Saturday, February 7, 2015

History of Information Design

Here is an eye candy slideshare from Jess3, creative agency that specializes in data visualization.
I love the simplicity. Less is truly more in here. Slide 14 was kind of a "duh!" moment. I knew that! But I never put that in my head in a single "slide".

Monday, February 2, 2015

Zaśpijmy Dzisiaj

 Zaśpijmy dzisiaj – będzie fajnie.
Zaśpijmy specjalnie. Udajmy
gorączkę, udajmy malarię.
Olejmy awizo, zignorujmy
dzwonki, grajmy zaginionych,
tylko troszkę martwych.
Zaśpijmy zupełnie –
dzień dniem bez nas zróbmy.
Bez nas się obejdą
te ważne spotkania, te straszne wypadki.
Zaśpijmy dzisiaj, nie mówmy już nic
—Fleszmob by  Agnieszka Wolny-Hamkało-nic dodac nic ujac

Saturday, January 24, 2015

'There are no shocking pictures, only shocking reality' - Oliviero Toscani

Oliviero Toscani
Background Kissing Nun (1992) 
Challenging the principle of 
religious celibacy
Oliviero Toscani, is one of my favorite visual artists. This awesomely controversial Italian photographer that shaped the image of United Color of Benetton in the 80's and 90's,  keeps in awe the world with his creativity,  crude images, provocative messages, and bold fight for social change.  His art serves as fuel for debates and make people think.

I often use his images when introducing the principals of visual design (or CARP model) , when talking about diversity, visual literacy or  media influences on our self image.

His work has as many critics as praisers. Some say he has no right to use serious subjects to sell as trivial thing as clothes. Or that he is just an arrogant scandal seeker.  Other applauding his ability to be more than just an advertiser. You be the judge! Here is my pro list

√ He helped raise AIDS awareness . While advertising Benetton Toscani made a decision to show the reality of dying of AIDS.  The controversy around the image came form similarity to pieta paintings.  But despite the disputes related to sacrilegious message, the elephant in the room  an AIDS  problem was also addressed.

David Kirby dying of AIDS and his family. 
Photo taken by Therese Frare in Ohio SU Hospital (1990) 

√ He spoke against war.  1991 campaign featured cemetery in France with rows of crosses and one star of David. The message was quite simple : When you die it does not matter who you are, what is your rank, social status,  nationality, or religion. In war the death is the only victor.  

1991 "War Cemetery" Ad appeared in Italian media few days
before Gulf War and was immediately banned.

1994 Allegedly Uniform of dead Croat soldier
Marinko Gagro killed in the Bosnian war

√ He spoke against racism.  In 1984 the 'All Colors of the World' campaign he photographed multicultural group of young people wearing Benetton clothes. It was the first time when such a diverse group  appeared together in a positive light in an Italian advertising. 

Interestingly, all his race related campaigns sparked heated debates and were often accused of being racist. The breastfeeding ad according to critics does not show the racial harmony but rather suggest black servitude. Because of outrage of unspecified African -American organization  Benetton withdrawn the ad in United States. The rest of the world praised the concept and the art.

1989 campaign for equality. Black woman breast-feeding white
baby is the most-awarded image in Benetton's advertising history

1990 The theme of multiculturalism
 appropriate for 'United Colors' 
was a main theme for almost 10 years

Hearts 1996. 
Critics called it the most racist.
They are actually pigs hearts.

√ He spoke against death penalty.  The 'We, On Death Row'  2000 campaign feature death-row inmates and the slogan 'Sentenced to Death'. It stirred so much controversy that Toscani had to leave Benetton after being their Creative Director for 18 years.

2000. The On Death Row campaign 
was the reason why he left Benetton

√ He fought for gay rights.   In 2005 he managed to piss of the Catholic groups (again!)  by putting homosexuals in rather shocking positions while advertising Ra-Re clothing brand.
The campaign came in a middle of 
 ongoing debate in Italy about gay rights.

√ Working for No-li-ta clothing company he took part in fight against anorexia. 

2007 French model/actress Isabelle Caro (1982 – 2010)
Suffered from severe anorexia nervosa 
With ad she became the face of anorexia fight

√ He took part in promoting tolerance and global love.  Recently in 2011 the Benetton foundation launched  the 'Unhate' campaign.  'A campaign to combat the culture of hate'. Which contrary to its message, evoke extremely strong reactions.
The ad showing doctored image of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a top Egyptian imam on the lips was withdrawn almost immediately after the Vatican denounced it as an "unacceptable" provocation.

2011 Storefront in Paris. German Chancellor Angela Merkel 
kissing French President Nicolas Sarkozy 
and Chinese President Hu Jintao kissing Barack Obama

2011. Pope Benedict XVI kissing 
an Egyptian imam Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb 
withdrawn after the Vatican denounced it as provocation.

