is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired in 2013), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “How They Got There: Interviews with Digital Designers About Their Careers”and “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children.
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A couple of days ago, I happened to catch an episode of the TV program “Iconoclasts.” This segment had Mario Batali and Michael Stipe conversing and going about with each other.
As I recall it, Stipe, in a portion of the conversation, complained bitterly about music videos, saying they should never be done. His complaint was that the producer of the video would influence the interpretation and intention of the songwriter by projecting his own images on the viewer—in other words, increasing the distance between artist and audience and diminishing the ability for the listener to understand, interpret and personalize the meaning of the song.
Tangentially, but coincidentally interesting was the observation made at thingsmagazine.com last Sunday that they had more response to their postings (each a collection of subjects and links) when they had an image accompanying the post. An observation, if I recall it correctly, of the importance to preserve the linguistic as so much commentary on design became solely visual, and the importance of thingsmagazine role as guide rather than curator.
Interesting this apparent need of the reader/listener to have an image to provoke/evoke interest, but the reluctance of the author/artist/songwriter to interpose an image between expression and reception.
Glad to see this. I am currently the Editor-in-Chief of my college’s literary & arts magazine and I’ve been cursed with a staff of walk-in degenerates.
It fills a heavy heart to see that creative productions like this are actually worked on with gusto. I had to fight to get imagery to accompany most of the submitted poems in my magazine, even if the “image” was something as small as a scanned paintbrush stroke.
One needs to ask oneself: If a poem should be set upon a blank page with nothing around it, then why should it be in a magazine? Why doesn’t the poet strive to be in a book, or why does he not print out his work on a thousand blank, acid-free leaflets and shower them around town?
I disagree with the notion that imagery (illustration, music video, etc) will dictate only one interpretation of a literary piece. Did the first actor to depict Hamlet set the permanent, unquestionable subtext for that character? No. It’s different from actor to actor, reader to reader, creative to creative.
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