Art Works Design . . . . . Brain & Eye Guzzles

A review of what's visually/mentally stimulating

They Might Be Giants celebrate the NOW with old film cameras

John Linnell and John Flansburgh with Brobee

Those of you of a certain age (say the Gen X-ers particularly) may have fond memories of—or rabid committments to—the band They Might Be Giants. I am one of the frothing fans; that adoration was cemented not with their quirky ironic and mesmerizing music, but by the band’s experiments in constructing a social pact with their audiences through art, music and all things creative. Their unexpected, silly-visionary projects like the early Don’t Lets Start video and the now legendary daily dial-a-song (free songs posted on an analog phone answering machine for listeners aural pleasure) to their mid-career experiments with web-based tom-foolery with the chopping block design firm that led to the orange & presidential world of interactive fantasy in the kid-themed No! CD.

Performing at The Egg, an amphitheater in Albany, NY

Their continuing collaboration with a bevy of visual and creative artists like Marcel Dzama, not only enhance their stage show, albums and merchandise, but also—most essentially—keep their inquisitive outlook fresh, challenged and stimulated by surrounding themselves with other visionary thinkers and makers.

They Might Be Giants have (figuratively) a million creative projects happening at once, but one of their latest is an on-tour documentation via photographic exploration with a variety of old cameras. See John Linnell’s blog at Spinner which includes a look at the present through the history and lenses of old film-based cameras. 

To get a flavor of the blog, here is John’s opening salutation:

“All hail the old and crappy! From what I can gather here in the remote, leaf-shrouded They Might Be Giants treehouse, there continues to be a growing interest in obsolete technology to meet contemporary tastes. Some consumers of the rock music have turned back to vinyl LPs as a more visceral listening experience. Some recording artists have renounced computer based recording and digital gear altogether and are sweating over 40-year-old tape recorders.
I, for one, am sticking with my computer for music-making purposes, not because it sounds better, but because I’m too lazy to deal with all the clunky, fussy audio gear of the past.

However, after ten years of documenting life on the road with a digital point-and-shoot camera, I have turned back to taking pictures with cheap, post-war gear on old-timey film. Maybe the lo-tech cameras I like to use help to conceal my crappy technique, or maybe I’m clinging desperately to an imaginary, better past, but I find I just love old cameras to pieces….”

Interested? Want to see more samples of the photos? Heres the blog…and Marty, the drummer, taken with a 1960s Canon Dial-35.

Note: All photos from TMBG via the Spinner Blogsite


A Sweet Designed City Ride

Folding bikes are a great solution to accessible, portable green transportation for the city dweller, especially when storage/parking space is an issue at work or at home. There are many models of folding bikes on the current market, but one of the most exciting concept bikes is the Strida; both because of its incredibly easy and fast set-up/fold-down time and its unique visual style.

The Strida makes a bold visual statement and riders should be prepared to be peppered with questions about the weight, comfort and utility of this unique bike. Ride one and you are appointed ambassador of the folding bike riding experience.

Strida has information about accessories, its history, & demonstration videos on their website.

The Strida has the following features:
• a comfortable, upright riding position.
• the ability to roll when folded.
• the smallest footprint of any full-sized folder.
• no gears to worry about. Just pedal and go.
• a convenient umbrella shape when folded.
• a clean, quiet belt.
• no oily chain or gears. Trousers stay pristine.
• one-sided wheel mounting for easy  tire & 
tube changes.
• a short wheelbase. In bike mode, it takes up much less space than most bikes. In folded mode, it walks/rolls like an umbrella stroller taking up very little personal space.
• the ability to prop up vertically.
• rack becomes a convenient stand when folded.
• the easiest fold. No need to think about complex sequences. You don’t even need to bend down. Magnets do all the work for you.

The Strida has been awarded accolades and recognition from many sustainable orgs. and design-focused competitions including:

– 2009 Treehugger, Best Industrial Design: Strida Folding Bike

– 2007 TBEA Award (second runner up in Complete Bicycles Awards Category)

– 2006 Fiestrai Award of INNOVATIE

- 2002 SMART Award for Innovation

- 2000  i.d. Magazine Annual Design Award

– 2000 Millenum Product Award

- 1999 Design Museum, London

– 1992 Grand Prix Prize, Japan

– 1988 Cyclex Design Award Best New Product

DOG Premieres New Short Film

a new short film by DOG, a theater company for
The Happy Family Series at the Viaduct Theater

Featuring over thirty artists in three weeks, The Happy Family Series is a brimming collection of big-hearted demonstrations exploring “harmonic antagonisms,” the awkward equilibriums, true or false, that we forge with our loved ones/enemies. The Series begins on November 13, and DOG will appear in week 2, November 19-21 at 7p.m. It’s a fantastic line-up of Chicago’s finest—click the series link above for more info!

Glad to see you speaking so clearly is our own exploration of the series theme, as well as the delicate negotiations of confined space and the leveraging of one’s competencies with chairs and sitting. Like all of our work, it’s a collaborative effort that won’t be finished until you are watching. The piece features new music by David Pavkovic, with performances by Chris Sullivan and Vicki Walden. Edited by Vicki Walden.

Fri. & Sat. November 19-20 at 7 pm
Sun. November 21 at 3 pm.
(773) 296-6024 for tickets & info

Corriette Schoenaerts . . . . . . . . An Awesome Talent!

Corriette07Corriette is making great explorations into the space between Type :: Image :: Design :: Art.

View her extensive web-gallery to see for yourself:


Urban Green Space Retrofits: Rail Line Parks

What could we do with unused green space like this abandoned rail line section in NYC?

There are many prospects for creating trail parks on existing elevated rail lines within our major cities. This model of protected bike paths and pedestrian-focused walkways connecting parks, playgrounds and neighborhood access points utilizes already existing infrastructure and legal rights of way and reclaims them for productive recreational and protected transportation byways.

See The Bloomingdale Trail in Chicago and The High Line Park in New York City. The High Line Park already has renovated sections open for public access and more sections are in development.
These specific urban projects are opportunities that fall under a larger national agenda forwarded by advocacy organizations like the Rails to Trails Conservancy that promote the conversion of unused rail lines to active access parks and green spaces throughout the United States.
Here are some concept sketches for the Bloomingdale Trail Project in Chicago.

Two more by BLU!

Here are some compelling murals in Milan, Italy painted by the street artist BLU with a decidedly Green Transportation theme.


source:’s Bike-Art Slideshow

MUTO-Graffiti Meets Animation!

MUTO Animation
This animation by BLU is one of my all time faves. Definitely worth checkin’ out (although not for the squeamish or easily creeped-out folks).

MUTO Wall Stills