Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Lessons From Hurricane Katrina

As the media frenzy hits full swing about the hurricane, I find it is a good time to analyze how we, as a society, deal with catastrophe.

Apparently, one thing we do is show racial bias in our media coverage.

As So Many Shrimp points out, according to the news coverage, White people "find" things, while Black people "loot."

Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans, Louisiana.(AFP/Getty Images/Chris Graythen)

"A woman walks through chest-deep water as she heads to loot a grocery store in New Orleans, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005, as floodwaters continue to rise after Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Monday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)"

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Jock Art

Cool Hunting just gave me the heads up to an innovative and creative art project called RECYCL'art, in which select artists refashion the sporting equipment of famous athletes to help raise awareness about environmentalism among sports fans.

The exhibit is directed by Yuko Tamae of the IGFY Corporation an environmentalist sports company and is in its fourth year.

Two of my favorites are pictured below. I love what the artist says about the dog, which is made from Yomiuri Giants first baseman Kazuhiro Kiyohara’s baseball shoes and batting gloves . “I thought of Kazuhiro Kiyohara as he protects base and it reminded me of a guard dog protecting their home ground, Tokyo Dome,” the artist explains, “Whenever the opponent comes, he’s ready to bite!” And the soccer cleat shark is just really cool.

Animal Kingdom

From the weird and wild Animal Kingdom comes two stories of people using everyday tools and materials to repair injured animals.

You may have heard about the tortoise who had his shell patched up with fiberglass following surgery to remove his bladder stones.

Well, now there is a Thai elephant who has been fitted with a temporary prosthetic leg after losing her leg to a land mine six years ago.

The "leg" appears to be basically a big bag stuffed with wood shavings that is attached to the stub that was left after her accident. The BBC article claims there are plans to fit her with a stronger silicone and fiberglass leg if all goes well with the temporary one.

Next up, replacement titanium beaks for all those birds that keep flying into windows.


LEGO Digital Designer

This is an idea that I wish was around when I was coming up. I loved LEGOs, but sometimes I felt a little constrained by having mostly standard, rectangular blocks, or not having enough of the pieces I wanted.

Well, the technology has finally caught up to children's imagination. LEGO is now offering downloadable software that lets you create virtual 3-D models of LEGO creations. You can share your designs with other LEGO users, and even place an order to receive a kit with all the pieces you need to make your digital LEGO design a reality.

I'm downloading the software now, and will give it a whirl and let you know if it is worth the effort. But this could easily be the coolest toy innovation in a while.

Let's pretend I didn't get that excited about that last sentence.

Via Core 77.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Birds Are Stoopid

Apparently 300 times more birds die every year from flying into glass windows then were killed in the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

What does that tell us other than that birds aren't particularly bright creatures? It says we obviously keep our windows too clean. BuildingGreen.com has an article all about various ways to address the problem with design solutions. One of those solutions is pictured below - a film with patterned designs of trees that is placed on windows to dissuade birds from going Kamikaze. The film is currently in use at a Rangers Centre in that friendly nation to the North of us - with no reported casualties so far.

I don't know what other innovations there are for preventing fly-by bird deaths, because you need a subscription to read the article. So thanks to Treehugger for telling me about this one.

Michael Paulus

If you love Michael Paulus's translucent hinged-panel pieces featuring the skeletons of famous cartoon characters, then I'm sure you'll dig his new show.

Michael sent me an email to say that he will be having his work exhibited at Basil Hallward Gallery on the top floor of Powells books in downtown Portland. The opening is this Thursday Sep. 1st @ 7pm and the show will be up through October 4th (he thinks). So if you are in the Portland area, defintiely go check it out.

Saul Williams

Breath of Life updated their weekly musings on music, and one of this week's artists is none other than the modern griot Saul Williams.

If you don't know who Saul Williams is let me first say that he is hard to label. He is a spoken word artist, an actor, a musician, an MC, a writer, and poet. His words are always thought provoking, often powerful and inspiring, and frequently borderline genius.

B.O.L. is taking a look at Saul's track Black Stacey off his 2004 self-titled album. Black Stacey is a glaringly honest track about Saul's insecurities growing up as skinny, dark-skinned kid. One of my favorite cuts off the album, it features Saul bearing his soul for all to see. While more straightforward then his usual metaphor-laden, linguistic concoctions, Black Stacey demonstrates Saul's ability to connect with his audience. His charisma is undeniable in my opinion, and, considering most of his audience is probably White, I think it really shines through in this song because he exposes his particular racial insecurities in a way that truly universalizes them.

