Attention to design is widespread these days, mostly because the platforms, algorithms, and technologies slowly breaking our brains have all been designed, and folks are reckoning with that fact. Adding to this mix is influential design firms like IDEO group that have shaped the ways organizations go about trying to solve problems.
But then there is this slick piece by E. Alex Jung on the the set design(s) in the film Parasite. Here is Jung and director Bong Joon Ho on the flood scene that pushes the film around one of its many unexpected corners.
In order to flood the house and the surrounding neighborhood, the production team built the entire set inside of a massive water tank generally reserved for disaster epics just outside of Seoul. “The flood scene is so essential in the movie,” says Bong. “Much of our resources, budget, special effects, and preparation went to that scene. We had to do a lot of elaborate prepwork for a long time.”
Did you catch that? They designed for a flood! But I also love how design in the film was also bombastic at a smaller level. Like having carpenter Bahk Jong Sun design the warm-cold furniture in the living room, or the importance of a $2,300 German-design trash can.
A team of sound and programing enthusiasts used machine learning to organize thousands of everyday sounds into a type of web you can play to make beats. They call it the Infinite Drum Machine. Above is the visual representation; it’s a galaxy of sorts with play points you can drag through to activate different sounds. This activity itself is petty fun, but also, the sounds automatically load into a sequencer. I apologize in advance for the work you will not get done today after clicking on the link.
Something from the sent folder:
HT to Tim Lensmire’s White Folks.
Reading: A quick pass through Megan Bang’s “Repatriating Indigenous Technologies in Urban Communities” from Urban Education in 2013. Bang and her coauthors talk about processes of repatriation:
The ways in which designers, teachers, and youth develop new relationships and forms of engagement with technologies beyond digital mediums.
Later they talk about how “technologies are dislodged from colonial legacies that implicitly or explicitly position technologies as having only European ontologies.” I’m coming off a 4 (or was it 5?) hour sound/beatmaking session last week with The Aadizookaan, and this process of repatriation seems very much like what they’ve done with hip-hop methods of production.
Writing: The edits aren’t really final until the piece comes out. So, it was final edits on “Youth, Reverberation, and Detroit’s Most Charismatic Rapper” for Sounding Out! I’ve written a lot about hip-hop. Only once about rap music. Now it’s twice.
Listening: Revisited the M.O.P catalog this week. I’m a guy who appreciates clear, unambiguous relational parameters. Which is why I enjoy the Intro of Warriorz when DJ Premier draws this line in the concrete:
First of all, we would like to apologize for all the real [brothas] waiting for this album to drop. We do not apologize to all you fake ass [brothas], for you are not important to us.
Clarity, folks: a characteristic of healthy relationships.