Follow-ups and Follow the Fun

First, some updates:

Last month I talked about the dynamic architecture of Zaha Hadid as shown in a new book about her work ("Zaha Hadid: The Complete Buildings and Projects", Rizzoli, New York, 1998). Philip Kennicott, a writer for the Washington Post, has just reviewed a major exhibition of her work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Kennicott is struck by the contrast between what the architect herself perceives and what the rest of the world sees in the few buildings she has brought to fruition. In an article entitled "Zaha Hadid's Flying Ferocity", Kennicott is entranced by her expansive vision but discouraged by its realization: "It's encouraging to see that some architects still think big, yet there is a lot of science-fiction hokum underneath it all." Perhaps Kennicott, like many current reviewers, underestimates not only the difficulty of commanding the 3D digital language essential to envisioning new sculptural and architectural forms, but also the lag time between what visionaries see and fabricators are able to produce. Additionally, Kennicott gets trapped in some sarcastic hokum himself. Comparing her visions to the results of Freudian therapy, he states, "There is a terrifying libidinal energy in her imploded, exploded and shattered spaces. What someone who seeks therapy dreams of -- an eruption of new energy and a blasting away of old, destructive habits -- is something generally to be dreaded when applied to cities, or civilization as a whole." One thing seems certain: Kennicott himself appears to be severely threatened by Hadid's libido. You can read Kennicott's article at

Several months ago I wrote a cautionary article on Dell Computer and the growing discontent among its customers, large and small. At the time, Dell reminded me of a major behemoth about to become obsolete, with little clue as to what was happening. You will recall that I referred viewers to a number of online articles about Dell's treatment of its customers and compared the company potentially to another large and stumbling American dinosaur, General Motors. Now Dell is having to face its mistakes as the stock market discovers what the rest of us have experienced. The news that Dell's quarterly earnings would drop roughly 30% below expectations sent the stock down to nearly five year lows. Yet the company still seems unaware of what is happening: it still blames a slowdown in computer sales worldwide, too many price discounts, etc. When are they going to start listening to their customers? At the very least it is time that Michael Dell called his own customer disservice or technical supportless lines and tried to get help with a problem. I guess CEO's are too busy calling their banks to make a simple call to their own support people.

And now for a bit of fun:

How many of you have looked closely at the delightful graphics that frequently appear on Google's website? Artist Dennis Hwang, a mere 28 years old, has been designing the innovative whimsies that you see there since the year 2000 when he got an internship at the company. Hwang has taken the six letters of Google's name and incorporated hearts and goblins, even his own face, ever since Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin discovered that he had majored in art in college. You can find out more about the doodling googles at and read Dennis' own words about the project (with illustrations) at

c.Corinne Whitaker 2006