Thursday, September 20, 2007

Common craft

Google are using a company called Common Craft to produce short instructional videos about their products. These videos are made with cut out pieces of paper in a way that exaggerate their handmade quality. Interesting to see how the leading edge of online engineering turns to the more analogue of media to present its message.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Festival of Indigenous Arts, Hawaii

We're very pleased the three artists from Common Goods are going to the indigenous festival in Hawaii this month:

The proposed 2007 PIKO event is the fifth of its kind of international gathering of indigenous visual artists; following the first in Aotearoa (New Zealand 1995). The first Pacific Northwest America gathering was held at the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at Evergreen State College, (Olympia, Washington, USA, 2001) and the recent Te Mata gathering was held in Heretaunga Hastings, Aotearoa (New Zealand, January 16 - 22, 2005) this year. In the spirit of its' predecessors, PIKO, the navel of the Pacific rim, will be held in Hawai'i. The event will begin on June 15, 2007 and conclude eight days later on June 22

Congratulations Julie Tipene-O'Toole, Lewis Dick and Treanna Hahn, all artists who were in Common Goods.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Common craft

An interesting application of 'common' and 'craft' to a very immaterial kind of networking:

Common Craft is a consulting practice and weblog operated by Lee LeFever. The focus of Common Craft is Social Design for the Web.

Common Craft

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Ubuntu 2010

City of Johannesburg website reports on the development of a Vuvu Carnival Orchestra in preparation for the 2010 World Cup. The idea was developed by Pedro Espi-Sanchis, a Spaniard who migrated to South Africa in 1971. The instrument is a plastic trumpet used in soccer matches.

Pedro describes the orchestra as the musical embodiment of Ubuntu:

This means that no one will play louder than others, and no one will play the same rhythm. What people play will interlock with others and complement what others offer.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mass Observation

A New Yorker article reviews the English movement Mass Observation, which grew out of surrealism and became a kind of art sociology dedicated to exposing everyday life to public gaze as a power of demystification.

Mass-Observation undercut the nationalist message of the coronation. To one onlooker, the Queen seems to have bed head, and the King looks “bony, frozen-nervous, staring.” Another mistakes the Viscount Craigavon for Princess Juliana. Beside a radio in Nottingham, a hairdresser’s mother weeps and moans, “Oh, it ought to be Edward—it—it—it ought to be Edward.”
A woman praises snuff, unforgettably: “Eeee, it’s lovely, makes your navel perk like a whelk!” The book celebrates the pub as an active and social form of leisure, a way of life that, Orwell wrote when he reviewed it, was in danger of being “gradually replaced by the passive, drug-like pleasures of the cinema and the radio.”
In a 1938 radio talk, Jennings had suggested it was no accident that the search for the meaning of everyday life led to history. “Mysteries reside in the humblest everyday things,” he said; they are a kind of legacy, and the poet, by examining them, can extract “an idea of ‘what I am’ from the past.”

Caleb Crain 'The Mass-Observation movement and the meaning of everyday life'

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Make the common everywhere

The use of recycled materials enables some artists to expand the scale of their work so that it eventually floods the entire gallery. This image is from Currents 98: Tara Donovan (Saint Louis Art Museum), and features more than 600,000 plastic cups. According to the artist:

A transformative moment occurs for me when the material ceases to reference itself and begins to take on a formal structure that relates to the natural or built environment

Donovan's work raises a difficult issue with the idea of making the common precious. Most of the artists in Craft Unbound resort to found materials as a form of resistance to consumerism. In Donovan's case, however, the wasteful production is accelerated by artistic excess. This work seems to have nothing else to say other than is sheer spectacle.

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11

While most of the world considers today as the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the New York World Trade Centre, it is also the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Satyagraha, the movement of non-violence that originated by Mahatma Gandhi in Johannesburg, 1906.