Category Internet

A trove of Peter Zumthor work

Peter Zumthor sketch from ZUMTHOR tumblr

Peter Zumthor models and drawings from ZUMTHOR tumblr

Peter Zumthor plan from ZUMTHOR tumblr

Let’s agree, this is proof that the internet is great. To fill the void where Peter Zumthor’s website should be, a humble tumblr site has been steadily amassing images of Zumthor’s work since late August. As proof that the internet is murky, I have no idea who’s adding the images or where the images are coming from. Still, however slowly or steadily, a stream of images is broadening to include Zumthor projects both well-known and less celebrated. It’s easy to browse the hundreds of images, but maybe frustrating to try and learn more about any particular one.


Visualizing the first Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suites by Alexander Chen

Visualizing the first Prelude from Bach's Cello Suites by Alexander Chen

I figure a little classical music in the morning is a good way to start the day, especially if it’s done in such an interesting manner. The video above is from a project called and it was created by Alexander Chen while a resident at Eyebeam. The is a web app of sorts, created entirely in HTML5 Canvas, Javascript and SoundManager, which allows you to fully interact with it. I also thought it was cool how he chose to visualize the piece, with the four rotating spheres acting as fingers and the lines stretching and changing to represent the strings. Pretty rad project.


Kaliber 10000, my internet beginning comes to an end

Kaliber 10000, my internet beginning comes to an end

I first started Internet-ing back in the late 90’s. My first computer was a Compaq with a dial-up connection. It was a different time, it’s kind of funny to think about it now. It was also an important time for me as I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. At the time I wanted to be the nebulous concept of an “artist”, not really knowing what my options were. Thankfully I was lucky enough to come across a site called Kaliber 10000, which billed itself as “The Designer’s Lunchbox”. Honestly, I didn’t even really know what a designer was, I hadn’t even thought of things being designed before, and that’s where K10K (as it’s affectionately called) came in to play.

It was a collection of links, of ideas, of events to go to, of people to know. Being 18 or 19 I didn’t really know what to do with it, but I knew I liked what they posted, that it spurred creative thoughts inside my head. Sadly, after nearly 10 years, the site has come down. Though it hadn’t been updated in a very long time, it’s still a bit sad to know that it’s gone, kind of like the ice cream shop in your home town closing up.

It was absolutely one of the biggest influences on me, on shaping who I wanted to be, on why I created this blog. If I can be a fraction as inspiring as K10K was I’d be extremely content. I have to give a big thanks to Toke, Michael and Per, the creators of K10K, and all the other contributors over the years who inspired me to do awesome things.


Enquire Within Upon Everything by Richard Powers

Like a house, every paragraph in “Enquire Within” has its number, and the Index is the Directory which will explain what Facts, Hints, and Instructions inhabit that number.

For, if it be not a misnomer, we are prompted to say that “Enquire Within” is peopled with hundreds of ladies and gentlemen, who have approved of the plan of the work, and contributed something to its store of useful information. There they are, waiting to be questioned, and ready to reply. Within each page some one lives to answer for the correctness of the information imparted, just as certainly as where, in the window of a dwelling, you see a paper directing you to “Enquire Within,” some one is there to answer you.

– Editor’s Preface of Enquire Within Upon Everything.

Two years ago I bought this copy of a copy of the Paris Review. I didn’t really have a reason except to be distracted from the monotony of law school. I was half inspired by the opportunity to read an interview with the classic LA writer James Ellroy, and hopefully find a transcendental moment in Rainer Maria Rilke’s unpublished work as was 22 year old. I was stoked. The quarterly always has been a source of inspiration. While not quite religion for me, I cherish it like an appreciating asset. To me, it defines the art of the interview, it stretches an archetype of the short story. And the photography is always rad. I want to be published in the review, someday. It’s on my bucket list.

With all the recent hullabaloo over the Facebook redesign and the new timeline, I was instantly brought back to a story at the end of the Fall 2009 issue. This particular story is by Richard Powers and it is entitled Enquire Within Upon Everything. To give a vague, non-cliff hanger ending, it is a story about about the generation of kids who are turning 21 this year. The kids who never used a microfiche, text better than they can hand write, and never bought music from a store. It follows one boy who makes money in college categorizing other people’s travel photos and then develops a form of advertising, using browser history, that predicts items that people are going to buy in the next six months. He marries by crossreferencing his bride across hundreds of dating sites to ensure compatability. And years later, after a completely digital life, comes to a conclusion that all of the net is about fifty five percent accurate. Especially the parts about your life.

