idil biret

Idil Biret's Chopin recordings are really great. She won the 'Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin' for them in 1995.

She was also a genius-child in Ankara: "hypersensitive to music as a baby, she gained the ability to hear a tune and reproduce it on the piano when she was only two."

The Turkish parliament passed a special law, and paid for her musical education in France.

This is a nice story about making the 'Complete works of Chopin.'


sagmeister & ammer | being not truthful.

"being not truthful works against me" is a really nice interactive installation that started in sagmeister's diary.


The Beatles Help! Movie Trailer (1965)

I guess this is excessive, but the trailer features George Harrison inside a dome.

Magical Mystery Tour

I love all the Beatles' films (apart from Let It Be, which I haven't seen, but that's because it's never been released). 'Magical Mystery Tour' was the hardest to understand when I was little because it's got lots of Englishness in it and not much logic. It's ace.

Kate Bush - Running up that Hill

Probably best to just watch all her videos.


Portes Ouvertes 2008 | Paris

There is a big party every year, where the 4 schools of applied art in Paris open their doors to the public. It's the closest thing to the degree shows here in London.

This is So Young, a great designer and good friend from Olivier de Serres:

More info over at Typographe.

got climate porn over-exposure?

Yeah, me too.

Valery Casey at Compostmodern 2008

I'm drawn to the words "radical" and "change" though, so I've been looking at UnBeige's coverage of the event, which is pretty good. They have a great summary Casey's talk, which goes a step further than merely speculating the designer's role in all this.

She had an epiphany: designers change habits and behaviour. They create accessibility. They look to nature for inspiration. And they're suckers for detail. And they're optimists.

(I'd say this all depends on the disposable income of the person on the other end, not to mention the country that person happens to be in, but I guess this is all aimed at the US and is just me trying to dampen the blanket self-importance she's placed at the feet of designers)

Anyway, the interesting and productive thing about all this, is that she's founded the Designers Accord (no test to join!)

A treaty! One that I can abide to! Ah, I feel better already, even though I'm not at a firm right now, and won't be for a while, I can conduct my designing in my bedroom in accordance. I promise I'll try not to be smug about it, either.

The 10 guidelines of The Designers Accord range from directed to aspirational.

All adopters agree:

- Publically declare participation in this movement

- Undertake a program to educate your teams about designing sustainably

- Provide strategic and material alternatives for sustainable design

- Measure the carbon/greenhouse gas footprint of your firm
(includes operations and client engagements)

- Pledge to significantly reduce your firm's carbon/greenhouse gas footprint annually *

- Initiate a dialogue about environmental impact and sustainable alternatives
with each and every client

Advanced adopters lead:

- Publically share exemplary practices and case studies

- Advance the understanding of environmental issues from a design perspective

- Rework client contracts to favor environmental responsible design and processes *

- Contribute actively to the communal knowledge base for sustainable design *
* Will be audited/evaluated by third-party on an annual basis

J'ai trois amours.

imomus' article last week on multi culturalism is really worth reading. (Here it is)

He makes Josephine Baker an ambassadrice of multiculti, and her song "J'ai Deux Amours" its anthem. (Here she is, 30+ years after its release)

The problematic:

To become multiculti, I jump out of the monoculture I was born into, but I don't jump so far that I lose contact with my "savanna" altogether. Because if I lose touch with my roots, my origins, and just melt in the melting pot, difference itself is destroyed. We return to the idea of oneness, the monolithic, and the lack of respect for difference. There can, after all, be no foreignness without acknowledgment of difference, and the right to stay different. If there's a right wing threat to multiculti in the form of ethnic cleansing, patriotism and so on, there's a left wing threat to it in the idea of the melting pot; the idea that racial or cultural or national differences should become meaningless, or be deliberately ignored. An ignored difference is not a happy one.

Interestingly, he ends with the depressing point: Loving two [countries] is just too hard. Is it really? Of course it's not! It's the "melting pot" itself that is irrelevant. There is no melting pot! I've never felt as though I was in a melting pot - isn't it a bit too US-glamour? No one has ever described where I grew up, the borough of Lewisham, as being a melting pot, for instance. At school we were told that London is a multi-pluralist place, where differences overlap sometimes. I was ok with that then, and also now. There is difference everywhere! How can it be meaningless?

I guess the underlying question, is one of belonging. It is it too hard to belong to two countries? It's not hard to have two passports, that much I know. But how can cultural possessiveness be tested? Difference is easy to spot in the UK, but what is "British"? (I wouldn't know, I haven't taken the test.) If it's essentially about assimilation, like parts of imomus' article suggests - then that's easy, and I'll end with a quote from Buckminster Fuller:

99% of who you are is invisible and untouchable. It is your ability to think and go beyond your form that determines the quality of your life.


