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Arts Politics & Society

Late 20th century North Korean graphic design

These late 20th century North Korean graphic designs from Pyongyang’s Industrial Art studio demonstrate the kitschy yet nationalistic advertising in North Korea advertising.

© Justin Piperger

A picture is worth a thousand words

The candy-like posters paint a fruitful view of communism. Their meaning required little interpretation, exactly Kim Jong-il’s intention. “If the people who see a picture cannot grasp its meaning,” he said, “no matter what a talented artist may have painted it, they cannot say it is a good picture.”

© Justin Piperger
© Phaidon

Read North Korean design: the golden age of candy-coloured communism

In London? Check out the Made in North Korea: Everyday Graphics from the DPRK exhibition at the House of Illustration.

Categories
Arts Creativity

Blasphemy? This artist sets works of art on fire 🔥

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What is new instantly becomes old, a permanent attrition.

At least that’s perspective of artist Maaren Baas, who took a blowtorch to Gerrit Rietveld’s iconic Red and Blue Chair and turned it into something completely new.

“I do not want to destroy, says Baas, “… burning is not something negative. Standstill is. If things remain as is, there is no progress. It’s about changing of what we already know. It’s very human to keep things as they are. While it is very natural to continuously adapt. In nature nothing ever stops changing. It is an ongoing process.”

If a museum is where pieces of art go to congregate in dust, then remixing a version of them at least gives them the potential of new form.

What is great should remain preserved. But it is the pattern of nature’s interest to evolve from past states on top of so-called originality, at least to keep the remix going.

Stagnancy is the work of the devil.

Categories
Books Creativity Psychology Quotes

‘Pedestals actually have a limited circumference. Not much room to move around’

“If you’re put on a pedestal you’re supposed to behave like a pedestal type of person. Pedestals actually have a limited circumference. Not much room to move around.”

Margaret Atwood

Categories
Books Creativity Writing

The link between praying and writing

When acclaimed South African novelist and Nobel Prize winner JM Coetzee was asked about the writing process, he compared it to the effort of praying.

“In both cases it’s hard to say to whom one’s discourse is directed. You have to subject yourself to the blankness of the page and you wait patiently to hear whether the blankness answers you. Sometimes it does not and then you despair.”

JM Coetzee (see books)

Of course, some writers believe the blank page is non-existent. They suggest that one should write poorly until they produce something of substance.

Better yet, consider the work philosophy of Vincent Van Vough and unthink: “Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile.”

Categories
Arts Creativity Culture Photography Uncategorized

Social media companies as old storefronts

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Designs by Andrei Lacatusu

If Facebook’s recent newsfeed changes are any sign, social media is in decay. It’s gone from connecting people to Buzzfeed’s linkbait to a nest of echo chambers where the likeminded and bots spread fake news.

The art done here by artist Andrei Lacatusu provides a metaphor for the chaotic and ruinous state of social media, which appears to be failing like today’s brick-and-mortar stores. While we can expect the social networks to stay in business, they need to spend 2018 rebuilding the public’s trust.

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Apps Creativity Social Media Tech Video

Your vocation chooses you

We all start out with a dream, a goal of someone or something we want to emulate. We keep that dream close, putting up bedroom posters and memorizing phrases that propel us to keep pushing toward our goal.

But then something else happens along the way? The creative gods tell us to do something else instead.

“The grind is not glamorous.”

Casey Neistat wanted to be a filmmaker, another Spielberg that entertained the masses. But he didn’t have enough money nor resources. So he chased the dream for ten years and succeeded: he entered Cannes and won some awards etc. until one day he realized he was pursuing the wrong end. “Fuck it,” he said. “I just want to make internet videos.”

See, when we hunt down goals, we usually get redirected to something else that’s more personal. Technology broke down all the barriers to traditional creativity, production, and distribution. YouTube is Neistat’s movie theater.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

Sure, imitate at first and get really good — everything is practice. But we shouldn’t forget to reflect and dive deeper into a passion that excites us the most. As Jim Carrey said, ‘your vocation chooses you.’

Don’t fight what’s natural even if no one else is doing it yet. Give in to the original inclinations and push onward.

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

Open spaces, closed doors

Everything is design. 

While cubicles emerged as the “action office,” they created an environment antithesis to work. Says Dilbert creator Scott Adams, ‘cubicles are like prisons.’ Cubicles are anti-work; they impede collaboration.

If companies want to create more office conversation, they have to make the conditions for more office collisions. Thus, the open space design became the standard model for companies looking to encourage idea-sharing. 

Work Working GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Open spaces increase the chances of overhearing something important, clarifying a miscommunication, and leading to the next great business opportunity. Multiple bump-in discussions have replaced those at the water cooler, keeping potential email threads from getting out of hand.

Human interaction is still vital to the workplace. One gets more from speaking with a co-worker for a few minutes than they do via structured meetings and email recaps containing a list of myriad “next steps.”

Serendipity is the name of the game.

In theory, overcommunication should save employees from having to attend extra meetings and send superfluous emails. But open spaces do come with invasiveness that can “can cause workers to do a turtle.” No wonder coders and copy-writers throw on noise-canceling headphones to cancel out the extra noise. 

Open offices have come to resemble a chaotic classroom. External conversations crimp the thinking voice inside a person’s head. Perhaps that’s why working from home is still the most productive space of them all

Working from home allows workers to build a space they can call their own. While the internet and email are always on, the door can be closed at any time for silence so that one can do deep work. 

The cubicle and the open office beg for distractions. Isn’t the point of work to get stuff done and ship?

Categories
Arts Books Poetry Productivity & Work Writing

The value of making up stuff

Art is what we do with our extra time. It is more leisure than life. “Art is everything you don’t have to do,” as Brian Eno put it.

The starving artist is compelled to have a day job. We can’t make art without the backbone of cash.

However, the cashless value of writing a poem, painting a picture, or photographing the trees could save your life.

It is in making up stuff we find meaning. The canvass enhances our lives and inspires us to express ourselves. That freedom can be liberating.

Writes Louis Menand in his latest New Yorker piece entitled Can Poetry Change Your Life?

“But I got the same painful pleasure out of writing prose that I did out of writing poetry—the pleasure of trying to put the right words in the right order. And I took away from my experience with poetry something else. I understood that the reason people write poems is the reason people write. They have something to say.”

Art translates life. It takes us places. We need stories and memes in order to keep the everyday exciting.

Categories
Creativity Culture Life & Philosophy Tech

Making for the micro

People always made art. Now, we just make it and share it in abundance.

But all the noise makes it impossible for aspiring creators to stand out.

On the flip side, the bell curve is widening from the masses to the niches. We can build an audience around sub-genres at scale for the first time ever; the Internet helps us stay connected.

Once we shift our strategy from marketing to everyone to marketing to the micro, we set ourselves up to make deeper work that lasts.

Your weirdness is not only acceptable, it’s mainstream.