Tag Archives: environment

California: Designing Freedom | The Design Museum

If you haven’t been to the new building for the Design Museum which recently relocated to Kensington, you are missing out. The architecture and gift shop alone are worth a visit!
The exhibition “California” caught my eye based on the parts that explore ‘freedom’. The exhibition explores more than just the expression of human rights freedom:

California: Designing Freedom explores how the ideals of the 1960s counterculture morphed into the tech culture of Silicon Valley, and how ‘Designed in California’ became a global phenomenon.

The central premise is that California has pioneered tools of personal liberation, from LSD to surfboards and iPhones. This ambitious survey brings together political posters and portable devices, but also looks beyond hardware to explore how user interface designers in the San Francisco Bay Area are shaping some of our most common daily experiences. By turns empowering, addictive and troubling, Californian products have affected our lives to such an extent that in some ways we are all now Californians.

170523-design-museum-california103-luke-hayes-1024x683

Aside from the array of Apple inventions and iconic technological advances that California has blessed the world with, the most interesting part of the exhibition for me was “Say What You Want”. Described as “tools of self expression and rebellion”, this part of the exhibition showcased artefacts that were created to highlight racism, sexism and homophobia:

P.S. sorry for the awful photo quality! Taken on my phone.

It was incredible being able to be so close to relics that were created to protest against the biggest human rights movements in the world. They even displayed newspaper articles from the past, and contemporary pieces created against Trump’s America.
I cannot recommend this show enough. It has to be one of my (if not THE) all time favourite exhibitions.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pepsi, this is how it’s done. Heineken: Worlds Apart | #OpenYourWorld

Remember the best April Fools joke of all time (aka Pepsi’s car-crash ad featuring Kendall Jeanner)? Well, it seems Heineken has taken on the concept of ‘peacemaking via the sharing a drink’ in their new ad “Worlds Apart”.
The spot features sets of people who have opposing views on feminism, climate change and gender. They are tasked with a team building construction project, then shown their VT tapes (which reveal their opinions) and consequently asked if they wish to stay for a beer or leave. Whilst I have my doubts about the authenticity whenever brands use social and political discussions in ad concepts, I think Heineken pulls this off nicely. Pepsi should take note.

At the end of the ad, I found myself smiling about the fact that the transphobic man used the correct pronouns for the trans* woman: “I’d have to tell my girlfriend that I’ll be texting another girl. She might be a bit upset with that, but I’ll have to get around that one.”

What makes this work 10 million times better than the Pepsi ad? Well, agency Publicis London targeted a post-Brexit UK (like Pepsi tried and failed to do in a post-Trump world) by including discussion and conversation within the ad, rather than attempting to create a satire-style video with white-washing for ‘the resistance’. The suggestion that a beverage can heal a very divided society is a strong and fragile statement, and whilst I have my doubts about the intentions of brands who go down this route, this is the perfect counteragent for our Pepsi wounds.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spotlight: Daniel Arsham

Contemporary artist Daniel Arsham has created some fantastic and very popular work, but one project has caught my eye. ‘Future Relics’ features a series of fossilised contemporary items such as cameras, Walkmans, phones, furniture and clothing. Based on Arsham’s theory that mundane objects will soon become completely obsolete, he created “future versions” of objects, cast in white ash and other materials like glacial rock dust, ground volcanic glass, hydrostone, rose quartz, and steel. To create the crystallised objects, Arsham casts a mould of the object; crushed calcite is then pressed into the moulds with a binding agent, and if wax is added to the mould in certain areas, it causes those parts to not bind. The effect is amazing…

daniel-arsham-the-future-is-always-now-galerie-perrotin-paris-designboom-05danielarsham-unameid-com-4-1200x800daniel-arsham-kick-the-tires-and-light-the-fires-00

Things we associate with the present, as if they were crystallised over millennia.

