1. “It’s not what you look at that matters… it’s what you see.” – Henri David Thoreau. This quote defines the last year of my life. I have always looked at the same things, but depending on your perspective, education, mood and/or situation you see things very differently.
1 1/2. I wanted to post this interview with Ed Fella on the art of everyday things. Sometimes it’s the smallest, most insignificant items that provide inspiration for design – like the ticket stub from a movie or a coffee cup from your favorite coffee place (Joe). (previous post)
2. I read Ways of Seeing by John Berger over the (really short) break last week, and was most impacted by one passage: A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself… from earliest childhood she has been taught and persuaded to survey herself continually… Her own sense of being in herself is supplanted by a sense of being appreciated as herself by another.
We can never guess someone else’s perception or vision so why bother trying to guess what others are thinking? In design we are creating things for others so we constantly need to have their views and opinions in mind, however it’s easier to be sensitive to others opinions of design than their opinions of other people. I think his opinion is boldly stated but very thought-provoking.
3. Neighborhood Treasure
When I first started thinking about my thesis, I wanted to focus on the idea of beauty in the mundane and I read an article by John Thackara about the importance of place. He encourages us to be with real people, in real places, who are changing their lived material reality over emitting messages and simply ‘pressing send’. This underscores the importance of place and where things come from, especially where we come from.
This excellent photo project is a collaborative effort by photographers from all over the country, and they are encouraged to post photos depicting the uniqueness of their neighborhood.
This is a photo by Jonathan Lemon from a poetry slam on the Lower East Side.
4. James Welling was repeatedly drawn to the Glass House for these photos because of it’s transparency, reflectivity and ability to carry color. He uses different color filters to get these images.
So much of James Turrell’s work inspires me. He brings celestial scenes down to earth for us mere mortals, and for the past 30 years he created a celestial observatory in Roden crater in Arizona.
“I want to create an atmosphere that can be consciously plumbed with seeing,” says the artist, “like the wordless thought that comes from looking in a fire.” Informed by his studies in perceptual psychology and optical illusions, Turrell’s work allows us to see ourselves “seeing.” Whether harnessing the light at sunset or transforming the glow of a television set into a fluctuating portal, Turrell’s art places viewers in a realm of pure experience.
6. Andy Goldsworthy (previous post)
7. Tara Donovan (previous post)
8. Henri Cartier-Bresson (previous post)
9. Neighborhood flags
Good Magazine asked a few talented designers, artists and illustrators to create flags celebrating their neighborhoods. I love this idea! They took the essence of their experience in their neighborhoods and created a visual representation of it. It would be a really interesting project to go around and ask different people in my neighborhood what their favorite thing is about our area. What is the essence of this neighborhood, and why do you choose to live, work, or hang out here? There would probably be some interesting answers and all really different. The local deli owner, political leaders, teachers, helpers, restauranteurs, the garage guy, doorman, barista at the local coffee place, bar patrons, etc the list could go on. I wonder what draws everyone to my neighborhood, and if that would help me to understand the place better and get a grasp of what the essence is.
10. William Eggleston
He has an eye for amazing color and makes the fleeting and everyday worthy of our attention.