PHOTOGRAPHY/TO LOOK OR TO LIVE?/WILLIAM EGGLESTON
The current retropsective of photographer William Eggleston at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art reveals a consuming addiction to taking pictures. One of the masters of the ordinary, his ‘Democratic Camera’ has always kept rolling, exercising the eyes of the voyeur who is in it but not of it. (1)
MUSIC & ART/A ONE-MAN BAND/MINGERING MIKE
You’ve got to hand it to crate diggers, without their worming dedication chance discoveries would just be the stuff of fiction. Mingering Mike is an imaginary soul legend who has never gave fame his home number, but thanks to diggers and the Internet his music and album cover art are now out there. Just don’t tell his girlfriend! (cover)
ART & ARCHITECTURE/PARALLEL MEMBRANES/MATTHEW RITCHIE
The tentacles of Matthew Ritchie’s The Morning Line fit nicely into the anti-pavilion big box. The artist’s original desire was to make a building that’s a map of the universe and can be played like a musical instrument, and it goes a good way to achieving his idea of doing something that includes everything.
ARCHITECTURE/FROM HAB TO HABITAT/MINSUK CHO Korea’s ‘schizoid’ urban reality goes much further than the North/South divide. Seoul, in particular, has many personalities, and in the work of architect Minsuk Cho and his practice Mass Studies the changing urban condition is tackled in a way that reveals the most radical latent form of public space in the contemporary Asian city: ‘the public living room’. (2)
DESIGN/WHITE TRASH/QUBUS There’s a design oasis around the corner from the souvenir shops of Prague’s old town. Qubus is both a store and a brand and its two lead figures Jakub Berdych Maxim VelÄovský play and replay with Czech glass and porcelain traditions, while creating mongrel candleholders marble palettes and cars covered in mobile phones. (3)
GLOBAL/A NEW DAWN?/ELECTIONS & THE INTERNET
German artist & writer Joachim Schmid observed the US presidential elections from the Internet and Stateside. How the different campaigns harnessed the power of the digital age to convey that message of ‘Vote for Me’ was telling, but it also signified elections as a brand and the roles played by photo sharing websites.
WHAT GETS ME GOING/INEKE HANS
Guest of honour at this year’s edition of the Stockholm Furniture Fair, Dutch designer Ineke Hans shares her thoughts and pictorial feelings about work, the future, materials and good old & new-fashioned fun: The Heart Has Its Reasons, of Which Reason Knows Not. (4)
ART/ON THE ROCKS/CHRIS LARSON American artist Chris Larson’s latest video project, Deep North, like some – but not all – good stories, is open to multiple readings: A shotgun shack with an igloo complex maybe? Beauty and banality offer some body heat in the chilly climes, as Larson skates over disciplinary ice. (5)
ART & DESIGN/WHO APPROVED THIS MESSAGE?/OURS: DEMOCRACY IN THE AGE OF BRANDING
Working from the provocative assumption that democracy has become a brand and lifestyle symbol, a new exhibition at Parsons The New School for Design unites art, design and politics as it explores the international contradictions of agents provocateurs and agents of choice. (6)
PEOPLE/DRESSED TO KILL/DUILIO GREGORINI The former vice president of Italian design brand Zanotta, Duilio Gregorini is a walking, talking, antithesis to your everyday wallflower of anonymous style. Even if you wanted to, you can’t miss him and it’s hard not to be touched by his ever-joyful spirit of dressing-up. (7)
URBAN ART & DESIGN/NEW ALPHABET STREET/CITY MATERIAL A new generation of street artists, urban designers and interventionists are reworking the visual language of the city, as their individual or collective urban desires respond to its rapid rhythm. From subway-gust inflatable animals to subverting the messages of advertising billboards, the possibilities seem endless. (8)
DESIGN & FOOD/WHAT’S COOKING, JERSZY?/JERSZY SEYMOUR
Jerszy Seymour wants to emancipate design and bring the passionate amateur to the table. For First Supper in Vienna he invited guests to participate in some ‘doing, sharing & caring’, an experimental idea that will reappear in the form of the Coalition of Amateurs later this year. Indeed, a mixed soup is accepting everybody. (9)
ARCHITECTURE/SLUM SLAM/URBAN THINK TANK Incisions and interventions, ‘urban acupuncture’ is the way that Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner of Urban Think Tank describe their projects. Injecting an informal sense of structure into the freewheeling slum districts of Caracas, it’s an imaginative approach that travels beyond the borders of Venezuela. (11)
DESIGN & TRAVEL/CRAFTING THE CONTINENTS/HEATH NASH For young South African designer Heath Nash, Japan has not only been the destination of his dreams but a source of inspiration from childhood to career. On his first trip he made new friends-a-go-go, ignored the warnings of the jellyfish season and consummated his craft-filled fantasies. (10)
ARCHITECTURE/CLIPPED WINGS/2012 ARCHITECTEN You really don’t want to know what happens when the rotor blades of wind turbines go bad. In the Netherlands, a fissure means a one-way ticket to the scrap heap, but a new playground concept in Rotterdam by leftover lovers 2012 Architecten proves there’s life after crack.
PHOTOGRAPHY/TIRED NATION/ALEC SOTH
America’s Heartland, even if you have never been to this vast inner continent it’s a place whose melancholic stereotypes have proved a fertile source of inspiration for artists. Photographer Alec Soth’s work crosses the editorial and editorial border and in this latest series, ‘The Last Days of W.’, the exhausted state of a nation is poetically framed. (12)
DESIGN/THE YEAR OF A RAD/RON ARAD No Discipline, the title of Ron Arad’s beast of a solo at the Pompidou Centre in Paris is tailor-made for a man who famously extolls ‘there are no boundaries’ between design, art and architecture. He hates the word ‘design-art’ but as one of his contemporaries observes, Arad’s approach was always personal before it was professional and his work was ready for that particular market explosion. (13)
DESIGN/WEAPON OF CHOICE/SAINT-ÉTIENNE There are now more design weeks around the world than weeks in the year, but what do these kind of events offer visitors, residents and participants in return? The Saint-Étienne International Design Biennial last November posed valid questions, but the can the French city meet expectations? (14)
SHOWYOURROOM Duravit, Poltrona Frau, Modular, Dedon, Bisazza, Bulo and TAG Heur all opened showrooms at the end of last year. What, why & how are the questions DAMn°’s asks the industry.
AGENDA/WHAT TO SEE & WHERE
LAST WORD/RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE/STEFAN SAGMEISTER
Two columns from the jungle-like interior of Bali reveal that the first few months of graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister’s year-long sabbatical have been full of mangy dogs, experiments, sweet coffee, stone-masonry before dawn and wig factories. He’s loving it.