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Time Sensitive Podcast
58 minutes | a month ago
Monique Péan on the Transformative Nature of Fossils, Rocks, and Meteorites
New York–based jewelry and object designer Monique Péan sees fossils and extraterrestrial materials as portals to another time, space, and place. Pyritized dinosaur bones, woolly mammoth tooth roots, meteorites, and lunaites are among her work’s mediums. She sources these from remote locations—including the Arctic Circle, where she located fossils with Native Alaskan Inupiat and Yupik tribes, and on Easter Island, where that site’s aboriginal Polynesian inhabitants helped her hand-carve cosmic obsidian, found on local terrain—and then transforms them into striking, sculptural works of art. Recently, Péan began working on a larger scale, expanding her practice to sculpture and furniture. One of her first pieces in this vein, a bronze vessel incorporating part of a rare meteorite, is included in “Objects: USA 2020,” a forthcoming exhibition at New York’s R & Company gallery (now opening on February 16, 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic), curated by Glenn Adamson, Abby Bangser, Evan Snyderman, and James Zemaitis. Péan wants viewers to experience the wonder she feels when holding a piece of the universe in her hands: a transportive, calming energy that signals the vastness of deep time—and illuminates her role in harnessing it. Péan traces her draw toward these specimens to her younger sister, Vanessa, who died in a car accident at age 16. The loss prompted her, then in her mid-20s (she is now 39), to approach life with urgency and intention. She quit her job as an analyst at Goldman Sachs and, a year later, in 2006, launched her eponymous jewelry line. Each piece is, in a way, a memorial to her only sibling. They’re also a means for the designer to explore the origins of life, and to express not only herself but also gratitude toward the planet: Péan donates a portion of the proceeds from every accessory sold to Charity: Water, a nonprofit that provides clean drinking water to communities in need, and avoids using materials that require mining, opting for antique diamonds and recycled gold or platinum instead. The ancient materials she uses are found lying on the Earth’s surface, collected by simply picking them up off of the ground, and in Péan’s hands, they’re turned into wearable reminders of natural phenomena.On this episode, Péan details how she came to understand time through geology, talking with Spencer about her fascination with fossils, rocks, and meteorites; her profound experiences working with indigenous peoples to locate age-old materials; how her Haitian-Jewish background has shaped her worldview; and the ways in which her jewelry pays tribute to her late sister.
59 minutes | 2 months ago
Dan Colen on Shifting Perspectives Through Farming and Art
Artist Dan Colen built Sky High Farm in the same way all his ideas are realized: intuitively, and with the faith to see it through. A 40-acre self-sustaining ecosystem in New York’s Hudson Valley, the farm helps underserved communities by donating everything it produces to local food banks. Since 2011, Colen and his team have given away more than 70 tons of organic vegetables, fruit, eggs, and meat. As the pandemic exposes the urgency of the farm’s raison d’être—spotlighting food insecurity and small-scale farming—Colen has sought new avenues to give back. This past August, he launched a Go Fund Me to double its production, scale up distribution, and increase its donation capacity by buying more food from other regional farmers. He’s also been working on a partnership with concept shop Dover Street Market—a collection of naturally tie-dyed, vintage-sourced T-shirts, hoodies, hats, and bandanas printed with the logos and slogans of the farm’s partners—and funneling the proceeds to farm beneficiaries. When the merchandise promptly sold out, Colen, a former skateboarder, realized fashion was an effective tool for spreading his message, particularly with a young, engaged audience. This fall, he unveiled the first in a yearlong series of covetable collaborations, created pro bono by 12 brands, including Awake NY, Noah, and Supreme. All profits will go toward running the farm. Colen, who’s represented by the Gagosian and Lévy Gorvy galleries in New York, and Massimo De Carlo in Milan, bought the plot of land nearly a decade ago after moving upstate, which gave him the space, access to nature, and the sense of freedom he needed at the time: He’d just gotten sober, and cultivating the land was an opportunity to do something bigger than himself. Colen long struggled to understand his draw to the property. But after nearly a decade, as he says on this episode of Time Sensitive, he’s come to see it as an extension of his creative practice: making things to alter perceptions, or to act as a mirror. Like his art—which varies in style and often employs perishable materials such as flowers, feathers, and chewing gum—the farm is an inquiry into ephemerality and slow, constant change, a canvas for Colen to work out experiences that made him the person he is today. On this episode, Colen recounts the circuitous journey that brought him to the farming life, speaking with Andrew about Sky High Farm’s efforts to combat food insecurity, how skateboarding introduced him to art, his profound relationship with the artists Ryan McGinley and the late Dash Snow, and the wide-ranging body of work he has created while grappling with life’s big questions.