Arsham created over 3000 pieces for exhibitions including ‘The Future is Always Now’ and ‘Remember the Future’ alongside a film series, focusing on a world many years down the line, in which a major and transformative ecological shift has occurred.
Arsham collected a tone of objects for this project, mainly from eBay! He has said that he started to think of eBay as a “bizarre Library of Alexandria”, but these mundane objects weren’t all Arsham used for fossilisation. Visit his website or his instagram to see more stunning images:

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 12.40.14 PM.png

They are so bizarrely satisfying to look at.

14596643_132602190536999_3248076031281594368_n14726167_659982240841793_7088803321154109440_n13394985_277212012632054_15421661_n

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Enemies of Equality: If Coachella’s Price Tag Isn’t Putting You Off, Maybe Your Conscience Will

Put the flower crowns away, kids. Philip Anschutz, the owner of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG Live) has been exposed for his right-wing radical beliefs and contributions towards organisations against human rights!
The Coachella lineup has only just been released, and the hippie, beige, HOLLYWEED, home-made flower-power accessory makers of the world rejoiced after headliners like Beyonce, Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar were announced.

boho

In all seriousness, last year, festival-goers spent a minimum of $400 on the most basic tickets for Coachella, and LGBTQ activists are urging people not to spend their hard earned money funding hate. The wonderful organisation ‘Freedom for All Americans’ released this infographic, showing well-known and influential anti-LGBT supporters:

FFAA is the bipartisan campaign to secure full non-discrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide. The organisation has gained attention from reporters, journalists and bloggers for their claims that Anschutz’s foundation gave $190,000 to anti-LGBTQ organisations between 2010 and 2013. Having picked up on this information about the 77-year-old billionaire, more information has come to the surface that shows how Anschutz supports some of the most damaging and oppressive organisations in America, donating the following:

  • $110,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) between 2011 and 2013. The ADF litigates cases to oppose abortion, same-sex marriage, and civil unions.
  • $30,000 to Family Research Council between 2010 and 2013. The lobbyist organisation battles pro-LGBT laws and has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • $50,000 to National Christian Foundation between 2011 and 2013. The foundation has contributed tens of millions of dollars to ADF, the Family Research Council, and other similar organisations.

Apparently Anschutz has funded anti-equality groups for decades, supporting Colorado’s 1992 proposition Amendment 2, a ballot created to overturn laws offering LGBT protection. Also, he has been noted by Greenpeace to finance science denial groups, with a Greenpeace report alleging that he attends “strategy meetings” with the Koch brothers (Republican narcissists who don’t believe in climate change) twice a year. This man is starting to sound weirdly similar to Donald Trump…

So, why do I care? Why should you care? Well, as we’ve seen in last year’s US election, with great power comes great responsibility – and unfortunately power is often put in the wrong hands. Something that has always deeply disturbed me from a young age is the rose-tinted glasses people seem to wear surrounding topical issues that don’t directly affect them. This is exactly how immensely rich and powerful people take control and spread hate. This is particularly important when it comes to something like Coachella, because the artists performing (almost always), such as Beyonce, are pro-human rights. Most importantly, so are their fans (Beyonce is a huge gay icon and pioneer for young black women). Thousands and millions of people are fans of these musicians, yet they would probably still buy tickets to Coachella knowing this information. Headliners Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé have both released amazing, politically charged albums over the past two years that have helped set the conversation around blackness, feminism and progressive politics.
Similar to this situation, following the US election debates, business in the USA made their political beliefs known (which is unusual) and confidently showed support for democrats – check out the extensive list here. Also, here in the UK the campaign Stop Funding Hate has convinced businesses to stop advertising their products and services in newspapers that contain ‘hate campaigns’ – Lego being the first company to break their contracts with said newspapers.

