Design & Capitalism
Tuesday May 19th 2015, 4:11 pm
Filed under: miscellaneous,reading and writing

Last week I was invited to present my work and launch the latest issue of Four Minutes to Midnight at Jackpine in Ottawa, as part of their Shoufen series of talks. In order to contextualise my practice, I presented the following diagrams illustrating design’s relationships with capitalism that I had originally drafted to accompany Vincent Tao’s excellent research presentation Design-Labour-Utopia.

I should clarify that I don’t see these diagrams as necessarily accurate representations, they are oversimplifications, the terminology is vague, and design has been placed in a far more central position than it probably holds within our society, but I do see them as helpful tools for thinking about these issues. I’ve included some brief explanatory notes with the diagrams, that I’ll try to develop into a more thorough presentation in the future.

Design & Capitalism

• Contemporary capital is understood as a purely abstract value, an accretion of time and energy. It’s pretty much useless, it just sits there and stagnates. It weighs down heavy on us.

• This abstract value is only made useable through design, transforming it into an exchangeable commodity, that also carries symbolic value. This is an alchemical and concretizing process, turning (pretty much) nothing into something. This includes our stories, our songs and images, the reification of the structures of our social relations.

• The feedback loop, with these commodities processed through our labour and consumption, generates (extracts) more value for capital, made abstract and intangible again, and added to the pile.


Unknown Pleasures
Wednesday March 11th 2015, 11:11 pm
Filed under: inspirations,music,reading and writing


I’m questioning why I do what it is that I do. Right now, with less than 3 days till launch, QA on the project hardly started, clients breathing down our necks. Unformatted content still coming in from halfway across the world. And a studio barely scraping by.

I try to go back in my mind to remember those points in my life when I made the decision to keep hustling along this path, and not give in and try something else. Or at least get a 9 to 5. And I try to remember a work of graphic design that actually impacted my life. Added meaning. That answered the why instead of the what.


Ubisoft poem
Thursday March 05th 2015, 9:45 am
Filed under: miscellaneous,reading and writing

On the corner where I used to live
With a reluctant addict, paying 200 dollars in rent
To the apartment where I first brought Cat

Stumbling and singing in chorus to lyrics
She didn’t know, but caught the tune perfectly
Up St. Laurent blvd.

French tourists are taking pictures
Of the great, white, Ubisoft logo
On this winter morning

Framing the upper third of the red brick colossus
Perfectly against
A once-endless Montreal sky.

Memefest 2014: Radical Intimacies Recap
Friday December 05th 2014, 5:33 pm
Filed under: events,miscellaneous,news,reading and writing

Bowl full of Memefest badges from the last few years.

It feels next to impossible to synthesize the experience that was this year’s Memefest at this point, however it seems important to provide at least a cursory overview of what happened in Melbourne a few weeks back, while it’s still fresh in my memory. It was an intense and deeply transformative experience for me, and I hope the following words and images might do it a bit of justice.

Artist Alana Hunt, Sam Burch from the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy, and Oliver Vodeb of Memefest opening the symposium, articulating the themes of Radical Intimacies and Decolonization.

The event kicked off at Swinburne University with 3 days of “extra-disciplinary” symposium presentations on design, media, art and activism. Over 30 presentations from local and international participants took place, with an incredible diversity of subject matter, between theory and practice, from the personal to the political.


Notes on the Allied Media Conference
Monday June 30th 2014, 12:24 pm
Filed under: events,miscellaneous,reading and writing

Toronto (+1 Montreal, +1 NYC via Tennessee) AMC crew returning to the Wayne State parking lot

Last weekend I attended my first ever Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Michigan. I was deeply inspired (and a little overwhelmed) by both the conference and the city itself, and hope to be back for the next edition. The AMC brings together thousands of participants engaged in media activism, a large percentage of whom also present sessions and workshops, and truly is a network of networks. It being my first conference, I don’t feel like I’m well positioned to attempt to describe it, in all its diversity and complexity, but I thought I would share some notes all the same, to document and provide touch points moving forward back in Montreal.

The Sessions
I participated in fewer sessions than I intended to, the pace was far faster than I had imagined, and I often felt I needed a break to absorb and reflect afterwards, rather than rush to the next one. I spent a lot of time hanging out in the Future Design Lab practice space, or wandering the Wayne State grounds, chatting with people and sharing stories. As the weekend progressed, the Future Design lab filled with images and texts, mind maps and posters (and wormholes!), it was a beautiful thing to observe this rich accretion of ideas.


Shock Troops and Cheerleaders
Wednesday June 04th 2014, 12:17 pm
Filed under: miscellaneous,reading and writing

Shock Troops and Cheerleaders

Excerpted from Issue 13 of Four Minutes to Midnight, this is my first article for Medium. It’s a scattershot rant on the current state of graphic design, with a brief look back at the International Typographic Union, and what it might mean for us as designers to reflect a little bit more before we make. There are a lot of ideas that I touch upon that I hope I will be able to develop further in writing.

And I’d like to offer an unsolicited plug to the designers at Medium, the UI for writing and reading stories is really great and was super easy to use. Good job.

* Resistance *
Tuesday December 31st 2013, 1:58 pm
Filed under: inspirations,miscellaneous,reading and writing


Jack Allen pointed me towards this beautiful visual essay by designer and artist Paul Soulellis. In it he narrates and argues for a counterpractice of design that I can very much sympathise with. It’s an inspirational read for the new year, and will surely help to guide how I approach my projects in 2014.

Read it here.

Interviewed by Papirmass
Thursday November 28th 2013, 8:15 pm
Filed under: about,news,reading and writing,type and typography


Papirmass is an amazing art subscription project run by the talented Kirsten McCrea. I was honoured to have Kirsten invite me to contribute to the upcoming issue, as both writer and designer (with art by former Four Minutes contributor Kevin Ledo on the flip side). In lead-up to the issue, Papirmass has just posted an image-rich interview with yours truly, and I couldn’t be more chuffed to share some thoughts on design, typography and activism!

Read the interview here.

P.S. For those that make it all the way to the end, there’s a little surprise in store on the studio front. More on that very soon…

Issue 13 WIP


Things are coming along slowly, but surely, with the next issue (13) of Four Minutes to Midnight and I wanted to share some work in progress images. Alongside a much tighter conception of what we want to do with the issue, I’m very excited to announce that Howl Arts will be officially supporting the project with production and distribution. With this support, we’ve decided to print an offset run in colour for the first time ever! We also plan to engage the talents of local craft printers, and employ letterpress, silkscreen and risograph printing for covers and inserts.


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