56 minutes | 3 months ago
Angel Chang on Building Resilience Through Centuries-Old Crafts
To make her namesake womenswear line, New York–based designer Angel Chang had to forget everything she knew about fashion. Her label’s clothing is made using age-old techniques developed by China’s indigenous Miao and Dong ethnic minority tribes, whose procedures are at risk of disappearing because a younger generation has, in recent years, largely been indifferent to learning them. Chang, who was born in central Indiana to Chinese immigrants, first encountered Guizhou Province’s garment-making methods while visiting the Shanghai Museum, where she saw traditional costumes—vivid, elaborately detailed attire akin to haute couture—and spent the next 10 years developing a supply chain to make them available to a wider audience. She tracked down artisans (many of them grandmothers) in far-flung villages, learned Chinese, and even moved to the region, immersing herself in its way of life. There she discovered a distinctive relationship with time—one that depends on nature in lieu of a clock—that informs the slow, faithful process by which her clothes are constructed. Chang never set out to run a sustainable fashion label. But the system she created, which involves waiting six months for cotton seeds to grow and a weaving process that yields barely 10 feet of fabric a day, produces zero-carbon clothing. Each piece, from “seed to button,” as she puts it, is manufactured within a 30-mile radius, without the use of electricity or chemicals. It’s too complicated for fashion companies to become “sustainable,” Chang says on this episode of Time Sensitive; they need to build new supply chains from the ground up. The one she devised serves as a model, even a noble, alternative to fast fashion.On this episode, Chang describes the journey of patience and persistence that forged the infrastructure for her brand, talking with Spencer about persuading high fashion houses to preserve these traditional garment-making techniques; the prolonged, enlightening process of befriending Chinese artisans; harnessing wit and WeChat to build supply chains for her collection; and why indigenous knowledge is key to addressing climate change.
61 minutes | 4 months ago
Daniel Boulud on Maintaining Consistency Over the Long Haul
Asked how the coronavirus pandemic has affected his relationship with time, Daniel Boulud chokes up. The New York–based French chef—who owns 13 restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Daniel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the fast-casual café Épicerie Boulud—laments the ways that Covid-19 has uprooted his staff, suppliers, and customers, deeming it the worst experience of his five-decades-long career. The response reveals a defining trait of the ardent chef, who cares deeply not only for his personnel, but about everything his work encompasses. At 65, Boulud continues to derive his energy from perfecting his craft: reading old French cookbooks, experimenting with his team in the test kitchen, embracing the spontaneity of making food for someone on the fly. When the coronavirus shut down New York’s restaurants this past March, Boulud turned his white-tablecloth flagship inside out, providing takeout and food service on the sidewalk of East 65th Street for patrons, and through converting Épicerie Boulud’s Bowery location into a prep kitchen for Citymeals, he's been helping feed first responders and elderly and food-insecure New Yorkers. Now, as New York officially begins its return to indoor dining, he's introducing Boulud Sur Mer, a pop-up environment designed by architect Stephanie Goto that reimagines Daniel’s interior, nodding to the South of France while elegantly incorporating safety protocols. The chef perks up when discussing Le Pavillion, the seafood restaurant he’s opening next year, a project he sees as a way to contribute to the regeneration of a city he loves after a harrowing period of downtime. His work transcends the kitchen: For Boulud, his legacy isn’t so much about what he’s accomplished, but about how he’s helping others. His profound interest in the wide-ranging potential of food is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that Boulud is not only a chef, but a restaurateur. Work beckons constantly, as he points out in this episode of Time Sensitive, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. It’s all an extension of himself. His balanced, steady work ethic has enabled him to perpetually grow while maintaining consistency and standing the test of time. On this episode, Boulud’s generous spirit shines through as he details his journey to culinary success. He talks with Spencer about growing up on a farm near Lyon, France, that produced everything his family put on the table; how a “grande dame” facilitated his entry into fine dining; learning about food, mentorship, and entrepreneurship from several legendary chefs; and the humbling satisfaction of seeing his life’s work come full circle.