B.O.L. doesn't seem too blown away with Saul's music, but his 2004 album was one of my favorites of the year. It doesn't sound like commercial hip hop, but to me it was very much a hip hop album set to a punk-rock score. I think the heavy sounds of the album alienated some listeners - but that is really their loss. The songs are rich with lyrical meaning, and the sound expresses the passion of the words - emphasizing the emotions present in Saul's delivery. The production isn't very radio friendly, but for me it is still effective in providing a musical heart-beat for Saul's startingly powerful and complex lyrics. Plus, he drops lines like "I left hip hop to white boys when nobody was looking/found it locked in the basement when they gentrified brooklyn." That could be spit over a harpsicord and a mouth harp and it would still be hip hop in my eyes.

The Pitchfork review of the album really spells out the biggest challenge with marrying the rich lyrical style of Williams' verse with any type of music.

"It's probably a frustration to artists like Saul Williams to feel as though they're preaching to the converted, when their message is one of widespread mental enlightenment. While the experimentalism of slam poetry is aimed at making complex or subtle emotions digestible to large audiences, musical experimentation tends to immediately alienate large portions of listeners. Still, Saul Williams is stuck between two conceits. To fulfill the huge potential inherent in his style, he's either going to have to find more abstract sonics and freer forms to compliment his equally liquid verse, or fully give himself over to writing some radio-friendly, MTV-ready material. Either would be a good move from a poet with the potential to fully embody the fiercely potent voice of right now."

For a great interview with Saul, check out Tastes Like Chicken. And cop that album now. And check out the message board on the official site, which apparently Saul reads and participates in now and again.

You can also check out Saul's most recent written work here.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Shuckin and Jivin

I just read a disturbing article in the Washington Post about a monthly hip-hop event in New York called a "Kill Whitie" party, in which an almost exclusively white clientele gets down and dirty to the raunchiest booty bass and gangsta hip hop.

Now, I haven't attended one of these events, so I'm going just off of what was included in this article. The DJ that runs the party, Tha Pumpsta, says his goal is to "kill the whiteness inside" of the attendees by playing party hip-hop tracks for the nice white folks to dance to.

I'm all in favor of people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and ethnicities getting their swerve on. And being raised in South Florida, I would love to hear some Luke, Poison Clan, DJ Laz, or Trick Daddy in the club. It would certainly be better then when I walk by mostly white bars and hear Montell Jordan coming out of the speakers.

But where the Kill Whitie party missteps is the fact that the attendees are there because they'd rather "be with their own" and "imitate" Black hip hop culture than participate in it. Here's what I mean.

"A regular Kill Whitie partygoer, she tried the conventional (that is, non-hipster) hip-hop clubs but found the men "really hard-core." In this vastly whiter scene, Casady said that "it's a safe environment to be freaky."

Hmm. Racial stereotype of black men as frightening? Check. Hold on, maybe I'm jumping to conclusions. I've been to big hip hop clubs too, and they are really crowded, and normally there are way too many cats who aren't there to dance and have fun but just want to beef or grab asses. So maybe this isn't that "racialist."

"There's nothing subtle about his advertising. His street fliers come emblazoned with the words "Kill Whitie" across a woman's backside. Another flier offers free admission to anyone with a bucket of fried chicken."

Oh crap. Stereotype of Black people liking fried chicken? Check.

I just really don't understand why you would give this whole racial slant to a hip hop party. It is like a parody of reality. Why would people go to this party and put on some act. Either you like that music and enjoy dancing to it - or you don't. A "Kill Whitie" party full of white people isn't ironic. It's using their place of racial privelege as a safe space to act out what aessentially racial fantasies.

What's so perplexing is that hip hop has for the most part embraced its Caucasian patrons already. There doesn't seem to be a need to carve out this white niche within the culture. So why do the people attending these parties only feel comfotable behaving this way in the comfort of white-washed surroundings? Simply adding a self-deprecating title to the event doesn't change that these "white hipsters" are essentially dressing up in invisible blackface. It doesn't sound like they are being ironic - it just sounds pretty ridiculous.

Read the article then let me hear your thoughts on this.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

PRADE Worldwide

PRADE is apparently pimping all over the world.

Site Meter is able to geographically map the visitors to the site. The past 100 visitors include people from 5 continents. We're keeping it gangsta from Australia to Argentina. We also just got linked to by an Italian design blog, Caymag. Grazie!

So a big thank you to the world for showing PRADE love. We'll try to keep up our end of the bargain and provide you with some interesting things to read about and share with your friends.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Simpsons

There is this animated show on Fox called "The Simpsons." Maybe you've heard of it.

Well apparently some people are somewhat diehard fans of the show, and have more time and money then sense.

Below is a picture of an actual house built to be an exact replica of the Simpsons home. Yes the cartoon home that cartoon characters live in. As sad as that is, they did do an outstanding job!

