Monthly Archives: June 2016

“Stuff Happened Anyway”: Paula Scher on design

Gary Hustwit’s Helvetica subtly did more than examine the ubiquitous font. Most of us would like to be designers in the same way we’d like to be athletes or musicians and we’re interested in those who do it well. Hustwit tapped into that need and let several prominent figures from that world have free rein to discuss what they see and how they see it. Elegant Paula Scher and twitchy Erik Spiekermann come off well, others sound like prats best avoided.

Scher has looked at information design and presentation with the artist’s eye, quite different from, say, an Edward Tufte. Her perspective, driven by artistic and marketing concerns, are at once intriguing and disturbing. She stretches and distorts to make larger points such as claiming that Helvetica was the font of the Vietnam and Iraq wars. It’s not a literal accusation, only that it is the kind of calming gloss that corporations and governments use to disguise their little murders. But, she also cops to fabricating the data she’s (re)presenting to make her point. I admire a lot of her work; it is bold, brash, and political. I don’t know whether I would enjoy living, working, or studying in something so shouty. Nevertheless, I’ve got my autosearches configured to let me know if she’s ever speaking within a couple of hours of LA.

Several of her other lectures are on the web and worth a look. Scher sounds like the canonical good seatmate on a long flight. I doubt she travels coach, though.

Hustwit’s films Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized. are available for affordable digital download from his website, $5.99/ea.

Paula Scher y la tipografía

Watch this video on YouTube.

Paula Scher: Do What You've Never Done Before

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Paula Scher – New York Design

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ARTIST SERIES: Paula Scher from Hillman Curtis on Vimeo.

What the Puck?: Schnittke on Shakespeare

(K)ein Sommernachstraum… I enjoyed it in 2005 with the LA Phil and Jurowski and recalled it just now for no particular reason. Starts off calm and optimistic, peaks in discord, and fades away. Reminds me of something, can’t quite place it.

Here’s the BUTI Young Artist Orchestra with Ken-David Masur conducting.

Explanations here and here.

BUTI Young Artist Orchestra Ken-David Masur / SCHNITTKE Kein Sommernachtstraum

Watch this video on YouTube.

American perceptions of cricket

I actually like the test-match version of the game having been taught the fundamentals by my father. But, it is true that most Americans are bewildered by it.

What playing cricket looks like to Americans

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My father thought very highly of Sir Garry Sobers, the great all-rounder from the West Indies. Here’s famous fast bowler Dennis Lillee learning not to taunt Happy Fun Ball.

Gary Sobers vs Denis Lillee, one of the greatest cricket battles

Watch this video on YouTube.