67 minutes | 7 months ago
Tom Kundig on the Parallels Between Mountain Climbing and Architecture
Tom Kundig brings a refreshingly laid-back, aw-shucks, go-with-the-flow attitude to an industry that seems, on the whole, largely to lack that kind of demeanor. Architects tend to be a rather uptight, perfectionist breed. Not Kundig, an experimental, hands-on Seattle-based practitioner, who, though he appreciates details and makes incredibly immaculate, wondrously conceived designs, also has a fondness for the utilitarian, the everyday, the experimental, the imperfect. His elegant buildings, which range from headquarters to wineries to cabins in the woods, stand out for their balance of heft and lightness, material and form, nature and industry, and craft and tech wizardry. Kundig’s background as a mountain climber no doubt has something to do with all of this: Climbing is inherently unpredictable, putting one at the mercy of the elements, often under extreme conditions. There are pragmatic tools that can be brought to both climbing and architecture, but in the end, as Kundig himself points out on this episode of Time Sensitive, it’s how one prepares for the journey—and then handles and responds to it in the moment—that ultimately results in a successful climb or construction. For him, both are adventures in problem-solving and intimate conversations with the natural world. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Kundig grew up in eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and Southern British Columbia, and it shows in both his work and his personality. Not only because that region is where a bulk of the projects of his firm, Olson Kundig, are located, but because he brings a poetic sensibility and astute understanding of climate and nature to everything he does. On this episode, Kundig’s open-minded, wabi-sabi energy rings loud and clear. He discusses with Spencer his early years as a climber; his incredible ascent in architecture, starting with an opportunity to work in Alaska; his profound learnings from his mentor, the sculptor Harold Balazs; and his deep passions for, among other things, wine, Japanese design, and hot rods.
17 minutes | 10 months ago
Special Episode: Spencer Bailey and Andrew Zuckerman on Putting Time Sensitive on Hiatus During the Covid-19 Quarantine
The show’s co-host’s announce that the podcast is on hold until they can get back into The Slowdown’s Manhattan studio; talk about the company’s new podcast, At a Distance (atadistancepodcast.com); and discuss the importance of recontextualizing scale and speed.
71 minutes | 10 months ago
Ibrahim Mahama on the Great Potential of Art to Change How We Look at the World
Over the past decade—and especially in the last year—the Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama has swiftly risen to become one of the most prominent African voices in art. At age 32, he has already exhibited at the Biennale of Sydney, on Cockatoo Island (his work “No Friend But the Mountains” is currently on view there through June 8, though that date may change because of the coronavirus pandemic), as well as at the 2019 Frieze Sculpture presentation at Rockefeller Center in New York and the Ghana Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. He’s created large-scale public installations around the world, including in Milan (with the Trussardi Foundation, also in 2019) and Athens (during Documenta 14, in 2017). Mahama’s work has also been shown at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester (also in 2019), the Norval Foundation in Cape Town (yet again in 2019), and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (2015). He is represented by the highly respected White Cube gallery. The Africa Report, a Paris-based news magazine that focuses on African politics and economics, recently named Mahama one of the 100 most influential Africans today. In addition to his art-making, he is the founder of an artist-run nonprofit cultural institution and exhibition space, the Savannah Center for Contemporary Art (SCCA), which opened a year ago (yes, also in 2019) in Tamale, a city in the north of Ghana.Central to Mahama’s inspiration is a specific material: jute sacks. Working with a team of collaborators to repurpose the burlap bags, which are traditionally used to transport cocoa beans, he sews together installations that range from wall- or room-size to monumental, often draping the fabric on, around, and over prominent architectural sites. Though his pieces have often been compared to the “wrap” work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, that is not necessarily an apt analogy, or at least it’s just a surface-level one. While similar in scale and scope to Christo’s ambitious environmental artworks, Mahama’s creations, like his overall practice, are socially oriented and focused on concerns such as labor, migration, globalization, and economic exchange.On this episode of Time Sensitive, Mahama discusses with Spencer his fascination with jute sacks as a material; his views on “Ghanaian time” and Africa’s global influence; his unorthodox upbringing (he grew up among nine siblings and with a polygamous father who had four wives, and was sent to boarding at age 5); and his dreams for the SCCA.
64 minutes | 10 months ago
Julia Watson on the Power of Indigenous Technologies to Transform Our Planet
Julia Watson is really into TEK. Not necessarily the Silicon Valley variety of tech, but rather traditional ecological knowledge. An anthropologist, environmentalist, activist, and landscape designer, Watson has become a leading researcher of indigenous communities, closely studying the vast implications of their centuries-old (in certain cases, millennia-old) innovations. In the face of today’s climate crisis, Watson’s new book, Lo-TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism (Taschen), a culmination of years of research in 18 countries around the globe, is poised to become something of a bible for a growing design movement that’s focused on harnessing nature-based technologies and better understanding how we can all live in closer harmony with the earth.Born in Australia, Watson studied landscape architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where she focused on eco-technologies and preservation of sacred spaces. Currently, she teaches urban design at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Planning and Preservation, as well as at Harvard, and runs her own design studio that’s oriented toward the practice of “rewilding.”On this episode of Time Sensitive, Watson speaks with Andrew about her deep research into various indigenous communities, the symbiotic relationship between culture and nature, her perspective on the recent Australian bushfires, and more.
