listen or do?

“You can listen or you can do, and if more people can do we’ll always be free” overheard by John Maeda with five minutes remaining on Design Matters with Debbie Millman. Her interview with John was the last guest on Debbie’s season three. The most memorable interviews for me in season three for very different reasons were Art Chantry, Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel, and Paola Antonelli. I didn’t know any of those people but just the personalities through their work and writing. With Art, I expected him to be well spoken (which he was), but I was pleasantly surprised with his candor and for me was the top interview of the season. I’ll contrast that with the Jessica and William interview. It was so bizarre to me I had to hear it three times before I could get a grip on it, and I’m still not sure if I do. The first time the whole interview seemed tight and awkward. The second time I listened to it, it inspired me to do some questioning of my own self. The third time, I got the impression that between Jessica, William and Debbie – it seemed like no one was listening to each other but themselves. With Paola, I’m slightly against seeing design in galleries or museums so I didn’t really have any expectation either negative or positive with her. After that interview I would love to invite Paola over and make her a coffee or espresso and invite her talk and talk and talk about whatever is on her mind. She just seemed like a well-considered person.

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  • Litherland

    I hear your point about the Drenttel/Helfand interview. There were some unusual awkward pauses – unusual in the sense that DM is extremely good on her feet and is usually able to draw people out effectively and pace things well. But what i realized is that Helfand/Drenttel must have been phoning in from Connecticut, and they were probably sitting in two separate rooms. So the interview was basically three people sitting in separate rooms who weren’t able to read extra-verbal cues like gestures and facial expressions. Whence the pauses. Lots of good stuff there nonetheless, as you’ve noted. I loved Helfand’s stories about Paul Rand.