PHOTOGRAPHY: Pentagram's Studies in Cuba-ism

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Cuban Inventiveness
Castro's Convertibles. Though it may need little introduction, having been around since 1975, Pentagram Papers is a series of limited-edition publications designed and produced semiannually by the company's principals. The series, edited by John McConnell, "seeks to publish examples of curious, entertaining, stimulating, provocative and occasionally controversial points of view that have come to the attention of, or in some cases are actually originated by, Pentagram," as the firm drolly puts it. The latest, #32, titled No Waste and designed by Fernando Gutiérrez of Pentagram/London, is a fascinating photographic homage of sorts to Cuba. To quote from the jacket copy, "With the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellite states in the early 1990s, Cuba has entered a period of severe economic crisis and deprivation that is referred to both officially and popularly as its 'special period.' During this period, Cubans have turned to alternative sources for energy, transport and the kind of basic commodities that most of us take for granted. Homemade, handmade objects — some designed to meet basic needs, others to recreate lost comforts — have proliferated. Cobbled together from whatever materials are available, these everyday objects are widely viewed as temporary design solutions to an adverse situation." No Waste is a project of the Laboratorio de Creación Maldeojo, a creative cooperative founded in 1999 in Havana by filmmaker and poet Nelson Rossell and designers Ernesto Oroza and Fabián Martínez. See www.pentagram.com for more.
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