53 minutes | 10 months ago
Dustin Yellin on His Quest to Reimagine Learning in the 21st Century
Since establishing the Pioneer Works nonprofit cultural center in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood in 2013, artist Dustin Yellin has slowly grown the place into a powerhouse hub at the nexus of art, technology, music, and science (with literature and food sprinkled in). Like the beautifully complex glass sculptures he creates, Pioneer Works is a richly layered mishmash. Consider this spring’s lineup of programs: One night this April, there’s a performance by the Ghanaian electronic and rap artist Ata Kak; another night, there’s a “Supper Club” dinner featuring traditional Japanese home cooking by chef Emily Yuen and owner Maiko Kyogoku of the New York City restaurant Bessou; on May 2, there’s the institution's annual benefit, this year co-chaired by Austin and Gabriela Hearst, and honoring poet, essayist, playwright Claudia Rankine, as well as economist Marilyn Simons and her billionaire hedge-fund manager husband, James. Currently on display in the galleries is a performance set by artist Jaimie Warren (through April 12) and a showing of four Japanese avant-garde films from the 1960s and ’70s (through April 19). This is to say nothing of the classes, roundtables, and residencies Pioneer Works offers, or its book-publishing arm.Pioneer Works’s eclectic, wide-ranging buffet of intellectual offerings is pure Yellin. With boundless energy, enigmatic bravado, and a collaborative spirit, he has built a multifaceted community not unlike what Andy Warhol had at The Factory from the ’60s to ’80s—only it’s somewhat more institutional and professionalized, and with a new executive director, Eric Shiner (formerly of White Cube gallery, Sotheby’s, and the Andy Warhol Museum), at the helm. As Yellin points out on this episode of Time Sensitive, maintaining a certain scale and intimacy at Pioneer Works is essential to him, with future growth potentially coming from building satellite locations in other cities. As he sees it, the institution could become the next Stanford, Harvard, or MIT Media Lab—a new outlet for education, an incubator that brings together the best and brightest minds on earth in a fresh way, a place to foster the shapers of the future.On the episode, Andrew speaks with Yellin about everything from his wide-ranging dreams for Pioneer Works; to his ambitious plans for “The Bridge,” a large-scale monument to the end of oil; to his harrowing memories of Hurricane Sandy.
77 minutes | 10 months ago
Nathan Myhrvold on the Art and Science of Food
Nathan Myhrvold is no ordinary chef. With two master’s degrees (one in mathematical economics, the other in geophysics and space physics) and a Ph.D. in theoretical and mathematical physics, he is also a technologist who did postdoctoral research with Stephen Hawking. From 1986 to 1999, Myhrvold was the chief strategist and chief technology officer at Microsoft, where he worked closely with Bill Gates on future planning and developing the company’s software. (During this time, he also co-authored Gates’s 1995 best-seller, The Road Ahead; in 1999, at age 40, he retired from the company.) Now, as the CEO of the firm Intellectual Ventures, which he co-founded in 2000, he develops and licenses intellectual property. The company owns upwards of 30,000 assets, nearly 900 of which were invented by Myrhvold himself. So where does cooking come in? Long a gastronomer and foodie (before the latter term was even a thing), Myhrvold began to pursue his passion for cuisine early on. During his Microsoft years (with Gates’s blessing), he took time off to attend the La Varenne cooking school in Burgundy, and later even apprenticed part-time at Rover's restaurant in Seattle. For a time, he was the “chief gastronomic officer” of the Zagat Survey. It wasn’t until about a decade ago, though, that things really took off for Myhrvold on the food front. In 2011, he established a full-fledged publishing platform with the release of his six-volume Modernist Cuisine, an encyclopedic whirlwind into the science of contemporary cooking. A behemoth of a book, at 2,438 pages, it took about three years to produce, with several dozen people involved. Subsequent iterations have followed: Modernist Cuisine at Home (2012), The Photography of Modernist Cuisine (2013), and Modernist Bread (2017). A Modernist Pizza book is currently in the works. The series has become a cult favorite, highly respected by many of the world’s top chefs, including Thomas Keller and Heston Blumenthal. Especially remarkable about the project—aside from the inventive recipes—is the hyperrealist, meticulously executed photography. Many of the pictures are made through a “cutaway” technique involving machinery to that slices pots, pans, and ovens in half to offer a literal inside look into the processes behind the dishes—a pork roast atop embers, say, or broccoli steaming in a pot. It is through these images that Myhrvold's many talents and interests in science, food, and art collide, and to potent effect. On this episode of Time Sensitive, Spencer speaks with Myhrvold about his journey into sous vide cooking, the problems he sees with the Slow Food movement, why food photography has never been considered a high art, and more.
