Mural by Jordan Bennett

Colourful mural by Jordan Bennett.

Street Scultpure

Street Scultpure off St. Laurent blvd. by Spanish artist Isaac Cordal.

Design Against Design

When I saw the title of this book, written by fellow Montréaler Kevin Yuen Kit Lo of LOKI, I know I had to go to the book launch and read it. The description says it well: “Design Against Design argues for the urgent necessity of critical engagement and political resistance through graphic practice.”

The book is a clear reflection of its author—socially conscious, antiestablishment, anticapitalist, and with a punk aesthetic in its visuals and politics. It’s also deeply personal, and begins with a vivid account of childhood abuse, which may turn some people off. You know from the first chapter that it’s not a beach read.

Design Against Design was great, evoking some other great socially-conscious design writers like Victor Papanek and Mike Monteiro. It’s not meant to go down easy.

Order the Book Here →

Jay Smooth on Drake Vs. Kendrick

I’m a bit late, but Jay Smooth has returned to Youtube after a near 6 year absence to cover the beef between Kendrick and Drake of all things.

My own take on the feud is that Drake was never in the same league as Kendrick, so the “win” doesn’t carry too much weight with me.

Alcatraz Chicks

Western Gull Chicks taken at Alcatraz.

Pet Debt

As someone who is still paying-down a 5-figure debt to treat my dog’s cancer, this story from The New York Times’ The Daily hits close to home. The nugget of the story:

So, as we know, prices for all kinds of things are going up, because we’ve seen inflation over the last couple of years, but that pet care prices have risen much faster than the overall rate of inflation. My colleagues and I actually ran the numbers, and in the last decade, the price of [other] services has risen about 30 percent, and in that same period, veterinary care has gone up by more than 60 percent.

My dog (pictured above) is still healthy and doing great.

Listen to the Whole Story →

An A+ Crossword

Here’s a joke you need to work to get. Tons of respect to Randy for taking this bit as far as possible. Buy all his books.

Tactical Urbanism

The above is a photo I took of a formerly empty lot in Montréal, upon which has been built a thriving temporary space. It has the above gazebo, benches galore, picnic tables, and a free mini gold course. It isn’t built to last—instead it’s built to test out having a park in that spot. It’s taking unused space and giving it a use, commonly known as ‘tactical urbanism’.

Montréal, more than any other North American city I’ve seen, really uses its public space. Kids play. Old people walk and sit on the benches or play pétanque. Young people go at night to drink beer, hang out, and flirt. Our parks are full from morning to late at night. More and more streets are being closed temporarily to cars, and replaced with benches, terraces, games, and art installations. Lots or formerly empty spaces are being filled with spaces for all ages to gather. It’s a wonderful way to try things out, see what people use, and adapt for longer use later.

As this article in Arch Daily puts it:

The intent behind meanwhile spaces is to grow innovative ideas and empower the local community. Through interventions such as meeting areas, learning and training spaces, pop-up shops, eateries and exhibitions, urban areas and their communities witness positive transformation. The lease may last anywhere between a few days to a few years. The impact on localities may last up to a lifetime.

Tiny Skatepark

Tiny skatepark in concrete found in Montréal’s Rosemont neighbourhood which has been tagged by tiny graffiti.

Open Sky House

I love this tiny house designed by Japanese artist Zajirogh and his wife. The house is centred around a courtyard which can open to the sky. Extra points for showing the house without being staged like in an architecture magazine.