrounding the cylinder of a paint roller leak fading phosophescent ink. A huge image can be programed into a little tube than temporarily be set against a wall. A permanent paint version in in development.

The video explains things far better than myself.

March 20, 2005

USB Anemona

USB seems to get all the interesting peripheral action.

"ANEMONA is an array of simple little tentacles that can be plugged together in a chain to form the geometrical shape of a complex space-filling curve. Attached to the USB port found on most computers today, these rubber tentacles begin to move by means of electrically actuated "muscles" made of a special metal alloy."

Because USB can share both electricity and information with the host computer it allows for all kinds of cool functional parasites too.

Comact Impact
carries both a massage ball, and two kinds of air purifiers. There are also multiple coffee warmers on the market. One of the best uses of USB I have seen though is the "Mbox", which allows for mulitracks of instruments to be recorded into a computer without any extra plugs or converstions. This device means any laptop can be a whole recording studio.

50 People See...

"50 People See..." is an incredible new Flickr project that overlaps images based on shared labels. I like this because it is similiar to the work of Jason Solovan who is famous for his "Every Playboy Centerfold" works.

Giant Steps by Michal Levy

This video has been blogged a ton, but it is pretty fantastic. This is a colorful flash video that translates the music of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" into the construction and destruction of a multicolored skyscraper. Check it out.

March 17, 2005

The King Of Yet - Also

This was is interesting essay about Michael Jackson that I couldn't find an isolated link to. It is by Momus, a man I found on Neomarxisme, he is ridicoulous yet-also somehow respectable. For example, look at these pictures.

I copy-pasted this essay from his livejournal blog where there are many other interesting reads and comments from others.

The King of Yet-Also
by Momus

One of the reasons the Michael Jackson trial is so unfortunate is that the world of Either-Or will pass judgment on a creature of Yet-Also. The world of clear, unambiguous categories will pass judgment on someone who flies Peter-Pan-like over the binaries that confine and define the rest of us.

When we look at Michael Jackson, I believe we're looking at the future of our species. Michael is a creature from a future in which we've all become more feminine, more consumerist, more postmodern, more artificial, more self-constructed and self-mediating, more playful, caring and talented than we are today. But it's hard to use those adjectives, because they're Either-Or adjectives and he's from the world of Yet-Also, a world I believe we will all come to live in if we're lucky, a world where there is no more authenticity-by-default-through-brute-necessity and no more "human nature". A world of pure synthesis, pure self-creation.

Jackson is what all humans will become if we develop further in the direction of postmodernism and self-mediation. He is what we'll become if we get both more Wildean and more Nietzschean. He's what we'll become only if we're lucky and avoid a new brutality based on overpopulation and competition for dwindling resources. By attacking Jackson and what he stands for -- the effete, the artificial, the ambiguous -- we make a certain kind of relatively benign future mapped out for ourselves into a Neverland, something forbidden, discredited, derided. When we should be deriding what passes for our normalcy -- war, waste, and the things we do en masse are the things that threaten us -- we end up deriding dandyism and deviance. And Jackson is the ultimate dandy and the ultimate deviant. He can fly across our Either-Or binaries, and never land. It's debateable whether he's the king of pop, but he's undoubtedly the king of Yet-Also.

Consider all the extraordinary ways in which Michael Jackson is Yet-Also. He's black yet also white. He's adult yet also a child. He's male yet also female. He's gay yet also straight. He has children, yet he's also never fucked their mothers. He's wearing a mask, yet he's also showing his real self. He's walking yet also sliding. He's guilty yet also innocent. He's American yet also global. He's sexual yet also sexless. He's immensely rich yet also bankrupt. He's Judy Garland yet also Andy Warhol. He's real yet also synthetic. He's crazy yet also sane, human yet also robot, from the present yet also from the future. He declares his songs heavensent, and yet he also constructs them himself. He's the luckiest man in the world yet the unluckiest. His work is play. He's bad, yet also good. He's blessed yet also cursed. He's alive, but only in theory.

There's one way in which Michael Jackson is not Yet-Also though. He's not famous yet also ordinary. Almost all the other stars in the world, the stars of Either-Or world, anyway, make an exception to Either-Or's categorical thinking in this one instance: given the choice between being either famous or ordinary, they all insist they're both. It's the one instance in which hardline Either-Ors will accept a Yet-Also answer. It's an answer they like because it fills the positions of talent with the representatives of the untalented. It affirms them as they currently are rather than challenging them to become something else. They want affirmation, not aspiration. They don't want their artists and celebrities to embody the values of worlds they don't understand. Ambiguous worlds, future worlds. They want to walk, not moonwalk, and they want their stars to walk too.