See more photos at Ebaum's World.

Kansas City Sprint Center Arena

First off - let me apologize for the infrequent updates over the past week, work had me chained to my desk. On to the design . . .

Daily Dose has an interesting write up about the final design for the Kansas City Sprint Center Arena. The downtown complex will feature a sporting arena, the National Association of Basketball Coaches'’ College Basketball Experience, and a covered park area.

DD informs us that the biggest criticism of the design had been the change from an
earlier, flashier exterior to the current appearance (pictured below). I understand why. Not that the earlier design was that impressive (reminds me of the neon Heat arena in Miami), but this new one looks like a decapitated disco ball.

Apparently the arena is an attempt to revitalize the downtown area. I agree with Dose, it takes more than throwing up a stadium to truly revitalize urban neighborhoods. However, maybe this will spur further development . . . like a municipal building shaped like a platform shoe.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


A pair of artists known as The User have converted an abandoned 1950's grain silo into a unique musical instrument called the Silophone.

The User have equipped the silo with microphones and loudspeakers that allow people to hear a sound reverberated around the silo. The public can contribute their own sounds to the project via telephone or the internet - and then hear their sounds bounce around the empty space through a Real Audio stream (click the bottom left corner of the official site). There is also a physical sonic observatory located near the silo in Montreal.

Apparently there have also been original works composed especially for the Silophone. A list of these type of events is available here.

This certainly is an interesting fusion of architecture, music, and technology. The stream doesn't seem to work perfectly which is slightly frustrating, but conceptually I definitely dig the interactive concept. There is also an amazing collection of photos of the abandoned silo that are alone a good enough reason to visit the site - they can be found in the "Reservoir" section of the site.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Audio Blogs Are The New Ish

As the new DangerDoom and Kanye West albums slowly leak into the blogsphere, I just have to give a big thank you to all the audio bloggers out there. They scour the P2P networks so you don't have to.

And I truthfully believe that they are a boon to the music industry. Most of them keep tracks up just for a few days, and they normally leak just a few tracks. Rather then cutting into record sales, I think they help build hype for new releases in ways that radio can't. As a full time pedestrian, I rarely listen to radio anyway. And the bloggers allow the less commercial tracks from new albums to hit the podwaves even though those same cuts would never see the light of day on radio, MTV, or BET. Plus the mixes that the cyber DJs out there put out are sick - I can sit at my computer rocking out to iller jams than anything spinning at DC clubs.

And thanks to them, I'm sitting here writing about how dope the new MF Doom offering is, and telling you that the Kanye album seems like a huge step up in maturity for K West the Egomaniac, at least musically.

Just wanted to give a little shine to the audiobloggers - your efforts are appreciated. Thanks for both your commentary and your contributions to my iTunes.

If you are new to the game, some of my favorites include:
Checkerboard Chimes
Certified Bananas
Get Stoopid
Cult Status
Why F Around
So Many Shrimp
Government Names
Weave in they hair weed in they purse
Houston So Real

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Wynn in Sin City

Wired has a great article about Vegas hotel and casino developer Steve Wynn and his latest project, Wynn Las Vegas.

Wynn claims the $2.7 billion resort that took 30 months to erect is the most complex structure ever built. Yes, ever. Before you accuse him of hyperbole, it is worth noting the complexities of the structure that includes a 5.8 million sq foot complex, a mountain that weighs as much as one of the former Twin Towers, a 100 hundred foot waterfall, landscaping that includes 100 year old trees that weigh as much as 200 hundred tons, a lake with 4,400 LED lamps, the largest hard-wired HDTV network ever, and a system of radio-frequency identification gambling chips that helps prevent counterfeiting.

Ok, so it is still hyperbole, but not as much as you initially thought I bet.

It's actually a handsome building, with a landscaped serenity that is a significant change from the flaming volcano and jumping fountain flair of Wynn's previous resorts.

American Architecture Awards

When it comes down to it, PRADE's interest in architecture stems from the fact that I just really like to look at pictures of cool buildings.

So obviously, when I saw that the 2005 American Architecture Awards winners were all posted on the AAA site, I had to share them with my fellow architecture and design enthusiasts.

Included in this year's winners are the Dwell Home . . .

. . . one of the coolest churches ever . . .

. . . a ridiculously dope NY rooftop loft . . .

. . . and a gorgeously landscaped and exterior lit Picasso Museum in Malaga.

Unfortunately, the official site has only one image of each project. Which is why sites like A Daily Dose and Land + Living are great for getting a better look at these interesting projects. Other winners I recommend checking out are the South Mountain Community College Performing Arts Center, the 222 Residence, and the Sun Valley Residence.