55 minutes | a year ago
Gabriela Hearst on Why Making Things That Stand the Test of Time Matters
Since launching her eponymous label in 2015, the Uruguayan-born, New York–based designer Gabriela Hearst has become known for her sincere, forward-thinking approach to sustainability; her slow-growth business ethos; the long waiting lists for her limited-production handbags; her impeccable tailoring; and her high-quality collections that, season after season, have consistently been hailed as critics’ favorites. For her, sustainability isn’t just a buzzword or an item to tick off a list; it’s something essential and, most importantly, actionable. Last year, Hearst presented the industry’s first-ever carbon-neutral runway show. A collaboration with Bureau Betak and EcoAct, the presentation was done completely sans blow dryers, straighteners, or curling irons, models were sourced locally, and a carbon-offset fund for the energy-related production costs was donated to the Hifadhi-Livelihoods Project in Kenya. Hearst regularly uses deadstock in her collections. She recently made all of the brand’s packaging biodegradable and compostable, and also tweaked her supply chain to ship by boat instead of by air freight. Hearst’s new eco-conscious store in London’s Mayfair neighborhood, designed by Norman Foster, includes custom furniture made from a tree that fell in a storm and herringbone oak flooring reclaimed from a military barracks. Her preferred word for sustainability? Accountability. Raised on a ranch that has been in her family for six generations—which her father bequeathed to her in 2011 when he passed away—Hearst, early in her life, became interested in where things come from and how they’re made, and in understanding the true value of utility, namely that making well-constructed things that stand the test of time matters. Now, in the age of climate change, her less-but-better mindset has become all the more relevant and pressing. Creating timeless, long-lasting clothing, she says, is the only reasonable (and yes, sustainable) way forward. Eschewing a trend-driven outlook in favor of one that’s about creating fewer, better items that her customers will keep forever, Hearst continues to be informed by her upbringing on the farm. It’s an approach that appears to be working: The company had a turnover of between $15 and $20 million in sales revenue in 2018, and last year LVMH Luxury Ventures bought a minority stake in it (the majority is owned by Hearst and her husband and business partner, John Augustine “Austin” Hearst, a TV and film producer and media executive who is the grandson of William Randolph Hearst).On this episode of Time Sensitive, Hearst speaks with Spencer about everything from her youth on a ranch in rural Uruguay, to her personal definitions of sustainability and luxury, to her roundabout path to becoming a fashion designer, to her mother’s Zen Buddhist teachings.
65 minutes | a year ago
Tony Fadell on Leaving Silicon Valley to Help Build a Healthier Society, Online and Off
In both his work and his life, Tony Fadell constantly imagines Version 2.0 (if not 3.0, or 4.0 and beyond). On a mission to shape the future through forward-thinking design, engineering, invention, and investing, he is probably most widely recognized for both founding the smart-home products company Nest and for his instrumental involvement in developing the iPod. Through his newest venture, the appropriately coined advisory firm Future Shape, Fadell lends his expertise to promising entrepreneurs and companies, funding and advising a range of environmentally minded startups, such as the biologically produced leather-maker Modern Meadow, semiconductor company Phononic, and micro-LED developer Rohinni. After starting his career at General Magic, an early spin-off of Apple, Fadell moved to the electronics behemoth Philips and then, eventually, to Apple, where he started in 2001 and was, from 2006 to 2008, on the executive team that created the iPhone. In 2010, he founded Nest, which Google acquired less than three years later for $3.2 billion. Having played a crucial role in helping many of the most important technological Silicon Valley innovations of the 2000s come to fruition, Fadell has since decamped for Paris, where he now runs Future Shape. Recently, he spent an entire year in Bali with his family.Rebooting and welcoming change has been a constant thread throughout Fadell’s career, and also in his personal life. While he’s known for his extreme work ethic—early in his career, he famously had a bed in his office—Fadell recognizes the need to take time off in order to explore, and to create space for inner growth outside of the workplace. On this episode, Fadell and Andrew Zuckerman discuss his youth in Detroit; the perils of screen addiction; the external pressures of a career-oriented culture; and paving the way for a healthier society, online and off.
66 minutes | a year ago
Suketu Mehta on the Positively Profound Impact of Immigration on the Planet
Suketu Mehta tells a story about pinkie fingers, dancing and kissing. It is as confounding as it sounds. And utterly heartbreaking, too. In his assertive and essential new book, This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto—as well as on this episode of Time Sensitive—he describes the scene: Friendship Park, a half-acre fence on the U.S.-Mexican border. A Mexican man living in the U.S., who hasn’t seen his mother in 17 years, and has been working hard to send money back to her all that time, at last reunites with her at that fateful fence. But because of its thick and rigid design, he can’t see her clearly. Through the holes in the fence, mother and son can only fit stick their pinkies, wagging them back and forth, gently touching, caressing, connecting—but only for a few moments. This small act serves as a greater metaphor about immigration, one with vast implications and consequences, and not just in America but around our world today.Mehta, a Calcutta-born, New York–based journalist and N.Y.U. professor who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his 2005 novel Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, is full of stories like this one. (The dancing, kissing pinkies, however, may be among his most gut-wrenching and tear-inducing tales.) As a reporter and writer, Mehta is slow and methodical in his approach, and it shows in his rich and varied body of work, which spans decades and is written with the elegance and grace of a poet. A sort of modern-day Walt Whitman, he has the rare ability to home in on deeply personal human stories and craft narratives around them that reveal larger truths about culture, politics, and society.On this episode, Mehta speaks with Spencer Bailey about his challenging high school years as an Indian immigrant growing up in Queens, his belief in how the future of democracy “rests on storytelling,” and the importance of considering historical time frames when thinking about today’s contentious immigration debates.
