Be meaner. On the front page of my ideal design blog is a daily fugging of something from the world of visual culture. That’s essentially what Unhappy Hipsters is doing for Dwell, or more specifically, for Dwell’s preferred mode of architectural photography. But I can tell they are already tiring of their limited field — the captions are getting wordier, generally a sign of weariness. Or Pr*tty Sh*tty for advertising but again, I think he might be getting tired. A rotating cast of bloggers, each tasked with a different visual field, could provide the morning hit of acid I crave. The internet creates much more opportunity for short and shallow and funny (as well as long and thought-provoking and serious). Remember the instant viral jokes about the iPad? Not to bite the hand that feeds (only in the digital sense), but sometimes this site can be a little snoozy. More criticism and shorter criticism might give it something readers had to look at every day. As I tell my students, when you are primarily writing a sweet review, it is important to add a dash of pepper. Love doesn’t mean you have to love everything.
The short format might also broaden the perception of the field of design criticism, and mess up the categories of design. Magazines have traditionally had to differentiate and categorize themselves. Now that they are all gone, I think the future lies in writing about design as it appears in life — the houses in TV shows, the architecture behind the cars, the selling of architects as personalities. I loved all the discussions of the faux-denim Olympic snowboarder outfits, which migrated from the sports pages to various design blogs. There is a subset of (mostly male) writers and designers that seem to take special pleasure in re-inserting sports into a world typically dominated by cultural pursuits. For most people interested in design, there’s no need to segregate uniforms in the sports section and advertising on the business blogs.
There are plenty of products that it would be horrifying to review in one paragraph. Buildings, for example, once built, need to be taken seriously and treated at greater length. They aren’t just trotted out for the Oscars, and, as Paul Goldberger has said, “Nobody tears down a building if the architecture critic doesn’t like it.” There need to be more architecture and design critics given 1000 words or more to review buildings, and a platform to show their work to readers. Maybe new buildings of note could be reviewed by two or three people, an exercise I always include in my criticism classes. Maybe we need to forget about buildings and review transformed neighborhoods. This would be the long-form part of the blog, for which the daily dose of poison serves as a kind of loss leader.
The Seven Needs of Real-Time Curators
by ROBERT SCOBLE on MARCH 27, 2010
I keep hearing people throw around the word “curation” at various conferences, most recently at SXSW. The thing is most of the time when I dig into what they are saying they usually have no clue about what curation really is or how it could be applied to the real-time world. So, over the past few months I’ve been talking to tons of entrepreneurs about the tools that curators actually need and I’ve identified seven things. First, who does curation? Bloggers, of course, but blogging is curation for Web 1.0. Look at this post here, I can link to Tweets, and point out good ones, right? That’s curation. Or I can order my links in a particular order. That’s curation. Or I can add my thoughts to those links, just like Techcrunch or VentureBeat do. That’s curation. Or I can do a video like Leo Laporte does and talk about those links. That’s curation. Or I can forward those links to you via email. That’s curation. The editor who sits in a big building at New York Times or your local newspaper that chooses what content you’ll see in your newspaper is a curator. So is the page designer who decides what story is at the top of the page. But NONE of the real time tools/systems like Google Buzz, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, give curators the tools that they need to do their work efficiently. That’s why I’m writing this post, to try to get the industry to see that there’s an unmet need that — if they were met — would mean all sorts of things from better scrapbooks for family photos and events to better news systems like what CNN or Huffington Post are trying to build on the Web. More on that after I get through the seven things. As you read these things they were ordered (curated) in this order for a reason. If you give me #7 without giving me #1 first your tool will suck and you won’t be used by curators. If you give me #1 without #7, you’ll be way ahead of some tool that gives me #7 only. This is a guide for how we can build “info molecules” that have a lot more value than the atomic world we live in now. First, what are info atoms? A tweet is an atom. A photo on Flickr is an atom. A conversation item on Google Buzz is an atom. A Facebook status message is an atom. A YouTube video is an atom. Thousands of these atoms flow across our screens in tools like Seesmic, Google Reader, Tweetdeck, Tweetie, Simply Tweet, Twitroid, etc. A curator is an information chemist. He or she mixes atoms together in a way to build an info-molecule. Then adds value to that molecule. So, what are the seven needs of real time curators?….
MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design has acquired the @ symbol into its collection. It is a momentous, elating acquisition that makes us all proud. But what does it mean, both in conceptual and in practical terms?
Contemporary art, architecture, and design can take on unexpected manifestations, from digital codes to Internet addresses and sets of instructions that can be transmitted only by the artist. The process by which such unconventional works are selected and acquired for our collection can take surprising turns as well, as can the mode in which they’re eventually appreciated by our audiences. While installations have for decades provided museums with interesting challenges involving acquisition, storage, reproducibility, authorship, maintenance, manufacture, context—even questions about the essence of a work of art in itself—MoMA curators have recently ventured further; a good example is the recent acquisition by the Department of Media and Performance Art of Tino Sehgal’s performance Kiss. The acquisition of @ takes one more step. It relies on the assumption that physical possession of an object as a requirement for an acquisition is no longer necessary, and therefore it sets curators free to tag the world and acknowledge things that “cannot be had”—because they are too big (buildings, Boeing 747’s, satellites), or because they are in the air and belong to everybody and to no one, like the @—as art objects befitting MoMA’s collection. The same criteria of quality, relevance, and overall excellence shared by all objects in MoMA’s collection also apply to these entities.
In order to understand why we have chosen to acquire the @ symbol, and how it will exist in our collection, it is necessary to understand where @ comes from, and why it’s become so ubiquitous in our world.