Sands of Sorrow
. Via YouTube, a 28 minute black-and-white documentary from 1950. “On the plight of Arab refugees from the Arab-Israeli war. Dorothy Thompson speaks on the refugee problem. Refugees live in tents in the Gaza Strip, are given blankets and food by Egyptian soldiers, and receive flour from UNICEF. A Lebanese priest conducts services. Refugees work as plumbers, carpenters, tailors, and shoemakers in the city of Jerusalem. Doctors vaccinate refugees against disease. Shows the squalid living conditions in refugee camps, starving children, and emphasizes the hopeless condition of the refugees. Producer: Council for the Relief of Palestine Arab Refugees” ¶
“Cartographers don’t lie, but they take a position”..
. “‘The problems of cartography are the same that exist in diplomatic relations’... For mapmakers like Nova Rico
, disputes over geography are commonplace. For a Turkish customer, Cyprus is shown split in two, a division that Greek Cypriots do not recognize. In one globe, Chile gets parts of Antarctica that on another globe go to Argentina. And in much of the Arab world, Israel is nonexistent.” ¶
The Road to Clarity
. Long article in the NY Times
about the orgins of Clearview
, a typeface for improved legibility of roadside signage — particularly when letters are blurred by distance, weather, night, and physical impairment. ¶
On the CIA’s “Black Sites”
. “It’s one of the most sophisticated, refined programs of torture ever... At every stage, there was a rigid attention to detail. Procedure was adhered to almost to the letter. There was top-down quality control, and such a set routine that you get to the point where you know what each detainee is going to say, because you’ve heard it before. It was almost automated. People were utterly dehumanized. People fell apart. It was the intentional and systematic infliction of great suffering masquerading as a legal process. It is just chilling.” ¶
In Venezuela, four-legged mobile libraries, bibliomulas
, help distribute books in the foothills of the Andes. (thanks) ¶
Nissan adds feature to protect pedestrians in collisions
. In a crash, the hood “automatically pops upward a few inches to put more distance between it and the hard engine components below, giving the hood more room to flex. The feature is among a growing number being designed to protect pedestrians, especially in low-speed mishaps they might survive. Driving the effort are tougher requirements taking effect in Europe and Japan for cars to be more ‘pedestrian-friendly.’” (via) ¶
An article of mine is running in the Communication Arts August Photography Annual 2007. The dialog format is a bit different, so I’m curious to see how it’s received. It started out as a rebuttal to many things I’ve heard other, sometimes very prominent, designers say about why they eschew political engagement. Many of the points started as blog posts here. Thanks to Jamie, Adam, DK and Acacia for their feedback on the draft.
When should designers make a political commitment?
Late afternoon at a sunlit café on a high traffic street. Young faces stare intently at their laptops while the smell of roasted coffee and beat of a down tempo groove fill the air. Cups clatter on white modernist tables amidst laughter and the buzz of machines grinding beans. The coffee menu reads much like today’s headlines: East Timor, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Colombia.
Bells on the door jingle as Robin walks in. Sam looks up from a bright orange couch.
Sam: Hey! How’s it going? How are you?
Robin: Excellent. You? How’s business?
Sam: Really good, actually. An identity design we did just got a big award. So that’s nice. What’s new with you?
Robin: Things are good. Let’s see… A poster we did helped turn out nearly a hundred thousand people to that protest last week.
Sam: Whoa! How’d you get involved in that?
Robin: I just heard about the march and got in touch. It was a chance to do something for a cause, something the studio believes in. And, honestly, it was an interesting design challenge.
Sam: Sounds great. But do you ever feel conflicted? I mean, look at those posters about the genocide in Darfur. I’m all for rising to the challenge, but don’t these thing just take advantage of the cause by exploiting some tragedy as an excuse to make a clever design?
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Back to July.