(If you are a Dwell and Metropolis reader, some of these projects will already be familiar to you)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Slice Chair

Good lord I've been overwhelmingly busy at work this week.

I'll keep this short - but check out this ridiculously cool chair from Mathias Bengtsson. Bengtsson combines 3-D modeling, laser cutting and hand crafting techniques to create organic looking work that has deep technological roots.

Check out more of his work at his site.

The form is modeled by hand then digitized by a computer, then sliced. The resulting shape of each slice is mapped onto an aluminum, corrugated cardboard or plywood sheet, which is cut accordingly. When the stack is re-assembled, a chair is formed, looking like a kind of symmetrical erosion."

Via Land + Living.


The online mapping game just got a whole lot more REAL.

A9 just threw down the gauntlet to Google Maps.

Not only does A9 offer a similar (though slower) scrolling map function as Google Maps, but it also displays an overview map to help you keep track of where you are when you are zoomed in.

But the real kicker is that it offers "Block View Images" - actual street level-view images of the streets in most major cities. As in, you can literally see what you would as you walked along the street, on both sides! I poop on you not. I just tested it out with my crib, and sure enough you can see my building just as if you were cruising by on the sidewalk.

A9 even brought me right to the front gates of Gtown University . . .

While A9 doesn't seem to offer a totally seamless interactive experience, the Block View has definitely revolutionized the game. Test it out for yourself, and be amazed!

Thanks to Josh Spear.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Apple Stampede

An offer by a school in Virginia to sell used iBook laptops for $50 a piece turned ugly earlier today when the massive crowd that had gathered outside for a chance to purchase one of the laptops charged the entrance - injuring several people.

There is video footage of the event here - wait til after the guy talks and you can see footage of the full on stampede. A baby stroller was completely trampled (the baby was uninjured).

Via Engadget.

Blogger For Microsoft Word

As a Blogger user, I find the service incredibly easy-to-use and efficient. However, it isn't always that reliable - and if the Blogger site isn't cooperating, I can't really draft posts, etc.

That is . . . until now. Blogger for Word adds a simple toolbar to your Microsoft Word that allows you to draft and edit Blogger posts directly in Word. When you are ready to Save or Publish the post, Word asks you for your account and password and then uploads the post.

I'm definitely going to check it out as a way to quickly crank out blog posts on Word to make uploading my Blogger site even easier.

Via Life Hacker.

Scarred Earth

BLDGBLOG has linked to some great photos by Edward Burtynsky from an exhibition he has at Stanford.

The exhibition features Burtynsky's look at scenes of manufactured beauty, from mines to oil refineries to shipbreaking beaches. He makes dramatic scenery out of places that are often overlooked, and that represent the worst about the exploitive human relationship with nature. His work emits a mesmerizing beauty that is discomfiting when you consider its source - but stunning nevertheless. Beautiful photographs that will hopefully make viewers at least contemplate the physical effects human society engenders on the natural world.

One of my favorites is below in thumbnail form, but check out all the photos in their full glory right here. And head over to Burtynsky's own site for a host of other images. I really dig some of the oil field images of gleaming new pipes running through absolutely pristine landscapes (like the one pictured below). There is a lot of the attitudes of modern society captured in these images.

Lego Brickfest 2005

Unfortunately, I wasn't in town to make it out to Arlington to visit Lego's Brickfest 2005 convention. It looks like I missed some pretty cool creations constructed entirely out of those little plastic bricks.

The convention is organized by Adult Fans of Lego and features everything from recreations of Minas Tirith from Lord of the Rings to replica battleships and abstract depictions of Jesus. Construction of these projects can take weeks, and some participants even map out their creations on computer software before erecting them. My favorites include the replica of the Taj Majal and the "BlackTron Intelligence Agency," an original creation that was part of the Moonbase Project section. Both are pictured below, and you can check out other images at Wired and on the Brickfest site.

Although the convention made apparent that there are plenty of 30 year old geeky guys who still play with Legos, I wonder if kids even mess with these anymore. I'm sure from their perspective it seems much cooler to explore 3-D Halo environments on Xbox than to construct little houses out of plastic. But I would hate to think that a new generation of kids would miss out on this imagination-inspiring toy. I wonder how many of today's architects had the seed of their visions planted from making towers with Legos or even using those old Lincoln Logs.

Speaking of which, when are they going to release a "Sim Architect" - in which you design and build houses for clients. The best part of The Sims for me was always making the houses - and I definitely would dig a version that just focused on that and gave you a plethora of options from which to construct your masterpiece. But I digress . . .

Via Wired.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Do You Like to Do-It-Yourself?

When Fed Ex is not distributing free firearms to unsuspecting citizens, apparently they are providing creative cheapskates with materials for furniture making.