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I’m Proud To Announce ‘Los Angeles, I’m Yours,’ Our Brand New Culture Site

I'm Proud To Announce 'Los Angeles, I'm Yours,' Our Brand New Culture Site

I’ve lived in Los Angeles now for a little over 6 years, it’s the place I now call home. I’ve never experienced a place like Los Angeles before, it feels like a bi-polar city in many ways. There’s the perception a lot of people have which is that of Hollywood, filled with glitz, glamour, and bullshit. Then there’s the other side, which is where I feel I live, and the place I love. It’s filled with people who don’t drive cars, who make art with their bare hands, who make amazing drinks, who want to change the way the city runs. The creative collective. Unfortunately, I’ve never really found a media outlet – print, web or otherwise – that’s really showcased my Los Angeles, the way I see it, the way I live. That said, I’m happy and proud to announce the launch of our new cultural offshoot site, Los Angeles, I’m Yours.

Kyle and I figure that if we couldn’t find a site to show us the best places to go in Los Angeles, then we’d build one that fits us. The Fox Is Black, originally Kitsune Noir, was started to share what I enjoyed and ideas which I thought were inspiring. I stuck to my guns, I didn’t worry about what people thought and things turned out pretty well, which is what we’re doing with Los Angeles, I’m Yours. You won’t find any articles about skeezy nightclub openings (unless it’s a witty op-ed) or some real estate post about some $7 million dollar house. It’s going to stay true to us, to what we love, and what excites us.

So what is Los Angeles, I’m Yours?
Los Angeles, I’m Yours is going to be run by my partner Kyle Fitzpatrick, whom many of you know from his many articles here on The Fox Is Black. The site will be really similar to The Fox Is Black, focusing on art, design, culture and food. These are the things that Kyle and I are obsessed with, so that’s what we’re going to share. Kyle has already created a ton of content to read, so you’re already going to get a sense of what the site is all about.

One of the features I’m most excited about are our featured interviews, which is going to feature the most creative people in Los Angeles. We’re interviewing and photographing their lives, giving you an inside look at their workspaces or the places they love to be. We’ve already completed over a dozen interviews/photo, so we’ve got plenty of interesting content for the weeks to come. I’ll be cross pollinating content from LAIY here to TFIB when appropriate, I’m sure if you read TFIB that you’re going to want to know about these.

Site Design and Development
I thought I’d share a little bit of the behind the scenes design action as well, I’m sure some of you might find it interesting. I can tell you that what you see in the screenshot above is pretty close to what I had originally envisioned, at least structurally. I knew I wanted the site to be 3 columns, with one main feature column, a smaller column for more bite-size pieces of news, and then a third even-smaller column for potential advertising and other things we might want to promote. This allows a pretty large range of editorial freedom, from long form to brief ideas.

Stylistically, I didn’t want the site to have much style, I wanted the focus to be primarily on the content. To do that crafted we came up with the idea of changing the Los Angeles part of the logo and the rollover for site links based upon the time of the day. I came up with 24 colors, one for ever hour, which changes throughout the day. I think it gives the site a sense of time as well as a subtle use of color. We have a few more ideas that we want to try, but there’s plenty of time for play. The last thing I wanted to mention is that the whole thing is built on a fluid grid, so no matter the size of your browser, there’s an optimal viewing experience. The site stretches to nearly 1400px, so even the mega 2560×1440 monitors out there should feel like they’re getting a great experience.

I have to give a huge thank you to my brilliant front-end developer, Sawyer Hollenshead. I’ve been working with Sawyer now for a few months, he helped me build the Gucci Tumblr I designed, and I couldn’t think of anyone else to work with on LAIY. No matter what I threw at him, he always knew a way to do it. He was patient with me and my craziness, he was smart and inventive, and I don’t know how I would have done any of this without him. Help me thank Sawyer by hiring him for your next web project, you won’t be disappointed.

