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Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Our jackdaw tendency is not getting any better. Swooping in and pulling out links, vainly trying to contextualise them, but usually failing. Perhaps each link needs a little more exposition? A lesson in how to do things: Kottke conveniently cuts and pastes the new Gladwell book / how to celebrate a strange life: Live Forever, 'The Michael Jackson Monument Design Competition', organised by Archinect. Our illustration down below shows Michael Takko's '50 steps'.

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We've been wondering about the ongoing relevance of issuu, a site that compiles magazines in a format that mimics archived paper copies but all too often seems to be mostly stocked with purely digital productions. The outlaw days of people bootlegging magazines seems to have vanished (although sites like fashion scans, The Black Pit and Pink Pistol will sort you out). Instead, there's a strange array of zines, catalogues, brochures and specialist press, all wedded to a delivery mechanism that's slick but utterly unsuited to the physicality of magazines. Of course, there's always the odd gem, like the Urban Sketchers' car magazine.

What the site actually does is contort things that might not otherwise be suited to print into a magazine-inspired format, forcing their reappraisal on a series of predetermined aesthetic grounds. Have a new clothing label? Create something that implies a history, a backstory, a continuity. This can only work for so long. Ten, maybe twenty years from now, when flat panel readers will finally kill the tropes and habits of traditional print design, the only emotion associated with the Issuu shopfront will be nostalgia. Perversely, it will be only the sketchbook, the last immediate link between hand, eye and page, that will endure. The lavish, ad-fat newsstand behemoth will cease to be a model to imitate.

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Related (and rather implying that day is not here yet), What are you reading on the subway? (via daily discoveries) / on Eichlers / PLSJ, a tumblr / Honey is Funny is a fine weblog / Miniature Brides / nineteenpoint, a designer's weblog / design and music come together at Beautiful Sounds (both last links via diskant).

Michael Jantzen is the ultimate virtual architect, something he is well aware of: 'You know, I design these things, and get them out on the Internet and hope someone will come back to me wanting to build. So far, all I seem to get is more press. [Laughs.] Which just leads to more press.' We've often featured his work on things, and his self-awareness is relatively rare within the industry. Here is the contemporary design dilemma in a nutshell; virtual architecture begets more virtual architecture, a spiral of imaginary forms.

Circa, an art magazine from Ireland / thirty-four parking lots, a 'remake of Ed Ruscha's project using Google Maps' (via we will become / Polis, 'a collaborative blog on urbanism with a global focus' / 1194km, a weblog / A design a day / hooray, we qualify as being slow web / Freddie Robins is a curator.

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