On the flight to Miami I sat next to an off-duty pilot who tried to insist that I use his uniform jacket as a blanket. After we landed, he read all of my texts over my shoulder and tried to make small talk based on the information he had gleaned. "You like the Kardashians?"
Goal for Basel: see a Kardashian—preferably Kourtney, the most underrated Kardashian. I'd also enjoy Khloe. I'm scared of Kylie and Kendall. Rob doesn't count.
I was nervous about forcing myself to participate in so much culture in such a short time. I fearfully got up and went to Pulse, a satellite festival. Pulse was the perfect way to ease into Basel; it had a grassy lawn with hammocks and free Perrier (I felt sad for the Perrier girls who had to dress in head-to-toe green). The best installation was Watch Some Movies by Casey Neistat, because you could sit on a couch and watch movies or Keeping Up With The Kardashians while he served beer and grilled cheese sandwiches, aka feel like you never left home. Perfect for the shut-in.
No Kardashian sightings today. Several times I thought I saw one, but it was always just a random girl dressed as a Kardashian; long dark hair extensions, fake eyelashes, an outdated bodycon dress. Basel Barbies.
Beyonce spotted at Basel: she looked perfect and was looking at the art the way a parent would indulgently look at their child's kindergarten drawing, lots of nodding and head tilting. There was a lot of internet art and I wish her Tumblr had been included in Basel somehow. No Kardashians still, which makes sense; Kim is notoriously afraid of Beyonce so unless Kanye dragged her, she wouldn't be anywhere near this Beyonce field trip.
I met a group of Northern expats. I asked what Miami was like, and if they ever shop at Dash, the world-class Kardashian boutique. They came up with a litany of bizarre information and ignored my Kardashian questions. "There are a lot of beautiful people, but keep in mind 1 in 6 people in South Florida have HIV." "When I first moved here there was an underground horse-meat smuggling ring in the news, so I became a vegetarian." "Christmas decorations here are just really depressing and ruin the summer fun state of mind." "Iggy Pop lives in a mansion in the suburbs." "No apartments have hardwood floors, it's all tile. I feel like I've been living in a bathroom for the past 3 years." "My seventy year old real estate agent told me to lighten up when I refused to rent an apartment where the entire bedroom was mirrored. She told me it was sexy and that I didn't know what I was talking about."
This last thing actually sounded like something a Kardashian would say, if she worked in real estate.
Having fulfilled my art duty, I spent my last days at the beach. I got a really good tan all over from just my 1.5 days at the beach. The tropical sun is so much better than the Chicago sun. In Chicago I will get a really intense tan on, like, my knee and nothing else after a hard day lying in the sun, rotating hourly. In Miami it was effortless. There were peacocks walking around and the beach was empty. It was heaven. I felt like a Kardashian.
The airport on Monday morning was my last chance to see a Kardashian but I was in a crowd of hungover French DJs and my celebrity spotting was sabotaged. I'm sad I didn't see a Kardashian in the wild. But really, Kardashians were everywhere, even if I didn't see the Kardashians. Everyone was drunk, wearing false eyelashes, whining loudly, and talking about how Kanye West is actually a really good designer. That is the beauty of Miami.
Those living in the Washington, D.C. area in the '80s circa the Iran-Contra scandal might remember the bold graphic poster emblazoned with "Meese Is A Pig" popping up around the city. They were hard to miss for commuters and locals alike. The posters appeared overnight and were visible on various public spaces. The graphics were clearly aimed at Reagan cabinet member and advisor Edwin Meese who was enmeshed in Iran/Contra and also the champion of various far-right causes in the administration. The poster campaign got national attention. Soon, the poster's creator, Jeff Nelson (of Dischord Records and Minor Threat fame) was revealed. With respect to Nelson's album sleeve and logo designs (among our favorites ever!), his "Meese Is A Pig" poster remains his masterpiece. Nelson sold T-shirts with the image, which covered his printing costs and the graphics lived on long after the street campaign was over. With Edwin Meese back in the news as the backer a government shutdown and national anti-Obamacare efforts, we're pleased to see "Meese Is A Pig" getting its due.
