Archive for August, 2006

ME: Ahree Lee’s brilliant Film

Be sure to check out the great little film by Ahree Lee, Me. Find it at: http://www.ahreelee.com/motion/motion.html

Me1_2 She took a picture of herself every day for three years. Simple and compelling. And she says she is going to keep going. Can’t wait for the sequel!

Here’s what she says about it:

“Starting in November of 2001, I have been taking a picture of myself every day and I haven’t stopped yet. Me was screened at a number of festivals in 2003 and 2004, including L.A. Shorts Fest, the Silver Lake Film Festival in Los Angeles, and Film Fest New Haven, where it won audience and jury awards. Music by Nathan Melsted. “

Check it out!

8 BIT

8BIT, the movie about art and video games is coming to MOMA. Check it out here:

Tree_wave_in_8_bit_2 http://8bitmovie.com/

Should be a good flick for those of us who grew up with Atari and Commodore 64s in their lives. (though most of the guests in the trailer appear to be in their 20s. Not sure how that all works out, but can’t wait to see…)

Here is what they say on their website:

8 BIT is a hybrid documentary examining the influence of video games on contemporary culture.

A mélange of a rocumentary, art expose and a culture-critical investigation, 8 BIT ties together seemingly disconnected phenomena like the 80’s demo scene, chiptune music and contemporary artists using machinima and modified games.

Produced in NYC, LA, Paris and Tokyo, 8 BIT brings a global perspective on the new artistic approaches of the DIY generation which grew up playing Atari and Commodore 64.

Some of the artists featured in 8 BIT include Cory Arcangel, BIT SHIFTER, Bodenstandig 2000, Bubblyfish, Mary Flanagan, Alex Galloway, Glomag, Paul Johnson, John Klima, Johan Kotlinski, Nullsleep, Joe McKay, Tom Moody, Akiko Sakaizumi, Eddo Stern, TEAMTENDO, Treewave and Carlo Zanni.

With the help of media critic Ed Halter and new media curator and writer Christiane Paul, these very recent artistic strategies are put in the historical context of modernist and postmodernist discourse and examined as potential examples of a transition into fresh, uncharted territory.

8 BIT insists that in the 21st century Game-Boy rock, machinima and game theory belong together and share a common root: the digital heritage of Generation X.

GOODBYE POWERPOINT

Last weekend I attended a seminar called Ideas into Action put on by none other than my own brother, Joseph Flahiff, senior project manager at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The idea behind the seminar was to give artists some project management tools to help them manage anything from a large art project, to their art career.

It was a great two days, and I am a very proud big brother. And then this morning I ran across this article from Micro Persuasion on turning your iPod into a presentation device.

Ipresentit They give the technical info in the article, but the gist of it is that you don’t have to pack your laptop all over the place. You can travel, practice, and present right from your iPod, which is pretty cool.

Now we just need a more convenient way to hook the thing up to the board room AV systems. It’s just a matter of time. Resistance is futile.

Check out the article here: http://www.micropersuasion.com/2006/08/turn_your_ipod_.html

And check out my brother’s site: http://josephflahiff.com

ROADSIDE PICNIC

Can’t wait for HANK’S HI-FI to start broadcasting again? Check out the guys at Roadside Picnic. My favorite Podcast is BEAUTY & MEMORY. Thanks to Akira for sending this our way.

GOOD ENOUGH>NEW AND IMPROVED

Yesterday, Seth Godin wrote in his blog:

"So, just about everything that can be improved, is being improved. If you define "improved" to mean more features, more buttons, more choices, more power, more cost.

The washing machine I used this morning had more than 125 different combinations of ways to do the wash… don’t get me started about the dryer. Clearly, an arms race is a good way to encourage people to upgrade.

I wonder, though, if "good enough" might be the next big idea. Audio players, cars, dryers, accounting… not the best ever made, not the most complicated and certainly not the most energy-consuming. Just good enough.

