We’ve incorporated our blog into our new website. Same unique combination of posts about chocolate and bicycles, design and architecture but in a shiny new wrapper: brainstormoverload.com/blog We hope you’ll drop by and linger as long as you like.
Computer generated animation has come a long way but there’s still something about old-school, hand rendered, animation that takes me back to my earliest movie-going days. Having partially nurtured a love for drawing I can’t help but gape at the mind boggling effort and skill required to create a feature length animated film. If, like me, you grew up when Disney was better known for Bambi than for Bieber then take a look at the trailer for The Illusionist. If you like what you see you’re in luck. The Illusionist is currently playing in Minneapolis at the Riverview Theater. Granted it’s showing at 4:00 p.m. but admission is only 2 bucks. So, call in sick, gather some loose change from around the house and go pretend you’re a little kid with imagination gears that mesh perfectly at 24 frames per second.
Currently my days are filled researching communication techniques and visualization tools employed in the realm of transportation, and my work brought me to this gem of a video, an excerpt from the 1958 Disneyland TV Show, Magic Highway USA.
Perhaps you’ve seen it, or perhaps this will be your first time to witness the awesomeness. Yes, the paternalistic mindset is a bit vexing but it does hail from over a half century ago. I breathe a huge sigh of relief that many of the speculative technologies and ways of transport have not become part of our urban (or rural) vernacular. (And thank goodness my day is not filled with taking Junior to the mall for “effortless window shopping on a moving walkway.”) But, I also smile and give a silent cheer in support of those who dared to speculate. Where has that gone? Why don’t we see crazy futuristic imagery like in the days of Bucky Fuller or Frank Lloyd Wright?
Wright, F.L. 1958. The Living City. New York: Horizon Press.
Is it that we have more access to information than ever before, making us all arm chair speculators? If access to information has increased, is there no need to employ Disney to visualize these grandiose ideas by planners, landscape architects, engineers and the like? Or perhaps our speculation has turned to different matters, like smaller technologies and communications? We’re all ears if you have some thoughts on this matter. Darn if they didn’t get some things right in this, like some safety features and increased commuter radius (code for suburbanization). Enjoy and let us know what you think.
We’re still on a quest to understand (and create) the perfect micro-studio for BrainstormOverload and today discovered this nicely done mini-documentary (perfect for a micro-studio quest right). Imaginary Forces has collaborated with Intelligent Life Productions to create a series entitled “Lines”. This one, The Desk helps shed a little light on the importance of desks as a key fixture in our creative workspace. Secondarily it reassures us that we are not simply tilting at windmills which is rather a relief. As a teaser one provocative quote from the film is: “If a messy desk is a sign of a messy mind then what is an empty desk a sign of?”
Feeling swirled by the windy fall and rush of the pre-pre-holiday season, I was cursing the pace of life the other day. In my wishing for more time, I was reminded of a poignant and beautiful video we found a number of years ago. Thankfully the intergoogles worked and I found it again. Le Cadeau du Temps was created by illustrator, Corey Godbey, and set to a tune by Map. It needs no preamble; just watch, enjoy, and if your wish for more time comes true, I highly recommend you share it. <<click the image to see the video>>
Having spent the morning engaged with a juggernaut in the world of self-defeating negativity powered by pretzel logic it was extraordinarily refreshing to receive this link from my erudite brother. To wrap your brain around the 11 minute video linked below you will probably need to watch it twice. The first time through you will find yourself delighted by the whimsical whiteboard illustrations and the narrator’s charming British accent (two things known to disarm Americans).
On the second pass you’ll enjoy how the author Matthew Taylor makes a fascinating and cogent argument for how our self-aware individualism balanced with empathy can evolve/is evolving to help us all meet the challenges we face living in the 21st century enlightenment.
PBS has done it again. An intriguing look at intelligent people doing interesting things. Nothing blows up. There are no scantily clad women. No murders. No esp flashbacks at the scene of a horrific crime. And, there will be no commercials – hallelujah! If you are not used to television of this quality you’ll be delighted to know you have until Summer to work up to it. Start by checking out the trailer at citizenarchitectfilm.com.
“Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio is a documentary film on the late architect Samuel Mockbee and the radical educational design/build program known as the Rural Studio.” In short it looks like one of those stories that is simultaneously heart breaking and deeply inspiring. Reminding us of the power of our creative energies and how meaningful it can be to contribute them without thought of reward.
PBS (which is arguably the only reason to own a television) hosts a plethora of quality programing including a fantastic, in depth, news program called Frontline. On Tuesday, February 2nd at 9:00 p.m. (In the Twin Cities) Frontline is airing “Digital Nation”. If you are reading this blog there is a good chance you work in a digital design field. But, whatever you do you are deeply immersed in the changes interactive media is having on our culture. Changes with far reaching consequences for everything from socialization to attention span, entertainment to warfare. Spending an hour pondering these consequences will likely be tremendously informing (and empowering if it is your job to create whatever comes next). You can see a preview on the pbs.org website.
Frontline has also been running a digital nation website about these issues where you can learn more, share your own story and take a quiz – while you email, txt, instant message and listen to music….
In a related vein NPR recently ran an interesting story about research that suggests many who think they are great at multitasking… aren’t.
The bright red envelope in my mailbox yesterday signaled the much anticipated arrival of Gary Hustwit’s new film Objectified and an evening spent on the couch, in rapt attention with hot cocoa in hand. Directed in a style very similar to his last film Helvetica this movie is a collection of interviews with a series of fascinating characters from the industrial design world. Some of them are practically caricatures of themselves which like cow hide on an Eames chair makes for a secondary dimension of entertainment layered over the primary theme - a dive into a tremendously interesting, important, impactful and often overlooked design field. As the movie points out the sexy stuff from Apple or BMW gets noticed as design but in actuality everything is designed at some level even if that level is a pretty disheartening, single-minded drive to get one more piece of trash into our overflowing landfills via your living room. But take heart, design has exploded onto the radar of the mba set and become the primary business advantage for many products. Designers and manufactures are also coming to recognize that sustainability will be the next advantage. Together with consumers everyone involved is becoming more demanding and if the trend is toward more elegantly designed and more sustainably manufactured products that is a good thing.
Check out the trailer and then reserve a spot on your sofa and make extra hot cocoa so you’ve got enough to get you through the extra features – you’re going to want to soak up every minute of this film.
If you come away wanting to be even more objectified iTunes recently interviewed Gary Hustwit and posted the podcast.
(note this and the iTunes link will open in iTunes)