And so our creature of Never-Land will be judged by the creatures of Never-Fly. They will almost certainly throw him into jail. Their desire to see him as grounded, categorised and unfree as they themselves are is overwhelming. The grounded, situated, unfree creatures of Either-Or are baying for the clipping of fairy wings. Knives, hatchets and scissors glint in Neverland. There's an assembly of torch-bearing witchfinders. Peter Pan must be ushered back from fiction to reality, from the air to the ground. Back into a race, back into a gender, back into a confined clarity. Assuming he doesn't commit suicide, as he threatens in Martin Bashir's documentary, by jumping from a balcony, Jackson will be ushered away from the fuzzy subtle flicker states of our future, back to the solid states of our past and present. Either-Or will have its triumph over Yet-Also. Yet it will also, unknowingly, "triumph" over its own better future.

I also want to add this comment from the response section

I tend to view MJ's aesthetic sensibility as modernist, though. In terms of his plastic surgery, anyway. It seems he wants to chisel himself into a hermaphroditic nymph of the kind that you'd find in medieval painting. I think it's only the rest of the world that views what he's doing as "tearing down." He probably views it as "building."

He's a one man Tower of Babel. God, I love his hubris. I'll never be able to take my eyes off of it.

Way out of hand stuff.
While Jackson's "yet-also" position is undeniably a symbol of things to come, it may be off spirit to make a martyre of him. Yes Jackson is a adrift of classification, but I don't assume that that new freedom grants destructive behaviour. I respect his status, yet also cling to the claim he is a monster. Our future battle between our new form, and our old rules. How will we ever be able to morally ground ourselves when we are so culturally
amorphous? I think Momus easily imagines the world as without those displaced subjective "morals." The next challenge may be thinking our way into new rules, which could be shockingly different from the past.


If Could Speak English I would...

Interesting post from Neomarxisme about a Japanese ad for an english school that plays into Japanese conceptions about the culture that surrounds English.

Some examples...

I would lecture the loud foreigners on the train.
I would raise my children in America: one artist, one computer programmer.
I would look for a job in California that would end in the evening and I could go to in shorts.
I would make all my subordinates Americans and start a hamburger joint with great atmosphere.
I would live in a house where I could wake up and dive right into the pool.
I would become a real B-boy.

The whole thing started a serious discussion in the comments section in response to some of Marxy's points...

"...The Postmodernists love to claim that Japan is ideal because there is no concept of "authenticity" (an elitist form of subtle discrimination!), but if this is a real quote, perhaps we can extrapolate that the Japanese are aware of the demands for authenticity, but choose to ignore them because they have no other choice...."

Some other interesting remarks from the comments section were...

...But don't you find it odd that "speaking English" is something akin to walking on the ceiling - a fantasy-type situation? If you asked a French person what he would do if could speak Japanese, would he/she say, "I would finally be able to raise artistic kids"

"...the lower down you go (to a point) on the ladder of language hierarchy, the highter the amount of info/data you can see "above" you. if you are a "native" of a lower rung, a phychological pressure also forms to be "responsible" for knowing the upper rungs, and even a few rungs below you, just so that you can have something to view as "quaint".

"...However, despite the illusions offered by these hegemonic dreams, it's by no means a clear advantage to be a native English-speaker, or a clear disadvantage not to be. English speakers have no incentive to learn about other cultures and learn other languages. They tend to assume that their ways of doing things are "the real way" or "the right way", that they're "ahead" of everyone else, that others will "catch up". This makes them stolid and stupid, with poor understanding of cultural issues and cultural relativism. It can also, when their politics swing right, make them into bullies and imperialists.

The likes of Alex Kerr keep telling us that, on the one hand, Japan should keep its traditional culture (for internal and external tourism), but that on the other hand, Japan should open up to English as well as to foreign labour and capital. My counter-argument is that Japan's advanced postmodernism (the very thing Kerr demonises) and its relativism and plasticity (in other words, its freedom from a stupefying sense that it is central, or real, or right) put it in a unique position to pioneer, for the whole world, the thing that comes after postmodernism. Japan is ahead, not behind. It is hegemonic powers like the US which are now behind, completely lacking in cultural understanding, nibleness, and flexibility...."

