Shredded

A piece of Banksy artwork — the 2006 ‘Girl with Balloon’ — spontaneously shredded through its picture frame at Sotheby’s auction house after it had just that moment sold for £860,000 (about $1.2 million dollars as of this writing).

Banksy is brilliant.

Ending Malaria

Megan Molteni of Wired Magazine cracks open the Crispr gene-editing process relative to eliminating malaria (a fifteen year process) in mosquitoes.

I’m curious what unforeseen changes will occur in the ecology as we mold our environment at a genetic level. Everyone agrees that ending malaria is a good thing. But good things are relative in Mother Nature. Ecologically, events cascade in often unforeseen fractals — an evolving, invisible calculus catalyzed by technology.

I’m sure educated, brilliant people are connecting the dots of these events. The challenge is the dots are moving and mingling in unusual Gestalts. As Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the hyperlink, might say, “one thing leads to another.”

Leave No Dark Corner

Matthew Carney, Chinese correspondent of ABC News Australia, conducts a wonderfully pointed piece of storytelling concerning China’s soon-to-be imposed Social Credit System. Disturbing technology. How will this be misused? More so, a Chinese citizen suggests it makes her feel safe. At what cost?

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Ben Franklin, (though slightly out of context)

While we are experiencing Aldous Huxley’s nightmare over here in the States, the Chinese are colliding with George Orwell’s vision of the future

Amusing Ourselves to Death

“The clearest way to see through a culture is to attend to its tools for conversation.”

Marshall McLuhan

I’ve plunged head-first into Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death. While it’s far too early to glean any sort of revelation from the book, it’s easy to read the tea leaves of a great thinker, a prescient storyteller, and a prophetic educator.

The zenith of his first argument teeters from McLuhan’s quote above, intersecting with Native American smoke signals as an uncomplicated form of communication. Smoke cotton-balls ballooning into the sky could not contain sophisticated philosophies or debate; only raw, simple information.

It’s fascinating how similar network access is to that simple act, exchanging smoke for transluscent blossoms of radiation to convey our thoughts. We are, all of us, igniting the atmosphere with our collective rumination, tattooing the invisible skin of the world with fire.

UPDATE: No one wants a great book to end.

The main argument Postman makes is: communication through imagery is a poor replacement, both socially and culturally, for communicating through typography. He positions various points to defend this hypothesis throughout the book, from televangelism to photography to politics. His arguments are insightful, carefully deconstructing purpose to expose intent. 

The challenge is that it’s hard to trust words these days. The vast majority of communication legwork is handled nonverbally. There is a reason that publishing photos through Instagram or Facebook is so popular — photos tell the story quickly and efficiently. A few clicks and you’re done as opposed to constructing icon after icon composing word after word to form a sentence to craft a coherent thought or story.

Sadly, we are trading craft for convenience.

Handshake Advertising

This past year, Miami adopted a new online system to conduct on-campus recruiting as well as events such as the various career fairs occurring throughout the year. standupThe new system, Handshake, is a sharp contrast to the previous system the department used; the result of which has shifted our various workflows significantly.

More importantly, by way of this system, students interaction/communication with the department has changed. Kelly Thompson and I forged an ad campaign to communicate the numerous activities (cultivated by the department) by which students can better prepare for and manage their respective career exploration.

Our initial copy for the campaign was conceived by Kelly, providing a strong platform on which we could build — or in this case, deconstruct. The best communications treat users like intelligent people and allow students to judge for themselves the value of that interaction. This both honors their time as well as educates them to the intricacies of the software. 

So we cut away all the content, compressing the advertising into a series of actions muted in Miami red (our brand color) while knocking out the Handshake logo for proper emphasis. As we discussed our approach, it seemed clear that a typographic treatment might be interesting to communicate messaging, exclusively in the branded typefaces unique to Miami. The words ‘JOBS’, ‘FAIRS’ and ‘CAREERS’ attract attention, regardless of the recessed color in the overall piece.