Ilha das Flores / Isle of Flowers (Jorge Furtado, 1989)

This film was by far the best in the Tate/ICO's "Essentials" programme I saw today (Protest)

The first 30 seconds are silent, the narrator says

"We are in Belem Monte, Porto Alegre county, Rio Grade do Sul state, in the extreme south of Brazil. But precisely at latitude 30o, 12', 30" south, and longitude 51o, 11' 23" west. Walking in the moment through a tomato plantation we can see a human being standing, in this case a Japanese man..."

About Jorge:
Jorge Furtado was born in Porto Alegre in 1959. He studied medicine, psychology, art and journalism before working in television


Colour photos from the 1930s and 40s

Part of the Library of Congress collection is now online. The images are all taken by U.S. government photographers.

This lady is ace.

Part of the Flickr Commons project.


manila mac.

Minutes after Steve Jobs presented the MacBook Air the other day Jona and Claire conjured up this:

Picture from Jona's stream

Air Mail: The hand-made manila envelope for your new mac! (they say the fabric is fuzzy. They don't offer kabbalah string)

I admire my mushy pea-eating friends for their agile, elegant response and hope they become trillionaires shortly. Also, I hope one day in the near future someone I even just vaguely know, will have one of these. Just so I can close the lid.


Quote of the Day:

"Why would I want to waste my time on Facebook when I still haven't read Keats' Endymion?"

The Guardian continues its social networking bash-athon with an examination of Facebook's neocon, uber-capitalist core.

the chapin sisters | toxic | sara, jessica, melissa

Bored siblings appropriating LA folk-hipsters appropriating Britney.

I like to think they made it for their mum.

awesome tapes.

This is Maher Al-Attar. He's an Egyptian actor from the '60s, who also writes great ballads. Such as "Two Winks Melted Me Down", my favourite. This tape was released on Sout Al Kahira (Sound of Cairo).

Many others can be heard over at Awesome Tapes From Africa, a buddy of DJ Rupture.


the web organic.

"For what is this much-trumpeted social networking but an escape back into that world of the closed online service of 15 or 20 years ago? Is it part of some deep human instinct that we take an organism as open and wild and free as the internet, and wish then to divide it into citadels, into closed-border republics and independent city states? The systole and diastole of history has us opening and closing like a flower: escaping our fortresses and enclosures into the open fields, and then building hedges, villages and cities in which to imprison ourselves again before repeating the process once more. The internet seems to be following this pattern."

Stephen Fry on 'web two dot oh' in the Guardian.

White Film


platonic love

an art project about the nicest solids from Attila Csorgo:
"1 tetrahedron + 1 cube + 1 octahedron = 1 dodecahedron

Here is a video
thanks Vasco.



I first read Persepolis in four parts, in French, in a big FNAC store. You didn't find comic books like this in the UK anywhere, let alone in our equivalent big media shops to be found on every high street. Coming from the independent publishing house "L'Association," of course it was going to be good, but this one was special: a story with gravitas that spoke about the kind of everyday life that isn't often told in the Western world.

The book has long been translated into many languages, and is now France's submission for the 2008 Foreign Language Academy Award. They share the same story, of little Marjane growing up in Iran during the Revolution and moving to Austria to study following the fundamentalists taking power. Of course, it's a political film. But it's also a universal tale about coming of age, and the tone is perfect. With Marjane's activist family, it's the personal politics that are important. The specific external constraints of the times are elegantly explained, and filtered through their household spectrum. Marjane reacts to her surroundings as an overly curious child who plays air guitar to illegally-bought Iron Maiden tapes and passionately violates the absurd laws inflicted upon women whenever possible, while remaining proud of her country.

All of these event are conveyed in a beautiful hand-drawn style, which has been enriched by Satrapi collaborating with Vincent Paronnaud, a French graphic artist. She has said that "alone I would have made a Bergman, except more boring. And he would have made a Scorsese!" And so, despite the incredible violence and tragedy that is integral to this tale, these moments of reality are always tempered with another, good-spirited and optimistic vision of Iran as a place that everyone can empathise with. It is an important story for these times, beautifully told and a joy to watch. As Marjane says herself, it's "pro-Iran ... a humanistic story ... if people watch this movie and at the end say "That could be me," for me that is what I want the most."

Here's the film's website, which has a nice 'making of' section.


New Year

Joao, me, Raquel, Sara.