By purchasing tickets to Coachella, you are paying towards an empire that supports the following:

  • gay conversion therapy
  • pro-abortion
  • anti-LGBTQ groups
  • extremist hate groups like Gordon Kligenschmitt’s (a despicable televangelist in the US) ‘Pray in Jesus Name’
  • denial of climate change and global warming
  • Mission America Foundation (vomit), whose president considers homosexuality a “deviance”

…the list goes on.

Interestingly, a representative for AEG Live forwarded the following statement from Philip Anschutz in response to this report:

Recent claims published in the media that I am anti-LGBTQ are nothing more than fake news – it is all garbage. I unequivocally support the rights of all people without regard to sexual orientation. We are fortunate to employ a wealth of diverse individuals throughout our family of companies, all of whom are important to us – the only criteria on which they are judged is the quality of their job performance; we do not tolerate discrimination in any form.

Both The Anschutz Foundation and I contribute to numerous organizations that pursue a wide range of causes. Neither I nor the Foundation fund any organization with the purpose or expectation that it would finance anti-LGBTQ initiatives, and when it has come to my attention or the attention of The Anschutz Foundation that certain organizations either the Foundation or I have funded have been supporting such causes, we have immediately ceased all contributions to such groups.

Let’s have faith in humanity for a moment and believe that Philip is pro-LGBTQ (which is hard to believe when he has had such a huge influence in Colorado politics)… this means that someone in his team is supporting these extremist views. These donations weren’t made by accident. Who is he trying to kid? That is so depressing.

My final thoughts on this terrifying, draining topic can be perfectly summed up by Ian Silverii, ProgressNow Colorado’s executive director:

At a time in American history when discrimination and violence against LGBTQ citizens is on the rise, support for pro-discrimination groups puts Anschutz on the wrong side of Colorado, and on the wrong side of history.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

GLAAD: Trump Accountability Project

GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is one of the many LGBT+ organisations I support, and am very fond of, not only because they are a non-governmental (and therefore non-profit) organisation, but also because of their purpose – GLAAD is a media monitoring organisation founded by LGBT people in the media. Their aim is to tackle tough LGBT issues and consequently create a narrative that leads to cultural change.

GLAAD has taken the open homophobic and transphobic statements made by republicans very seriously, and used this information to create ‘The Trump Accountability Project (TAP)’, “a resource for journalists, editors, and other news makers reporting on the Trump administration, which catalogues the anti-LGBTQ statements and actions of President-elect Donald Trump and those in his circle.”
The aim of TAP is to hold those on Trump’s team accountable for their hate speech, stemming from GLAAD’s original project ‘Commentator Accountability Project’ (CAP) which aims to bring anti-LGBT statements to life, putting information about anti-gay interviewees into the hands of newsrooms, journalists and editors. Similarly to this project, GLAAD aims to do the following with TAP:

…Use first-hand statements, video, and/or audio to document the animus displayed by people being appointed into positions of power in the U.S. government. GLAAD will update the following profiles with new statements that disparage LGBTQ people, women, Muslims, Immigrants, and many others. GLAAD will also share this information with reporters, journalists, producers, activists, and fellow organisations each time they make headlines anew.

cymhnahxgaefltgczkd2jxweailfaj

What a great project. It’s a shame how targeting works on social media, as Trump supporters probably would never see these types of articles and projects on their feeds (not that it would necessarily change their minds). The US election really opened my eyes to targeted ads and news feed items, especially on Facebook…
Now listen up. Organisations like GLAAD can’t exist without donations, so please reach into your privileged pockets and donate towards an amazing cause – love, acceptance and unity! Pretty please!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WWF: Tiger Protector

I am not crying, I have a large twig in my eye.

Created by J. Walter Thompson London and directed by Martin Stirling, ‘#iProtectTigers’ is an emotive ad featuring a CGI tiger and a personalised book encouraging children to sign up to the charity as “tiger protectors”.
The spot sees a family nurse a tiger back to health, eventually going back into the wild, emphasising the message that we can provide care for the quickly depleting species by donating £5 a month. 95% of the world’s wild tiger population has been lost in the last 10 years…
As part of the integrated campaign, the project has been designed as a gift for children – the book can be personalised with the child’s name, gender, skin and hair colour. Even the parent role can be personalised, steering away from the usual “donate £X a month and adapt an animal” campaign.

