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Archives: April 2013

Mark Your Calendar: Pinhole Photography Day

On Sunday, April 28th, take a break from your digital devices to spread the unusual beauty of a historical photographic process as the world celebrates Pinhole Photography Day. Now in its thirteenth year, the event celebrates and promotes the lenless method that dates from the 10th century. Join thousands of people (pinheads?) from around the globe in the simple act of making a pinhole photograph by adapting an existing camera or making your own out of a light-tight container, such as a box or a can, with a tiny hole in one side. Leave your perfectionist tendencies at home with your digital camera, because, according to Pinhole Photography Day organizers, “This is the photography of patience, of meditation, no more anguish for a ‘badly turned out’ photo.”

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Shepard Fairey’s OBEY Origins Made Into a Movie: Meet the 22-Year-Old Director

Twenty years on, Andre the Giant still Has a Posse, and now the subversive sticker campaign that ignited Shepard Fairey‘s worldwide propaganda delivery system gets its cinematic due in Obey the Giant, a narrative film that makes it online debut today (watch it above). Director Julian Marshall is fresh out of the Rhode Island School of Design, Fairey’s alma mater and the setting for the 23-minute film. Based on the true story of Fairey’s first act of street art, Obey the Giant is something of a portrait of the artist as a young skate punk–challenging a big-city mayor (the oleaginous Buddy Cianci, played by Keith Jochim) and the powers that be at art school.

“We moved heaven and earth to make this film,” Marshall (pictured below) told us of the ambitious project, for which he raised $65,000 through Kickstarter last spring. “Pre-production was about six weeks. We had to build an army of people, elaborate sets, a 27,000-pound billboard, and pull together an insane amount of props from the 1990s. It was an amazing time though. My crew and I truly became a family.” The Washington, D.C. native, now based in NYC and at the helm of his own film production company, told us more about how Obey the Giant came to be and the hot-button issue he’s planning to tackle next.

How and when did you first encounter Shepard Fairey’s work?
I first encountered Shep’s work on my first skateboard back in the 90s. I had just bought a World Industries deck and the shop owner slapped an “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” sticker on it.

What compelled you to make a film about him?
One morning, I was lying in bed, staring at the OBEY icon poster on my wall that Shep had given me when I interned for him, and I thought: Well, what better story to tell as a RISD student than a story of a RISD student? I had the connection to Shep having worked for him, so I emailed his wife, Amanda, pitched her the project, and a week later I heard back and she said, “Okay, Shepard’s really excited about the project, come out to L.A. and let’s talk about it.”

How did you decide on the format of this project, in terms of making it a narrative film rather than a documentary?
Documentaries don’t particularly interest me from a directorial standpoint. I love the intensity and edginess of the process of making motion pictures. So naturally, when I first thought of this story, I conceived of it in narrative terms.
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Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum Reopens After Ten-Year Renovation

(Photo: Erik Smits)

“Ten years of slow days / ten years of wakeful nights / till what was to come would be disclosed,” wrote Remco Campert in a poem commissioned as part of today’s reopening of the Rijksmuseum, the national art museum of the Netherlands. The long-awaited occasion was celebrated with a spectacular opening ceremony during which the soon-to-abdicate Queen Beatrix, wearing a large black chapeau that made her resemble a Playmobil figurine or one of Rembrandt‘s beloved gang of Staalmeesters, followed her private preview of the renovated museum with a trip down the orange carpet to turn a giant golden key before an audience of thousands. Fireworks and free admission (’til midnight) followed.

Designed by Renaissance revivalist Pierre Cuypers and completed in 1885, the Rijksmuseum has been closed since 2003. “It’s a kind of Harry Potter castle. It’s a crazy building, a sort of neo-gothic Arts and Crafts building covered in images. It’s a comic strip,” said director Wim Pijbes in a recent interview with Apollo magazine. “It’s the last hooray for neo-gothic–just a year later, the Eiffel Tower was built, welcoming a new age.” The decade-long overhaul, which cost nearly $500 million, half of which was supplied by the Dutch government, includes the integrative building renovation of Cruz y Ortiz, who burrowed underground to link the museum’s two separate halves and add an atrium, a fresh installation (of some 8,000 objects) masterminded by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, and Copijn’s redesign of the surrounding garden. “What is the new Rijksmuseum about in one word? It is time, time embodied in taste or fashion, however you like,” said Pijbes. “We are a time machine.”

Friday Photo: Snowflakes in Freefall

Spring has finally sprung, and so it’s possible to gaze upon snowflakes–or at least images of snowflakes–without shivering. These fine specimens were photographed in 3-D as they fell by a high-speed camera system developed by researchers at the University of Utah and its spinoff company, Fallgatter Technologies. “Until our device, there was no good instrument for automatically photographing the shapes and sizes of snowflakes in freefall,” says Tim Garrett, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences. “We are photographing these snowflakes completely untouched by any device, as they exist naturally in the air.” In addition to taking the first automated, high-resolution photos of snowflakes, Fallgatter’s Multi Angle Snowflake Camera measures how fast the flakes fall and according to Garrett, “collects vast amounts of data that can be used to come up with more accurate and more representative characterizations of snow in clouds” for improved weather forecasting.

There’s an App for That: Trace

Get your sketch on with Trace, a simple and beautiful yet incredibly useful iPad app created by the architects of the Morpholio Project. Free to download, the sketch utility allows users to instantly draw on top of imported images or background templates, layering comments or ideas to generate immediate, intelligent sketches that are easy to circulate. “Tracing over something is absolutely the foundation of the app,” says co-creator Toru Hasegawa. “Layers of trace paper are not the same as ‘layers’ in Photoshop or other tools. Here, they are the stacking of ideas, as opposed to the organizing of files.”

