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Zoe Cooper

Zoe is a writer and designer from New York, who is now based in Berlin. She writes about visual culture for a variety of publications, including Artsy and Disegno, among others.

Zoe Cooper's Articles

Mental health and climate researcher Britt Wray

Britt Wray on How to Stay Invigorated and Accountable in the Face of the Climate Crisis

In her new book, Generation Dread, author and researcher Britt Wray delves into the psychological consequences of the climate crisis. Combining scientific research with passionate insight, Wray, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, argues that intense feelings of what she deems “eco-anxiety”—which can manifest as burnout, avoidance, or daily emotional disturbances—are in fact healthy responses to the stress of environmental collapse and the troubled state of the world at large. Instead of pushing these difficult feelings aside, Wray encourages readers to see eco-anxiety as a human reaction to a grim truth, and as a tool for learning how to live and act within it.

Journalist Danielle Freedman

The Profundity of Superheroes, Comedy, and Jazzercise, According to Danielle Friedman

For most of the 20th century, breaking a sweat was seen as unladylike. Popular opinion considered working out dangerous and de-feminizing for women, who were told that the activity could result in their uteruses falling out. But in the 1960s, a trailblazing group of women began to fearlessly move their bodies, and in doing so, translated physical strength into other forms of power.

Integrative nutritionist Daphne Javitch

Integrative Nutritionist Daphne Javitch on the Importance of Making Space for Yourself

Integrative nutritionist Daphne Javitch helps people develop their versions of a healthy life—a potentially daunting task that she makes possible through her refreshingly direct, empowering approach to well-being. Through her company, Doing Well, Javitch, a former womenswear consultant at Theory and Uniqlo, offers private health and career coaching as well as group sessions, and emphasizes the cumulative health benefits of simple, everyday routines, such as exercise and eating plant-based foods. (She discusses the impact of rituals on the body and mind on Ep. 46 of our At a Distance podcast.)

Illustration of Jon Kelly

Why Puck’s Jon Kelly Turns to Newsletters to Find Out What’s Really Going On

“Magazines may be a dying breed,” says Jon Kelly, a former Vanity Fair editor who founded its politics, business, and technology website, Hive, in 2015, after working as a staff editor for The New York Times Magazine and as a founding team member at Bloomberg Businessweek. (His career in media began at Vanity Fair, as an assistant to the legendary editor Graydon Carter.) “But magazine-style writing is always in vogue.” With this conviction in mind, Kelly teamed up with a trio of industry veterans—Joe Purzycki, co-founder of the Luminary podcast network; Max Tcheyan, a digital media executive; and Liz Gough, former senior vice president and U.S. commercial lead of Condé Nast’s creative agency, CNX—to create Puck, a subscription-based website where elite writers tell insider stories that lie at the nexus of Hollywood, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C.

Saws, Planes, and Scorps by David Heim

The Seductive Appeal of Handmade Woodworking Tools

High-quality woodworking tools are beautifully crafted objects in and of themselves. Traditionally created by artisans, these precisely tuned instruments can feel particularly satisfying in a woodworker’s hand, and can allow for more detailed creative control.

A photograph of images from the Picture Collection’s Handshaking folder by Taryn Simon, featured in the exhibition “The Color of a Flea’s Eye.”

The Incredible Past and Pivotal Future of the New York Public Library Picture Collection

Since 1915, New York Public Library users in search of visual information have consulted its Picture Collection. It consists of images cut from magazines, catalogues, and books, each glued to backings and organized into folders encompassing a remarkable range of topics—including Praying, Transgenderism, Fairies, Oxygen, and Rear Views—that are presented on shelves in Room 100 for anyone to browse.

“Block Party,” an installation in Bell Park by Studio Barnes, in collaboration with University of Colorado Boulder architecture and urban design professor Shawhin Roudbari and the Chicago nonprofit MAS Context. (Photo: Nathan Keay)

What to See at the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial

In Chicago, more than 10,000 city-owned lots currently sit vacant, concentrated within predominantly Black and brown communities. David Brown, a professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been mapping these unoccupied spaces—and developing possible uses for them—for more than a decade, and presented his findings and ideas at the 2012 Venice Biennale, then at the inaugural edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015. Now, as the latter biennial’s 2021 artistic director, Brown further expands upon his project, using it to inform the central theme of the fourth-annual event, titled “The Available City.” On view tomorrow through December 18, the biennial’s free, public programming will provide a view into what happens when designers team up with local groups to rethink how vacant space might be used to engage and empower urban residents.

