September in books – Death, democracy and porn

Read Time 3 min.

September in books – Death, democracy and porn

The thoughts, quotes, books and new ideas captured from my personal library in September.

What I read

Each month, I hope to share the 5 books that inspired me the most:

Assemble Papers Issue #14: Work

Assemble Papers is a “biannual free online and printed magazine putting people front and centre in conversations around design, housing, social infrastructure and social impact.” created by Assemble Communities, a sustainable Melbourne housing developer offering a fairly unique ‘rent-to-buy‘ model. This issue covers some unique topics like queering architecture, the gig economy, and deathcare as an essential service.

Big Data, Big Design: Why Designers Should Care about Artificial Intelligence introduces designers to an emerging technological world: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

All the Ghosts in the Machine: Illusions of Immortality in the Digital Age is a conversation designers should be having about our digital after life. Read more about the digital afterlife of your personal data, grieving through the internet and expressions of grief across the world in Elaine Kasket’s insightful publication.

This is what Democracy looked likeThis Is What Democracy Looked Like: A Visual History of the Printed Ballot, a pun on the famous protest chant, puts in an important yet overlooked perspective about the history of the physical signs of democracy and the deign of the paper ballot. For anyone interested in design, history and/or politics, I highly recommend.

The People’s Porn is a history of homemade sexual expressions, pornography and objects. Sigel’s unique text tells a new story about American sexuality history by looking at not what people have bought, but what they have made.

What’s next?

Mirror with a Memory is a holistic analysis of the complicity of the image in state/corporate control, public surveillance and oppression through art, case law and original translations.

Yep, another Melbourne magazine: Matters journal is “a weekly digital and biannual print publication telling interdisciplinary stories from the worlds of arts, design, technology, health, food and the environment.” Go grab a copy of the latest issue to learn more about fire, microchipping, parenting and lots of other interesting topics.

Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America is a journalistic inquiry of stories into big tech’s footprint in regional and middle America, and how companies like Amazon affect local economies and grow economic divides. For anyone who liked Blockchain Chicken Farm, this looks to be the more western version.

New York City Transit Authority: Objects contains over 400 artifacts related to the New York City Subway, collected and documented by photographer Brian Kelley. This looks to be another excellent title from Standards Manual publishers, and for urban transportation freaks like me, it ticks a lot of boxes. How can we view the history of the city from the way people moved around?

I love old technology, I grew up on it and it makes my appreciation even greater for what we have today. Home Computers by MIT Press is “a celebration of the early years of the digital revolution, when computing power was deployed in a beige box on your desk.” Ever wondered why older computers looked like microwaves? It’s because they used to just be a home appliance, made in the same factories. Take a step back in time with a beautiful photographic collection of the now-yellow plastic boxes that started a digital revolution.