on genre..

An example of a single song, Rasputin, crossing from 1970s glam disco to the Scandinavian folk death metal and yet experiencing striking commercial success highlights how a deliberate and somewhat ironic confronting of established genre boundaries can be effective. The iconic mega-hit Rasputin by 1970s glam disco band Boney M, about the notorious mystic Rasputin who was advisor to royalty in the late Tsarist era … Continue reading on genre..

self-expression takes many forms

Dance meets skateboarding, and an explicit rationale of self-expression by rider Milan Somerville. The landscape below is one very familiar to me; Southeast Queensland in Australia where I grew up and spent some years as an adult. Milan Somerville’s videos drew the attention of a producer who brought him to California to feature in this music video:         Continue reading self-expression takes many forms


In the ZIII class we will explore the centrality of repetition to cognition, cultural product, design and creative processes. Humans are advanced pattern recognition machines: memory mechanisms works off that and so much of human cognition is founded on it. Arguably it is the capability for sustained deliberative repetitive action across many domains that distinguishes us as a species and is fundamental to how humans … Continue reading repetition

Repetition I: a lot of Sorrow

Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson initiated a remarkable event by American band The National, performing their song Sorrow in a repetition loop nonstop for 6 hours in a performance space, PS1, at MOMA New York in 2013. The performance was filmed in its entirety and later became a significant video installation at exhibition of Kjartansson’s works at the Barbican, London, in mid-2016. Many participants in The National … Continue reading Repetition I: a lot of Sorrow

Jørn Utzon & the Sydney Opera House

A controversial documentary produced with BBC support on the then still-incomplete Sydney Opera House in 1968. The director had been a leading young journalist in Australia who covered the project from the beginning and who then went to work for the BBC n the UK. After architect Jorn Utzon resigned following an ugly politicisation of the project the documentary was produced, against the opposition of … Continue reading Jørn Utzon & the Sydney Opera House

Design thinking & human enablement

Tom Kelley on an anthropological perspective and much more.. Tom Kelley on careful observation: Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, on the shift from ‘design’ to ‘design thinking’, which he actually sees as a return to a creative mindset lost when design became harnessed completely to consumerism in the 2nd half of the 20th century. Lets talk too about design as human enablement. Steve Jobs was … Continue reading Design thinking & human enablement

designing a good life

An excellent talk byBill Burnett, the director of the d.school program at Stanford. The d.school was developed initially with the initiative of David Kelley of IDEO. Very interesting use of psychological studies of choice, tied to design thinking methodology, for personal career and life guidance. With Dave Evans, Bill Burnett has written a bestselling book called Designing Your Life, which elaborates upon the concepts and … Continue reading designing a good life

a signature sensibility

Film-maker Wes Anderson is comfortable with having arrived a signature style, a distinctive sensibility, that is immediately recognisable as his own, makes it possible to imagine a character in one of his films quite naturally turning up in another, while he also works hard for each work to be original. He discusses these issues in the short video below, and it also notes how he … Continue reading a signature sensibility

Tyler Brulé, Monocle & curation

Tyler Brulé was born and brought up in Canada, and after a period of college study went to London where he was hired by the BBC. While working as a reporter he was wounded in Afghanistan and had a long hospital stay. During that time he read and became bored with many magazines. He then founded the Wallpaper interior design and lifestyle magazine, sold it for … Continue reading Tyler Brulé, Monocle & curation

Saul Leiter

Saul Leiter was a dedicated photographer of New York street life for over sixty years. He had  an early influential career in commercial photography – primary for Harper’s Bazaar – and later became rather reclusive, photographing regularly but exhibiting rarely. In recent years his work has attracted great renown. In Japan he came to be known through the following documentary (trailer only) and an exhibition … Continue reading Saul Leiter

Avedon, Leibovitz, Adams +

An extensive documentary on influential fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon (1923 – 2004):   Trailer for a documentary on the renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz:   Iconic American landscape photographer Ansel Adams; his technical precision in composing and printing images has been the benchmark for generations of photographers working in B&W:   The benchmark for social documentary was set early by German photographer August Sander, whose … Continue reading Avedon, Leibovitz, Adams +

on perfumery

We will explore writing on fragrance as a means to reflect on the enabling role of language in sharing specialist knowledge, in communicating the material and sensory aspects of a product, how it may enable more nuanced engagement with a scent, and also the prevalence of poetic and other allusion in writing on perfumery. The website basenotes.net is a great place to start for writing … Continue reading on perfumery

Vidal Sassoon

A seemingly sprightly Vidal Sassoon, gives a TED talk at Oxford in 2011, aged 83. He passed away less than four months later. His personal achievement as a pioneering hairdresser and related entrepreneur came despite suffering acute poverty in his youth growing up in London. He was proud of his Jewish heritage, fought during the Arab-Israeli War of 1948-9 associated with the founding of the … Continue reading Vidal Sassoon

Designers & the fashion industry

  An engaging interview with Marc Jacobs, and with some interesting comments about creatives and the desire for recognition from about 7 mins into the 10 minute video:     Former  long-serving creative director at Lanvin, Israeli Alber Elbaz. There was contention over his departure later, after some 14 years in the job, following a disagreement with the majority Taiwanese shareholder in the brand. Lanvin … Continue reading Designers & the fashion industry

Serge Lutens.. sensibility transcending

Serge Lutens was born in the northern French industrial town in 1942, left school at 14 to train in hairdressing but then went on to create cosmetics, to be a photographer, film-maker, fashion designer, creative director working for Shiseido and other clients and, in recent years primarily perfume director, working with esteemed perfumer Christopher Sheldrake. He is often distant from French public life, living in Marrakesh, … Continue reading Serge Lutens.. sensibility transcending

René Redzepi

The young Danish chef  has played a profoundly important role in reshaping perceptions of Nordic cuisine, both within Scandinavia and abroad, through his restaurant Noma. It was several times judged by one influential ranking to be the world’s best restaurant. During 2014-16 he also did ‘pop up’ restaurants in Sydney and Tokyo, which were sell-outs and affirmed his international influence. Redzepi plans to close Noma … Continue reading René Redzepi