The New York Academy of Medicine has organized #ColorOurCollections, in which various member libraries take images from their holdings and put 'em online as high-end coloring-book material.
... the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library ...
... the University of Adelaide ...
... the Shangri-La Museum of Islamic Art ...
This is really fun. With Japanese artist Rintaro Hara's latest piece, visitors can make giant bubbles simply by pulling on a rope. By doing so, her Projection Wall raises a grid of ropes that have been dunked in a soapy solution. Then, as it's rising, eight fans blow through to create a rainbow-y wall of extra-large bubbles. And, who doesn't love a wall of bubbles?
The concept behind the piece, she writes, "dates back to the representation of water created by Computer Graphics of SF movie "Abyss" by James Cameron (1989)":
In the Hollywood movies since the 1990s, computer graphics became an indispensable image technology, shooting taking advantage of analog until now was superseded by digital, and it became possible to express images that were impossible to realize. "Projection wall" inquires about the difference between analog and digital by reducing the expression born by the evolution of the video to an analog method daringly.
Now this is beautiful.
Khoi Vinh noticed that tech marketing adheres a very specific, somewhat infantilized illustration style. I call it safety minimalism—Vinh sees in it the rise of a monoculture.
In my experience, the vast majority of them are quite similar in their aesthetic: the colors range from primary to bright pastels; the figures are cleanly drawn and almost always rendered with vectors; the details are highly abstracted and shading is geometric if it appears at all; the compositions are generally minimal and only occasionally feature very limited background elements. ... It probably wouldn’t be far off-base to assume that a lot of these illustrations were done not by professional illustrators but by product designers who also have some illustration talent themselves.
Just as likely is the genre's systemic occupation of cheap stock illustration sites, which aggregate semi-skilled hackwork into a convenient business-to-business service.
Either way, Vinh poses an important question about "the prevalence of a single, monocultural aesthetic" by every startup, tech firm and personal brand monster: surely some other voice, or even another "modulation" of the same style, would be more appropriate for at least some?
UPDATE: First comment from Moosemalloy points out some important art history: "I submit that this style is redolent of and still influenced by the flattist pastel-y images that Adobe Flash tended to produce and that hence proliferated in early-to-mid web history. Flash is discontinued but still, I suspect, casts its shadow (or lack of shadow!) over web imagery generally, and this is a manifestation of same." Read the rest