Archive for the ‘war’ Category

keep calm

April 12, 2014

I made these cards based on the now famous British World War poster “Keep Calm and Carry On”, which is in the public domain. You can read about the history here. Rip-offs have become something of a meme. Mail artist and brilliant typographer Keith Bates created the font, based on the original poster series.

keep calm and mail art

keep calm and mail art

love peace and mail art

love respect and mail art

love respect and mail art

please do not ever feed trolls

please do not ever feed trolls

 

 

The last one ‘please do not ever feed trolls’ may come in handy, when confronted with internet trolls appearing in internet forums. You are free to use it, whenever you feel the need.

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wonders of the modern world

August 12, 2012

I have always been interested to find out more about Otto Neurath, creator of the international picture language Isotype (International System of Typographic Picture Education) and one of the fathers of is called visual communication today. He was a central member of the Vienna Circle of philosophers. Almost a century ago, in the 1920s he started developing ideas about visualizing social facts, such as statistics on labour and economy in order to make complex ideas about social economics more accessible to all. Read more about Isotype and Neurath here and here.

Like so many other talented Austrians in the 1930s and 40s he had to leave the country ultimately escaping to Britain. He collaborated with designer Marie Reidemeister, who later became his wife Marie Neurath. Just as with other coupes – Paul and Ann Rand and Charles and Ray Eames come to mind – this seems to have been a very creative relationship. After Otto Neurath died in Oxford in 1945 Marie Neurath carried on with the work of the Isotype Institute. Otto Neurath started working on books for children in the 1940s, and the Isotype Institute under Marie Neurath produced many more books for children, notably several series of informational children’s books such as ‘Visual history of mankind’, ‘Wonders of the modern world’, ‘Visual science’, ‘The wonder world of nature’ and ‘They lived like this’. Marie Neurath’s work shows how Isotype, language and presentation can work together in reducing complexity in order to clearly  comunicate ideas to children, putting  ideas for visual education into practice. All materials of the Isotype Institute are now housed by Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading.

The books show Marie Neurath’s remarkable contributions: her ability to identify unusual relationships between things and ideas, and to analyze and then synthesize complex information into bite-sized chunks. Her approach to making child-friendly visual explanations included teamwork, consultation with readers, and iteration between experts in a particular field and those making visual decisions.” Read more here

 

Marie Neurath and the Isotype books.

Read also Austin Kleons blog post on The Simplest Expression of an Object.

global revolution

October 8, 2011

I’m all for it. Joining in on 15 October 2011.

(again I could not locate the original source of the picture, sorry.)

educational action figures

September 17, 2010

Recently I found out by accident that I have far more subscribers to my blog than I ever imagined. I have not posted for a while, because I have been busy at other sites, but I was so touched when I found out, that I decided to keep posting at least once in a while some of the things I come across, even if I don’t have much time to write thoughtful comments. So here without much further ado a few things related to the educational potential of actions figures, all from a very different perspective. Im my research on superheroes, actions figures played a part, of course. Now here are a couple of videos: firstly, the Brontë Sisters Power Dolls, a must for anybody who loves Victorian novels!


Brontë Sisters Power Dolls

Secondly, Henry Jenkins on “Toying with Transmedia: The Future of Entertainment is Child’s Play” talking at length about actions figures. Jenkins argues such toys served children and young adults as “authoring tools” in stories that grew increasingly elaborate and technologically sophisticated over the years, spawning new kinds of play in our own time. Transmedia is not about “dumbing down popular culture,” Jenkins says. It involves complex mythologies that kids and adults can throw themselves into, with large casts of vivid characters in complex plots rivaling those in Russian novels. Transmedia storytelling also encourages children to “play out different fantasies,” Follow the link to see the video of his talk.Toying with Transmedia: The Future of Entertainment is Child’s Play | MIT World.
This was, kind of, what I wanted to get at in my MA thesis, but of course Henry Jenkins takes it a lot further and much more eloquently than I ever could.

Thirdly, here are David Gauntlett’s actions figures of famous theorists –Anthony Giddens and Michel Foucault – Even though they are almost ten years old, they still makes me smile.

And did I say, that I recently dug out my son’s box of action figures and matchbox cars? (He had wanted to sell them on e-bay last year, but I got upset and I insisted to keep them myself if he did not want to. This summer, I started playing with them and my other new toy, the camera on my iPhone. I might post some of the results soon.

hope and despair

June 3, 2010

This photo appeared in the Guardian along with an article about Obamas visit to the coast, where  he was talking to experts about the oil spill. This was right after new attempts to quell the spill had failed, again. “Obama described the setback as “enraging” and “heartbreaking”, as documents emerged showing that BP engineers were concerned about the safety of the Deepwater Horizon rig months earlier than the company has admitted.” The media seem to love what he is doing, at least for now. Obmama seems to be able to put into the right words the feelings of so many, and this is what people  want, need  and deserve, in times of crisis. (Remember the outrage the Queen’s lack of response caused in the aftermath of Diana’s death?)

And I love this image, so simple and complex at the same time, with the ocean  and the yellow “do not cross” ribbons, which talk of police lines and not just an accident but a crime having been committed. And the way Obama manages to come across as always inpeccable in style, formal but totally informal at the same time. He it not shown wearing some silly hat or ugly windbreaker, no, it’s only the boots, which make the difference in his attire here. And the way he is crouching, thoughtful, humbled (?), in despair (?) in facing the vastness of the problem, against the vastness of the ocean itself. And the gentleness, the delicacy of the pebbles and his finger as he is touching the sand, the earth.

battles

May 28, 2010

I have subscribed to the Guardian’s art and culture section, and I find many of the things I read there interesting and educational, in a very good sense. What I mean, is that it makes me come across stuff, I would not know about otherwise, stuff which takes my imagination and thinking in new directions. Well, I guess that is one of the things art is supposed to do. But that is rarely what newspapers do.

As an example, here is Jonathan Jones musing about  Why Albrecht Altdorfer’s masterpiece gives him nightmares and the reader responses.

guydenning comments: I think, with the inscription floating around in finest script at the top, it almost predates modern TV (or early 20th century cinema) news reporting of war. Turning the terrible into a visual entertainment under the allegedly laudable excuse of education.

And somebody with the nick damienhurst writes: well, I certainly adore the craft involved in this painting but it really keeps amazing me how people can’t really understand that such paintings are basically equivalent to today’s commercials. this one even has a “brand logo” there on top.

That is certainly food for thought about the relationship between art and war, the human, terror and the sublime and, of course, the relationship (or battles?) between word and image, and their producers and audiences.

The picture can be dowloaded from wikimedia




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