Enter the Matrix: An Interview with Ken Isaacs
In the work of Ken Isaacs, creator of Superchair (1967) and the Knowledge Box (1962), simplicity is “absolutely monumental.” The architect/designer/writer discusses the ideas behind his pivotal designs, the concept of a “total environment,” his Microhouse project in Groveland, Illinois, and the way he developed and practiced “a lifelong commitment to a populist form of architecture.”
Archi-tourism is a web community waiting for its own digital address, writes Alexandra Lange. She longs for a dream site—“Archimaps, Designtrip, whatever”—to map her architectural explorations using smartphone photos. The trick: how to keep that contagious energy as you make snaps into an archive.
Design for Explication not Veneration: Remembering Mickey Friedman
For Mildred “Mickey” Friedman, curating design was less about acquiring objects than letting such artifacts tell stories within the galleries, “not for veneration but explication,” writes curator Andrew Blauvelt of Friedman, who passed away Sept. 3. As Design Quarterly editor and design curator for nearly 23 years, she consistently “drew upon the power of design itself to create a compelling experience.”
The Siege on Citizenship
“The cloud renders geography irrelevant,” writes James Bridle, “until you realize that everything that matters, everything that means you don’t die, is based not only on which passport you possess, but on a complex web of definitions of what constitutes that passport.” The case of Mohamed Sakr, a man deprived of his UK citizenship and later killed by a US drone, shows how such definitions are under attack.
Rethinking Collections Publishing for the Digital Age
For many in the museum world, the term scholarly collections catalogue can conjure daunting impressions: a book about a museum’s holdings, it involves years of collecting, researching, photographing, and writing, plus a huge printing budget, all to create a tome that is likely out of date the moment it hits the shelf. Enter The Living Collections Catalogue, the Walker’s new serial online publication.
Housing—as an aesthetic, conceptual, political, and environmental concern—has captured the imaginations and passions of artists and architects in recent years. In a flourishing yet undefined field, Rick Lowe, Rirkrit Tiravanija, N55, the Rural Studio, and others are prototyping creative solutions that range from portable architecture to squatting to long-term community-based design projects.
Buckminster Fuller: A Design Science Evangelist in Minnesota
Earning a standing ovation from a crowd of 5,000, Buckminster Fuller spoke at the University of Minnesota one Monday in 1973 on the role of design scientists in civic problem solving. But the 90-minute talk wasn’t the revolutionary thinker’s first trip here. As Mason Riddle learns, his many visits between 1953 and 1981 involved him in projects, exhibitions, and the inaugural Earth Day observation.
Animating Space: Martin Friedman on the Sculpture Garden
Martin Friedman recalls the snowy day in 1987 when Claes Oldenburg unveiled a “captivating object”—his concept for the focal point of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. “There it was—a spoon, whose bowl rested on a small island in the center of a free-form pond and contained a rubicund cherry.” In his 1988 essay from Design Quarterly, Friedman discusses this and the other animating ideas behind the Garden.
Tearing Up the Lawn
Fritz Haeg’s garden-based art has grown all over the world, but now he’s returned to dig in the dirt of his hometown—the Twin Cities. In his six-month Walker residency, Haeg has overturned a Woodbury front lawn, built a geodesic dome in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, grown community connections, and turned out plenty of vegetables. “It’s about shifting ideas of what’s beautiful.”