Jose makes all his furniture out of Fed Ex boxes, and he even has a website to show you how to do it. This guy must have (a) way too much time on his hands and (b) no desire to ever bring a girl home to his apartment.

I also don't totally buy that this guy doesn't have enough money to buy furniture. Having furnished my apartment with lots of free and next-to-free stuff from Craigslist, I know that furnishing your place sometimes just involves doing the leg work to pick up the furniture that people don't want. Regardless though, I'm sure this required a lot of time and effort and it certainly is a creative use of free materials. It probably last longer than most Ikea furniture too!

P.S. Is it just me, or does the use of the word "ghetto" on his site hint that this guy isn't really poor?

Via Brother Falker

Friday, August 12, 2005

Weekend Update with Paul Roberts

I was travelling for work all day yesterday, so I apologize for the lack of updates. Seems like the new header is a modest hit, so it will be here to stay for the time being.

Despite my absence, I've been keeping my ear to the streets. Here is the latest hot ish to check out when you have some time - just remember where you heard about it.

If you dig world music, especially West-African rhythms and vocal harmony, you definitely need to check out Toto Bona Lokua right now. The project is a collaboration of three accomplished musicians, Lokua Kanza, Richard Bona and Gerald Toto. The music is mostly improvised, and draws on sounds from all three of their musical roots (Congo, Cameroon, and the French-Caribbean). I was hipped to it by NPR, so you know it is legit. During the interview, they joked about how they would make up words while recording knowing that the Westerners would listen and speculate about what African language the word was from and what it meant, even though it was just invented to sound good with the music. You can hear samples of the songs on the NPR website.

I also just watched an amazing trailer for Jarhead, the latest movie from director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition). It looks to be the next "war is surreal" classic, plus the trailer features fantastci use of a certain Kanye West song. Peep the trailer here.

And Weez posted a video that is sure to make you chuckle. The guy's face is priceless.

Be safe this weekend kids.
PRADE out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Free Nikes

Well, not actually free in the financial sense.

Wired has a great article explaining the development process for the Nike Free, Nike's newest line of running shoes designed to emulate the barefoot running experience. Basically, during research, Nike discovered that Stanford track coach Vin Lananna encouraged his runners to train barefoot on grass. Stanford's success indicated that there might be something to this approach - so Nike investigated how they could recreate the barefoot experience in a running shoe. After all, the last thing a sneaker company wants to hear is that the best athletes in the world are taking off their shoes to go train!

The key to Nike's reign as the king of sneakers has been its ability to reinvent itself and stay ahead of the curve. While I haven't really been that impressed with the style of their recent basketball shoes, I am definitely more interested in their approach to rethinking the running shoe than Adidas's $200 computerized entry.

I still haven't tried on a pair of the Nike Free - but I head to NY this weekend, which always includes stops at several sneaker spots, so maybe I'll take a pair for a test drive.

Grooves cut into the sole of the sneaker allow an
increased flexibility and range of motion.

Necessity Breeds Ingenuity

After discovering a problem with my header bar this morning, I decided to re-design it.

The result of that effort appears above. Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Update: After receiving some less than stellar responses, I've switched the header up one more time. Again, honest feedback is appreciated.

PRADE Archives: An Oak Tree

I had a conversation with someone recently about this great piece I saw at the Tate Modern in London. Rather than force people to dig through the archives to find it, I present the post again in all its original glory.

The text from the installation is pure brilliance, and still cracks me up when I read it!

While in London I stopped off at the Tate Modern. The building is appropriately ugly from the outside, as it is a converted power station. However, the inside space is fantastic, and I was particularly impressed with the various areas designated for people to merely sit and hang out. Although DC residents are used to free museums, it definitely isn't the norm in other cities. But the Tate is open and free to all - and I saw several people hanging out on the couches provided, reading and writing. Offering up that type of public space in a museum is fantastic, and really demonstrated the attitude of the building as a place to contemplate art not just walk by and look at it.

During my visit, I was particularly interested in seeing the Magritte pieces in the collection, and they certainly didn't disappoint. After entering into a heated debate with my lovely PRADE-ette later in the afternoon about the essence of art and the nature of art as a statement - we came across what became my favorite piece in the museum.

It was entitled "An Oak Tree" by Michael Craig-Martin. The piece looks like this:

Copyright Michael Craig-Martin

It features a glass filled with water, set high on a shelf. The idea that the artist is calling a glass of water "an oak tree" immediately calls to mind Magritte's "This is not a pipe" and echoes the notion of art as a conceptual exercise rather than an aesthetic one that is largely credited to Marcel Duchamp. But what really made the piece so interesting to me was the text that accompanied the piece, written by Craig-Martin himself.