Jasper Shelbourne, Creative Director at JWT London says:

By making people Tiger Protectors we are bringing the audience much closer to the action, something manifested in the book, film and print. And, executionally there is something uniquely engaging about a 700lb Tiger in a small bedroom in suburbia.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SodaStream hilariously channels Games of Thrones

In a new ad promoting sustainability and protection of the environment, SodaStream have recreated the iconic moment in hit TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ where Cersei is forced to endure a shame walk through King’s Landing in an ad called ‘Shame or Glory’. The ad actually features Hannah Waddingham (Septa Unella) and Thor Bjornsson (Ser Gregor Clegane/The Mountain) from the actual show!
‘Shame or Glory‘ is aimed to raise awareness surrounding the use of plastic and how much we consume. Using SodaStream, rather than buying and chucking billions of plastic bottles a year, is much more environmentally friendly. Really funny ad, and I don’t think you have to be a GoT fan to understand it. My favourite line from ‘The Mountain’ is:

Why are you carrying shameful polluting plastic bottles? Don’t you know you’re hurting Mother Earth? Mother Earth has given us so much… the birds, the bees, the ocean, Matthew McConaughey, peanuts.

Concept and Production: Allenby Concept House
Director: Ohav Flantz
Story and Screenwriters: Yoash Foldesh, Guy Assif and Ronen Harten
Producer: Aya Hecht

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

IKEA: Syrian Home Installation

IKEA has worked with the Red Cross to build a replica of a real Syrian home inside its Norwegian flagship store. The ‘apartment’ (designed with help from creative agency Pol) is based on a refugee woman named Rana, a mother of four, who all live in a tiny two-bedroom, 25-square metre apartment in Damascus. Pol visited and filmed Rana’s home so that they could recreate it exactly.

ikea-syrian-refugees-home-awareness-campaign-1

Built from rough concrete blocks, the showroom is antithetical to the usual IKEA dream home setup, giving customers a glimpse of what life is like in a war zone such as Syria. Also, IKEA’s recognisable price tags were used as a narrative to convey the refugees’ stories and to provide information on how to donate to Red Cross.

ikea-25-metres-squared-25m2-syria-installation-refugee-design-pol_dezeen_2364_col_5

ikea-syrian-refugees-home-awareness-campaign-2

IKEA are no stranger to proving aid and awareness to the war in Syria and their victims. In February employees delivered donated merchandise to Helping With Furniture’s new depot for household items for Syrian refugees in Ottawa.
The furniture depot for new Syrian refugees opened its doors in Ottawa in February this year, providing used household goods to families in need (since 2005). IKEA Canada donated $5,000 worth of IKEA goods!

ikea-donation

That’s not all IKEA have done to help refugees – a few months ago they unveiled an easily deployable solar-powered shelter that can provide sturdy, safe housing in an emergency. In collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the shelters are a perfect solution for the mass shift that individuals experience when fleeing from the war in Syria. Although the Lebanese government was hesitant to approve the use of the IKEA shelters, after 6 months of negotiations it’ll finally be available to Syrians in Lebanon.

8ff21881-b145-4124-8744-373c45e532ab_16x9_600x338

ikea-refugee-shelter3-1

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Donald Trump Made Me Cry: What His Leadership Will Do to the LGBT+ Community

This morning I woke up after having a wonderful dream that Hillary Clinton had won the US election. It took me half an hour to nervously scroll through Twitter and news websites to confirm in my panicked and confused mind that this was no dream – but an absolute nightmare.
Since 7:30am I have thought of nothing else. Despite not being American and having no personal ties to America, Trump’s words and beliefs have so deeply affected me. Why? Because I am a passionate activist – I have dedicated so much time an effort trying my best to spread equality, peace, love and tolerance in a world that is constantly being challenged by bigots. If you know me personally or have read a lot of my blog posts, you’ll know that the majority of my beliefs in equality surround the LGBT+ community. This is an incredibly important issue to me, and today has left me immensely fearing for this community.

