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September 16, 2005

Quick Thoughts - AIGA Boston

After a poor night's sleep (forget to bring the melatonin), I rolled into the main (massive) auditorium for the AIGA Boston conference.

John Hockenberry is MCing the event, and doing so with an engagingly loose vibe. It doesn't always work (an attempt to have "funny phone calls" live on stage fails because we can't hear the other conversant), but he never flags.

Rep. Barney Frank is clearly a smart, thoughtful guy, but I had no idea what he was doing at a design conference. All he talked about was Katrina and the role of government.

The last-minute Design For Disaster panel (that's not what it was called) didn't spur me to pay attention. Designers can be a remarkably self-congratulatory bunch -- I vaguely remember the discussion involved how signage can help evacuees.

Ellen Lupton was singularly disappointing. She spent a remarkable amount of time making fun of signs that use "dumb quotes," which is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. And she didn't really have a point to it. "Rated R" was a fun little flash film with typefaces battling it out.

Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid gave a coherent talk on hip-hop, remixing, type, and graphic design. It was easily the best public speaking I (or the folks I'm here with) have seen him do. We had two theories. 1) He showed a lot of movies, so he spoke less, and his points were illustrated by others. 2) He just wrote a book, and, in doing so, figured out how to communicate his formerly esoteric theories more accessibly.

Jason dug up a video that Spooky showed and which is worth viewing. "Distorted Minds" by Hexstatic.

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Posted by peterme at September 16, 2005 01:06 PM

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Some miscellaneous bits I haven't had a chance to post yet about the conference: Congressman Barney Frank didn't talk at all about "Design and Civic Leadership", but he did say he was in favor of limiting free speech in one small way: he would ban the ... [Read More]

Tracked on September 16, 2005 07:14 PM


I don't know... I thought Rhythm Science was pretty darned esoteric and inaccessible. It's a big challenge to create an argument about mixing, chance, and non-linearity by actually using those things as rhetorical devices. It'd be one thing if it was meant as an exercise in narrative prose, but he really seems to have something to say. I just could't really work out exactly what, beyond "things are, like, all over the place and that's what makes things so cool." The CD that comes with it is great though.

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