Pictures

Environmental Design T-Shirt

environmental-designbizarre-may-8I was in my early twenties and I got this shirt from some sort of Salvation Army store. I was with my friends Marina and Bettina and we got a few things. I’ve always loved random t-shirts but this one is special. It’s incredibly mysterious! It’s quite probably American but no there’s not any info really. It says Environmental Design on the front and Bizarre May 8, 1981 on the back. Now, if that wasn’t enough, it also features two very similar drawings of two rocks, a plant and some grass. Similar but not the same. And these illustrations have words below them. One says ‘existing’, and the other ‘proposed’.

Now do you see how brilliant this shirt is? Or is it just me? I still have it, although I don’t use it anymore. It’s by far my favourite ever shirt and I’m trying to extend its lifetime by replicating it on my next album cover. I’ve used the illustration on my 2011 compilation of remixes called Redesigns. And some promotional t-shirts are being done. In Canada. But that’s another story.


Marshall McLuhan

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Marshall McLuhan is the greatest prophet if all the things we’re experiencing today. I’ve read Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clark,  Orwell, Huxley and Asimov – no one comes close to the influence McLuhan is to my life and to this society. Of course, McLuhan was a theorist, not a fiction writer, but still, books like 1984 had a major impact in the way we foresaw life and society some decades ago, so I guess the comparison is valid. Global village, the medium is the message, the concepts of archetypes, and even the famous 15 minutes of fame, wrongly credited to Andy Warhol – it all came from him.

I discovered McLuhan relatively late in my life – I was 16, 17. It’s probably the only important author that the library my father left me was missing. And he was incredibly important to me, particularly this book, The Medium is the Massage (an invetory of effects). Not a typo, it’s Mass-age alright, see? It made me understand some disorganized feelings and theories I had about people and life, besides pointing me to several interests like Semiology and Media. Obviously, it has a magnificent typography composition, with blow-up images – some of them created with letters. I remember being so excited about this book that I started reading it again after finishing it for the first time.  McLuhan became an obsession for a few years, I was calling bookstores all over the planet to find second hand copies of the titles I haven’t read yet. Folks, there was no Amazon.com at that time ok? And then, one night, I was watching late movies on the telly when Annie Hall started. I’ve always been a fan of Woody Allen, I was excited. Halfway through the film he cites McLuhan and invites him into the story. Glorious moment that was – everything made sense. Viva McLuhan.


Alle Wunder dieser Welt

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This is one of the many books I’ve spent my childhood reading – a very special one. It could be loosely translated as “Every Wonder of the World”, and it shows special places from all over the world, like The Big Hole, The Dead Sea, Chichen Itza and Christ, the Redeemer. It’s first chapter has illustrations of the orginal seven wonders of the world and information about them. Until this day I know them all because of this magnificent book. It also created in me this necessity I have to travel and see new things, this unstoppable wanderlust that my friends and family see in me.

But this book also belongs to another realm of inspiration, the typography. Being a child of the atomic age, with this strong Germanic background floating around in the house – and in the library, mainly – I was srrounded by book, art and objects with Swiss/German design. Alle Wunder dieser Welt had the same black thick grotesk graphic idea that a few years later influenced another refference of mine, the KLF.

I’ve always been interested in the places covered by this book and in september 2009, I might be visiting one of my favorities, The Atomium – made for the EXPO ’58.  And until this day I dream of visiting Canada just to see the Habitat :)

UPDATE: Since writing this entry I managed to visit both Atomium and Habitat ’67 – there are a few pictures of the latter here.