28 Feb 2007

heading to the corporate little coffee

when i go to work very early in the morning (which means around 7:30), i often spend a little time looking at this bit of Bucharest. It's such a forced and sad piece of nature (or what's left of nature, anyway) - it reminds me about the road from Severin to Orsova - some parts of the landscape along the road look so beautiful and free, some others look so butchered by human interventions, like actual leftovers of nature (mainly around the power station).

Which reminds me about Edward Burtynsky (do visit the site for amazing photographic works, as well as for inspirational videos), who spent a great part of his time exploring the residual landscape, in order to catch glimpses of nature transformed through industry - you know, all those interventions that we often end up taking for granted. All starting from a very important statement:
Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in
my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of
man; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make
these ideas visible I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet
open in their meaning. Recycling yards, mine tailings, quarries and refineries
are all places that are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of
their output on a daily basis.
These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma
of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and
repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire - a chance at good living,
yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for
our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our
consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy
contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our

27 Feb 2007

branding trivia

while we're having our own piece of sad fun with the latest hit in the branding Romania series - the ''Romania - Fabulospirit'' slogan (by the way, i am still having trouble understanding the word - i am thinking about writing a post analysing its possible deep meanings like we used to do back in school, when we were given metaphors and asked to comment upon them), apparently Canadians are having their bit of nation fun as well.

An article i read in last week's edition of The Economist talked (mocked, actually) a bit about Canada's Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper's wild suggestion that the national image was best captured by a wolverine (part of the weasel family, not the comics character). Apparently this caused quite some controversy. Not that the explanation behind this -"Canada is no mouse beside the American elephant, but a wolverine next to a grizzly bear"- couldn't be valid, but "skunk bears", "nasty cats" and even "gluttons" also seem to be describing wolverines perfectly. More on the story can be read in many places.


26 Feb 2007

not everything that's called "therapy" is actual therapy

One of my best friends has been going through hell lately, and part of his recovery involves some group therapy. His sharing his experience made me think about various forms of therapy (especially since i'm becoming so interested in film therapy) and i ended up thinking about the concept of "retail therapy". Even though people sometimes do this because they perceive it as a form of dealing with depression, as well as a helping hand towards feeling better, "shopping with the primary purpose of improving the buyer's mood or disposition" or "retail therapy" might not actually be "a cure for the modern blues", but rather one of its causes, according to a 2001 study quoted in "The Guardian".
The short-term satisfaction that shopping gives one doesn't apparently compensate for the degree of regret and even remourse aroused when the person realises having spent money unnecessarily. Lucy Purdy, one of the research who carried out the study, said that "for significant numbers, dissatisfaction is now part of the shopping process; it's adding into the dissatisfaction that causes many people to go shopping in the first place. Shopping is offering a short-term buzz, but as a society we now recognise that and we're getting fed up with short-term emotions." And she also said that "unhappy people are most likely to be trying to change their lives through purchasing. They will be changing their diet, or their appearance, or their homes. And it does appear to be younger, more affluent people who are doing the most dysfunctional shopping for things they don't really want or need."

Moreover, a continent-wide survey into addictive spending carried out in Europe and published by The European Union found that 33% of consumers displayed a "high level of addiction to rash or unnecessary consumption", a tendency which often led to indebtedness. The funny thing is that this retail therapy might actually be just the starting point for a far more severe form of psychological disorder, which has been receiving a lot of media attention lately.

As an editorial in "The Age" states: "Just because you may not have heard of the term does not mean you are not suffering from oniomania (compulsive shopping syndrome). It is not yet clear, however, if a definitional upgrade of retail addiction will in any way help those shoppers who slip out with the credit card as a way of dealing with depression, who buy objects they don't need and cannot afford, and who hide their debts and purchases from loved ones. And other questions trouble us: is oniomania a medical condition or a symptom of a society that places an undue emphasis on shopping as entertainment, and on consumer choices as a form of self-definition? Is it a sickness or an unavoidable consequence when advertising everywhere urges us to shop till we drop - in the same way that anorexia and bulimia sufferers are influenced by the rake-thin images of models draped on billboards and magazines."

what to do ?

i have loads of drafts, but i simply cannot decide to publish them, and i think more and more about shutting this blog down.

photo by lasvegashardcore

18 Feb 2007

filter design competition

Filter Design Competition is the first independent design competition in Romania. I am very excited about it and i can hardly wait both for the entries, and for the series of workshops and conferences that will accompany the competition.
Special extra thanks to Ben, to Grapefruit and to The Czech Center, who have been kind enough to show their support and accept our invitations.

5 Feb 2007

thank you, russell

Russell's bitter post made everybody who realizes what this man has done for planners reflect upon things and react. Personally, i was at a loss of words. It was reading his blog that i found the courage to switch from copywriting to account planning in the first place. Books, links, advice, an entire community of passionate, helping people - it was all there, and it was more than i could ask as a junior planner in an agency where they had no planners before, in a country where at the time, the word "planner" still sounded weird. Then, his coffee mornings were the starting point for Romanian planners meetings, where i could meet some great people, listen to their opinions, and ask for their advice. Needless to say how much that meant to me. Russell's blog is the first thing i read each morning, and I don't even want to imagine that the wit and insight of his every post could simply stop, just cause some dude managed to hurt Russell's feelings. And what came into my mind when i was thinking about supporting Russell in some way, as well as illustrating what exactly his blog meant to me is a brilliant animation from 1984, developed by Brothers Quay as a tribute to Jan Svankmajer. Enjoy The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer:

the devices of gustav braustache

Organ is by far my favourite musical instrument. Back in highschool, i used to listen to organ pieces each and every day, which made some of my friends call me weird and morbid. Then i made them listen, and some of them fell in love with this kind of music as well.
"The devices of Gustav Braustache, Bachelor of Science" is a short that uses the power of organ music. And it also uses the mad scientist theme. And the crazy inventor theme. And it inspires one to look at things differently. And makes one realise just how many things people invent daily, some of them practical and useful, some others really stupid and useless. A real treat for gadget-freaks.

2 Feb 2007

the world is thinking

i have been awfully busy lately, so my time for watching movies was highly diminished. So i got addicted to other stuff instead. And besides Captain Planet, my latest addiction has become Fora TV. I like its concept very much, and i have learnt a lot from watching the interesting stuff posted so far (they even feature Neil Gaiman, yeey). It kind of reminds me of the Ted conferences, and it makes me want to help it grow somehow, especially since it gives quite many opportunities for people to get involved.
There are brilliant ideas, expressed everyday in public
discussions and events, all over the world.
Don't miss them.
delivers discourse, discussions and debates on the world's most interesting
political, social and cultural issues, and enables viewers to join the
conversation. It provides deep, unfiltered content, tools for self-expression
and a place for the interactive community to gather online.
presenting or producing content from the world's leading public forums. The
esteemed organizations that are working with us to build the FORA vision include
C-SPAN, the World Affairs Councils of Northern California, Dallas, Oregon,
Philadelphia and Connecticut, the Commonwealth Club, Books, Inc., the Hoover
Institution, Cody's Books, the Museum of the African Diaspora, the Asia Society,
the New School, the Truman National Security Project, the New America
Foundation, Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., Tattered Cover
in Denver, the Heritage Foundation, the Magnes Museum, the Cato Institute, Link
TV, Chatham House in London, Cambridge University, the Transatlantic Institute
in Brussels, Egmont: the Royal Institute for International Relations, Book
Passage, the Long Now Foundation, Americans for Informed Democracy and the
Global Philanthropy Forum, among many others.
FORA.tv will provide engaging
on demand viewing experiences for the media active world citizen.