It reads like a Douglas Adams passage, and immediately made me realize that the artist has both a great sense of humor and an interesting perspective on the nature of art that makes this piece thought-provoking and not merely an exercise in intellectual masturbation. I'd be interested to see if his other work demonstrates a similar wit and conceptual creativity, because this piece was exemplary.

The full text is copied below. Enjoy.

Q. To begin with, could you describe this work?
A. Yes, of course. What I've done is change a glass of water into a full-grown oak tree without altering the accidents of the glass of water.

Q. The accidents?
A. Yes. The colour, feel, weight, size ...

Q. Do you mean that the glass of water is a symbol of an oak tree?
A. No. It's not a symbol. I've changed the physical substance of the glass of water into that of an oak tree.

Q. It looks like a glass of water.
A. Of course it does. I didn't change its appearance. But it's not a glass of water, it's an oak tree.

Q. Can you prove what you've claimed to have done?
A. Well, yes and no. I claim to have maintained the physical form of the glass of water and, as you can see, I have. However, as one normally looks for evidence of physical change in terms of altered form, no such proof exists.

Q. Haven't you simply called this glass of water an oak tree?
A. Absolutely not. It is not a glass of water anymore. I have changed its actual substance. It would no longer be accurate to call it a glass of water. One could call it anything one wished but that would not alter the fact that it is an oak tree.

Q. Isn't this just a case of the emperor's new clothes?
A. No. With the emperor's new clothes people claimed to see something that wasn't there because they felt they should. I would be very surprised if anyone told me they saw an oak tree.

Q. Was it difficult to effect the change?
A. No effort at all. But it took me years of work before I realised I could do it.

Q. When precisely did the glass of water become an oak tree?
A. When I put the water in the glass.

Q. Does this happen every time you fill a glass with water?
A. No, of course not. Only when I intend to change it into an oak tree.

Q. Then intention causes the change?
A. I would say it precipitates the change.

Q. You don't know how you do it?
A. It contradicts what I feel I know about cause and effect.

Q. It seems to me that you are claiming to have worked a miracle. Isn't that the case?
A. I'm flattered that you think so.

Q. But aren't you the only person who can do something like this?
A. How could I know?

Q. Could you teach others to do it?
A. No, it's not something one can teach.

Q. Do you consider that changing the glass of water into an oak tree constitutes an art work?
A. Yes.

Q. What precisely is the art work? The glass of water?
A. There is no glass of water anymore.

Q. The process of change?
A. There is no process involved in the change.

Q. The oak tree?
A. Yes. The oak tree.

Q. But the oak tree only exists in the mind.
A. No. The actual oak tree is physically present but in the form of the glass of water. As the glass of water was a particular glass of water, the oak tree is also a particular oak tree. To conceive the category 'oak tree' or to picture a particular oak tree is not to understand and experience what appears to be a glass of water as an oak tree. Just as it is imperceivable it also inconceivable.

Q. Did the particular oak tree exist somewhere else before it took the form of a glass of water?
A. No. This particular oak tree did not exist previously. I should also point out that it does not and will not ever have any other form than that of a glass of water.

Q. How long will it continue to be an oak tree?
A. Until I change it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

PRADE Book Club

I love design books about architecture - they are the perfect coffee table book. Easy to flip through and digest, good conversation pieces, and purty to look at.

Next time I'm in the bookstore I have no doubt that I'll consider adding this one to my collection. Compact Houses explores modern houses that "are designed to make maximum use of the smallest possible footprint in order to protect the environment. The houses profiled here prove that efficiency as well as beautiful, thoughtful design can be had in a tiny setting."

Sounds interesting and the project on the cover definitely catches my eye. I'll let you know if it is worth picking up.

Via Land + Living.

Who Loves Their Chair More Than Me?

Nobody does. That's why I think I have this I Love My Chair contest in the bag.

All you have to do is submit a photo of your chair with an explanation of why it is the best chair in your eyes. Winners will be included in a new book being published by Sense Worldwide featuring the best entries of people's favorite chairs, with the grand prize winner receiving this Herman Miller Aeron chair (which is worth more than my computer!)

If you aren't sure just how much I love my chair, read this and this and you'll get a better understanding. Or better yet, come over and I'll let you sit in it (briefly) and you can experience it for yourself. Chances are you won't want to get out of it ever again.

I will try to take a photo of my personal chair and post it. In the meantime, this is exactly what mine looks like.

Entries are due by Sept 5th, so go home, take a load off, and think why people might be interested in reading about your personal throne.

Via Josh Spear.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Quote of the Day

"Working on your birthday sucks."

