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Rock Star: Doug Pray on Levitated Mass, the Documentary

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Michael Heizer is an artist whose work you tend to stumble upon—perhaps literally, in the case of the bewitching ribbons of rusting steel embedded in the lawn of the Menil Collection—and then can’t stop thinking about. He made headlines in recent years during the installation of Levitated Mass (2012), a 456-foot-long slot constructed on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) campus, over which is placed a 340-ton granite megalith. That momentous, paperwork-laden process, which entailed a $10 million, 22-city tour for the boulder and its custom-made trailer, is the subject of a new film by Doug Pray (Art & Copy, Surfwise). Now playing in select cities, Levitated Mass weaves together Heizer’s biography, the dreams of a major museum, and the uniting of a city—all while proving that it is possible to make a fascinating film about a massive rock. Pray (pictured below), who happens to be the son of a geologist, made time between screenings to tell us more about the film and its making.

(Diana Rathe)How did you first encounter the work of Michael Heizer?
Long before I knew about the work of Michael Heizer I had seen Adjacent, Against, Upon on the waterfront in Seattle, and, like millions of others, I’d encountered the smaller, running-water version of Levitated Mass in New York City, but I didn’t swim in it, so to speak. My first full, immersive experience was during the early days of our production on Levitated Mass while we were endlessly awaiting for the rock to get its permits and approvals and to move out of the quarry. I drove out to Mormon Mesa, near Overton, Nevada—about an hour and a half northeast of Las Vegas—and spent a half day walking around and inside Heizer’s massive Double Negative.
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Design Jobs: Birchbox, Metro News Media, LoudDoor

This week, Birchbox is hiring a photo editor, while Metro News Media needs an art director. LoudDoor is seeking a creative director, and Niche Media Holdings is on the hunt for a promotions art designer. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

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Find more great design jobs on the UnBeige job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented UnBeige pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

Quote of Note | Todd Hido

stieglitz“My photobooks are organized by genre, and they are definitely not alphabetized. They’re sequenced and clustered together based on my twenty-five-year knowledge of who taught who, and who preceded them. It’s almost a little family tree of lineage. I find it to be an interesting way of approaching the collection, because you can see patterns of influence and how they fan out into the world we adore….Believe it or not, I have a strange little hobby of leaving books out and open to certain pages, sometimes for years. One of my favorite books, which has remained opened on my table ever since the day I got it, is Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set. It’s an exhaustive examination, which I believe includes every single Stieglitz photograph that Georgia O’Keeffe inherited and ultimately donated to the National Gallery of Art. Also, I often create sequences and juxtapositions between various open books; I’ve made some unique connections and combinations that way.”

-Photographer Todd Hido, who has amassed a personal collection of more than 3,200 photography books, in an interview with Aaron Schuman in The PhotoBook Review

Favorite Thing: Normal’s Bespoke Earphones

(James Ewing Photography)
(Photo: James Ewing)

Your personalized playlists deserve to be heard through tailor-made earphones. Treat yourself to a pair of Normals ($199, including shipping and tax), made using “nerdalicious software and 3D printing to sculpt each one-of-a-kind pair” by Normal. Ear measuring not required. The startup, based in a hybrid factory/retail store (pictured) “on the elf-ear-shaped island of Manhattan,” has created an app that makes getting fitted for your bespoke earbuds as easy as snapping a photo of each ear. “The result is a premium sound made for the strange pieces of cartilage on either side of your head,” notes founder Nikki Kaufman, a Princeton grad and veteran of Quirky. “And no one else’s.”

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Marc Newson to Join Apple’s Design Team

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The word on the street (and by street we mean the vast array of tech blogs) is that Apple will use tomorrow’s highly anticipated media blitz for which it has commandeered Cupertino’s Flint Center to launch its iWatch and a couple of new iPhones. Also expected are mumblings about increased security amidst the iCloud breach and a cameo by Dr. Dre, who will probably be fully clothed. But we think news of novel devices, even one that marks the company’s foray into wearables, is no match for the bomb that Apple dropped on Friday, via Vanity Fair‘s VF Daily blog: Marc Newson is joining his buddy Jony Ive‘s design team. The Australian-born designer, who when we last we checked in with him was showcasing a feast of Newsonian domestic delights in an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is set to become Apple’s senior vice president of design, although he will continue to be based in the United Kingdom and work on projects outside of Apple.

Quote of Note | Carine Roitfeld

mlle c“I’m not obsessed with myself….But as a woman, you want to look good in pictures. When I go to the shows, I try to smile. It makes you more beautiful and I think the photographers are nicer to you if you try to make their work easier. At the show, the photographers know you. They call you by name. You get very close to them. One time I was coming out of Marc Jacobs and I missed one step, and I fell but no one took a picture. That’s chic. It’s maybe because I was nice with them, too. I think it’s better to make your relationships with them nice. I will never forget this.”

-Carine Roitfeld, founder and editor-in-chief of CR Fashion Book and global fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar, in an interview with Alexandra Steigrad that appears in today’s issue of WWD

Lucie Foundation Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Photographers

(Patricia Dinu)
A photo from Patricia Dinu’s “Desert of Souls” project, for which she is seeking to raise money through Fotofund.

camera moneyFor photographers who seek dollars but don’t want to get lost in the vast sea of Kickstarter projects, there is Fotofund, a new crowdfunding platform exclusively for photo-based works. The site is the latest initiative of the non-profit Lucie Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting, honoring, and cultivating photographic talent.

Fotofund was created “to provide financial backing to photographic projects through online contributions and to support photography worldwide by bringing photographers’ visions to life.” Distinct from other crowdfunding sites, the platform offers two models: a flexible funding model in which the project creator receives all donations whether or not their full funding goals are met or alternatively, they can select to only receive funding if the full amount of their goal is reached. Among the first campaigns to hit Fotofund are those aiming to create an official archive of the late Jerry Stoll’s photography from the California jazz era, a documentary project showcasing men and women who live off the grid throughout Europe, and a personal interpretation of the music and lyrics of Tom Waits—we suspect “Picture in a Frame” will figure prominently.

Watch: IKEA Takes on Apple with ‘Bookbook’

IKEA is going head-to-head to Apple with its latest launch. “At only 8mm thin, and weighing in at less than 400g, it comes pre-installed with thousands of home furnishing ideas,” boasts the Swedish furniture juggernaut. And not only is no charging required, but it can be instantly shared and recycled. Also, it’s free. The user-friendly, intelligently designed device in question? The latest IKEA catalogue. Singapore’s BBH created this video—part gentle satire, part homage—to tell the world about it, through the exuberant narration of a black t-shirted Swede.

Learn Infographics and Party Like a Chart Star

daniel zeeviReady to respond to requests of “Show me the data!” with more than a sad little bar graph? The Mediabistro mothership is now recruiting would-be data visualizers for an online course in infographics that can “engage an audience in your brand, cause, or mission.” Guided by tech-meets-branding whiz Amanda McCormick, whose resume includes work with organizations such as New York City Ballet, Bitly, and SocialFlow, students will get up to speed with online tools (we’re looking at you Many Eyes) and develop a robust spec for a data visualization. The infographical fun starts October 7. Learn more here.

Twitter Along with UnBeige

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Famed literary critic Lionel Trilling once described Henry James as a “social twitterer.” Sure, he meant it as an insult, but it makes us feel better about having joined the tweeting masses. Look to the UnBeige Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute newsbites, event snippets, links of interest, design trivia, and our exclusive photo of Rem Koolhaas in mid-ponder—it makes for smashing smartphone wallpaper.

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