Posts tagged “perspective”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Awful elevator panel design [Boing Boing] – [Another entrant in what is becoming a theme on this blog: how-complicated-does-it-have-to-be-to-go-up-and-down?] Robyn Miller took this photo of a poorly designed elevator control panel.
  • [from julienorvaisas] David Hockney’s instant iPad art [BBC News] – [Now that's a convincing interface and experience.] "Who wouldn't want one? Picasso or Van Gogh would have snapped one up," the artist David Hockney tells me at the opening of his latest show in Paris called Fleurs Fraiches, or Fresh Flowers. "It's a real privilege to make these works of art through digital tools which mean you don't have the bother of water, paints, and the chore of clearing things away," he says. "You know sometimes I get so carried away, I wipe my fingers at the end thinking that I've got paint on them."
  • [from steve_portigal] Doonesbury Turns 40 [Rolling Stone] – [One of the most surprising bits in this Chip Kidd interview with Garry Trudeau. As consumers, we constantly make the mistake of conflating the artist with their art, the producer with their product. We know the material – sometimes very well – and so we really think we know the maker equally well. Trudeau reminds us, once again, that in least one critical way, we don't] I'm never happier than when I'm not working. The strip is a job ­ that's why I take money for it. It's a job I'm passionate about, but it's a job I totally leave in the studio when I walk out of here, unless I'm late and I have to work at home. I never think of the strip unless I'm compelled to.

This Year We Make Contact With 2001 in 1968

Last night we watched the documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures. I was struck by this image, presumably from one of the premieres of 2001.

The visual elements of the movie (including production design, posters, typography, sets, models, special effects) were intended to depict, in 1968, the future. In this picture, there’s a remarkable contrast between the poster for the film, and everything else around it. The surrounding elements tell a story of the 60s – the cars, the signage, everything. And it might as well as be the 50s, or even the 40s. But the poster for the movie itself pops right out. The typography, the layout in the space, still look contemporary if not futuristic.

Looking back more than 40 years later, we can see the discontinuity between the world of what-was-then-today and the design-as-illustration-of-the future. One has to wonder how it felt in 1968. Was it even more dramatic (with the future stuff seeming really really future-y) or was it less dramatic (with the current stuff not seeing so ridiculously dated as it does now)?

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • The process of converting books to Kindle format introduces errors in the text – The cost of a printed book covers some degree of proofing and checking—not enough, but some. The cost of a Kindle book does not support editorial quality control, and the multi-step conversion process, handled in bulk by third parties, chops out content and creates other errors that no one fixes because no one is there to do QA.

    As the economics of publishing continues to change, perhaps one day soon, a Kindle edition will contain the same text as the printed book. Until it does, Kindle is great for light reading. But if it’s critical that every word, comma, and code sample come through intact, for now, you’re better off with print.

  • The Social History of the MP3 – For Reading Ahead, we're looking at other transitions to digital: "So omnipresent have these discussions become, in fact, that it's possible the past 10 years could become the first decade of pop music to be remembered by history for its musical technology rather than the actual music itself. This is a chastening thought, but at the same time we have to be careful not to overlook how the technologies we invent to deliver music also work to shape our perception of it. When radio came along, its broadcasts created communities of music-listening strangers, physically distant from each other but connected through the knowledge that they were listening to the same song at the same time. Where radio brought listeners together as a listening public, the LP started splitting them apart. The LP and 45 rpm formats took the phonograph, which had been in existence for over half a century, to the masses, right as the American middle-class was going suburban and privatizing their lives."
  • Medical Students Experience Life as Nursing Home Patients – Students are given a “diagnosis” of an ailment and expected to live as someone with the condition does. They keep a daily journal chronicling their experiences and, in most cases, debunking their preconceived notions.

    To Dr. Gugliucci’s surprise, she found nursing homes in the region that were willing to participate and students who were willing to volunteer. No money is exchanged between the school and nursing homes, and the homes agree to treat students like regular patients.

    “My motivation is really to have somebody from the inside tell us what it’s like to be a resident,” said Rita Morgan, administrator of the Sarah Neuman Center for Healthcare and Rehabilitation here, one of the four campuses of Jewish Home Lifecare.

ChittahChattah Quickies

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Dave Cortright's #1 takeaway from Interaction 09 Redux – "Steve Portigal gave a condensed version of his workshop Well, we did all this research…now what? But the one thing I took away was something simple, yet obvious in hindsight. When you are doing observational and ethnographic research, the observee is the boss. They are always right. Their knowledge, experience, feelings, work environment etc. is the truth, and it is the truth that you seek. You are not there to fix things, or correct them, or show off how smart you are. You are there to learn about the world from their perspective."

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Interaction designer Oliver Bayley's blog about 3 months in a wheelchair while recovering from a snowboarding accident – The soap dispenser and sink were co-located so no problems there. But next I needed to dry my hands. Looking around I discovered that the paper towel dispenser was on the opposite wall from the sink. In order to get to it I had to maneuver my wheelchair, which meant grabbing the grips on the wheels with wet hands. Doing this felt very disjointed and somewhat unsanitary. I was immediately struck by the apparent lack of consideration for wheelchair bound patrons of this restroom within a hospital.
  • A designer from frogdesign has her first mammogram and reflects on the experience – Two images came to me as I stood half naked responding to the technician’s requests to hold perfectly still — the first was the entwined bodies of two dancers from an article on choreographer Alonzo King that is currently featured in the design mind Motion issue, so compelling in their unity, singularity and flexibility; and the second was my daughter smiling and dancing with a sculpture at Maymont Park in Virginia — the cold stone made warm from its wave form and her delight in its human character.
  • Designer Debbie Millman goes to the beauty salon and reflects on life and aging – As I navigate through these fears, I realize that after all the years of wanting, after all the years of feeling bad about who I was and where I was and what I had, I have recently come to the realization that I don’t want life to end. Ever. And though I grimace when I look at myself naked and I have given up trying to read the small type on a menu, I want to do want to continue to get older. So what, I am nearly 50. Big deal. Whether I am fat or thin, rich or poor or with more hair on my face than I have on my head, with each observation, with each day piled high on top of another, I am reminded that I still get to be right here as it all continues to unfold in front of me.