Got an app we should know about? Drop us a line at unbeige [at]

Now Read This: Future Cities, Designers Abroad, Banksy 101, Zen Doodling

• Visit St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Dubai without leaving your home in journalist Daniel Brook‘s A History of Future Cities, new from Norton. Stop by Brooklyn’s powerHouse Arena on Thursday, April 18, for a discussion with Brook.

• Elsewhere in far-flung reading material, don’t miss the dreamy Designers Abroad, in which Michele Keith peeks inside the vacation homes of the likes of Mica Ertegun, Juan Pablo Molyneux, and Juan Montoya. The envy-inducing tome, a follow-up to Keith’s 2010 Designers Here and There, is out next week from Monacelli.

• When in doubt, ask yourself: What would Jacques Derrida do? Deconstruct the possibilities with the help of a recently translated biography by Benoît Peeters.

• “Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place,” Banksy has said. “Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.” Steep yourself in the street art superstar with reporter Will Ellsworth-Jones‘s Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall (St. Martin’s Press), an unauthorized biography that tries to piece together Banksy’s path from vandalism to international stardom and an Oscar nomination.
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Quote of Note | Paola Antonelli

“It used to be that design was all about industry and it was very geographically anchored to the means of production. Then it became more dependent on the tertiary sector of design, on showrooms and fairs. In my opinion, the geography of design is now set by schools. You can’t talk about Italian design or British design—it’s old-fashioned. It really is about whether someone comes from [the Design Academy of] Eindhoven or the Royal College of Art in London. In this kind of scenario, meetings like the Salone are still very important because they are great business opportunities. The problem is that design has spread out in many directions and I think it’s important for the Salone to attract corollary events that are about interaction design and interface design.”

-Paola Antonelli, director of research and development and senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA, in an interview with Ermanno Rivetti for The Art Newspaper

Watch Antonelli’s recent appearance on The Colbert Report:

If the Shoe FITs: Inside Museum at FIT’s ‘Shoe Obsession’ Show

These days, fashion designers rarely agree on seasonal trends such as hemlines and skirt shapes, but runway watchers remain abuzz over statement shoes, even if they are all but invisible to those without front-row seats. Celine’s minimaluxe ready-to-wear and steady stream of hit handbags was recently outshined by the house’s furry stilettos and sandals, including a Meret Oppenheim-gone-grandpa style that is flying off store shelves. The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology has seized the moment to present an exhibition that highlights the extreme, lavish, and imaginative styles that have made shoes central to fashion. We asked writer Nancy Lazarus to put on her reporting shoes and size up the show, on view through Saturday.

Roger Vivier’s Eyelash Heel pump, designed by Bruno Frisoni for the fall 2012 “Rendez-Vous” limited edition collection. (Photo: Stephane Garrigues, courtesy Roger Vivier)

“Everything here is wearable, it’s just not walkable,” said Colleen Hill, co-curator of the Museum at FIT’s “Shoe Obsession” exhibit. Leading a tour of the show during its final week on display, she explained that the focus was extreme, extravagant 21st-century shoes and boots. Hill and co-curator Valerie Steele included not only fan favorites like Blahnik and Louboutin, but also the latest experimental prototypes.

The exhibit’s selections represent a commentary on an era rather than a reflection on wearability, Hill noted. “The inspiration for these shoes is sculpture and architecture. Some are shoe objects, one-of-a-kind or limited editions,” Hill said. Three styles are on display: single-sole stilettos, platforms, and more avant-garde heel-less shoes favored by the likes of Daphne Guinness and Lady Gaga.

Recent shoe designs tend to rely more on manmade materials. A few prototypes utilized 3-D printing processes. One experimental design was made of resin, while a pair of slippers was glass. A pair of Pierre Hardy heels sported neoprene, more often associated with athletic wear.
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Design Jobs: Shutterstock, Spontaneous, Landor

This week, Shutterstock is hiring an illustration/vector reviewer, while Spontaneous needs a creative director. Landor is seeking a senior designer, and RedNova Learning is on the hunt for a managing designer. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

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.

In Brief: Boston’s Street Seats, Muybridge Rules the Web, Design with a Conscience

Cornell seniors Katie McDonald and Kyle Schumann’s “Twofold” is among the semifinalists in Design Museum Boston¹s Street Seats International Design Challenge.

Design Museum Boston‘s Street Seats International Design Challenge, a competition launched last fall, will culminate with an exhibition of the 20 benches selected as semifinalists. Made out of environmentally-friendly materials, the benches were chosen by a jury out of more than 170 submissions by designers, professional teams, and artists representing 22 states and 23 countries. The grand prize winner and runner-up will be selected at an opening celebration on April 27, when the public will pick their favorite to receive the people’s choice award.

• Yesterday marked the 183rd anniversary of Eadweard Muybridge‘s birth. Alexis Madrigal of the Atlantic penned a birthday message to the grandfather of the animated GIF.

• Better living through cars? Consider the possibilities on Thursday, when our friends at Inhabitat host a live webcast of “Design with a Conscience,” a conference where leading California architects and automotive designers will be discussing the intersection of car and building design and how conscious design can spur innovation.

• Someone at the New York Post has been watching the Rachel Zoe Project, prompting the paper to crown Nicholas Kirkwood “the new Manolo.” The widely lauded yet humble Brit knows a good kicker. “I was in two hip-hop songs,” he told the Post. “It was awhile ago. It was a Rick Ross and a Foxy Brown song. Kirkwood apparently rhymes with ’hood!’ ”