This honestly feels like I’m having another child. The Fox Is Black is my first child, and Los Angeles, I’m Yours is the newborn we’re prepping for great things. Kyle is already doing such an incredible job with posting amazing things, and we have so much lined up that even if you don’t live in Los Angeles, there’s still something for you. Great stories and ideas are great no matter where they’re located, right? Ultimately though, we get to share more of our passions with you, and that’s a feeling that’s universal. I hope you enjoy the site as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together, and thanks to all of you awesome readers for keeping us busy.


The Woodshed, Evan Hecox’s New Tumblr

The Woodshed, Evan Hecox's New Tumblr

The Woodshed, Evan Hecox's New Tumblr

The Woodshed, Evan Hecox's New Tumblr

My name is Evan Hecox, I’m an artist, designer and photographer. This space is intended to be an extension of my studio, as though you were stopping by for a visit on any given day, welcome.

That’s the simple explanation for Evan Hecox’s new foray into the world of Tumblr, which he’s calling The Woodshed. The idea of giving your fans an insight into your work isn’t exactly a new idea, but what Evan is doing seems pretty great, it’s exciting to get a peak into what he’s doing. It’s interesting to see how his work is starting to shift, we’re starting to see these interesting geometric shapes and patterns living with his precious ink drawings. No stranger to working on found objects, it’s interesting to see that he’s starting to do more work on vintage newsprint, it gives his the simple shapes in his pieces a somewhat chaotic framing and an overall interesting balance.

Really looking forward to see more previews of his work.


Facebook’s Timeline: Memories Are More Complex Than Algorithms

Facebook's Timeline: Memories Are More Complex Than Algorithms

Click here to enlarge

Yesterday, Facebook announced the launch of their product, Timeline, a way to “tell your life story with a new kind of profile.” Much has been written and much more will be written in the coming weeks, and I can’t stop myself from pointing out a few things myself.

The Design
First up is the design, which is both beautiful… and confusing. The designers in the details and the work done in Timeline are pretty near perfect. It’s based on a beautiful grid, the spacing is crisp, the size of the type, it’s all rather nice. The introduction of a cover image of is interesting, bringing some personality to the standard Facebook profile, but it’s aspects like that, which to me, make it feel a lot like Myspace. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s certainly ground that’s been tread before.

My problem with the design though is that it’s a bit disorienting and somewhat noisy. Before it was easy to scan your profile because it had a single column that lets you absorb all the information easily. Now that information has been split into two columns, both are equally weighted, information moving back and forth freely. In my opinion this free movement makes it really hard to scan the page, yours eye have to go back and forth on the page, absorbing random pieces of data. Imagine reading a book from left to right and the story keeps changing as you go.

The page also feels rather noisy because of a few key pieces that are smattered all over the page: your user icon, your name and a timestamp. These three things exist on every single update you have, which makes for a whole lot of visual clutter. I’m not sure what the point is of having all that information, either. When you click their profile pic or their name, you just go to their profile.

The Concept
More than the design, which I honestly think is a bold idea, I’m not a fan of what Timeline really means. Facebook is trying to become so much more than a social network, it’s your life in serialized form, from your noisy beginning to quiet end. Facebook wants you to “input” your memories, your favorite songs, the things you cook, the movies you watch. That by doing all of this stuff, you can show people who you really are. But is inputting yourself into a mainframe a true representation of yourself?

Hell no.

I’m pretty morally against what they’re trying to do for a few reasons. The first, and obvious, is that they want you to input all of this information to sell ads against. That’s the way the world works in 2011, and though it sucks, it’s not my biggest problem. What I really hate is that they want to input your memories, but memories are so much more than some photos or a song you were listening to. Sure, those things can bring up memories, but there’s so much more to what a memory is. There’s smells, there’s taste, their’s touch and feel, and none of that can be experienced through a dump of information which Facebook is calling your life.

Your life is more than a bunch of information. Your life is more than songs or photos, it’s experiences, it’s friends, it’s things that can’t ever be replicated. Real memories live inside you, in your head and heart, made with real people in real life. It’s sad and scary that a company is trying to redefine what a memory is, that all we are is data in a cloud somewhere. Is there an answer to this problem? I don’t know, I’m kind of feeling pessimistic about it, but I can try and be hopeful that people are smart enough to know what’s real.