Detroit boasts a history of legendary axmen—Jack White, Ted Nugent, Robert White, Wayne Kramer and Dennis Coffey to name a few. And now, thanks to the passion project of commercial real estate director and woodworker Mark Wallace, the next great musician on that list may kick out the jams with a guitar made from a chunk of the city itself.
Built in a Corktown workshop, Wallace Detroit Guitars are fashioned from wood salvaged from the city’s recently demolished buildings. Each instrument will be branded with the address of the home that provided the wood, reinforcing the local heritage of the material.
So far, Wallace has created two prototypes that need to be tested, but a recent $8,000 matching grant from the Knight Foundation should allow him to expand production. Eventually, he wants the finished product to include more salvaged material from other local companies, like a strap made out of leftovers auto parts.
“One of the great things about Detroit is the collaboration,” he says. “Everyone wants to work together because they know they’re making the city a better place.”
Wallace's project is currently getting off the ground thanks to a grant from the Knight Foundation.
The excellent design blog Thisispaper is now available, wait for it, in paper. We queried editor Zuzzana Gasior on the new print mag.
What is Thisispaper for those unfamiliar?
As Thisispaper we are now running two different, but interweaving projects. Thisispaper Magazine is where we share our inspirations and obsessions from multiple fields of design. Our roots are in the digital world but we find print equally alluring. We started off as an online magazine and continue running it, by we have recently ventured into print and released Thisispaper Magazine Inaugural Issue in paper and ink. Thisispaper Shop is our second, younger brainchild. It’s an online store with hand made products.
Which designers have been selected for the issue, how did you decide who to include?
The full list of featured designers is as follows: Studio Glithero, Faye Toogood, Formafantasma, Phoebe English, Nina Donis, Feilden Fowles Architects; photographers Kanoa Zimmerman and Marcel van der Vlugt; artist Anouk Griffioen.
The selection process was simple. We decided to feature designers whose work we’re impressed by and who have a strong conceptual background behind their work. We were particularly curious to find out about their creative process so we chose the ones that put emphasis on the process, not just the finished product.
Why do you think a print publication was necessary?
As you will quickly discover when you open the magazine, some of the interviews are quite massive, and were intended to be so from the start. We wanted to explore the designers’ creative processes in depth. Such content lives better in a tangible book that online. While surfing the web, people focus on image and have a short attention span and it’s not the best environment to present content that requires a careful reading. Plus we’re really drawn to the beauty of a printed object, the texture of paper, smell of paint and so on.
Thisispaper.com was an ironic name, but now it has a literal meaning.
Good point. Since Thisispaper is an umbrella term for both the site and the magazine, it now means that digital and print can coexist without undermining one another’s position. This is due to the fact that they are good for different things. The content that we feature online is much more image-based, while for print we look for something that requires more time and effort to absorb.
You're based in Warsaw, does that surprise a lot of your readers?
It does come as a surprise sometimes, but mostly to people in Poland. When they see Thisispaper they don’t expect it to be a Warsaw-based endeavor (love the word).
The print publication is a very limited run. Why is that? Do you hope to expand? Is it harder or easier to do a print magazine in Poland?
The print publication is not a limited run. We will print as many copies as there is demand for. 250 is the minimal number that we need to reach in the pre-order period to print the magazine, but there is no maximum limit on how many copies we will print. That said, it’s hard to imagine a situation when Thisispaper is available on every newsstand
Nowadays when distribution mostly happens online, printing a ad-free magazine is a comparable experience in Warsaw and everywhere else. It would probably be harder for us, though, is we were trying to attract sponsors.
Where can one get the print magazine?
Online at thisispapershop.com/product/thisispaper-inaugural-issue or soon at some local stores worldwide.
Do you accept contributions and pitches?
We do. See here for possible ways of working with us: welcome.thisispaper.com
While Swedish students may not have to worry about the same tuition bills as their American counterparts enrolled in private colleges, they do have to contend with a small scale housing crisis. A growing number of students are priced out of conventional apartments. So the architects at Tengbom are testing a housing system at Lund University that would reduce each apartment to just over 100 square feet. The studios have 13 foot ceilings and multiple windows to counteract the small footprint, and use lightly colored sustainable wood as a primary building material. The houses are completely independent from one another, but the plan is to build clusters of about 22 units for a kind of modified communal living. [images via Bertil Hertzberg]