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conferences

Sugata Mitra Reveals TED Prize Wish: ‘A School in the Cloud’

After bestowing the 2012 TED prize on an idea (“The City 2.0“), the TEDsters have returned to the original mission: awarding it to “an exceptional individual who receives $1,000,000 and the TED community’s resources and expertise to spark global change.” Joining past winners ranging from Bill Clinton and Bono to oceanographer Sylvia Earle and street artist JR is Sugata Mitra, an educational researcher who took to the stage last week in Long Beach at the 2013 TED Conference to reveal his TED Prize wish: to build a school in the cloud, where children can explore and learn from one another. Watch and learn:

‘Paper-Punk-a-Thon’ Unfolds at TEDActive


(Photo courtesy Grace Hawthorne)

It’s TED time, and among the attractions at TEDActive, the parallel event taking place this week in Palm Springs, is “Paper-Punk-a-thon” (pictured), a 25-foot-long installation by Paper Punk founder Grace Hawthorne. We asked the ReadyMade veteran–an entrepreneur, artist, author, and educator who heads up the Creative Gym course at Stanford’s d.school–to tell us more about the interactive project as it unfolds.

What is a “Paper-Punk-a-Thon”?
An all-you-can-fold buffet of Paper Punk shapes. Attendees feast on a limitless assortment of shapes, patterns, and colors, and fold to their heart’s content.

What did you create for the installation?
I made three large anchor panels out of hollow paper blocks to kick things off. Attendees are populating the other nine smaller provided panels with paper block creation that expresses an assigned word.

How have TEDActive attendees responded to your installation?
Enthusiastically! They get to make something with their hands and share it with each other by putting it up on this progressive/collaborative wall. Some of their creations have blown me away.
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Mark Your Calendar: Aftertaste at Parsons

Parsons’ reliably outstanding and thought-provoking Aftertaste symposium returns next weekend with a focus on objects. Aftertaste: The Atmosphere of Objects will “address interior experience through close examination of the way objects inform inhabitation, influence perception, and create social dynamics.” Things get underway next Friday evening as Mia Lundström, creative director of Home Furnishings at IKEA, sits down for a chat with interlocutor extraordinaire Susan Szenasy, editor-in-chief of Metropolis. Their discussion of possessions and personal statements (in which we hope to gain insight into what our growing mound of Alexander Girard-patterned pillows says about us) will be followed by design writer Akiko Busch on “The Language of Things.” Other panelists and featured speakers include frog’s Jonas Damon, expert collector Fritz Karch, David Mann of MR Architecture + Decor, and T design editor Pilar Viladas. Check out the full agenda and RSVP (admission is free) here.

Pictoplasma Conference Returns to NYC

Neither snow nor rain nor a ferocious hurricane (nor Saturdays) can keep Pictoplasma from New York City. Postponed in the wake of Sandy, the character design conference returns to Gotham on Friday for Pictoplasma NYC at Parsons The New School for Design. Organized by Pictoplasma “brain-fathers” Lars Denicke and Peter Thaler with Parsons Illustration chair Steven Guarnaccia, the two-day confab will celebrate contemporary character visualization–illustration, animation, installation, street art, fine art, and more–with lectures, panel discussions, and screenings. Kicking off the proceedings will be lectures by newly Brooklyn-based Buff Monster and toy designer/fiber artist Anna Hrachovec, followed by insights from Argentinean animator and graphic designer Adrian Sonni and self-proclaimed plastic surgeon Jason Freeny. Stick around for Characters in Motion screenings and a Saturday morning “Parson’s Pitch” pecha kucha. New to Pictoplasma? Watch clips from previous talks here.

In Brief: Van Gogh Lives, Shomei Tomatsu Dies, TED2013 Line-Up, Signature Swirl

• Lithuanian architect turned wedding photographer turned artist Tadao Cern has worked his Photoshop magic to reimagine van Gogh‘s 1889 self-portrait as something much more realistic–and haunting (above).

Shomei Tomatsu, perhaps the most influential postwar Japanese photographer, has died at the age of 82. “If I could, I would want to see everything,” he said in 1969. “My eyes are infamously greedy.”

