mercoledì 5 settembre 2007

ego[n]'s website and the barber paradox

Designing a website about one's own work is a difficult thing.
It implies asking ourselves fundamental questions about our work and goals. A slightly philosophical thing: "what do we do exactly? and why?".
Doing a personal website is an easy thing when one's in design school, but it becomes a nasty task for a professional studio or agency. It has maybe to do with Bertrand Russell and his barber paradox: "who shaves the barber, if he shaves all and only those men who do not shave themselves?" (or, in other words: "who does websites for the people who do websites for those who aren't able to do them by themselves?")...
All this to say that realizing ego[n] website has not been an easy task. We tried many solutions, before being hit by the possibilities of a new Flash rendering engine: Papervision3d. It's an amazing piece of software, and allowed us to show exactly how the various format issues of ego[n] relate to the packaging. Although many visualizations done with Papervision 3d are more photorealistic in effect, we liked it instead for its abstract possibilities. Although we needed a complete website to promote the magazine, we still consider this as a work in progress and we plan to add more features and flash experiments in the future.
The challenge was to mix that with a more traditional html/css based structure. Visual candy had to live side by side (actually under, thanks to inline frames) the html data, and we went in for some integration through javascript.

why dotporn?

Everybody seems to be linking a youtube a video realized by the folks at Good Magazine, showing internet porn usage data in very sexy way.
It's nice to discover other people who share the infopornographic passion that lead to the design of ego[n] 2:dotporn. But we surely are not the first designers to be seduced by the images of desire and trasgression: from The Designers Republic with their Murray + Vern catalogue, to Kalimera with the Who's your Daddy video for Benny Benassi, ending with Steven Heller [probably the most famous graphic design critic] that not only wrote a book on it, but revealed a sordid past that saw him, still a minor, art director for two porno magazines, sharing a night in jail with prostitutes...
Passion or perversion?
Intellectual curiosity or low instincts?
Maybe all of this: to use Laura Kipnis's words, pornography 'should interest us, because it's intensely and relentlessly about us'.
It's this kind of inspiration that lead Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini to create ego[n] 2:dotporn, a fake annual report showing data and quotations found on the web. The booklet is presented as an annotated proof, complete with handwritten last-minute notes and corrections. Clp worked with Alberto Pagliaro's pencil drawings and Carlos Batts' photographs to produce a catalogue of trends, complete with prototype packaging for the new sex chindogu (a.k.a. useless objects).
Will this book manage to make everybody know that internet is for porn?!

mercoledì 22 agosto 2007

what's ego[n]

we made ego[n] because we love books.
beautifully designed books, books crammed with ideas and visual inventions, books that we read and read again, with ever-new pleasure. in this video-infested multimedia-connected cellphone-ruled age, we still love the tactile qualities of paper, the unexpected results of crazy printing techniques, the pleasute to explore concept-driven publications that are playful gardens for our deranged minds.
ego[n] magazine is neither a book nor a magazine: it's a pet monster, kept in our cellar with a pop culture diet and a never satiated hunger for the wonderful. like all monsters it's incomplete and redundant at the same time: some pages are left blank, other are printed in eight colours and filled with images. there are cutouts, stickers, even a playful gadget, a dripping marker holding enough ink to black out all the 350 pages of ego[n].
Half art book half book of wonders, ego[n] tries to please the weird fetishes of every book lover. its main theme, incompleteness, is physically expressed in the form of the magazine itself, a collection of unpublished issues, fragments from longer, untold stories. Inside, twelve fragments, different points of view on contemporary graphic design and on the global themes that influenced it. From the relationship between business and creativity to visual reflections on the 9/11 attacks, from a compilation of designers’ sketchbooks to a fake annual report on the www porn business; from the history of the Ascii set to an inquiry into Florence’s graphic design scene...
The idea of creative collaboration is central in the production process of the magazine: in ego[n] it is possible to find young designers next to masters like Jonathan Barnbrook, Ed Fella, KesselsKramer, Karlssonwilker, and the late Alan Fletcher. Moreover, every issue of ego[n] uses original fonts by studioKmzero that are provided in the DVD togheter with a user license.
Printed on the quality papers supplied by Polyedra and including a tag marker sponsored by Graffbay, ego[n] promises to be “yet another overdesigned, completely useless, totally self-indulgent, inventively packaged, gadget-packed and expensively printed graphic design magazine that’s good only for diehard book fetishists and geeky collectors”.