Art has, conventionally, been about disturbing convention. Traditionally, I think, this has been about challenging ideological conventions. The news that health and safety may possibly require the Doris Salcedo “Shibboleth” installation at the Tate to be covered over suggests that the convention is shifting. As does the work of Kendell Greers, currently on display at the Baltic in Gateshead.
I am probably the last person in the blogosphere to write about Amazon’s launch of its e-book device, the Kindle. It’s described as “a wireless reading device” and in the initial wave of publicity Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has taken care to position it as complementary to the book. But even with Amazon’s strengths as an e-commerce retailer chances of success seem poor, for the moment.
Our dominant management methods and theories are now a century old – and are no longer suitable for what they have to do. That’s the overall argument of Gary Hamel‘s new book, The Future of Management, which he spells out in a recent ‘conversation’ with McKinsey Quarterly. But while he thinks that the new models are clear, it’s not clear how long they’ll take to emerge into practice.
There’s been a flurry of interest on the design blogs on the ‘FE-Mittelschrift’ typeface adopted for German number plates. It breaks pretty much all of the rules for typographic design, perhaps because it is designed to prevent manipulation of number plates. The most important ‘readers’ may be machines, not humans.
It must be the season for newspapers and magazines to look at how well businesses are doing in greening themselves. The New York Times and the Guardian have run supplements, while Fast Company and Business Voice have prominent articles. The NYT looks most interesting in terms of trends; it suggests that we have reached the third phase of businesses improving their environmental impact.
In her essay on Aldous Huxley, which I blogged about yesterday, Margaret Atwood revisits the origins of the word ‘utopia’. Obviously it’s by Thomas More, and obviously it’s from the Greek. The conventional wisdom is that it means “no place”, from the Greek ou-topos, but there has been a recurring minority view that said it was from eu-topos (‘good place’) instead.
I blogged a few months ago about a long essay reflecting on Brave New World on its 75th anniversary. Now the novelist Margaret Atwood, not a stranger to future-oriented fiction*, has her reflections on the novel in today’s Guardian Review. Comparing it with 1984, she asks:
Would it be possible for both of these futures – the hard and the soft – to exist at the same time, in the same place? And what would that be like?