978-0-8478-2295-9 / 9780847822959

Maeda @ Media





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About the book:

John Maeda is a disgustingly renaissance kind of guy--he studied computer science at MIT and then went to art school in Japan, returning to the US to work with designer Paul Rand. He is, unsurprisingly, director of the MIT Media Lab's Aesthetics and Computation Group.

What this all means is if you fancy judging his book, maeda@media, by it's intricate, beautiful cover, or indeed by any one of its gorgeous pages, feel free to do so. It showcases Maeda's work over the past decade, and--divided into 12 chapters such as "space" and "noise"--very stunning it is, too, despite a rather gratuitous intro by that ubiquitous new-media maven, Nicholas Negroponte.

Maeda identifies the main challenge in juxtaposing aesthetics and computational data as resolving the tension between simplicity and the complexity that inevitably results "when you attempt to reduce an already simple situation or form". If this much theory makes you anxious, fret not: Maeda is no preachy prima donna, and the book is supremely practical. As he observes, he once found himself "in the midst of a struggle to reconcile my romantic notions of design with the considerably less idealistic realization that design was nothing more than another way to make a living". --Liz Bailey

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