What's next maestro? Oil dependency? Green Planet? Crazy parents agains vaccination? Crazy governments against birth control? Exploitation of illegal immigrants? Children trafficking? The distribution of wealth? There is so much shocking cruelty, stupidity, ignorance, shortsightedness, -isms in the world...

Or perhaps it's time to focus solely on positives ? I love the direction taken be the Benneton group and the UNHATE Foundation. I like the idea of focusing on the new generation.

The Toscani's  legacy is visible in every Benneton project.  The Raza Umana Italia  latest project by Oliviero Toscani Studio looks interesting but I am waiting for his next BIG international move!

Oh, and by the way, the Benetton advertisement did it's magic on me :-)  I really enjoy their classic clothing line for kids.

2011 - Vivi & Lili exploring  the cavities :-) ©


I started this post quite some time ago, but every time I thought that I am ready to finish it I had to stumbled upon yet another interesting piece of information or a new image! As usually, when you deal with fascinating subject, you found yourself few hours later with the nagging feeling that you need to learn more ;-)
Here are some of the better resources I used to educate myself on the subject:

  • United Color of Benetton. Case Study (pdf)
  • Creative Review - Benetton Hits Middle Age 
  • The True Colors of Oliviero Toscani by Eric J. Lyman 
  • P. Rutherford, (2000) Endless propaganda: The Advertising of Public Goods; University of Toronto Press
  • O. Toscani (1997) Reklama uśmiechnięte ścierwo; Warszawa. Agencja Wydawnicza Delta (oryg. fr. La Pub est une charogne qui nous sourit (Reliure inconnue) 1995)
Ps. This is an updated repost. I originally created it in March 2012 but the subject keeps coming back :-) 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Exorcist . Brilliant Ad!

Try to guess what it is about. I bet you can't. No cheating!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Final Colbert Report

The last minutes of the Colbert's Report last episode were nothing short of great and very in an "over the top", Colbert style! He said goodbye, singing "We'll Meet Again" with Randy Newman at the piano and the impressive crowd of the "friends of the show".  I am not sure how many famous people they managed to squeeze in a studio. To name a few: Jon Stewart, Tom Brokaw, Willie Nelson, Yo Yo Ma, Barry Manilow, Big Beard and Cookie Monster, Tom Friedman, Cyndi Lauper, Ken Burns,  Keith Olbermann, Katie Couric, Andrew Sullivan, David Gregory, Ariana Huffington, JJ Abrams, Alan Alda, George Lucas, Henry Kissinger, Toby Keith, and Christiane Amanpour. Even Mike Hackabee was there!  I was surprised not to see papa Bear Bill O'Reilly.
#‎ColbertFinale was trending on Twitter in the US. 
President Bill Clinton made it to the final song while twitting:
President Obama remarked:
 Nancy Pelosi posted

 In Stephen's own tweet:

You did Stephen. You and Jon Stewart. One show at the time.

We will meet again Stephen. Colbert had been chosen to succeed David Letterman as the host of the Late Show in 2015. I have hard time to imagine him hosting the show out of the character.

You can catch up or reminisce  the best  Cover Report moments at My favorite moment from the show?  I love when Colbert was singing with John Legend "The Girl is Mine"

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Santa's morphology and Happy Holidays

I  explained who is Saint Nicholas and described the tradition of celebrating his Name Day on December 6 in my previous years post . But this picture is a perfect addition. Not that I want to pick a fight about the jolly dude with "Santa Purists", but common,  really, Santa Claus?

Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kriss Kringle (?!)..., is a fascinating partly historical, christian, partly legendary and folkloric, and mostly highly commercialized morph.  People all over the world call him different names and celebrate him in different ways. Now the newest fight is about his skin color!  Wikipedia entry on Santa Claus summarizes his phenomena pretty well.

Christian Meme

It is rather fascinating how traditions change!  After all, even trivial everyday stories are told different depend on who is recalling the event.  Flip between Fox News and MSNBC and you won't believe how political lens can distort the vision.

  My take on it? As long as the effect of the traditions will put a smile on ones face, help to bring people together, and help someone in difficult times I'm all for it! Happy holidays! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Bucket list - revisited

I think it is either the omnipresent spirit of the holidays, or  the fact that Pitbull will be on tour near me that made me think about my bucket list:

I consider myself VERY lucky. I traveled, I am educated, I have a job I like, I have a great hubby and beautiful, smart, and healthy kiddos. I have my big dining table and many opportunities to host my friends and family around it.  So part of me is a little ashamed that I am making "list of more". But given that we only have one life, why not squeeze from it as much as we can? My bucket list is my dreams and goals. Not what I need, but just what I would love to experience/see/acquire before I kick the bucket.  I noticed as I was revisiting my dreams and goals that some of them changed.  For example "Visiting Paris" became  "Show kids Paris from the Eiffel tower",  or I added "Walk with Lucy on a Great Wall of China" because she raised an interest in doing so.  I am not quite ready to remove  Madonna's and Blondie's concerts. I think Tokyo, TED conference, and live long enough to spoil my grandkids are my front-runners.

