kottke.org posts about Charles and Ray Eames

Powers of Ten and Cosmic Zoom...which came first?Jan 31 2012

The Eames' Powers of Ten and Eva Szasz's Cosmic Zoom both came out in 1968 and were based on Kees Boeke's 1957 essay called Cosmic View. This seems like an incredible coincidence. I couldn't find anything online about which film came first or if there was any influence one way or the other, so I thought I'd ask if anyone knows anything about which came out first. Hit me at jason@kottke.org.

Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter on PBSDec 08 2011

Speaking of the Eames, the recent documentry on the pair is going to be on American Masters on PBS.

American Masters presents the first film made about America's most important and influential designers, Charles and Ray Eames, since their deaths in 1978 and 1988, respectively -- and the only film that explores the link between their artistic collaboration and sometimes tortured marriage. Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey's definitive documentary delves into the private world the Eameses created in their Renaissance-style, Venice Beach, California studio, where design history was born. Narrated by James Franco, Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter premieres nationally Monday, December 19 from 10-11:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on PBS (check local listings) as the 25th anniversary season finale of American Masters.

Ice Cube opines on Charles and Ray EamesDec 08 2011

Before Ice Cube became a rapper, he studied architectural drafting at the Phoenix Institute of Technology, so he has some interesting things to say in this short appreciation of Charles and Ray Eames.

They was doing mashups before mashups even existed. It's not about the pieces, it's how the pieces work together. You know, taking something that already exist and making it something special. You know, kinda like sampling.

(via ★interesting)

Update: The NY Times has an interview with Ice Cube about the video.

Q: How are your drafting skills these days?

A: You don't want to live in nothing I draw. I got a certificate. For a year. In '88. I don't think I picked up a T-square since.

Charles and Ray Eames documentaryOct 28 2011

Eames: The Architect and the Painter, a documentary on the husband and wife design duo, will be out in theaters in mid-November.

The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America's most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mind-bending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life -- from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age -- has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect and the Painter is the first film dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work.

The DVD is already available for pre-order on Amazon. (via @aaroncoleman0)

Powers of TenOct 12 2010

There's finally a stable copy of Charles and Ray Eames' seminal Powers of Ten video available online, courtesy of the Eames Office YouTube account.

Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only a s a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward -- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker -- with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell.

Core77 and Eames Office are holding a competition to see who can make the best 2-minute video response to Powers of Ten.

Eames' A Communications PrimerFeb 18 2009

From 1953, A Communications Primer by Ray and Charles Eames.

The film covers information theory, language, feedback, etc. The audio from a punchcard machine -- used to "check its pulse" -- is pretty great and starts around 17:00. (via infosthetics)

What's inside Angelina Jolie?Oct 16 2008

Angelina Jolie, powers of a ten. By Eamesfiddle.

Eames stampsJun 17 2008

The Charles and Ray Eames stamps are available for your USPS mailing pleasure. (thx, doug)

Demo film of the Polaroid SX-70 madeFeb 14 2008

Demo film of the Polaroid SX-70 made by Charles and Ray Eames but set to a soundtrack of The Cramps performing Garbageman. Wot? (via spurgeonblog)

The work of Charles and Ray EamesJan 09 2008

The work of Charles and Ray Eames will be honored with a set of 16 US stamps later this year. (via chris glass)

Cosmic Zoom is a 1968 animated short filmNov 27 2007

Cosmic Zoom is a 1968 animated short film directed by Eva Szasz, made under the auspices of the National Film Board of Canada, and was the inspiration of the Eames' wonderful Powers of Ten. Cosmic Zoom was in turn based on Cosmic View: The Universe in 40 Jumps by Kees Boeke.

Design Within Reach is screening The EamesAug 04 2006

Design Within Reach is screening The Eames Film Festival, featuring the short films of Charles and Ray Eames, at cities across the US. Unfortunately for me, a small town called New York City doesn't seem to be on the schedule. :(

Powers of TenJun 09 2006

Some sweet soul has put Powers of Ten online. If you've never seen it, I can't recommend it enough:

Powers of Ten is a short film by Charles and Ray Eames, whose work you may have previously sat in. The film starts on a picnic blanket in Chicago and zooms out 10x every 10 seconds until the entire universe (more or less) is visible. And then they zoom all the way back down into the nucleus of an atom. A timeless classic. (via youngna)

Update: How in the hell did I miss this Powers of Ten Simpsons couch gag? (thx, ray and jeff)

And, the rest of the (AIGA Conference) storySep 20 2005

Here's a sampling of the rest of the AIGA Design Conference, stuff that I haven't covered yet and didn't belong in a post of it's own:

  • Juan Enriquez gave what was probably my favorite talk about what's going on in the world of genetics right now. I've heard him give a variation of this talk before (at PopTech, I think). He started off talking about coding systems and how when they get more efficient (in the way that the Romance languages are more efficient than Chinese languages), the more powerful they become in human hands. Binary is very powerful because you can encode text, images, video, etc. using just two symbols, 1 and 0. Segue to DNA, a four symbol language to make living organisms...obviously quite powerful in human hands.
  • Enriquez: All life is imperfectly transmitted code. That's what evolution is, and without the imperfections, there would be no life. The little differences over long periods of time are what's important.
  • Enriquez again: The mosquito is a flying hypodermic needle. That's how it delivers malaria to humans. We could use that same capability for vaccinating cows against disease.
  • Along with his list of 20 courses he didn't take in design school, Michael Bierut offered some advice to young designers:

    1. Design is the easy part.
    2. Learn from your clients, bosses, collaborators, and colleagues.
    3. Content is king.
    4. Read. Read. Read.
    5. Think first, then design.
    6. Never forget how lucky you are. Enjoy yourself.

  • Nicholas Negroponte: If programmers got paid to remove code from sofware instead of writing new code, software would be a whole lot better.
  • Negroponte also shared a story about outfitting the kids in a school in Cambodia with laptops; the kids' first English word was "Google", and from what Negroponte said, that was followed closely by "Skype". He also said the children's parents loved the laptops because at night, it was the brightest light in the house.
  • Christi recorded Milton Glaser's mother's spaghetti recipe. "Cook until basically all of the water is evaporated. Mix in bottle of ketchup; HEINZ ketchup."
  • Ben Karlin and Paula Scher on the challenges of making America, The Book: Books are more daunting than doing TV because print allows for a much greater density of jokes. In trying to shoot the cover image, they found that bald eagles cannot be used live for marketing or advertising purposes. The solution? A golden eagle and Photoshop. And for a spread depicting all the Supreme Court Justices in the buff, they struggled -- even with the Web -- to find nude photos of older people until they found a Vermont nudist colony willing to send them photos because they were big fans of The Daily Show.
  • Bill Strickland blew the doors off the conference with his account of the work he's doing in "curing cancer" -- his term for revitalizing violent and crime-ridden neighborhoods -- in Pittsburgh. I can't do justice to his talk, so two short anecdotes. Strickland said he realized that "poor people never have a nice day" so when he built his buildings in these poor black neighbohoods, he put nice fountains out front so that people coming into the building know that they're entering a space where it's possible to have a good day. Another time, a bigwig of some sort was visiting the center and asked Strickland about the flowers he saw everywhere. Flowers in the hood? How'd these get here? Strickland told him "you don't need a task force or study group to buy flowers" and that he'd just got in his car, bought some flowers, brought them back, and set them around the place. His point in all this was creating a place where people feel less dissimilar to each other...black, white, rich, poor, everybody has a right to flowers and an education and to be treated with respect and to have a nice day. You start treating people like that, and surprise!, they thrive. Strickland's inner city programs have produced Fulbright Scholars, Pulitzer Prize winners, and tons of college graduates.
  • I caught 30 minutes of David Peters' presentation of Typecast: The Art of the Typographic Film Title and realized I should have gotten there in time to see the whole thing. I could sit and watch cool movie titles all day long. Among the titles he showed were Bullit, Panic Room, Dr. Strangelove, Barbarella, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and Superman. The title sequence for Napoleon Dynamite (which was discussed on Design Observer last year) was shown later in the main hall.
  • At the closing party at the Museum of Science, we checked out the cool Mathematica exhibit that was designed by Charles and Ray Eames, two designers who were also pretty big science/math nerds.
  • And some final thoughts from others at the conference. Peter Merholz says that "form-makers", which make up the vast majority of the AIGA audience, "are being passed by those who are attempting to use design to serve more strategic ends". (That's an interesting thought...) A pair of reviews from Speak Up: Bryony was a bit disappointed with the opening Design Gala but left, like everyone else, in love with emcee John Hockenberry while Armin noted that the preservation of digital files is a big concern for museums in building a collection of graphic design pieces...in 35 years, how are you going load that Quark file or run that Flash movie?

For more of what people are saying about the conference, check out IceRocket. There's a bunch of photos on Flickr as well.

Tags related to Charles and Ray Eames:
movies video Powers of Ten long zoom science books USPS stamps

kottke.org

Front page
About + contact
Site archives

Subscribe

Follow kottke.org on Twitter

Follow kottke.org on Tumblr

Like kottke.org on Facebook

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Advertisement

Ads by The Deck

Support kottke.org shop at Amazon

And more at Amazon.com

Looking for work?

More at We Work Remotely

Kottke @ Quarterly

Subscribe to Quarterly and get a real-life mailing from Jason every three months.

 

Enginehosting

Hosting provided EngineHosting