              For some people, a clean towel is a clean towel."

Which reminded me of this funny diagram from http://www.thediagram.com/6_3/leisurearts.html which attempts to diagram the occurance of the phrase "is the new."

Leisurearts_2The Six Million Dollar Man

"Is the new…" is the engine of our economy; it is the creation of demand. New, fresh, more, more, more. Like the The Six Million Dollar Man; better, faster, stronger. True, a clean towel may just be a clean towel–a Chevy Geo will get me from point a. to point b.–but in our maturing marketplace, newness and improvement (read progress) is more and more the principal mover of demand, through the creation of desire.

de-mand

a. The desire to possess a commodity or make use of a service, combined with the ability to purchase it.

b. The amount of a commodity or service that people are ready to buy for a given price: Supply should rise to meet demand.

de-sire 

a. to long or hope for

b. to express a wish for

Creating desire is the primary aim of advertising [as opposed to the identification of  products and services that are needed and useful, which is to say, commerce.] Without desire there would be no demand. Therefore, we might think that we could not be satisfied with a product that was simply good enough [unless price was the only factor, which it rarely is.] And good enough certainly wouldn’t hold as a market strategy for long. Market share will dwindle as new and improved products appear. Competition would crush such a strategy, right? In the past, yes. But it may not be so true anymore. Not by Godin’s reasoning anyway.

No. 2 Pencils, for Instance

Suppose I am going to take the GRE and I need No. 2 pencils [which I was, and I did, but I'd rather not recount that experience. This is just a 'for instance.'] At the store I have a choice between two products; pencil A. and pencil B. They are nothing fancy, just old-fashioned, yellow, No. 2 pencils. But, pencil B. does not come with that pink eraser at the tip, it comes with an oversized, black eraser molded into the shape of the head of Darth Vader. Very cool. I love Darth Vader [saw Star Wars twelve time in the theatre.] All things being equal, it should be pretty obvious that I will choose the Vader pencil.

But all things are never equal; we always pay a premium for the new and improved, better, best, and the undisputed, best in the history of the universe. That Vader pencil will cost me an extra nickel. Is it worth it? The makers of that Vader pencil are betting on it. And right there is the dilemma; how can the makers of the regular pencil, the good enough pencil, get me to value their pencil more highly than the Vader model? How can they get me to buy it?

The Trick

The trick would be for the makers of the regular pencil to make a good enough product appeal to a new and improved consumer, apart from, and/or in addition to, price. Something like:

                                      good enough ? new and improved

                                                                               or

                          good enough "is the new" new and improved

One way to accomplish this feat, is to create a brand that leads it’s industry in one or more of the following values, and by helping consumers view that brand as a "like-minded." [It's like the idea of 'voting with your dollars'] Some possibilities include:

  1. resource conservation (environment)
  2. saving money for a more worthy cause
  3. exercising individuality
  4. setting an example for your kids
  5. doing the right thing
  6. philanthropy/giving back
  7. being the first to do it/tastemakers
  8. owning your products, your products don’t own you
  9. the future/sustainability
  10. patriotism even…

The old version of good enough was the strategy of volume discounters and second-hand clothing stores, but Godin’s take is different. Price is not the deciding factor in this new model.

Good Enough v. 2.0

It’s about reinventing/redefining good enough.

It’s about identifying an emerging set of values and building companies around them.

It’s about recognizing that in today’s market good enough really can be the best ever.

Hanks Hi-fi

HankslogoHank’s will be up and running soon. The station will still be hosted on our private server but we have a dedicated circuit now, so you will not have to keep checking back to get a new URL.

The new system should be up by the end of next month, with any luck. In the mean time, be sure to check out cbcradio3.com. I don’t know if it’s because we are up near the border now or what, but they seem to be playing the best music around right now.

