Keep it ASS: Abstract, Simple and Subtle

Making good use of anthropomorphism isn’t easy. As you’ve probably already noticed, people may dislike products purely because of their anthropomorphic elements. One way to reduce this risk is to downplay the anthropomorphic qualities: keep it as simple, subtle and abstract as possible. When the implementation is so subtle that most people won’t consciously notice it, they are less likely to be annoyed, while the product can still achieve the desired effect. Abstraction reduces the chance of directly evoking negative emotions, while preserving the positive associations.
The Senseo coffee maker, above, was designed to resemble a butler bowing down to serve a hot cup of java. The anthropomorphic form is not obvious, but it still succeeds in evoking the pleasant sensation of being served.

From the 11 part series The Golden Rules of Anthropomorphism and Product Design by Next Nature. The series is examining how designers can better integrate human-like forms or behavior into their work.

Critical Dictionary

Critical Dictionary declassifies selected terms in a playful manner to emphasise the open-ended, provisional and unfinished nature of language. The exhibition brings together an eclectic plethora of themes including: Flickr Sunset, Greenwich Meridian, Mycelium, Overt Research, Pencil Test and War Primer. The exhibition is inspired by Georges Bataille’s infamous anti-dictionary for the dissident Surrealist journal Documents. It explores and expands the previous incarnations of Evans’ Critical Dictionary project, which was first developed as the online art journal criticaldictionary.com and later published as an anthology by the same name by Black Dog Publishing.

Critical Dictionary is curated by David Evans and features work by David Bate, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Simon Cunningham, Paola Di Bello, Tim Edgar, Christian Edwardes, Simon Faithfull, Dave Hazel, Justin Hibbs, Karen Knorr, Laibach, Ann Lee, Jo Longhurst, Tom Lovelace, of Experiments, Richard Paul, Poor Photographer, Chloé Regan, Sophy Rickett, Dominic Shepherd, Penelope Umbrico and Jake Walters.

Critical Dictionary, WORK Gallery, January 27 – February 25, 2012, 10A Acton Street, London, WC1X 9NG

toys in action

This inventive toy figurine demonstration has been set by a group of activists in the Siberian city of Barnaul. The toys, fully equipped with placards stating I’m for clean elections” and “A thief should sit in jail, not in the Kremlin” are enduring the snow after authorities repeatedly rejected the activists’ (the real ones not the plastic) request to hold a sanctioned demonstration of the kind held in Moscow to protest disputed parliamentary elections results and Vladimir Putin’s expected return to the presidency in a March vote.

The group wanted to hyperbolise the attempt of the authorities to limit citizens’ rights and the “absurdity and farce of officials’ struggle with their own people” and indeed they managed: The Police asked prosecutors to investigate the legality of protest !!Wall-E , plastic teddy bears, South Park characters and Lego men are all in deep deep trouble!

Passersby admired the display with giggles, but police took it more seriously, examining its details and writing down each placard.

Photograph: Sergey Teplyakov/vkontakte

Via the Guardian