64 minutes | a year ago
Lidewij Edelkoort on Why Doing Less Is More
The Dutch-born trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort, founder of the Paris-based consultancy Trend Union, has a knack for being ahead of the curve. In fact, she kind of is the curve, the rare mind who—with her sharp eye, wide-ranging tastes, and quick wit—is able to situate herself within past, present, and future. She astutely understands historical markers of time and often predicts, with surprising precision, what the Next Big Thing is. Working for clients across a variety of industries, from fashion and textiles, to interiors and hospitality, to cars and cosmetics, to retail and food, Edelkoort travels the world studying the subtle market shifts that shape our lives. A sociocultural omnivore with a deep design knowledge, she’s the dean of the Hybrid Design Studies program at Parsons School of Design, where she’s spearheading a new M.F.A. in textile studies.Since founding Trend Union, in 1975, Edelkoort has gained a cult following as a sustainability-minded soothsayer. For more than three decades, corporate leaders have gravitated toward her, as one would a shaman, for strategic, big-picture advice. In the late ’80s, she started giving her now-infamous trend presentations, in which she unpacks, interprets, and predicts the market movements developing before us. An archaeologist of the modern day, Edelkoort is part curator, part sociologist, digging up vast amounts of information, much of it visual, so as to infer, intuit, and map out complex explanations of the now. Her findings aren’t fanciful, even if on the surface they may appear to be high-minded. They are indeed quite often pragmatic, if not also paradigmatic. Sometimes—as was the case with her 2015 “Anti-Fashion Manifesto,” a treatise against the wastefulness and greed of the global fashion industry—they also tend to be refreshingly direct and pointed. On this episode of Time Sensitive, Edelkoort speaks with Spencer Bailey about a movement back toward the farm and nature; the notion of animism (i.e., that a soul is embedded in everything); combatting fear in a time of prolific fear-mongering; and her reasonably optimistic belief in a more collaborative future.
70 minutes | a year ago
Craig Robins on Why Nature Is Our Greatest Luxury
Craig Robins strongly believes that all good things take time. Since launching his vast real estate enterprise Dacra in 1987, at age 24, he has, with this ideology in mind, become one of Miami’s shrewdest mover-shakers. Intimately involved in the revitalization of South Beach in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Robins helped restore—and save from demolition—several now-prized Art Deco properties, including The Webster (designed in 1939 by Henry Hohauser as a hotel and now home to Laure Hériard Dubreuil’s flagship fashion boutique). From there he began to quietly shift his focus across Biscayne Bay, to the Design District neighborhood, unveiling the beginnings of his ambitious plans in 2002. A visionary thinker, tinkerer, and doer, Robins also got involved in bringing the Art Basel fair to Miami in the early aughts and in 2005 co-founded the Design Miami collectible design fair.Thinking about things slowly and holistically, Robins—unlike so many others in his line of work—does not follow a build-it-cheap-and-fast-and-flip-it edict. His is a long-haul, less-but-better vision. Robins cares deeply about the urban fabric and the textures of the city, about architectural serendipity and surprise, about moments of wonder and beauty and joy. A finger-on-the-pulse master of cultivating culture, he has thoughtfully constructed a synergistic amalgam of art, architecture, design, dining, fashion, and urban planning within the Design District, a New Urbanism–infused neighborhood that seems to subtly morph every month, if not every week, bit by bit. While it hasn’t been without its detractors and naysayers, the Design District clearly offers an alternative, human-scale approach to city building. Now home to standouts such as the Institute of Contemporary Art (which opened in its new location in late 2017) and the Pharrell Williams–owned Swan restaurant and Bar Bevy, the Design District is beginning to show its potential not as just a luxury shopping mall—though it’s certainly that, too—but as a dynamic cultural hub.On this episode of Time Sensitive, Robins talks with Spencer Bailey about his big-picture vision, his early career helping rejuvenate South Beach, his forward-thinking approach to bolstering Miami culture and his obsession with river rafting and disconnecting in nature.
