Art & Architecture

Digital Archeology

Digital Archeology

Quartz, 2019, 9:02… The internet is not forever, it can break and disappear. Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied are part of a growing group of people who preserve and archive our online digital history. They see the web from the 90s and 2000s as an artifact, at times, even, Net Art.

Homogenized Aspiration (Coffee Shops)

Homogenized Aspiration (Coffee Shops)

Quartz, 2019, 5:02… In coffee shops all over the world, the same set of design elements keep popping up. What is happening? Distinctive design elements—Edison bulbs, reclaimed wood, potted plants, exposed brick—are popping up in coffee shops everywhere. But it isn’t just the design of these spaces that are becoming increasingly uniform…

The Benefits of Risky Playgrounds

The Benefits of Risky Playgrounds

Vox, 2019, 5:43… The stereotypical modern playground — with its bright colors and rubberized flooring — is designed to be clean, safe, and lawsuit-proof. But that isn't necessarily the best design for kids. US playground designers spent decades figuring out how to minimize risk: reducing heights, softening surfaces, and limiting loose parts. But now, some are experimenting with creating risk. A growing body of research has found that risky outdoor play is a key part of children’s health, promoting social interactions, creativity, problem-solving, and resilience.

The Karl Marx Festival

The Karl Marx Festival

Vice News, 2019, 4:49… In October, New York University hosted “On Your Marx” — a two week long jubilee to celebrate this bicentennial with a broad, eccentric slate of panel discussions and performances. In the spirit of camaraderie, tickets to all events were priced pay-as-you-wish — from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. VICE News went to sample several of the festival’s unique offerings, including a choral rendition of the Communist Manifesto, a Marxist party with DJs AndrewAndrew, and a contemporary dance performance "ritualizing the labor of its dancers."

Urban Thinkscapes

Urban Thinkscapes

Quartz, 2018, 5:03… Urban Thinkscape is more than just a playground. It was designed by a team of psychologists and architects to encourage families to play while waiting for the bus. The researchers behind the project argue that play is crucial for early childhood development and that there needs to be more of it built into public spaces — more than a playground for kids. In 2050, 70% of the world’s children will live in cities. If the team can prove Urban Thinkscape’s success, it’s a concept that can be replicated almost anywhere.

Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into The Met Museum?

Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into The Met Museum?

Tate, 2018, 6:57… The Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group of feminist, female artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world. The group employs culture jamming in the form of posters, books, billboards, and public appearances to expose discrimination and corruption. To remain anonymous, members don gorilla masks and use pseudonyms that refer to deceased female artists.

Instagram's Effect on Art

Instagram's Effect on Art

Vox, 2018, 5:55… Museums — both new pop-ups and traditional institutions — are capitalizing on smartphone culture by creating spaces whose main appeal is being a backdrop for a great selfie. As more kinds of retail experiences move online, spaces like this — where digital reproducibility through social media is an active part of the design — are only going to get more common.

McMansions & The American Dream

McMansions & The American Dream

Washington Post, 5:26... There’s a certain type of house that people love to hate. They're called "McMansions," and architecture critic Kate Wagner has dedicated her website, McMansion Hell, to explaining why these houses rub people the wrong way.

The Music Doesn't Matter

Popstar Factory -- Vice News Tonight (HBO), 2017, 6:14 -- https://youtu.be/avp4a-WKIRU?t=16m43s

Capitalism has a peculiar way of stripping meaning from cultural arts. Here we see a rationalized process to produce musical icons where the music is the least important thing. It's almost genius-- if you can build up enough buzz around a "product" by appealing to popular trends (i.e., tennis, genderless) then you're likely to make a profit from merchandising and the initial hype. 

Max Weber would lose it if he saw this. The dream of becoming a popstar is now disenchanted and the popstars themselves are now trapped in the iron cage.   

Colorism in Ancient Art

Marble Helped Scholars Whitewash Ancient History -- Vice News Tonight (HBO), 2017, 4:02 -- https://youtu.be/86PD8o6xe_4

I became so mad after I saw this news segment on the whitewashing of sculptures. I never knew these iconographic works of art were originally painted and I now feel duped by the numerous museums where these statues are preserved. If they were intended by their creators to be colorful, then they should be presented as such. This revealing clip speaks to the concepts of colorism, whitewashing, imagined communities, and the white racial frame (among others). I bet students may find this to be an awakening moment too. I certainly did!