Flos Parentesi lamp in Orange Signal and turquoise

How Two Italian Designers Who Never Met Created an Iconic Floor Lamp

The ingenuity of the Parentesi lamp, first released by the Italian lighting brand Flos in 1971, is most evident when it’s handled: Slide the nickel-plated tube along the steel cable to a desired position, and because of friction created by the materials, the apparatus magically stays in place. The function is the result of an unusual collaboration between two Italian giants of design, the architect and designer Achille Castiglioni and the designer Pio Manzù, the latter of whom produced several streamlined, now-iconic creations, including the Fiat 127 and Alessi’s Cronotime desk clock, before his death in 1969.

Black and white abstract photo of twin towers by Simon Chaput

Simon Chaput’s Striking Photos of the Twin Towers Are a Love Letter to New York

In 1983, French photographer Simon Chaput arrived in New York City for a weeklong trip, and ended up staying for nearly 35 years. From the 1980s to the 2010s, he worked closely with the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, helping them realize various projects around the world, from “The Umbrellas” (1984–1991) in California and Japan to “The Floating Piers” (2014–2016) in Italy. Along the way, in 1984, Chaput met the artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who recognized Chaput’s love of photography—Chaput had been passionate about the medium since childhood, but had long stopped taking pictures—and encouraged him to get back into it. Chaput later channeled his admiration for the city and its chaotic energy into a long-term series of photographs entitled “New York,” which he began in 1996, that chronicled the developing built environment of Lower Manhattan.

Cut grass

Here’s What Freshly Cut Grass Is Saying With Its Scent

The pleasantly sweet, sharp scent of freshly cut grass can conjure up visions of baseball fields, backyards, or the color green. But in scientific terms, the aroma is in fact a mixture of organic compounds, called green leaf volatiles, (GLVs), that serve as an aromatic distress signal to surrounding vegetation.

Book Cover of Until Proven Safe

A New Book Explores the Longstanding Practice of Quarantine—and Why It Must Change

The concept for Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley’s new book, Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine (MCD), began forming about 12 years ago, when the world looked considerably different from the way it does now. During a trip to Sydney, the husband-and-wife authors (who were the guests on Ep. 33 of our At a Distance podcast) noticed an old quarantine station turned luxury hotel on a picturesque peninsula across the bay. “Our first questions were, What happened to quarantine? What was it for? And is there any chance that we might need to do it again?” Manaugh says. The couple, both veteran journalists, decided to find out.

Ford's Mustang Mach-E GT perfume bottle

Ford’s New Mach-Eau Cologne Delivers the Scent of Gasoline to E.V. Drivers

Tasked with transitioning electric vehicles from niche to the norm, automotive designers are confronted with a singular challenge: how to incorporate the best of classic car culture, and the nostalgia that surrounds it, into new, planet-friendly cars. The soft tick of a steering wheel rewinding after a sharp turn, the satisfying vroom of an engine accelerating—which details will drivers long for if left out in future models?

Olafur Eliasson’s “Tell Me About a Miraculous Invention” (1996). (Photo: Ernest Sackitey. Courtesy SCCA Tamale)

A Multi-Venue Exhibition in Ghana Seeks to Shift Perspectives Through the Lens of Time

The underlying vision for “A Diagnosis of Time: Unlearn What You Have Learned,” a collaborative exhibition between the ARoS Art Museum in Aarhus, Denmark; the Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SSCA) in Tamale, Ghana; and the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (on view through November 3), is both literally and figuratively timely: It seeks to shift the ways we think about the passage of time in our modern world. “We conceive of time as something that develops very chronologically,” says one of the show’s curators, Selom Kudjie. “But we also have a sense of simultaneity that’s involved in time. Two things can be happening at once, but not in the same location.” (A related exhibition, “This is Not Africa: Unlearn What You Have Learned,” currently on view at ARoS through October 24, challenges stereotypical Western notions of African-ness.)