- P.F.C. Roberts

Odie made his first appearance in Garfield on August 8, 1978. Guess he was working on his bday too.

Photoshop Reality

Ever since I've been receiving the NY Times Sunday edition for free at my new apartment courtesy of a lazy former tenant who obviously didn't cancel his subscription - I've been extremely impressed with the number of interesting features in the Arts and Magazine sections.

This weekend was no exception, when the NY Times showcased the inventive and unique Photoshopped art of Micah Ganske. Ganske utilizes Photoshop to create first person images that truly capture his perspective in his daily life. He manages to make the camera disappear in his work by stitching together separate images - like the photo of him shaving below.

Not only is Ganske's work an eye-catching, modern digital interpretation of Trompe L'oeil, it also captures the notion that art can represent the experience of daily life. This work might also be a sign of the next generation of digital reality to come - a true first person digital experience.

Well the NY Times didn't just marvel at the work and wonder "How'd he do that?" They went one step further and allowed Ganske to explain the process he uses step by step. Check out the slideshow of the evolution of the image above right here.

Check out more of Ganske's work at Adobe's site, as he won this year's Adobe Design Acheivment Award.

Monday Monday

Something to put a smile on your face at the start of a new week.

A picture truly is worth a thousand words.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Modern Design At Its Best

Land + Living has been running a series of fantastic pieces about this year's CA BOOM II, a modern design conference and home tour of the best in SoCal contemporary design - yet another reason why this is becoming one of my favorite architecture and design sites on the web.

Today they are featuring the McKinley Residence, the breathtaking home of architect David Hertz. The house is truly spectacular and represents everything I like about modern design. Instead of being a "modern" large, sparse, white box, the house is a warm combination of indoor/outdoor spaces that is intelligently designed to be open, airy, bright and comfortable.

The house is made up of a series of volumes connected by lush, landscaped courtyards and glass enclosed bridges. Huge sliding glass doors, windows and skylights flood the space with light, while the layout of the house itself seems to provide plenty of open, shady areas that allow you to cool out peacefully.

And the house is extremely environmentally friendly - with solar hot water and radiant heating and cooling systems, natural ventilation from skylights and windows that automatically open and close to regulate the temperature, and solar panels for generating electricity for the house.

But the beauty is also in the details, like this finger-jointed staircase and exposed shower. There are several little touches like this throughout the house that make it even more impressive in my book. Hertz particularly does some interesting stuff with concrete, as he developed his own type of lightweight precast concrete called Syndecrete.

And finally, the landscaping is perfect. Combined with the courtyard layout and the overhanging roof and balconies, it really gives the house a tropical modern feel - which is what I think I'm most drawn to about the project.

All of these photos are from the Land + Living gallery, so a big thank you to them for providing so much detail about one of the most exciting residential projects I've seen since I became interested in design. Head on over to their gallery for even more detailed photos.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

R.I.P. Chappelle Show

Charlie Murphy says Chappelle Show is done.

"Chappelle's Show is over, man. Done," comic Charlie Murphy told TV Guide. "It took me a long time to be able to say those words, but I can say it pretty easy now, because it's the truth."

I'm a little vaclempt. Talk amongst yourselves.

Adidas Reebok Merger

News is just coming in that a deal is in the works for adidas to buyout Reebok.

This teaming-up of the titans will potentially create a huge shift in the sneaker and athletic-wear market. Although it appears both brands will continue to exist under the adidas umbrella, the merger will combine in one company the celebrity and exclusive league apparel deals that Reebok has with the international clout the adidas brand enjoys in Europe and Asia.

Details of the future plans for both brands haven't surfaced yet, but I personally would love to see an additional new line that could wed adidas and Reebok styles and create something unique and different.

No comment from Nike yet - the leader in the domestic sneaker game. But I imagine this can't be welcomed news from their standpoint. It definitely overshadows their recent purchase of Converse.


Thanks to my brother for the heads up.

Shit on a Stick

Literally. Poop. Caca. Doody.

This year's D&AD Student of the Year Award went to a Chinese team for developing a Dog Poo Spray. I shit you not.

Their project detailed an interesting method of removing pet feces that involves freezing the excrement on a stick using liquid nitrogen, allowing you to easily grab the stick and toss it in your neighbor's lawn (or a trash can).

Seriously though, the graphic presentation they put together is pretty cool. Garrick Hamm, Creative Director of Williams Murray Hamm and D&AD Education Chairman, commented, "Not only was this a clever, environmentally useful idea but it was extremely well thought through and the execution was slicker than an Italian racing driver. If these creatives haven’t got jobs by the end of the summer, please send me an email…but I have a funny feeling they will be busy."

