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  • theaptPORTFOLIO

    theaptSHOWS



    February 23, 2009

    oped3.jpgand a sunny morning it is. not so much sunny from a yay-the-stimulus-passed-it’s-all-gonna-be-over-soon-and-i’ll-be-able-to-afford-olive-oil-again kind of way but in a weather sense. had a pretty interesting weekend, starting with the filming of an amazing project that required dozens of people to come to my house and scream in front of a green screen… the amazing part, save for the sheer volume of the affair, was the fact that most people do not yell to this extent in their daily lives, or ever for that matter. ok, maybe chris brown. hence the most surprised ones were the screamers themselves, amazed at the sounds coming out of their mouths and the contortions the screams induced in their bodies. the whole experience felt like therapy for them they said, thanking me and my crew and leaving feeling unburdened. the result? you’ll get to see later but i think you’ll like it…

    i then went to the very sad/happy farewell drink for my friend and mistress natasha chetiyawardana. she is leaving this week for london where she will start being the creative director she imagined since being in her mother’s womb. the experience left me bittersweet but hey, i can’t exactly chain her half naked to a radiator, can i… wait a minute, can i?! anyway, more on that later in the week. on sunday, as i was purposely ignoring my parental duties and was searching the tubes for some sort of deviancy in local sri-lankan pornography, i stumbled upon a wonderful segmented documentary about designer marc newson:

    there are not a lot of designers for whom i have more respect than marc newson. and i use the word sparingly in my daily life. respect also over esteem or vulgar love because what i appreciate in what he has delivered so far, from salt and pepper shakers to spacecraft, is the consideration with which he approaches each project and, really, his life. watch the embedded bbc documentary and once you get over the depthless admirative posturing of host alan yentob, you’ll get a sense of what i mean. this is a man who is not designing to litter the world with pretty things that bear his signature, even though that is certainly a byproduct; this is a man who is not designing to change the world, even though that is certainly a byproduct; this is a man who is not designing to make statements about where we’ve been and where we’re going, even though that is certainly a byproduct; this is a man who is designing to solve problems, an all-too rare intent in those who would rethink the way we brush our teeth…

    the point is, and i don’t believe this is such a secret anymore, but most designers are decorators, taking intents and details from their forefathers and applying them with most impact. and that’s kind of the problem isn’t it, the need for impact, as opposed to the need for solutions. for too long, and still prevalent today, is the word design mistaken for a term of form, of look, feel or worse, marketing. in fact, it is a term of function. and don’t get me wrong, that function can be art; it is not the exclusive province of mere plungers and cars as beauty, my good friends, is also a function. and marc newson is one of its most prominent, and talented, evangelists. an evidently thoughtful man, he is even, in my opinion, misunderstood by the talking heads in this short documentary. it is easy, and frankly disappointing to all involved, to speak of the gifted as different. who isn’t different for lard’s sake?! who isn’t original? i tend to believe that we all are, great even, if caught at the right moment, in front of the right audience. the laudable qualities of humans are not simply demonstrated as a show of difference in one specific field but rather to be celebrated when time has been taken, some might say wasted, in considering the whole and the bits, the intents and the possibilities, the brief and the execution, when all of it has been part of a moment of reflection akin to finding oneself in the pimpled-filled fog of the teenage years. except the subject at hand here is an object, in front of you as an idea on a torn napkin. there are few substitutes for those moments of total creativity. and yes, again, we are indeed talking of salt and pepper shakers. and a spacecraft.

    we tend to be incessantly assailed these days with ghostly and ghastly notions of perfectibility, notions that we, as finitely-endowed creatures, drastically fall short of on a daily basis. design has been hailed as a saviour in these matters as of late. a science, an art, at the very least a method, that can rescue us all from our rapidly deteriorating inherent mediocrity in that it obliges us to look at the world with a different pair of eyes, eyes that we do not often use anymore having been taught never to yell anymore, whether it be from anger or joy. these are the eyes of criticism. you’ll say, and rightly so, that i’m out of my mind, that ALL we do is criticize, all we do is put down people and things. but the favor that design extends to us is twofold: we are finally criticizing our immediate context, the coffee mugs, the plungers, the nail polish in our lives and, most importantly, it gives us the weapons to wage war against them if we wish. and that is the arsenal chosen by talented designers, from jonathan ive to mr. newson by important way of dieter rams to navigate the stormy seas of solution-finding.

    look at the way the man lives. sure, the view of paris is the star of the show, afforded no doubt by the on-time payments of the facilitators, but the choices for the interiors seem to me, for lack of a better word, modest. or perhaps more appropriately, fitting a man who does not seem to have many other needs for approval than the basic ones. a place a cook, a place to eat, a place to wash and a place to sleep. his own home is not overly designed, not a museum, even if he has probably designed every piece in it, and screams out the fact that his real worth is accomplished outside in the world, working for people, working for us, not for himself. success or failure is only measured by the quality of the breadcrumbs you leave behind on your way to death, isn’t it? i think so, which is why i respect mr. newson and any person for whom doing is not simply the natural consequence of thinking but its synonym.

    like i said, it was a pretty good weekend. did i forget to mention the oscars?… oh well. now, on to another week of hoping that sweet sweet death takes me away from the grips of an existence made only bearable by the mangled harmonies of thelonious monk…