Tag: culture

13
Feb

TV & Modern Art

FP_MainTitle_60In the 1940s and 1950s, broadcast television design was very much influenced by art and art movements, popular culture and innovation. Design teams contributed to what Professor of Television Lynn Spigel has called the modern taste wars. Television, in its own mass appeal way, crushed distinctions between high and low art, brought together themes from museums and the streets, and blended new visual experiences altogether into American living rooms. Networks hired renowned pop art and graphically-inclined artists, wanting to project scale and “good taste” to audiences. Early TV pioneers knew the power of television: not only was it a storyteller, capturing and speaking to the American collective consciousness, but it’s also a visually dense medium that has the ability to tap into emotions and engage the senses.

In the 1970s, motion graphics operationalized “taste” culture and art into its larger brand. Graphics and technology became a tool to create identities and compelling ways for audiences to experience a television brand.

With this sort of active art legacy, we already have a throughline into art and popular art movements. That’s why we’re so loving broadcast design that looks back to the roots of art and television while thinking forward. We’ve partnered with E! on many occasions; most recently, for one of its popular series “Fashion Police.” In the show open, the chaos of abstract expressionist and pop art blends with fashion and awards season. We love playing with the legacy of television, sharing so much rich history and inspiration along the way.

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22
Aug

Think Like A Tourist: Deconstructing Danish Design

The island of Christiana situated in Copenhagen.

The island of Christiana situated in Copenhagen.

We headed out this summer for what call our Oishii design expedition. These trips help us to refresh, shift perspective, and perfect our practice. Around the office we ask everyone to “Think Like A Tourist” and purposeful travel is the best way to realize our recognizably lofty ambitions.

Going out and exploring is not simply about seeing what others are doing, although that’s always useful and fun. These trips are for us, about immersing ourselves in how other cultures think and work and create. So this summer we packed up and headed to Denmark, one of the centers of iconic Scandinavian design.

Design is everywhere in Denmark and Copenhagen; it infuses daily life, and not just architecture, industrial design, furniture or fashion. For well over 300 years, Denmark has been universally recognized for design and craftsmanship. And we are familiar with the modern designs of Bang & Olufsen, Kaare Klint, Arne Jacobsen and the Jans J. Wegner chairs. For us, we wanted to experience and understand the power behind Danish design, and capture thinking in action. We wanted to spend time in Bregade and the Design Museum and wander the city.

It became clear quickly to us that the power of Danish design is what happens before an object becomes physical and real.

Danish design captures a thought process, long before the iconic lamp, chair or building takes shape. Like good design thinkers, Danes create things for people, to use and maybe make their lives better and more comfortable. And fun, too. Perhaps it’s the history of Denmark; they endure long winters with only a sliver of sun, the many fjords and waterways cutting cold into bare skin. This is design thinking, solving our problems with a solution that brings light and air into routines. After all, that is what the best design is, problem solving on a grand and neverending scale.

You see design thinking obviously in architecture and urban planning. One example is a “city” in the middle of Copenhagen called Christiana. It’s not a “city”; it’s more of an urbane modern commune smack dab in the middle of a bustling metropolis. In this “city space” on a fjord, was once a 700-year-old military barracks. The Danish government was in the process of abandoning the property in 1971 when locals quickly marched in. They set up a semi-autonomous city with housing, public services and a public garden and architecture codes. They called in celebrated graffiti artists to paint murals, they set up food markets and industry. Lots of thought and experimentation has gone into all facets of the garrison-city, what the early founders wanted residents to experience.

The flag of Christiana.

The flag of Christiana.

 

 

 

Welcome and well-placed firewood

Welcome and well-placed firewood

Entering the gate into Christiana.

Entering the gate into Christiana.

 

The fjord looking onto the bridge. Note the new architecture emerging in the background.

The fjord looking onto the bridge. Note the new architecture emerging in the background.

 

 

 

A typical “vacation” house on the island. All houses must adhere to strict regulations.

A typical “vacation” house on the island. All houses must adhere to strict regulations.

 

30
Jun

What TV Cultural Norms Can We Learn From The World Cup?

World CupThe Oishii office has been bustling with World Cup conversations. With staff members from Germany to Mexico to England to Peru, everyone has a story to share; a team and player nuances passionately mapped on the whiteboard.

In a recent NPR program, guest Felix Sanchez raised questions about what he perceived to be the racist or culturally offensive remarks made by Univision game announcers during the World Cup. Sanchez, who champions the Hispanic voice and perspective in media and culture, also raises awareness about the lack of inclusivity in content we consume.

During certain World Cup games, Sanchez argued that the racist and otherwise off-color remarks, such as “morena” and grena,” showed a lack of respect for certain players, and reflected racist perceptions about “dark skinned” peoples. While some audiences may grit their teeth and laugh off the bravado, he pointed out that other audiences might be insulted by such racially charged language. Reactions to Sanchez’s comments have fueled further outcry, forcing him to defend his criticisms:

Again, the issue is not how you have used the word “moreno” and “greña,” but how it was used in the context of this broadcast. Here the sportscaster had been calling all the players by their last names, but when it came to the Afro Latino player, he referred to him by the color of skin and gratuitously focused on his hair, essentially he said: “the black guy with the dreds.” That kind of double standard commentary is not acceptable and at a minimum raises issue of fairness and respect to Afro Latino players, and at a maximum reinforces a classist/racist/ mentality.

We think it’s important to look at the World Cup less as a spectator sport more as a moment of television cultural anthropology. How television, culture and sport are symbolic and real “screens” onto which we can see audience values, tastes, opinions and ideas intersecting and influencing one another. How cultures merge and where conversations happen. The World Cup is a great opportunity to see how television works in very powerful ways. In the United States, television audiences reflect demographic trends. Audiences are increasingly diverse and bring with them their experiences and ideologies. With this diversity comes convergence, and merging is not without its conflicts and happy accidents. Rather than label announcers, perhaps we should embrace the chaos and sit without judging. Observe and truly understand the importance of audiences in the new local-global television scape.

What are your thoughts on Sanchez’s argument? What role / responsibility do you think TV should play in this case?


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