Via boingboing

March 16, 2005

Ever Wonder Who Does Those Flashy MTV Animations?

I know I Do!

I have seen Presstube's work on TV, and I have seemed to have stumbled on another one of them.

Wyeth Hansen was listed on David Wiseman's "Friends" page. In his recent work section you can see some of the clips he made for VH1 and MTV and other commercial stuff. It's fun to see what he does for his more personal work.

I Stumbled on Another! check out Plink

March 15, 2005

"I Like Your Colors!"

"Use this tool to extract the colors from the HTML and CSS of any web site. Compare the colors easily using hue groups."

A new way of finding interesting palletes, and new way of seeing the internet. It would be interesting to chart color changes in large groups, or see the colors based on subject searches. Or even just to search by color, and see what pages come up.

Also see the Flickr Color Fields Chart.


March 14, 2005

Package Design Magazine

While doing some more research on YUPO I stumbled across this specified and slightly terrifying magazine. All your fears about alienating supermarket aisles glowing with products ready to sedate you, bundled up in this neat publication.

Yet, how can you resist features like...

- Glass Packaging and Shrink Sleeve Labeling: A Winning Combination

- The Manic Marketplaces in Japan Force Package Designers to New Heights of Flash, Flair, and Finesse

- Material Review: A New "Can"-Do Attitude for Metal Cans

- How to ‘Hit the Touch Points’ with Passion and Precision


- Market Research: Shelf Impact Studies

Turns out to be a pretty interesting read...

Toilet Tube Pixelator

This homemade moniter pixelator is built to rest in front of televisions and break down the TV color changes and movement into round blobs of color. My favorite part about this project is the fact that it is unknowlingly a DIY version of something posted on MoCoLoCo Check out this May 04 post about the "imedia-tv" from the german company light-tools.

Via Craftster (Thanks Aliza!)

March 13, 2005

The Wurst of The Wurst

The Wurst is an online gallery that is getting tons of press, and rightfully so, for their fun and beautiful arts.

---From Russia With Love:
"Each artist was sent a blank set of Russian nesting dolls, and this is what happened."

My favorite was this onion inspired set

---Dishwasher Safe: "Each artist was sent 4 round pieces of paper that they could only use markers on, the pieces of paper were then processed into a 1 of a kind set of 4 plastic plates."

Personal set highlight was Slow Lori, and that there was also Make Your Own


---Vintage Vandals: "Each artist was asked to find a framed piece of artwork at their local thrift store and manipulate it into a piece of their own"

I like this one's ghostbusters style

The best thing about The Wurst may not be the art though. The site subtly serves as a link archive to tons of interesting things around the world and internet. Each artist interview is riddled with fascinating little links that you can easily get lost in.


This is a really really excellent album recomendation site. Generally any album or artist I have discovered from this list, I have really enjoyed. It spans many decades of music and holds no favorites in terms of genres or labels. The reviews are smart and positive, and satifyingly unprentious (Which is pretty rare for music reviews).

March 09, 2005

What Is YUPO?

"...As manufactured by Yupo Corporation, YUPO is a state-of-the-art synthetic material offering all the attributes of the highest quality papers with the added benefits of extraordinary durability..."

Essentially it's a really strong paper that hardens when heated, and absorbs liquids in strange ways.

I first came across Yupo when I stumbled on Elseware's Yupo Chopsticks. Besides chopsticks, they also make a variety of other Yupo products.

Besides using Yupo's strength to create household productions, Carly Clements used Yupo to make beautiful watercolors. If only Elseware, and Carly teamed up...

Yupo is even nice enough to give out sample packs. FREE YUPO! ORDER HERE

I placed an order, and will give a full review when I get my hands on the stuff.

March 08, 2005

"Sitting Tommy"

"When you are tired of your old jeans, why don´t use them as a chair?" !!!

This far from won designboom's "RE-think + RE-cycle" competition.

Recycle 2x4s and padding, and most importantly old jeans, into a funny simple chair.

George Nakashima

For any possible "Shepherd's Pie" readers who aren't on a personal level with me. The postless week was due to my trip to Puerto Rico. Now I'm back.

George Nakashima is a woodworker and furniture designer who made beautiful honest objects. Using heavily varnished yet strange chunks of wood he built mininal, yet mesmerizing things. The google image search above displays a wide range of his work, and designboom has a great feature on him. Gives me inspiration to see our human function needs in nature's shapes.

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