Melbourne-based Kai Brach, a former web designer and the publisher/editor of Offscreen, an independent print magazine about technology, and Dense Discovery, a weekly newsletter about productivity and inspiration, shares his current media diet with us—and why he firmly believes print has a place in 2020 and beyond.
Describe your morning routine.
Right now, due to the lockdown, I’m moving mostly within a ten-meter [thirty-two-foot] radius in my tiny apartment—from bed to desk to kitchen to bathroom. I usually go for a run in the first half of the day. I’m looking forward to riding my bike to the office, a co-working space I share with some really lovely people, not far from where I live here in Melbourne.
What are some of your go-to, indispensable daily reads and/or listens?
I’m foolish enough to check the news a few times every day: BBC, ABC Australia, and ARD and Der Spiegel (both German)—always on the web, no apps. I subscribe to a lot of newsletters, most of which are somewhere between tech, design, and culture. Over breakfast, I also usually read a couple of articles queued up in my Pocket app.
Any favorite podcasts at the moment?
I think because I don't commute in a car or train, I never really got into the habit of listening to podcasts. Very rarely I put on an episode when I do “non-thinking” work. It’s whatever people recommend in newsletters or on Twitter, but nothing design-related. I really dislike ninety-nine percent of design-related podcasts.
Which outlets do you still prefer to read in print?
I occasionally read some of my—mostly fiction—books in print. Most often, though, I use my Kobo reader. In print, I like cookbooks and coffee-table books. I also enjoy browsing through different magazines, but I don’t read any regularly.
What are some of the best-designed publications, in your mind?
In an era of social distancing and online everything, what’s the place of print media?
The pandemic will pass, so this question is more about print versus digital. I think every medium has its place. We read different media in different ways. A quote comes to mind (that I can’t find the source of, unfortunately): “It’s time to start thinking about paper versus screens not as old versus new, but as different and complementary devices, each stimulating particular modes of thinking for particular times of our day.” [Editor’s note: We found the referenced text, in this Wired story by Brandon Keim, from 2014.] Printed publications have unique qualities that screens can’t match—and vice versa. It’s nice to have the option to pick which ones we prefer.
Any guilty pleasures when it comes to your media intake?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tik-Tok?
Twitter—with the fact-checking turned on, please.
Okay, maybe enough news talk for now. What are you watching or reading for pleasure?
I read almost only fiction for pleasure. Current book is All the Light We Cannot See.
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Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists Translate Nature’s Sonic Landscapes Into an Emotive Spectacle
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According to business coach Holly Howard, those looking to run a flourishing enterprise should begin by taking a deeper Ask Holly How, in 2012. Since then, she’s worked with more than 500 businesses and founders, guided by the belief that effective entr
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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 enc
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The first Monday in May is synonymous with the Met Gala, a benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume InstitutVogue. “Designers live for it.” This year, the affair hasn’t happened yet—it may happen this fall—but to mark the annual occathe eighth episode of Hello Fashion, created with The Slowdown.
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If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, better to be held in the warm focus of Steve McQueen’s gaze than one more narroSmall Axe, his enthralling new five-film anthology now streaming in the U.S. on Amazon Prime Video (and available in the U.K. on
This year has driven many of us to create a de facto home spa—steeping in long, leisurely baths for solace. One such batEkin Balcıoğlu, a Taos, New Mexico–based artist and the founder and editor-in-chief of Hamam, a new quarterly print publication about the culture of bathing that will release its second issue later this month. Hamam, while bursting with originality, has parallels to Wet magazine, the subversive, now-defunct cult classic founded in 1976 by Leonard Koren (who was the guest on Ep. 78 of our At a Distance podcast) that explored pleasure and play through a loosely water-themed lens.
In 2018, when writer Amitav Ghosh appeared at the Brooklyn Public Library to discuss his book The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, Joel Whitney, who manages arts and culture programs at the institution, took note. “I was surprised by Amitav’s main iClimate Reads book club, a yearlong digital initiative launched by Whitney’s department and the advocacy group Writers Rebel NYC earlier this fall, suggests otherwise, with climate-focused fiction titles including Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad, The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel, and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk on its roster. The club plans to tackle a handful of nonfiction books, too, such as The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming by the late Japanese farmer-philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka, and Why We Swim—the focus of next month’s meeting—by swimmer and surfer Bonnie Tsui.
Sometimes—especially in moments of political strife, pandemics, hurricanes, or all of the above—a television plotline caWatch a train wend its way around the fjords and farms of the Norwegian countryside over the course of seven hours, or see a sweater get made, in the time of a typical work day, from A to Z (beginning with shearing a sheep’s wool), set to the tune of cheery foldogs frolicking on a beach, a meandering stroll among flowering cherry blossoms in Japan, and a sailing trip to Tobago, accompanied by the soothing sounds of waves lapping against a boat’s exterior. The format can arguably be traced to n1963 film “Sleep” consisted entirely of his lover, the poet and performance artist John Giorno, napping. Regardless of its subject matter