30 April, 2008
Unicode Poetry Slam
I feel certain that I've seen the logo for Fermata Festival on canvas totebags at the greenmarket, and that Fox Fraction is part of the Action 10 News Team. I'm equally convinced that Falling Family and Feathered February are Lifetime Original Movies, and that Fit Fita Five once opened for Afrika Bambaataa at the Mudd Club. Legendary turntablist Fricative Fritu was the driving force behind that act, before leaving to found Forward Fostering Four in 1979; signed to Furx Records, they were one of my favorite bands, along with Flexus Flight Flip and Facsimile Factor — who these days you can catch on Fly FM, home of a great morning drivetime show hosted by Fongman Foo...
Novelists and MCs seeking inspiration are hereby directed to the Unicode Character Name Index, once a mere reference for cosmopolitan type designers, but now also a wellspring of found poetry (and a sure-fire way to blow an entire afternoon.) The above nonsense comes from adjacent entries on the F page, and other letters are no less fertile: doesn't the M page make you yearn for the comeback of wrestling legend “Manacles” Manchu? —JH
Eric Siry adds:
You neglected gangsta rap legend Fat Fatha, Thai-Senegalese throat singer Fthora Fu, and goth pioneers Functional Funeral — as well as the front man's solo excursion into atonal noise rock, Fwa Fwaa Fwe Fwee.
13 March, 2008
At RISD, BFA candidate Alvin Aronson has made the witty and beautiful "d/a clock," in which seven-segment LED numbers are made manifest in Corian and wood. There's something irresistable about digital artifacts come to life; watching this mesmerizing video of Aronson's functioning clock, I'm reminded of the Game Music Concerts in which the Tokyo Philharmonic performed the themes from Super Mario Brothers and The Legend of Zelda. Like these, Aronson's work is certainly mordant and entertaining, but it's undeniably Art. —JH
7 February, 2008
The Evolution of Tech Logos
It took a visit to Finland in 1996 to realize that Nokia the cellphone company and Nokia the tire company were one and the same. Apparently these are merely the latest stops on a very long journey: Nokia was founded in 1865 as a wood-pulp mill, on a channel of rapids between two Finnish lakes, all of which goes to explain why the company's original logo was this slightly alarmed salmon.
Neatorama is running a very entertaining look at the evolution of tech companies’ logos, which includes such well-known corkers as IBM's grand typographic globe, and the short-lived Apple logo (that still makes me hear strains of "Carry On My Wayward Son.") Less publicized, with good reason, is the original Canon logo — née Kwanon — which had all the worldly sophistication of a Charlie Chan movie. I'm gravely concerned for the Motorola logo, though: it's memorable, distinctive, and typographically lovely; there's absolutely nothing wrong with it, which means it's probably next in line for the ax. (Xerox, I'm looking at you.) So I'm adding this one to the H&FJ Endangered Logo Watchlist, and offering 3:2 odds on a tragic redesign before the decade's out. —JH.
14 January, 2008
SPY SHOTS FROM MACWORLD!!! If only. This is one of Mark Richards' spectacular photographs from Core Memory Project, his terrific survey of vintage computers. Mark's sexy shot of the DEC PDP8/F explains all those day-glo set dressings in The Prisoner and The Time Tunnel, both worlds in which the higher the technology, the brighter the orange. Like the steampunks who reimagine today's aluminum boxes as a festival of valves and gears and brass, when will we see the Modpunks, who will wickedly return us to a world of ochre cabinets, spooling tapes, and knobs that reassuringly click? (Or are they here already?) —JH