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Posts Tagged ‘kurt andersen’

One of Studio 360‘s regular hosts spoke recently with a woman who believes good design can and should be used to enhance the most mundane and cheerless places.

The radio show’s website says, “Going to the DMV, doing the dishes, commuting to work: what would you change if you could? Kurt talked with designer Ingrid Fetell about how better design can make all the difference.

“Fetell wants to ‘create principles that are informed by what the cognitive sciences are showing us about the way that objects, surfaces, colors, textures, patterns make us feel, and use those as principles for designing things that really make us feel good,’ she tells Kurt Andersen. Her curiosity stems from noticing that certain things seem to universally make people feel a sense of joy — like confetti, balloons, and bubbles. ‘It was really born out of a curiosity to understand why certain things make even babies smile.’

“She points to Edi Rama as a real-life example of putting these ideas into practice. Rama, who is now Prime Minister of Albania, was named the World Mayor in 2004 after painting much of Tirana in bright colors. The results were remarkable. ‘He found that people actually started paying their taxes after the painting,’ she tells Kurt. ‘People stopped littering as much and the shopkeepers started taking the metal grates off their windows and opening glass window fronts back out to the street.’ ” More here.

I like the idea of trying to understand what makes a baby smile. Or laugh. There are so many wonderful YouTube videos of babies laughing hysterically when someone tears paper or when a dog eats popcorn. Why is that hilarious? Because it’s startling?

By the way, Studio 360 is collaborating with Fetell and IDEO “to redesign a thing, place, or experience that is unnecessarily joyless.” Send your ideas on Twitter or Instagram, and tag #bringjoy. I sent “homeless shelter.”

Paint job: Edi Rama, who became prime minister of Albania

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I like to listen to the radio show Studio 360 (on the arts) as I drive to tai chi Saturday mornings.

In October, I heard about a contest the show was running. The Studio 360 website explains: “We challenged you to The Great Studio 360 Doodle Dare. Cartoonist and newly-minted MacArthur ‘genius’ grant winner Alison Bechdel started a drawing — of a disconcerted young woman grasping at something unseen — and we asked you to complete the picture.

“More than two hundred doodlers took our challenge, putting Alison’s character in every imaginable situation — fighting spaghetti, hitching a ride on a dragonfly, hanging off of Iggy Azalea’s backside. …

“ ‘I was amazed by how many submissions there were,’ says Bechdel. ‘And many of them were really, really wonderful.’

Carlolita Johnson explained in her submission that the drawing depicts something that really happened to her. ‘She had a little dog that was rolling around on a cliff above the ocean and the dog went over,’ Bechdel explains to [Studio 360 host] Kurt Andersen. ‘So it was exciting to me, because I like to write about my own life, to see someone turn this into a real scene from their own life.’ ”

More here.

Alison Bechdel’s original drawing next to the winning submission from Carlolita Johnson (Studio 360 Doodle Dare) 

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