Steaks, Chops, and Politics

Several readers of this blog probably received a request from Brian Collins a few weeks ago to equate politics with “something” (Politics=???). This was part of a campaign to promote CNN=Politics, the mantra the cable news network has been using since the presidential campaign began eons ago. The conceit was a “CNN Grill” in Denver where the elite come to eat. On the eve of the opening of the Democratic National Convention, I asked Collins about his master plan.

What was the aim?
If CNN=Politics was going to be their mantra, then I wanted our project to explore what politics equalled.

The outside wall of the Grill (above) has a lot of writing on it. Why?
We wanted to create a visual language based on some historical visual context. The building in Denver, like many turn of the century brick warehouse buildings, would have been covered with advertising and painted signage. There are “ghost signs” all over Denver, remants of long gone businesses and brands.

How did you determine what the words would be?
We invited people who watched CNN online to send us, in ten words or so, what “politics” meant to them. We selected a variety of quotes that best reflected the wide range of sentiments we heard.

Aren’t you concerned that the Grill will encourage riotous gaiety?
In addition to the restaurant, it will be the key broadcast studio for CNN from which they will broadcast most of the convention news, shows, and interviews. The broadcast can also participate with our guests as the cameras and anchors will roam around the Grill at select times, interviewing them.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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