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Posts Tagged ‘Kurt Andersen’

On Designing a Time Machine

time_machine.jpgAnd speaking of time, this time in lower-case, what mental picture do you see when you hear the word “time machine”? Because the majority of our mental pictures involve the canonical 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, we think of the golden-domed glass elevator Wonkavator that soars over the dreary skyline (which for some reason, we’ve always assumed to be postwar Belgium) in the final sequence. Kurt Andersen examines the finer points of time machine design in the latest episode of Studio 360, a special time travel show taped in front of a studio audience—perhaps one populated with people from the past, or the future. In this segment, Andersen chats with Simon Wells, great-grandson of H.G. Wells and the director of the 2002 film adaptation of The Time Machine, about how a time machine should be designed. Meanwhile, physicist David Goldberg says the time transport vehicle might look more like a spaceship, and Goldberg and science fiction author Connie Willis debate whether a visitor to the past would be able to reshape the future, with unforeseeable consequences. Power up your flux capacitor and click below to listen.

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Kurt Andersen to Redefine the Good Life at Tomorrow’s Pratt Symposium

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Ah, the good life. It ain’t what it used to be, but what does creative value mean in this, the 21st century? Author and Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen will address this very question tomorrow afternoon in Brooklyn, where Pratt Institute has assembled a outstanding group of innovative types for a syposium called “Redefining the Good Life.” Following Andersen’s keynote address, the audience will hear from speakers including architect Carlos Zapata, installation artist Jean Shin, environmentalist David de Rothschild, and Arun Chaudhary, who serves as President Obama‘s director of video field production. After what’s sure to be a rousing question and answer session, Andersen will sign copies of his new book Reset: How This Crisis Can Restore Our Values and Renew America (Random House). If you’re in the New York area and already have plans, might we suggest resetting your calendar to attend? The symposium is free and open to the public, but reservations are required due to limited seating. RSVP ASAP by e-mailing alumni@pratt.edu or calling 718-399-4447, and tell them UnBeige sent you.

Left Coast Lectures: Art Center’s ‘Big Picture,’ USC’s ‘Art in the Public Sphere’

calendar pg.jpgSo many talks, so little time. This week saw the launch of two interdisciplinary lecture series that provide an impressive list of reasons to make your way to Southern California (as if the frigid temperatures here on the East Coast weren’t incentive enough). On Monday, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena kicked off its “Big Picture” lecture series with a talk by Kurt Andersen, the school’s own “Visionary-In-Residence.” Ensuing Monday afternoons through March will feature talks by the likes of writer and outside.in founder Steven Johnson and art historian Karen Lang. Over at the University of Southern California, the Master of Public Art Studies: Art in the Public Sphere program began its spring lecture forum with a presentation by artist Andrea Fraser. Future speakers will include cultural critic and historian Norman Klein, artist Paul Ramirez Jonas, and Rudolf Frieling, curator of media arts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

In New York City? You’re in luck, too. American Craft editor-in-chief Andrew Wagner has just let us know about a discussion that he’ll be taking part in this Thursday evening at the Museum of Arts and Design. The Venn diagram-worthy topic? “Where Craft and Design Intersect.” Wagner will investigate the overlap with MAD chief curator David Revere McFadden, designer Suzanne Tick, and (be still our hearts!) artist Michelle Oka Doner. Click here for more info on the Thursday event and click “continued…” for the full lecture line-ups at the Art Center and USC.

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“Studio 360′s” Design for the Real World Now a Podcast

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For years you’ve been hearing people like Michael Bierut and Paola Antonelli and Steven Heller chat about the inane and insane highlights from the design world on PRI show “Studio 360.” That segment, named Design for the Real World, is now a bi-weekly podcast, which you can retrieve using the magic of iTunes. Says host Kurt Andersen (just imagine this in his voice):

“From the very start, we’ve considered design a crucial, thrilling part of “Studio 360′s” purview, which is why our longest-running regular feature is Design for the Real World. We’ve enlisted dozens of graphic designers, industrial designers, architects, artists and design critics to explain why they’re fascinated — in many cases obsessed — by some particular everyday object, from baseball caps to Post-Its to vacuum cleaners to the industrial wasteland of northern New Jersey to a certain Rolling Stones album cover to the redesigned $5 bill. And now we’ve turned all of those illuminating, inspiring manifestos into nifty 2-3-minute-long podcasts. I hope you enjoy them.”

Already downloaded to our iTunes playlist are segments about lipstick, sheetrock and the zipper, and this week‘s Design for the Real World features cookbook author Meredith Deeds talking about the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, a “kitchen tool that revolutionized baking and became a status symbol in the process.” Indeed, our petal pink version is one of our first stops when we give house tours. Listen to the segment here.

How George Lois Got Andy Warhol Into That Can of Soup

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Not to be missed is this week’s edition of “Studio 360,” a conversation between the Muhammad Ali-rapping George Lois and the Martha Stewart-skewering Kurt Andersen (although we imagine the “Studio 360″ editing team had to do a fair amount of snipping since Lois can’t speak more than 10 words in a row without one of them being ass, shit or motherfucker).

