Scrapbooks: The Original Open-Source Technology. By Jessica Helfand and Kate-Bingaman Burt

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The Original Open-Source Technology A Conversation between Jessica Helfand and Kate-Bingaman Burt

Thursday, June 16
7:00 pm–9:00 pmDoors at 6:30 pm
The Sapphire Roomat INDIGO @ twelve | west
430 SW 13th AvenuePortland, Oregon

Capacity for this event is dependent upon the weather. If it cooperates, additional seating will be made available to accommodate a larger audience and opened up to those names on the waiting list first, then to the general public. Any remaining tickets will be available for purchase at the door 30 minutes prior to the event.
Special thanks to INDIGO @ twelve | west.

The scrapbook was the original open-source technology — a unique form of self-expression that celebrated visual sampling, culture mixing, and the appropriation and redistribution of existing media. Part personal diary, part cultural stockpile, they've since evolved as homespun calendars, enabling us to chronicle the major events and minute details of our own personal odysseys.

In this conversation, Jessica Helfand, design journalist, author and educator, is joined by Kate-Bingaman Burt, graphic designer, educator and author. With contributions from the audience, the two of them will discuss a number of questions relating to scrapbooks, visual biography and today's culture around them, including some of these questions:


What spurred the recent boom in the scrapbook industry and established scrapbooking as a legitimate craft hobby?

Why do we typically wait to assemble scrapbooks until the memories start to fade?
Is editorializing the past through visual communication an accurate means of archiving events?

What are the ties between scrapbooking and modern-day graphic design?

Is scrapbooking really the new quilting?

How do we contribute to our own visual biography?

Is tattoo culture and presenting our body as a canvas an alternative form of visual biography?

Who is Jessica?Since 1997, Jessica Helfand has worked in partnership with William Drenttel at Winterhouse, a studio focusing on publishing, new media and cultural institutions. Recent clients include Archives of American Art, Errol Morris, Teach for America, New England Journal of Medicine, The New Yorker, NYU Institute for the Humanities, NYU School of Journalism, Paris Review, Legal Affairs, University of Chicago Press, Yale School of Forestry, and the National Design Awards.Prior to co-founding Winterhouse, Helfand was an award-winning editorial and interaction designer, whose clients included The New York Times, Newsweek, Times of London and The Discovery Channel. Helfand is a founding editor of Design Observer, a blog of design and cultural criticism: today, the site is the largest design publication in the world with over a million site visits a month. She is also a co-editor of Below the Fold:, a journal of visual culture published by Winterhouse; and the founder of the AIGA Winterhouse Writing Awards, a $5000 prize for innovation in design writing and cultural criticism. A former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Communication Arts and Eye magazines, she has written for numerous national publications including Aperture, The Los Angeles Times Book Review and The New Republic, and has also appeared on National Public Radio. She is the author of several books on design and cultural criticism, including Paul Rand: American Modernist (1998), Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media and Visual Culture (2001) and Reinventing the Wheel (2002), which formed the basis for an exhibit in 2003 at The Grolier Club in New York City. Her most recent book is Scrapbook: An American History (2008), by Yale University Press. Helfand has taught for the last decade in the graduate program in Graphic Design at Yale University, where she is a Fellow at Jonathan Edwards College and a member of the committee on graduate admissions in the School of Art. She has also been a visiting artist and visiting lecturer at The Cooper Union, Cranbrook Academy of Art and NYU School of Interactive Telecommunications. She has been a visiting critic at most of the other major educational design programs in the United States and Europe, and has lectured at the Netherlands Design Institute, the Walker Art Center, Smithsonian Institution, the Annenberg Center for Public Policy, and two AIGA national biennial conferences, among many others. In October 2006, Helfand was appointed to the Postmaster General's Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, the group responsible for evaluating the subject and design merits of all stamp proposals in the United States. Jessica Helfand received a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Architectural Theory and a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, both from Yale University. She lives in Falls Village, Connecticut with her husband, William Drenttel and their two children, Malcolm and Fiona.
Jessica Helfand, for a portion of her stay in Portland, is a cultural resident at INDIGO @ twelve | west.

Who is Kate Bingaman-Burt?
Kate Bingaman Burt was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1977. She founded Obsessive Consumption in 2002 and makes work about the stories that our objects tell. Her first book, Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?, was published by Princeton Architectural Press in April 2010. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where, along with being an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Portland State University, she also makes piles of work about consumerism: zines! pillows! dresses! drawings! paper chains! photos! She happily draws for other good people too: Target, IDEO, Madewell, ReadyMade, Newsweek, and she provided all of the illustrations for the book Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design as well as the promotional materials for the documentary of the same name. Kate also conducts zine workshops and speaks frequently about inspiration and making and thinking.Her Obsessive Consumption work is represented by Jen Bekman in NYC and she has produced several editions with Jen and 20x200.

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