My list is not well organized or prioritized it just a fun reminder that you never should say "I am done! "

  • Visit Japan
  • See the Stonehenge in England
  • Experience Tokyo with Rob
  • Walk with Lucy on a Great Wall of China
  • Show kids Paris from the Eiffel tower
  • Eat Crabs in Main
  • Eat again sourdough bread and seafood at San Francisco’s Fisherman's Wharf
  • Visit Olympic Peninsula
  • See the Presepolis in Iran
  • See the old city of Jerusalem
  • Visit New Orleans (We did that in 2012 on our 10th wedding anniversary! )
  • Take kids on an African safari
  • Visit Kremlin
  • See original Kiss by Klimt
  • See the Les Miserable  on Broadway
  • See Mama Mia on Broadway
  • Visit the Salvador Dali Museum is an art museum in St. Petersburg, Florida
  • See Blondie on stage
  • See Madonna in Concert
  • Attend Pitbull Concert (Rob gave me a ticket for Christmas! I am going to see Pitbull on Feb 21, 2015!)
  • Become sustainable member of NPR and IPR 
  • Know at least a little about every marvel listed on the UNESCO's World Heritage list 
  • Finish Doctorate
  • Read all Terry Pratchets
  • Buy an  RV camper 
  • See the performance at Sydney Opera House
  • Fly for a date with Rob to Hawaii
  • Visit Every Continent!
  • Visit Salvador Dali Museum in in Catalonia, Spain.
  • Send my girls to the College
  • Learn to ski (started this winter  2014-2015. We went a few times to Sundown and put together the ski sets for the whole family. It is a good start)
  • Learn to swim
  • Own a piano
  • Learn to play piano 
  • Ride on a horse in some scenic location
  • Participate in a carnival in Rio
  • Have my brother visiting me in the US
  • To have my parents visiting me here again
  • Tour CNN
  • Be in a live audience during Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show
  • Be in a live audience during  Colbert Report (too late)
  • Organize my attic
  • Attend TED conference
  • Put a little free library in front of my house
  • Spoil rotten my grandchildren  :-)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween AND good All Saint's Day

 As usually Google did a great job putting their halloween Google logos galore:

They even offer you a help to get into the Halloween spirit by "Halloweenify" your google plus profile photo:

Tomorrow is All Saints' day(All Hallows day, or lately just All Dead day). That holiday we celebrate in Poland, and most Western Christian countries. That one is much more reflective, sad day in which we remember all the people that are gone. We visit the graves bring flowers, and light the candles for their souls. Prior to that day many organizations taking on themselves to clean up the graves of those whose families are lost, or unknown, such as fallen soldiers of World Wars and old historical cemeteries.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Information Literacy - resources for my presentation during the ITEC conference

meme by imgflip

Information literacy is more than possessing information. Information literacy is the ability "to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information." (ACRL, 2000)

Resources for the activities during the presentation: or text keyword to 22333

Scrutinize the websites below. Can you find an argument to support or discredit the legitimacy of your website? How can you prove it? Can you see the purpose behind the website? Could you use it in your classroom?

group 1 (elementary):
group 2:
group 3:
group 4:

You may use steps from the Internet Detective website the Detective Work section and Stephen Downe's Principles for Evaluating Websites  (resources below)

What kid of practical steps can you and your students take to critically evaluate information found on the Internet?
Big 6 and Super3  models of how people should solve an information strategies. Super 3 is a simplified model for the youngest students.  Here is a handout (developed by two educators, Michael B. Eisenberg and Robert E. Berkowitz)

Additional resources:
ISTE Standards for students connection:  Standard # 3:Research and Information Fluency:
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
ISTE  Standards for teachers connection:  2 d. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning

Siemens and Downes theory of connectivism: -Reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation - Get the truth about rumors, inspirational stories, virus warnings, hoaxes, scams, humorous tales, pleas for help, urban legends, prayer requests, calls to action, and other forwarded emails. - dedicated to" debunking email hoaxes, thwarting Internet scammers, combating spam, and educating web users about email and Internet security issues" - collaborative resource for  documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion - collection of domain name ownership records in the world (also look -  a research based multimedia tutorial that teaches effective web research skills to both educators and students

EDUCASE article  Information Literacy: A neglected Core Competency 
Dulcinea Media - A student friendly suit of search engines and web resources
Proclamation by president Barack Obama (2009) establishing October as National Information Literacy Awareness Month.