Aside from every other hellish comment Trump has made about women, disabled people, immigrants, blacks and latinos (and everything other than a straight white male), this blog is going to be about the affect Trump’s power will have over the LGBT+ community not just in America, but the whole world.
When Trump officially takes over in January, it will be in the first time since 2005 that the Republicans will have full control of both the executive and the legislature. The Republican Platform passed earlier this year contained some of the most anti-LGBT plans in years. Topics mentioned were same-sex adoption and parenting, opposing a ban on ‘gay cure’ therapy, and lawmakers who’ve drawn up bills affirming ‘religious freedom’ exemptions from anti-discrimination laws. Additionally, Trump hasn’t released a policy plan on LGBT rights, and HIV/AIDS, and I don’t believe he will.
The list goes on and on and on… Donald Trump signed a Republican-backed First Amendment Defence Act, permitting forms of anti-LGBT discrimination on the grounds of religion, meaning that he will legalise religious discrimination against LGBT people in these sectors: employment, retail, healthcare – therefore banning the government from intervening. Therefore, the Democrat-backed Equality Act – a bill that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to finally outlaw discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation on a federal level – will never happen under his ruling. This is devastating news for the community all over the world.

fb_img_1478684964126

A list of Supreme Court candidates released by Trump contains only anti-LGBT conservatives. This includes the vile and intolerable Vice President Mike Pence, who confirmed that he will be rolling back Barack Obama’s groundbreaking equality act and marriage laws. Imagine someone after President Lincoln rolling back slavery laws after they’d been imposed. There is no difference. We’re living a civil liberties nightmare of the 21st century.
Mike Pence confirmed his intentions to turn back time on a radio show last week claiming that his “Religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution” in an anti-LGBT evangelical tirade…

This is such an example of an administration that seems to have… there’s no area of our lives too small for them to want to regulate, no aspect of our constitution too large for them to ignore. Donald Trump and I both believe these questions can be resolved with common sense at the local level. These issues are resolved in the state of Indiana whenever they come up, and they should be resolved, for the safety and wellbeing of our children first and foremost, their privacy and rights, and with common sense. Donald Trump and I simply believe all of these issues are best resolved at the state level, by communities. Washington has no business intruding on the operation of our local schools. It’s just one more example of the heavy hand of this administration, and Donald Trump and I will stand by that common-sense people that when it comes to our kids, and the operation of our schools, those decisions should be made at the local level. Washington DC has no business imposing its bill and its values on communities around the nation. No-one should fear persecution because of their deeply-held religious beliefs. I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order. The Trump-Pence administration will be dedicated to preserving the liberties of our people, including the freedom of religion that’s enshrined in our Bill of Rights.

This man is everything I despise. He has even suggested that HIV prevention funding be used elsewhere to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy (yes, you ready that correctly – gay-f*cking-cure). Also, last month it was uncovered that Pence approved extreme anti-LGBT articles when he was the head of the Indiana Policy Review journal in the 1990s. These views included the claim that being gay is a choice and an illness:

The more extreme of the gay movement consider themselves members of a sexual determined political party. Homosexuals are not as a group able bodied. They are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity which is a hallmark of their lifestyle.

