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An interdisciplinary journal of transnational cultural studies

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PUBLIC BOOKS Web-Design Charrette | Presentation & Discussion | December 6, 2011 | 7:00 - 9:00 PM

3 December 2011

Thanks to everyone who braved the curiously sultry early December weather to participate in a lively and stimulating discussion. Whether you managed to make it or not, please check out all three designs here and let us know what you think!

Gary Fogelson leads the presentation from the OTHER MEANS team; moderator Nick Mirzoeff is to his left; to his right are Ryan Waller and RUMORS team members Andy Pressman and Renda Morton

The guest critics respond: Sherri Wasserman (with hand raised); to her right Mark Shephard, Max Fenton, and Erin Kissane

During the RUMORS presentation

During the COMMON NAME presentation

Editors Eric Klinenberg and Sharon Marcus turn to listen to a question from the audience; Ryan Waller of OTHER MEANS looks on behind

Special thanks are due to all those who made the charrette and the live event possible, including Sam Carter, Jessica Coffey, and Tressy Virginius from The Institute for Public Knowledge; Public Culture Managing Editor Plaegian Alexander, Assistant Editor James Stanley, Editorial Assistants Jennifer Kim and Benjamin Radding; designers Prem Krishnamurthy and Rob Giampietro from Project Projects; and publishing visionary Richard Nash—to say nothing of our exceptional designers, critics, and moderator, about which, see below.

Public Culture presents the

Public Books Web-Design Charrette

a Presentation and Discussion moderated by Nicholas Mirzoeff

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Institute for Public Knowledge, Main Conference Room
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor
New York, New York

Join Public Culture editors Eric Klinenberg, Sharon Marcus, and Caitlin Zaloom, journal staff, participating designers, and guest critics Max Fenton, Erin Kissane, Mark Shepard, and Sherri Wasserman for a public presentation and discussion of three preliminary designs for PUBLIC BOOKS, a new web-exclusive section devoted to real-time debate about serious non-fiction books, literary fiction, and emergent cultural trends as evidenced in current media and the arts, including digital arts.

In the search for a beautiful and innovative form for the first major initiative from new Editor Klinenberg and his team, the journal’s staff has taken an arguably unique approach. Following consideration of the work of dozens of designers, three outstanding young teams were invited to participate in a web-design charrette to produce three different preliminary visions for the Public Books site:

  • COMMON NAME (Yoonjai Choi & J. Kenyon Meier)
  • OTHER MEANS (Gary Fogelson, Phil Lubliner, Ryan Waller,
    & Vance Wellenstein
  • RUMORS (Renda Morton & Andy Pressman)

Starting Monday, December 5, everyone will have the chance to view the three presentations on the designers’ own studio websites and participate in an online conversation about the designs, hosted on the journal website through the middle of the month, here, where you will also find the links to the three presentations.

On Tuesday, December 6, those in New York City will have the opportunity to see several of the participating designers present their work in person, then participate in a live conversation about the proposals as well as the role of art and design in an online book review, technical issues concerning implementation of the designs, how best to inspire meaningful interaction between writers and readers and, ranging more broadly, what makes for effective design of the online public sphere. The event will be moderated by Nicholas Mirzoeff.


Nicholas Mirzoeff is Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, a contributing editor for the online project Media Commons, and a co-PI with the Melllon-funded Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, which is developing “Scalar,” a multi-media born-digital authoring software. Mirzoeff works extensively with contemporary artists, most recently with Carl Pope and Jeremy Deller, and is also currently working on a project on the visual culture of climate change in conjunction with the not-for-profit Islands First. His books include Watching Babylon: the War in Iraq (Routledge, 2005), An Introduction to Visual Culture (Routledge, 2nd ed. 2009), and, most recently, The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality (Duke University Press, 2011).

Eric Klinenberg is Professor of Sociology, Public Policy, and Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University and Editor of Public Culture. His newest book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, will be published in February 2012 by the Penguin Press. In addition to his books and scholarly articles, Klinenberg has contributed to popular publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The London Review of Books, The Nation, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, The Guardian, Le Monde Diplomatique, Slate, and the radio program This American Life.

Sharon Marcus is Orlando Harriman Professor of English at Columbia University and Fiction Editor of Public Books. She is the author of Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England and Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London. Marcus’s current work examines Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, and the nineteenth-century culture of theatrical celebrity.

Caitlin Zaloom is Associate Professor of Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University and the author of Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London (University of Chicago Press, 2006). She is also a Senior Editor at Public Culture and Non-Fiction Editor of Public Books.

Max Fenton is the online editor of The Believer magazine and manages community support for Readability. In his younger years, he taught artists to use computers.

Erin Kissane is a content strategist, editor, and writer. She lives in NYC and works for Brain Traffic, a content strategy consultancy in Minneapolis. Before joining Brain Traffic, she was an indie content specialist, the editorial director of Happy Cog Studios, and a freelance writer and editor. Her book The Elements of Content Strategy was published in March 2011 by A Book Apart.

Mark Shepard is an artist, architect, and researcher whose current research investigates the implications of mobile, pervasive media and information technologies for architecture and urbanism. His most recent project, the Sentient City Survival Kit, has been exhibited at museums, festivals, and arts events internationally. An editor of the Situated Technologies Pamphlet Series, published by the Architectural League of New York, he is also an assistant professor at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, where he holds a joint appointment in the departments of Architecture and Media Study and coordinates the media | architecture | computing MArch+MFA dual degree program.

Sherri Wasserman leads strategy and digital integration for Thinc Design, an award-winning exhibition design studio. Her projects with Thinc range from media prototypes to large-scale institutions, and include the National September 11 Memorial Museum, Infinite Variety for the American Folk Art Museum, and Gapminder Game with the Gapminder Foundation. Outside of Thinc, she collaborates with Richard Nash on special edition book projects for Red Lemonade.


About the Journal

Public Culture is a reviewed interdisciplinary journal of cultural studies, published three times a year in Fall, Winter, and Spring for the Institute for Public Knowledge by Duke University Press. The journal's full archives are available online at

© Copyright 2006–2009 Public Culture and Duke University Press. All Rights Reserved.

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