However, their idea seems eerily similar to that of Jack Black's character in the film Envy, "the most underrated comedy of our generation" according to film critic Clay Dunn. Might there be a lawsuit pending from the makers of Vapoorizer? Stay tuned.

And if you only read this story because you have an unexplainable interest in scatology - check this website for endless hours of amusement. Seriously, do it right now. It's hysterical.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Mix CD Cases Made Simple

Paper CD Case is a great site for making quick and easy paper cases or paper inserts for jewel cases for all your mix/burned cds.

The paper case folding is a little tricky at first, but you can get the hang of it. There is even a script available to import your iTunes playlist to make printing your playlist even easier.

Via Lifehacker.

Panorama Jama

If you haven't ever seen a Quicktime Virtual Reality panorama online - I highly recommend you go explore this site - it has archives with tons of full screen QTVR panoramas showcasing the beauty of everywhere from Niagara Falls to the Moon. It is the best way to be a tourist from the comfort of your own home - all you need is the Quicktime plug-in and you can have a full 360 degree view of the world's most popular sites. You can even look up and down, zoom in and out, or just spin around in circles until you get nauseous.

The site links to all different types of QTVR photography from around the world - and trust me, people take these photos everywhere you can think of - from Himalayan mountaintops to underwater Bali dive spots.

And as Archinect points out, there is a whole site dedicated to panoramas of WWII European Landmarks, including the new Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. This new memorial is a perfect place to experience via QTVR - with the rows of geometric blocks that symbolize the countless lives lost in the Holocaust spreading out in every direction.

QTVR really is the closest thing to being there - and a fantastic way to capture the physical space of any place in the world (or beyond). Also a phenomenal distraction for everyone out there with some extra time on their hands and a desire to know what it looks like to stand in the middle of a sold out crowd at a U2 concert.

Long Live Borf

A Borf resurrection is bubbling up from the streets.

Borf is not caught.

Borf is many. Borf is none. Borf is waiting for you in your car. Borf is in your pockets. Borf is running through your veins. Borf is naive. Borf is good for your liver. Borf is controlling your thoughts. Borf is everywhere. Borf is the war on boredom. Borf annihilates. Borf hates school. Borf is a four letter word for joy. Borf is quickly losing patience. Borf yells in the library. Borf eats pieces of shit like you for breakfast. Borf is digging a hole to China. Borf is bad at graffiti. Borf is ephemeral. Borf is invincible. Borf. Borf ruins everything. Borf runs near the swimming pool. Borf keeps it real. Borf writes you love letters. Ol’ Dirty Bastard is Borf. Borf knows everything. Borf is in the water. Borf doesn’t sleep. Borf systematically attacks the infrastructure of the totality. Borf is a foulmouth. Borf eats your homework. Borf brings you home for dinner. Borf is the dirt under your fingernails. Borf is the song that never ends. Borf gets down. Borf gets up. Borf is your baby. Borf is neither. Borf is good for your heart, the more you eat the more you. Borf is. Borf destroys. Borf is immortal. Borf pulls fire alarms. Borf scuffs the gym floor. Borf is looking through your mom’s purse. Borf is M. Borf is the size of Alaska. Borf likes pizza. Borf is in general. Borf ain’t nothin’ to fuck with. Borf runs it. Borf has reflexes like a cat. Borf is immortal. Borf sticks gum under the desk. Borf is omnipotent. Borf is flawed. Borf is winning.

Art is dead. Long live Borf

Download your own Borf stencil here.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Animated Architecture

A Daily Dose has two interesting posts about architecture appearing in popular culture over the weekend, in the form of animation and illustration.

First up was a re-run of a guest spot for Frank Gehry on The Simpsons in which he designs a building for Springfield only to have it fall into decline. There are a ton of screencaps from the episode
here. My favorite touches are the heckling from the skateboarder heckling Gehry for his penchant for curvature and how Gehry's inspiration for the project comes from him crumpling up Marge's letter asking for his services.

"Hey, Frank Gehry. Design curvilinear forms much?"

In another humorous touch, they end up constructing the building
by erecting a normal frame and then bashing it in to form the curves.

There was also an article in the NY Times this weekend (which somehow I am receiving at my door for free at my new apartment. BONUS!) all about a comic book that draws architectural inspiration from unbuilt Manhattan masterpieces. The book, The Manhattan Guardian, takes place in Cinderella City, an alternate, imagined New York that features the unrealized buildings of architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Antonio Gaudi. The comic's creator describes his motivation for altering the NYC cityscape, "I want it to be a more exalted New York, where things that were dreamed of were finally brought into reality." I've never read the comic, but the article is interesting. Read more here.

Frank Lloyd Wright's plan for Ellis Island as featured in the comic.