My head hurts and my heart hurts. I cried all this morning and I’m struggling not to break down writing this. I cannot comprehend how people still exist in this world who hold the believe that LGBT people are diseased. It is pure insanity.
I thought that people like Trump and Pence died out before my generation, but it goes to show how much work we actually have to do. I’ve never been surprised by the extreme views of Trump and his party, but I was stunned and sickened that half of the USA agree with him too. How have we allowed this to happen?!
Unfortunately, I believe this is the beginning of a terrible, disturbing snowball effect that will influence other evangelical countries, including the anti-LGBT Russian government. Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve most likely seen the gay-bashing videos taken in Russia where men use fake Grindr profiles to meet up with gay men to attack, humiliate and film them. I bet every penny I own that this will happen in the USA over the next few months. I predict we will see a rise in bigotry, hate and violence, and we must stand up against this. I predict high suicide rates within the LGBT+ community.
People always ask me why I care so much about human rights, and gay rights in particular if I’m not gay, and this is exactly why – the battle is not over. We are not free, and that means my loved ones are under threat. A great deal of my closest friends are part of the LGBT+ community, and I cannot comprehend how distraught they must be, no matter what country they live in. I cannot allow my friends to exist in a world where they don’t feel comfortable or safe.

America has chosen guns over civil liberties. What a terrible time to be alive.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Camden Market Rebrand: Thanks For Not Destroying My Youth!

Picture this: It’s 2006. I’m 14 with a passion for skinny jeans, extreme black eye makeup, numerous belts and boys with long hair. I’ve fallen in love with someone who wears higher platform boots and more eyeliner than me. Camden is life. Camden is my jam every single weekend for years. I’m on first name terms with the donut stall lady.

We’re back in 2016: I read “Camden Market rebrand by Ragged Edge”. I’m ready to rage. “How dare they try to ‘brand’ a place like Camden!” I scream (in my mind, of course. I’m at work).

Fear not, it’s not as bad as I first assumed it’d be… Camden is the short of place that has always seemed to function on its own with little marketing or advertising – a place that has been successful through word of mouth and its appealing culture – a place that exists in its own world for freedom, self expression and alternative fashion. A place that helped me become me! As a teen, Camden was one of the only places I felt truly comfortable, free from judgement, free from the burden of being a misfit. I could walk around wearing whatever I wanted, looking like a freak, with the rest of my weird friends, and never feared persecution or humiliation.

So when I read “rebrand” I thought about how those feelings couldn’t possibly be emulated in a branded, marketed environment. However, Ragged Edge seem to have done a pretty good job! The design studio created a brand identity for London’s Camden Market, including two custom typefaces inspired by the area’s iconic bridge sign by John Bulley – Camden Slab and Camden Sans (each with 4 weights). Ragged Edge describe the rebrand as “an antidote to corporate conformity”, which I think they’ve actually done successfully. Not only did they want to maintain the uniqueness of Camden, they wanted to make it relevant to a millennial audience, which works both on and offline.

9-camden-market-type-1

Ragged Edge did a great deal of research by interviewing stallholders, residents, workers and tourists. Studio co-founder Max Ottignon says the rebrand is:

a set of tools for self-expression… to give people the flexibility to use them in an infinite range of ways. Most retail destinations have a strict corporate identity, but this would be the antithesis of Camden’s individualistic, creative spirit

The typeface allows every aspect of the market to be rebranded without the need for a logo, so Camden Market collaborated with street artist David Samuel, who used the fonts for a set of hand-painted signs.

camden-market-sign-3

camden-market-trader-3-2268x1603

The Creative team launched the brand ‘Unfollow Convention‘ alongside a range of Camden Market products, way-finding throughout the market and a series of experiential installations.

2d4a5562_rt2_2860x2860_v3-2268x226815-camden-market-magcamden-market-digi-7-2268x1603

My verdict: It gets a thumbs-up from me. I’m so relieved they didn’t go off on a tangent and try to create something entirely unrelated to Camden. Whilst it’s strange going from an anti-industry, anarchic, inclusive, independent business led area to a place that has its own app guide and toolkit… it was bound to happen. BUT I’m glad Ragged Edge were the ones to do it, because they’ve done it well!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,