Umberto Eco: From Internet to Gutenberg (1996)

Excerpt from a lecture presented by Umberto Eco at Columbia University, The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, November 12, 1996:

Today the concept of literacy comprises many media. An enlightened policy of literacy must take into account the possibilities of all of these media. Educational preoccupation must be extended to the whole of media. Responsibilities and tasks must be carefully balanced. If for learning languages, tapes are better than books, take care of cassettes. If a presentation of Chopin, with commentary on compact disks, helps people to understand Chopin, don't worry if people do not buy five volumes of the history of music.

Even if it were true that today visual communication overwhelms written communication, the problem is not to oppose written to visual communication. The problem is how to improve both. In the Middle Ages visual communication was, for the masses, more important than writing. But Chartres Cathedral was not culturally inferior to the Imago Mundi of Honorius of Autun. Cathedrals were the TV of those times, and the difference from our TV was that the directors of the medieval TV --read: good books-- had a lot of imagination, and worked for the public profit (or, at least, for what they believed to be public profit).

 

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Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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Chip Kidd: The art of first impressions — in design and life

Book designer Chip Kidd knows all too well how often we judge things by first appearances. In this hilarious, fast-paced talk, he explains the two techniques designers use to communicate instantly — clarity and mystery — and when, why and how they work. He celebrates beautiful, useful pieces of design, skewers less successful work, and shares the thinking behind some of his own iconic book covers.

What's the Most Important Element of a Good Story?

At this year's Aspen Ideas Festival, we asked a group of writers, journalists, and producers to explain what makes a story great. According to House of Cards showrunner Beau Willimon, the answer is a simple one: "The most important element in a good story is conflict. It's seeing two opposing forces collide with one another." Other panelists include Michael Eisner, Catherine Burns, Jay Allison, Jon Lovett, Yoni Bloch, Paula Kerger, and Jonathan Harris.
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Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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Can Reading Make You Happier?

Ceridwen Dovey, The New Yorker

For all avid readers who have been self-medicating with great books their entire lives, it comes as no surprise that reading books can be good for your mental health and your relationships with others, but exactly why and how is now becoming clearer, thanks to new research on reading’s effects on the brain. Since the discovery, in the mid-nineties, of “mirror neurons”—neurons that fire in our brains both when we perform an action ourselves and when we see an action performed by someone else—the neuroscience of empathy has become clearer. A 2011 study published in the Annual Review of Psychology, based on analysis of fMRI brain scans of participants, showed that, when people read about an experience, they display stimulation within the same neurological regions as when they go through that experience themselves. We draw on the same brain networks when we’re reading stories and when we’re trying to guess at another person’s feelings.
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Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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