71 minutes | a year ago
Christian Madsbjerg on Why “Design Thinking” Is Bogus
Christian Madsbjerg makes sense. Literally and figuratively, in all the definitions of the phrase. With roots in philosophy and political science, Madsbjerg brings a refreshingly human approach to his work as an author, screenwriter, professor, entrepreneur, and business advisor. In the face of some of the greatest concerns of our time—the climate crisis, technological upheaval—he challenges assumptions and advocates for reflection, deep reading, single-tasking, solitude, and yes, slowness. Though he doesn’t abide by the “digital detox” method, Madsbjerg does operate without a smartphone.While Madsbjerg is not immune to the contemporary swell of panic and anxiety, his approach is calm, methodical, and sometimes humorous. The co-founder of ReD Associates—a strategy and consulting firm that takes an interdisciplinary approach to advising big companies through observation, social science, and problem solving—the multifaceted Madsbjerg is an astute observer of human behavior. The author of Sensemaking: What Makes Human Intelligence Essential in the Age of the Algorithm and co-author of The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Hardest Business Problem, he is in the process of writing a book called How to Pay Attention and a comedic screenplay about immigration in the U.S., tentatively titled H1B. He also teaches social science, social theory, and discourse analysis at the Parsons School of Design at The New School. On this episode of Time Sensitive, Madsbjerg speaks to Andrew Zuckerman about the importance of long-view historical research, the problematic nature of “design thinking,” the deep value of a liberal arts education, and the relevance today of Martin Heidegger’s philosophical perspectives on time and technology.
76 minutes | a year ago
Eric Standop on the Art and Science of Face Reading
Many people turn to spiritual professionals such as astrologists and tarot card readers to help answer life’s most essential and cosmic questions. Eric Standop—international speaker, advisor, author, and facial diagnostics expert—guides people to look inward through a different method: by examining their faces. Through analyzing facial characteristics and behaviors, Standop informs his clients of their talents, emotions, personality types, and overall health. No stranger to self-doubt and career burnout, Standop spent years seeking fulfillment through a rollercoaster career of long hours and travel in the entertainment industry. Early on, after starting out as a radio and television speaker, and then moving to a role in cinema management, Standop began to suffer from fatigue and skin irritations. He decided to take a six-month break before reentering the corporate arena, this time as a P.R. director in computer gaming. Later, he transitioned to high-pressure positions in events and marketing. The stress would again take its toll. One morning, he awoke to find that he had lost all feeling in his arms and legs. Determined to turn his health around, Standop decided to backpack through South Africa. There he encountered a face reader for the first time, and became fascinated with the practice. Standop would go on to learn from masters on three different continents. While we all communicate through facial behavior and recognition on some level, becoming an expert face reader takes significant time and dedication, as with developing any other skill. After several years of gathering information, both about himself and about his practice, Standop set out to teach others. Now, he coaches a wide variety of clients, from business executives to law enforcement officials to even—every once in a while, and only when pressed—babies. Standop’s first book, Read The Face: Face Reading for Success in Your Career, Relationships, and Health (St. Martin’s), came out this fall. On this episode of Time Sensitive, Standop and Andrew Zuckerman go deep into the origins of face reading, the function of smell in medical diagnostics, the ups and downs of his circuitous career, and how he ultimately found inner happiness.
64 minutes | a year ago
Rashid Johnson on Escapism and Upending the Notion of the “Monolithic Experience”
Growing up in Evanston, Illinois, the artist Rashid Johnson had a “mixed bag”—racially, at least—of close friends. There were, he says, “four black guys, two Asian guys, two Jewish guys, a white English guy.…” They still keep in touch today via a text chain. This perspective, combined with the one ingrained in him by his Ph.D. history professor mother, who introduced him from a young age to the works of 20th-century African American writers such as Amiri Baraka, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington, and his tinkerer father, who owned a Wicker Park electronics shop, led to a deep, contextualized curiosity about the human condition: who we are, how we got here, and where we’re going. This multicultural (and intellectual) background continues to feed Johnson—as water and light would a plant—growing his insatiable appetite for better understanding the richness, complications, and contradictions of being human, each of us with our own roots, carrying our own energies—no one necessarily a part of any “monolithic experience.” It has also naturally led him to explore the social, cultural, and political realities of being a black man in today’s world. His multidisciplinary practice, which spans painting, drawing, sculpture, filmmaking, and installation art, is both biographical and collective. Underlying much of Johnson’s work is the idea of escapism—that each of us, on some level, yearns for another reality. Such a narrative is at the core of his directorial debut, HBO’s Native Son, released earlier this year and based on the 1940 Richard Wright novel of the same name (the screenplay was written by the playwright Suzan-Lori Parks). It is also at the heart of “The Hikers,” a ballet film shot on the side of a mountain in Aspen, currently on view at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City (through Nov. 10) and opening on Nov. 12 (through Jan. 25, 2020) at the Hauser & Wirth gallery in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, where it will be shown alongside several other works by Johnson, including ceramic mosaics, paintings, and a large-scale sculpture.On this episode of Time Sensitive, Johnson talks with Spencer Bailey about the steep challenge of turning Wright’s famed novel into a feature film; using materials such as shea butter, black soap, and plants in his artworks; why he remains somewhat ambivalent about the idea of “wokeness”; and his ongoing fascination with the complexity and diversity of not only blackness but also whiteness.
