Sunday Morning Miscellany

Taking a break from thinking about my prezvid paper to post a few links. By the way, I watched Gary Hustwit’s documentary, Helvetica, last night. I’ll try to write a longer review later, but it’s worth mentioning that Hustwit has taken a focus on what might seem like an innocuous font typeface (see below) and turned that into a fascinating exploration of the relationship between graphic design and public space. In a sense, the documentary functions as a form of media history, especially when it comes to graphic design and advertising. Now on to the links:

  • Pretty much everyone has commented on the fact that the Library of Congress has put many of the photos in its collections on Flickr, but here, via Oliver Willis, is a pointer to one image from that collection, an African-American version of the Rosie the Riveter icon. I used the LOC collections of Farm Security Administration photos quite a bit in my “Documenting Injustice” course, so I’m excited about the new forms of access to these images.
  • In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, here’s an audio recording of King’s speech explaining his opposition to the Vietnam War.
  • Like Chris, I’ve been slow to adopt electronic alerts from journals. But it looks like a good way to keep track of when a new issue of a journal is coming out and its content. Chris has a helpful list of many of the major journal publishers and how to subscribe to their email lists or RSS feeds.
  • I’m also late to the party on this fascinating little video featuring people from age 1 to 100 playing the drums in the order of their age. It’s a neat little meditation on aging that wears its gimmick well.

Update: I’ve been meaning to mention Bernard Timburg, Erick Green, and Hsaio Chu’s “Launch Texts, Rebound Texts and Commentary Montage,” posted to FlowTV a few weeks ago, but it got lost in the shuffle a couple of times. It’s an interesting use of video-form criticism that looks at the revival of Al Gore as a public figure in 2006-07, focusing in part on his acceptance of the Best Documentary Oscar last year.


  1. McChris Said,

    February 3, 2008 @ 12:06 am

    Hey Chuck, I’m catching up on your blog when I should be out… I thought I would split a hair in your post. You call Helvetica “an innocuous font.” In this case, “typeface” would be the correct terminology. A typeface is the set of letterform designs, while a font is the technological implementation of a typeface. It makes more sense if you’re thinking of movable type. A typesetter might have a case of letters that comprise a Helvetica font, but the typeface exists in some quasi-Platonic design land; “font” refers to the particular instance, not the design. It gets more confusing with digital type, since they seem to be the same thing, but famous or historical faces often have different digital fonts.

  2. Chuck Said,

    February 3, 2008 @ 1:08 am

    You’re right, of course. I should have been more precise. Thanks for the clarification.

  3. The Chutry Experiment » More Wednesday Links Said,

    July 30, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

    […] Hustwit’s previous film, Helvetica, which looked at the role of typefaces in public space, is one of my favorite documentaries of the last couple of years, so I’m very much looking forward to this […]

  4. The Chutry Experiment » Objectified [Full Frame 09] Said,

    April 6, 2009 @ 9:19 pm

    […] Hustwit’s previous film, Helvetica, which explored typefaces and which I read as a form of media history, Objectified encourages us to look at our surroundings in new ways, asking us to think about the […]

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