April 28, 2011
"Detroit Collaborative Design Center" (video review)
© Sou International Ltd
Source: Sou International Ltd
Detroit Collaborative Design Center
Sou International Ltd.
This film profiles the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and its working philosophy of "participatory design". The non-profit organization, based at the University of Detroit Mercy, works closely with its clients to create architecture and community projects most beneficial to everyone involved.
To illustrate the DCDC design process, the film covers their collaboration with the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, for whom they were commissioned to create new offices. The inclusion of in-depth interviews with the clients and with Dan Pitera, the Design Center's Director of Design, provides a full picture of the approach.
The DCDC employs innovative methods to include and help their clients understand the design process. Scavenger hunts familiarize the clients with the design and architectural features of a building; Play-Doh models allow the clients to work out the location of rooms and how they want them to function within the spatial limits; and clients provide a project statement to assist designers. This active engagement leads to informed opinions and clear statements of what they need and want in a new building space. As a result, the clients feel more satisfied with the end design.
Throughout the film the potential difficulties of this collaborative method are raised. And, how the DCDC comes to resolve such problems as costs or clients inhibiting the design is documented. By addressing these complexities, Detroit Collaborative Design Center provides a persuasive model of how other programs can reach out and apply the principles of "participatory design" with their clients in the community.
April 26, 2011
John James Audubon's "Birds of America"
Today is the 226th anniversary of the birth of John James Audubon, the American ornithologist and artist who created "Birds of America". This eight-volume set of hand-colored prints was the first book purchased by the University of Michigan Library.
Images from this very book can be seen via the Library's own PictureIt Rare Book Reader. Or, go to "Audubon's Birds of America at the University of Pittsburgh" to browse their plate images, along with Audubon's text Ornithological Biography.
April 22, 2011
Happy Earth Day!
For more information on Earth Day, check out Earth Day Network.
April 19, 2011
For superb aerial images of the earth, incorporating high spatial resolution data in 14 bands, from the visible to the thermal infared wavelengths, check out ASTER! A joint venture of NASA and Japan's Minstry of Economy Trade and INdustry, the "Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer" captures images ranging from the Oresund Bridge to the Bay of Fundy, Mt. St. Helens to Salt Glaciers in Iran. Land use, natural formations, cities and hydrology are among the subjects covered in the Gallery; images can also be searched for by location. A few more images:
April 14, 2011
"The Artist Toolbox: Isabel Allende" (video review)
© AP Photo/Eric Risberg
Source: AP Images
The Artist Toolbox: The Secrets of Creative Genius: Isabel Allende
WTTW National, American Public Television
In this volume of the series "The Artist Toolbox", hosted by John Jacobson, author Isabel Allende is interviewed about her experience as a writer and her creative process. Allende shares her passion for writing and her early beginnings as a writer working as a journalist in Chile. She discusses how her life experiences influence and inspire her novels and expounds on her writing techniques and working methods. Overall this engaging interview expresses the theme of this series: creativity and its expression through the arts.
April 12, 2011
50th Anniversary of the First Human Spaceflight
On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space, making a 108-minute orbital flight in his Vostok 1 spacecraft. The rocket carrying Gagarin's Vostok 1 spacecraft blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Soviet Union, reaching unprecedented speeds for human travel at the time before it broke free of the Earth's gravitational pull and entered orbit around the planet, circling once before re-entering the atmosphere and landing back on Soviet soil.
Vostok rocket on its launcher
© AP Photo/File
Source: AP Images
YouTube is celebrating 50 years of human spaceflight with the premiere of an hour-and-a-half long video, First orbit, that recreates, in real-time, Yuri Gagarin's flight. It was shot entirely in space from on board the International Space Station. The film combines this new footage with Gagarin's original mission audio and a new musical score by composer Philip Sheppard.
April 07, 2011
"Big Blue Bear" (video review)
"I See What You Mean" by artist Lawrence Argent
© Annette Haines
Big Blue Bear
Just Media Presentation
When the Denver Convention Center held a competition for a public artwork that would encourage visitors to the center to explore the rest of the city, artist Lawrence Argent won. His commissioned work "I See What You Mean", more popularly known as "Big Blue Bear", is profiled in this eponymous documentary.
The film covers the development of the large scale art project, from its initial inspiration and the making of a model to its final creation and installation. Interviews with Denver public art director John Grant and fabricator Bill Kreysler provide a full description of their roles and assistance in the making of Big Blue Bear. Throughout this engaging film Argent displays the sense of fun and the collaboration involved in his creative artwork.