69 minutes | a year ago
How RoseLee Goldberg Reshaped the Landscape of Performance Art
It’s safe to say that, if it weren’t for art historian RoseLee Goldberg, performance art would not be what it is today. Not even close. The founder of the nonprofit organization Performa, which for nearly 15 years has been putting on biennials of live performance around New York City, has for decades helped shape and steer the conversation about what “performance art” even is—and what, at its best and most inventive, it’s capable of achieving. A scholar, critic, and New York University professor, Goldberg has written important texts on the subject, including Performance Now: Live Art for the 21st Century (Thames & Hudson), and has established new modalities for organizing and presenting performances. Her astute understanding of the multidisciplinary medium is unparalleled.With Performa, Goldberg has radically shifted the landscape of the field through collaborations with hundreds of artists, including Adam Pendleton (in what was a breakout moment for the artist), Yoko Ono, Rashid Johnson, Joan Jonas, and Julie Mehretu. Following previous overarching themes like Futurism (2009), Surrealism (2013), and Dada (2017), this year’s biennial, which runs from November 1 through 24, will explore ideas about the Bauhaus on its centenary year. Among the performances will be works by Taiwanese artist Yu Cheng-Ta, who will unpack Western “influencers” and reality TV culture; Gaetano Pesce, who, at the Salon 94 Design gallery, will create a studio atmosphere, evoking the typical conditions of a day, via his assistants molding, pouring, and crafting; and Bunny Rogers, who will turn various spaces at a public high school—including hallways, a gym, and an auditorium—into a “living installation.”On this episode of Time Sensitive, Goldberg speaks with Spencer Bailey about her upbringing as a young dancer in Durban, South Africa, when that country was under apartheid rule; her adventurous journey into the beating heart of the art world, first in London and ultimately in New York; and her path to establishing Performa—and elevating performance art as we know it in the process.
79 minutes | a year ago
Daniel Brush on Making Some of the Most Extraordinary and Exquisite Objects on Earth
Daniel Brush’s acute eye for detail, as well as the rigor and vigor he brings to his craft, comes through loud and clear in all of his creations. A poet of materiality, he is at once a metalworker, a jewelry-maker, a philosopher, an engineer, a blacksmith, a painter, and a sculptor. The late Dr. Oliver Sacks, a friend of Brush’s, once said that Brush’s work is “the result of years of incubation, years of isolation and complete immersion, which have produced his unique and mysterious objects—they are made objects, and yet they seem found.” Sacks was not exaggerating when he said years. Brush’s oeuvre—on full display in the new Rizzoli book “Daniel Brush: Jewels Sculpture”—is the accumulation of four-plus decades of steadfast, heads-down, solitary work in his Manhattan studio, alongside his wife and accomplice, Olivia, allowing for only select visits from his closest friends and certain patrons, scholars, and students. Brush’s imagination has always run wild—from his beginnings as a concert pianist in his youth, through his early years as a painter, to now, he has always demonstrated a rare intensity. For those who have laid eyes on his intricate cuffs, brooches, necklaces, and other pieces, it may be somewhat surprising to hear that it wasn’t until making a wedding ring for Olivia, in 1967, whom he had known for just three days before marrying, that he became interested in jewelry-making. Now, his work—colored by influences from a life of painting and drawing as well as his astute interests in Japanese Noh theater and Asian art—centers around jewels and objects made from a vast assortment of materials, including Afghan lapis lazuli, aluminum, amethyst, gold, Madagascar sapphire, malachite, steel, tektite, topaz, and tourmaline. Brush, not surprisingly, also has a deep appreciation for history and collecting. His own made objects, as well as a large library of books and found objects, are stowed or situated around his home and studio, serving, for him, as a record of passing time. Given that his pieces are not traded on the market and rarely available to acquire, Brush’s work decidedly has, as he puts it, “no value.” Instead, he suggests that the value he derives from his work comes from the connections he has developed with patrons and peers who show respect for the complexity of it all. For Brush, it is the most minute connection—the tiniest detail—that so often reveals the largest truth.On this episode of Time Sensitive, Brush’s use of language and storytelling approaches the poetic. He and Spencer Bailey talk about memory (and interpretations of memory); his deep, monkish engagement with a wide variety of materials; and some of his most valuable tools—breathing, language, and light.
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