Quarterly, Bridging the Gap Between Physical Things and Digital Personalities

Quarterly, Bridging the Gap Between Physical Things and Digital Personalities

My buddy Zach Frechette, who you may know as the ex-Editor-in-Chief of GOOD Magazine, has decided to start quite an adventurous undertaking for his first post 9-to-5 project. It’s called Quarterly, a new way to connect with the people you follow and find interesting. You have the ability to subscribe to a person, and every quarter you get a surprise package from that person filled with all kinds of surprise goodies.

You may have seen some of my tweets or Instagrans about Quarterly in the past, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of an alpha group that was receiving products from Zach, all sorts of amazing objects that I’m not sure I’m allowed to speak about yet. Now for this special, 48 hour beta release he’s invited a group of incredibly interesting bloggers and online personalities to contribute to Quarterly.

Tina Roth Eisenberg of Swissmiss
Maria Popova of Brain Pickings
Scott Belsky of Behance
Siobhan & Alexandra of No More Dirty Looks
Liz Danzico of Bobulate
Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic
Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG
And lastly there’s me repping The Fox Is Black

I’m super excited to be a part of this, especially with someone other talented people involved. As a heads up, if you subscribe to me I’ll be sending you things to inspire you, an assortment of objects to get you thinking. To learn more, click here and visit (and subscribe!) to my Quarterly page.


On Retromania And The Present Obsession With The Past

On Retromania

I was catching up on old issues of New York Magazine that I had piled up on my desk a few weeks ago and stumbled upon a really great book review that really struck me. The review was for Simon Reynolds newly released book, Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction To Its Own Past.

While I’ve only read a review of the book, talk of people being obsessed with the past, tied to constant references in art to the past, and an inability to create something new is something that has recently been on my mind. As someone who works as a writer concentrated around entertainment, I contribute to a lot of different sites and networks, all of which are great and super fantastic outlets for Internet conversations. Some of them, however, are seemingly entrenched with the notion of childhood and what was cool “when we were little.” There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia or a shared cultural memory of things we adored growing up. That is fine. That is great. I love talking about how much I loved Sister Act and the Spice Girls! Give me a tiny soapbox and I will preach about those two pop cultural moments at length.

The problem that we are running into though is that we’re sinking in this conversation. What this talk sounds like is, “Oh, wasn’t it great to be young? That was fun.”, when the conversation actually sounds more like, “Oh, wasn’t it great to be young? I wish I was still young.” The difference is somewhat terrifying and that’s what’s been haunting me. While at work, I was working on Twitter and couldn’t help but notice that the only items trending were Keenan and Kel, All That, and Clarissa Explains It All. I was wondering why other things weren’t trending but realized what was going on: the seemingly well-intentioned–and something I supported when the press release was announced–90s Are All That was broadcasting.

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How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Rockmelt

Rockmelt Browser

I remember hearing about Rockmelt, a browser that combines your browser with your social networks, not too long ago, and thinking, “Man, that’s so stupid.” Why on earth would I want to combine my browser with my social networks? Who wants to be that connected? As it turns out, I really enjoy such a thing.

I’m already really hooked into Twitter, but I’ve been wanting to start to do more with the TFIB Facebook page. I decided to ask around Saturday night to see if anyone had made a Facebook app that worked similar to Twitter for Mac, but there weren’t really any great options. But TFIB reader Alejandro Martinez suggested I try out Rockmelt, which I hadn’t thought about in quite a while. I’ve been using it for about 36 hours and I’m totally obsessed now, and here’s why.

First off, it’s built on top of Chrome, which is my preferred browser. It’s faster than Safari or Firefox, it’s got some super helpful extensions and I love it’s cleanliness overall. Add onto it the Rockmelt components (as you can see above) and you start getting some really useful tools. I now have immediate access and notifications to Twitter and my Facebook as well as Gmail. The notifications are small and not noisy, so even though I check them immediately, they don’t really bother me. There’s also a great View Later function which lets me easily bookmark items from the address bar (it’s the tiny clock icon).

If you run a blog or a website or are into social media, this is a really flexible and valuable tool, and like any other tool, it’s all in how you use. This might not be for everyone, but for me personally this is changing the way I work. I’m also sure there are a lot of other features that I’m missing, but these are what I’ve found and enjoyed so far.

Are there any other good tips I should know about?