• Screen legend Mary Lou Jepsen, photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, graphic designer Saki Mafundikwa, artist Liu Bolin, and architect Michael Green are among the speakers at TED2013 (“The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.”), which takes place next month in Long Beach, California. Check out the newly released line-up here.
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Mark Your Calendar: ‘One of a Kind’ Fashion Conference in NYC

‘Tis the season for sartorial splendor and the annual fashion conference organized by Initiatives in Art & Culture. This year’s two-day confab, which gets underway on Friday morning at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, has a bespoke vibe. Entitled “One of a Kind: Individuality, Integrity, and Innovation in Fashion,” the conference will consider “iconic individuals and institutions whose contributions–whether in terms of singular designs, entrepreneurial accomplishment, or aesthetic vision–have played critical roles in defining modern fashion” alongside a focus on extraordinary artisans and their materials. Among the speakers lined up for lectures and panels are designers Maria Cornejo and Robert Lee Morris (here’s hoping they sit next to each other and strike up a collaboration!), fashion photographer Deborah Turbeville, Saks Fifth Avenue CEO Stephen Sadove (who can spot an Akris Punto ensemble from 50 paces), Museum at FIT director Valerie Steele, and MAO PR’s Roger and Mauricio Padilha, authors of Antonio Lopez: Fashion Art, Sex, and Disco, recently published by Rizzoli. Best of all, the sharply dressed organizers have customized a discount for UnBeige readers: just enter the code “bistro” at checkout to save $100 off the regular ticket price.

Get the Scoop on Visual Communities and Commerce at Social Curation Summit: Register Today and Save

Join social media pros, brand marketers, entrepreneurs, and VCs at Social Curation Summit on December 12 in Los Angeles to get the scoop on social news, brand loyalty, and next-generation storytelling platforms. The summit is the must-attend event for anyone interested in the emerging technologies that are transforming the way we share, follow, and engage online—Pinterest and Tumblr, anyone? Connect with expert speakers, including those from StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Storify, and Snip.it. Check out the speaker lineup and program here. Time is running out to save, so register now. Register before midnight to save $100.

How Design Books Played Pivotal Role in Steven Heller’s Marriage Proposal to Louise Fili


(Photo: UnBeige)

Among the highlights of this weekend’s inaugural Designers and Books Fair was Debbie Millman’s on-stage conversation with Steven Heller and Louise Fili. Perched on a Florence Knoll two-seater in an auditorium at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the pair discussed everything from the difference between a logo and a brand (“about $500,000,” according to Fili) to the joys of miniature mannequins (“I love these things,” enthused Heller, who credits the couple’s 2002 book on the subject with nearly pricing him out of the mini-mannequin market. “These are sculptures of commerce, raw commercial art.”). Millman’s well-constructed questions touched on many aspects of their nearly 30-year union, including Heller’s marriage proposal. It will come as no suprise that books played a critical role in his popping the question.

Picture it: summertime, Italy, the early ’80s. Fili and Heller were staying in Tuscany, and kept bumping into two of their design-savvy friends, Paula Scher and Henrietta Condak, who were staying nearby. “It became this game, because we were all on a search, out to get the best stuff in Italy–the best books–before anyone else did,” explained Fili. One day, she and Heller arrived at Florence’s Centro Di with just 30 minutes to spare before the bookshop closed for lunch. They noticed that Scher and Condak had also just walked in. “I saw the look on Steve’s face, because he knows this is not a good thing, when he has competition,” said Fili. “So he had to get away from them as fast as possible and get to the books.” A bit of small talk ensued: How’s the trip? What’s new? Heller saw an exit strategy. “Oh, we’re getting married,” he told Scher and Condak, before making a beeline for the books. “He left me to explain,” said Fili. “I didn’t even know what I had to say about it yet, because I didn’t really have any details.” But all’s well that ends well. Added a grinning Heller after Fili had told the tale, “I got the books and I got the dame.”

Why Orgies Trump Bacchanals and Other Lessons from Metropolitan Museum Director Tom Campbell

This year’s TED Conference was a doozy, in large part due to “The Design Studio” session organized by guest curators Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell. Among the engaging creative types they convinced to take the TED Stage (temporarily adorned with Maira Kalman illustrations for the occasion) was Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In his TED Talk, now available online, Campbell reveals why an orgy is preferable to a bacchanal, his eureka moment with tapestries, and why nothing compares to the presentation of significant objects in a well-told narrative: “what the curator does, the interpretation of a complex, esoteric subject, in a way that retains the integrity of the subject, that unpacks it for a general audience.”

Inside Scoop: Dwell Partners with American Society of Interior Designers

Dwell is looking inward for its latest partnership. We hear that the shelter magazine-turned-bicoastal media empire will announce tomorrow that it’s teaming up with the American Society of Interior Designers. With a membership that includes around 18,000 practicing interior designers and 10,500 students, the trade group will move its national conference to Dwell on Design, which caps off Dwell Design Week in Los Angeles. The leaders of 500 ASID chapters nationwide and board members of the organization will join the eighth annual installment of modernism-infused home tours, product demos, and presentations, set to begin on June 21, 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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