Superman Returns Graphics

Motion graphic design legend Kyle Cooper and his boutique Prologue Films have finished work on the Superman Returns feature titles. If you’re not into the movie, you can have a look at some clips from the title sequence at http://www.prologuefilms.com/

His shop produces that kind of design heavy in 3-D tricks; Flashy and slick. I always feel a little uncomfortable after seeing this kind of work. I’m not being critical of the work, it’s fine for many projects, and after all, if that is what the client is looking for, if they feel that style will help sell them into their market, then by all means, go for it.

But for me it is like comparing a photorealist painting with an expressionist one; they both have merit, both express a unique view of the world. Yet, the photoreal painting does not resonate with me either as an artist or a viewer. I find it more difficult to learn anything new about the subject matter at hand, and by extension, the world at large (not to get too philosophical.)

I am thinking of other shops whose work I am interested in, like the work of some of the talented designers over at FUEL (was that a good enough plug guys?) Check it here: http://fueldesign.com/fuel_mov/fuel_reel06.mov

Its a big, big world and there’s plenty of room for all of us! Keep up the good work out there!

Helvetica, the movie!

Type-geeks unite, we are finally getting our 15 minutes of fame; there is a documentary coming out for the 50th anniversary of the typeface Helvetica; Helvetica opens early next year on the festival circuit.

Shirt_2Get your t-shirts now! The flick is going to be a contender; it is directed by Gary Hustwit, producer of  "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, the award-winning film about the band Wilco; Moog, the documentary about electronic music pioneer Robert Moog; and Drive Well, Sleep Carefully, a tour film about the band Death Cab for Cutie."

If you missed the Death Cab film when it was in Seattle for SIFF, check it out here. Stay tuned for more…

Technical “Opportunities”

Today our trusty Titanium G4 is being reformatted; writing zeros on thirty-five passes. I started the process this morning and it still reads "7 hours to go."

If only we could upgrade to Leopard today; some great new features to play with like spaces.

Spacesheadline20060807_1

This cool new feature should be a boon to freelancers everywhere who, while they appear to be working onsite for one client [given the fact that they are sitting at that client's computer] are actually working on another client’s project. We are certain this never happens here…

Prologue

For lack of a better idea, what if we start by defining what we are talking about? According to the 20 volume online Oxford English Dictionary (OED, 2nd Ed.)

design n.

I. A mental plan.

    1. a. A plan or scheme conceived in the mind and intended for subsequent execution; the preliminary conception of an idea that is to be carried into effect by action; a project.

    b. ‘A scheme formed to the detriment of another’ (J.); a plan or purpose of attack upon or on.

    2. a. In weaker sense: Purpose, aim, intention.

    b. = Intention to go. (Cf. DESIGN v. 13.)

    c. phr. by ({dag}out of, on, upon) design: on purpose, purposely, intentionally.

    3. The thing aimed at; the end in view; the final purpose.

    4. Contrivance in accordance with a preconceived plan; adaptation of means to ends; pre-arranged purpose; spec. used in reference to the view that the universe manifests Divine forethought and testifies to an intelligent Creator (the argument from design).

    5. In a bad sense: Crafty contrivance, hypocritical scheming; an instance of this. Cf. DESIGNING ppl. a. 2. arch.

    II. A plan in art.

    6. A preliminary sketch for a picture or other work of art; the plan of a building or any part of it, or the outline of a piece of decorative work, after which the actual structure or texture is to be completed; a delineation, pattern.

    7. a. The combination of artistic details or architectural features which go to make up a picture, statue, building, etc.; the artistic idea as executed; a piece of decorative work, an artistic device.

    b. transf. of literary work in this and prec. sense.

    8. The art of picturesque delineation and construction; original work in a graphic or plastic art.
  arts of design: those in which design plays a principal part, such as painting, sculpture, architecture, engraving. school of design: a school in which the arts of design are specially taught.

    9. attrib. and Comb., as design book, consultant, engineer; design-conscious a. (see CONSCIOUS a. 12).

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