John McHale and the Expendable Ikon
A new book collecting Independent Group member John McHale’s writings describes him as artist, graphic designer, information theorist, architectural critic, sociologist and futurist. This should immediately identify him as a forerunner of the kind of super-versatile, shape-shifting maker and thinker that many contemporary figures in art and design aspire to be. It
’s time to reassess an innovator who deserves to be much better known.
The Unspeakable Pleasure of Ruins
It’s extraordinary, to someone who doesn’t live in Detroit or elsewhere in America, how contentious the widely publicized pictures of urban devastation in the city have become. They are the prime, disreputable exhibits of so-called “ruin porn,” a term frequently used now in the US. Ruin porn is a corrosively repeatable meme that makes any photograph of ruins seem suspect. This reductive tag ignores the cultural history of the ruin.
On My Shelf: A Classic by Berger and Mohr
For a book that can justly be called a masterpiece, John Berger and Jean Mohr’s A Fortunate Man
, published in 1967, is not nearly as well known as it should be. A brilliantly imaginative and empathic fusion of words and photographs, it is a study of a doctor’s life in a small rural community that addresses fundamental questions about the doctor-patient relationship and what it means to assume and bear such responsibilities as a healer.