Oddly enough for all of us

I admit that I regularly check out Reuters weird news. Even the list of headlines tells us something.

I guess there’s some cultural titillation in the stream of stories that follow the template of “Oh those wacky Asians|Indians|Gays|Rednecks|Farmers|Poor Folk|etc. !” Of course, what we find funny about the other reveals something interesting about us in turn. That’s certainly one of the side effects of the Museum of Foreign Grocery Products, isn’t it?

Trying to make the story about the story be the story

Laughs End With Bizarre Britney in Rehab

Britney Spears has been ridiculed for everything from her 55-hour first marriage to backup-dancer second husband and her recent pantyless partying escapades. Now that she’s entered rehab, though, the joke is over.

“This girl is out of control,” Joy Behar, a co-host on ABC’s “The View,” said Monday. “And, she’s in a lot of trouble. A lot of people feel this is self-mutilation.”

Craig Ferguson, host of CBS “The Late Late Show,” said that after seeing photos of Spears’ shaved head, he reconsidered making jokes at the expense of the “vulnerable.”

“For me, comedy should have a certain amount of joy in it,” he told viewers Monday. “It should be about attacking the powerful – the politicians, the Trumps, the blowhards – going after them. We shouldn’t be attacking the vulnerable.”

Oh, please. Where does this sanctimonious crap come from? Anna Nicole Smith was comedy fodder until her son died (and maybe after then, and maybe even after she died, for some), regardless of how much of a train wreck that was. We consume and mock and laugh and our celebs are rich and tragic because of our adulation. There’s a lot of stuff going on in our celeb culture and I don’t pretend to try and unpack it here in one paragraph, but the media can take their self-appointed respectable tone and screw off, because if Ferguson won’t make Britney jokes, someone else will. And should. Definitely should.

What’s in a name

As the SF Chron tells us

The cry will go out from city hall in every hamlet and metropolis in Mexico tonight — and will be re-enacted in San Francisco and several other major U.S. cities — “Mexicanos y Mexicanas, Viva la Independencia Nacional! Viva Mexico!”

It’s Mexico’s Fourth of July: A commemoration of the day, 196 years ago, when Father Miguel Hidalgo, a parish priest in the village of Dolores in the state of Guanajuato, rang the church bell to rally his congregation, then gave the grito, or yell, that sparked the war for Mexican independence from Spain.

Just as it took the American patriots eight years from the signing of the Declaration of Independence to win the Revolutionary War, so Mexico’s war of independence stretched on for 11 years. But Sept. 16, 1810, is the day Mexicans declared they would be free from colonial rule.

How lame is that! A “Fourth of July” that is celebrated in September…Does the US have some sort of branded monopoly on having a day of indpendence? I would think of the holiday as Mexican Independence Day, not “the 4th of July for those people.” I don’t want to throw the racist tag around too easily, but it smacks of something uncomfortable.

Elsewhere: Cinco de mayo is not the Mexican 4th of July

P.S. Hannukah is also not the “Jewish Christmas.”

Hitler’s Final Days

Hitler Cafe
Originally uploaded by Poagao.

This MetaFilter thread has lots of the needed jokes but also many other examples in the US and elsewhere of dictator kitsch, or at least questionable political (in)sensitivity in the naming of restaurants.

And today we learn they are going to change the name of the restaurant.

I’m still facinated by the different cultural norms this exposed. In the West we’ve been laughing in confused outrage over how some cartoons could upset Muslins. But the paper yesterday had a quote from a student who said basically “Hitler was a bad man, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat the food here.” It’s ludicrous until you stop for a minute – the connection we draw between eating at a place named after Hitler and belief or support for his actions is not necessarily a universal one. Any more than cartoon images in a Danish newspaper are understandably offensive to us.

How we see each other

Mostly unrelated to the rest of this Metafilter thread was this brilliant comment

Remember that different cultures focus on different features when thinking about race. Americans focus on skin color and eye shape. But from what I’ve heard, what strikes most Asians about white people is their long noses, big chins, and pale hair, not their eyes or skin.

Sure enough, you’ll sometimes see an explicitly American or European character in anime, and they tend to have gigantic long noses and huge jutting chins. Hair color is a little more complicated – after all, anime characters of all races can have bright blue hair – so we probably shouldn’t read too much into it.

So the round-eyed, small-nosed, small-chinned, black-haired (or magical blue-haired) characters are meant to be Japanese. They just conform to Japanese ideas of how the Japanese look, not American ideas.

(Another interesting thing to notice is that Japanese, Chinese and Korean characters in anime look blatantly different, while American artists tend to draw them all more or less the same way. Again, evidence that race looks very different through Japanese eyes than through American ones.)

Hadn’t really thought of that before – that our cultural lenses create different, not opposite, physical/racial archetypes.


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