They spend a lot of time chatting about the blurring line between ads and art, but the highlights are Lois’ stories about designing covers for Esquire, including the story behind the Andy Warhol cover above. Lois’ impression of Warhol when telling the story about asking him to pose for the shot is absolutely priceless. He also manages to get in at least two “design students today don’t know how to draw” jabs. Warhol, for the record, could draw, according to Lois.

A slideshow on the show’s site offers more musings by Lois on specific covers (all PG-rated, of course, but you can use your imagination). Pick up Lois’ new book, Iconic America: A Roller-Coaster Ride through the Eye-Popping Panorama of American Pop Culture for a taste of his racier side.

“Design Matters” Season Five Schedule Announced

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Effervescent host (and quite the hostess as well) Debbie Millman has leaked the new season of “Design Matters” to UnBeige first, kicking off January 18 with our Man of the Year, Chip Kidd. Graphic designers, writers, illustrators, authors, scientists, editors, a Nobel Prize winner and many, many UnBeige favorites will be featured on the show, which, incidentally, was voted a “favorite podcast” on PSFK’s IF Marketing Podcast survey. Tune in every Friday at 3pm to hear these fine voices:

January 18: Chip Kidd
January 25: Eric Kandel
February 1: Kurt Andersen
February 8: Vaughan Oliver
February 15: Jonah Lehrer
February 22: Petrula Vrontikis
February 29: Stefan Bucher
March 7: Laurie Rosenwald
March 14: Jeffrey Zeldman
March 28: Abbott Miller
April 11: Robynne Raye
April 18: All Music Show with DJ and Designer Michael Hodgson
April 25: Lawrence Weiner

Full bios for each guest can be found below.

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The Martha Stewart Moment at the AIGA Gala

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It was only a few months ago that the boozy reports from AIGA’s Design Legends Gala trickled in to our eager UnBeige ears. Although we seem to have forgotten most of the highlights, one in particular has stuck with us. Apparently, a certain Martha Stewart delivered the biggest hit of the night while accepting the Corporate Leadership Award for Martha Stewart Omnimedia. And now, we have the video (scroll down, mid-page, that’s it…click).

Although it’s a real treat to see Medalists Bruce Mau, Ellen Lupton and Ed Fella get their awards, along with Georg Olden Jr. accepting for his father, Georg Olden, the comedic trio of Kurt Andersen, Gael Towey and Martha Stewart are an unstoppable, wildly entertaining team. The video is over 18 minutes long but it includes some pretty pictures of Martha Stewart Living at the beginning and a hilarious, heartfelt story about how Andersen almost ruined Stewart’s life. She does say the j-word, too.

Blog O’Fear: The Rules and Etiquette of Blogging (Featuring Us!)

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Bless that Liz Danzico for live-blogging this blogging panel while we were talking about blogging.

The panel, moderated and concepted by Steve Heller, no stranger to blogs as editor of AIGA Voice, writer for a daily design column in PRINT online, writer for Design Observer and A Brief Message and countless others, was to talk about blogs–their journalism aspect, their memoir form, and other forms they might take.

The all-star panel are luminaries in the design blog world:

  • Khoi Vinh, design director of NYTimes.com, and editor of Subtraction.com, which is seven years old, and A Brief Message, founded this year.
  • Bill Drenttel, co-founder of Design Observer, which just turned four years old.
  • Allan Chochinov, editor of Core 77 the industrial design supersite (not a portal), and also runs Coroflot.com, and Design Directory.com (“a blog negative”), for an amazing 13 years.
  • Alissa Walker, editor of UnBeige and, freelance writer. Her goal on UnBeige is to post “every 20 minutes or so.” She is proud that UnBeige is called the People of design blogs.
  • Tina Roth Eisenberg, author behind Swiss Miss, and responsible for too many “major credit card purchases.”

    If A Blog Falls in the Woods
    The panel started out on a pretty philosophical note, dissecting what having a “blog” really means. According to Eisenberg blogs are really just “sites with a content management system.” Vinh jumped in and immediately disagreed, pointing out that he thinks blogs are really a conversation between writer and audience in any more. Writers engaging with an audience; commenters engaging with other commenters; and traditional journalists with commeters. Walker, like Chochinov, uses the blog as a traffic driver. “The blog is just one ingredient,” he put out there.

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  • Daniel Libeskind’s Speed Reading All Makes Sense

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    After burning through a stream of consciousness about graphic art, architectural models, Cranbrook, Kathy McCoy, sketches, mountains and the Denver Art Museum so fast our agile fingers can’t even process them, Daniel Libeskind‘s reason for rushing is revealed: He throws up a photo of a place in Berlin (didn’t catch it) and said his son is actually getting married there. Like tomorrow, and he’s got to catch a plane.

    Nice of him to stop by, even if we can’t understand a word he’s saying.

    Kurt Andersen says he talks that fast all the time.

    All AIGA NEXT coverage here.

    Mile High Design With Kurt Andersen

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    We’re here, we’re here! And if first signs are correct, this is one super sexed-up AIGA design conference. The paper-thin blue box identity flips in and out of conference materials, playful and elegant. This convention center is way slick (it looks a lot like the swooping white curves of Denver International Airport, actually). And hot music and photos of celebs are flashing before us as we stream into the first mainstage session. There’s our buddy Kurt Andersen, conference moderator, taking the stage.

    All AIGA NEXT coverage here.

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