The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Something for the Weekend


Peirene Press is small independent publisher in the UK specializing in previously untranslated contemporary European novellas. Their most recent series of books, designed by Sacha Davison Lunt, has been short-listed for the 2011 British Book Design and Production Awards in the Brand/Series Identity category.

Txt — Thomas Jones looks back at the work of author William Gibson at The Guardian:

The most striking feature of cyberspace in Neuromancer, however, the most radical way in which it differs from the modern internet, is its textlessness. Case is, or may as well be, illiterate: his skills as a cyberspace “cowboy” don’t depend on being able to read. He wouldn’t get very far as a hacker these days. The internet, as we now know it, even in the era of YouTube and podcasts, is still heavily text-based and text-dependent. Tweeting not only looks about as low-tech as you can get, it’s also all about language.

One Way or Another — Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud talk about the film adaptation of Chicken with Plums with New York Magazine:

When you draw, you don’t have any limits; it kind of transforms our brain. Also, we had not [gone to] any cinema school, so we don’t have these techniques. Like when we started the project they were telling us things like, “Voice-over? Nobody does that any more” and “Cross-dissolve is out.” This notion of “out” and “in,” it depends on what you are saying. You don’t have one way of doing things.

Also at New York Magazine, Scott Snyder talks about the Batman #1 relaunch and rewriting Batman:

Gotham is almost a nightmare generator, filled with villains that seem to represent an extension of Batman’s greatest fears. A lot of his greatest villains feel like mirrors: the Joker is who Batman would be if he broke his rule and fell into madness; Two Face is a mockery of the duality of his life. But what I love about Bruce in particular, and the reason I’m so excited to be doing Batman, is he’s a superhero that has no powers. He takes it upon himself to go out every night, punish himself, and be the best out there. To me, that is both incredibly heroic and exciting, but also really pathological and obsessive.

Related: Scott Snyder interviewed about the same (but at greater nerdiness) at The Huffington Post.

And finally…

Here’s a short documentary about the making of the Vitsœ shelving system, originally designed by Dieter Rams in 1960 and still going strong:

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