[Photo] Silhouette of four people on a steel-frame building construction.
[Photo] Silhouette of four people on a steel-frame building construction.

“Design is the process by which the politics of one world become the constraints on another. How are those constraints built? What are its effects on political life? To study the politics of infrastructure is to study the political ideas that get built into the design process, and the infrastructure’s impact on the political possibilities of the communities that engage it.” — Fred Turner, “Don’t Be Evil”

Inequity by design

Design is never neutral. The choices we make — as designers, strategists, researchers — have concrete impacts on the lives of people. While the aim of our work should be to understand and meet the needs of humans, too often the experiences we create benefit only a privileged subset of people. …


Netflix Originals: My First First Love, Crash Landing on You, Romance Is a Bonus Book, One Spring Night, and Hyena
Netflix Originals: My First First Love, Crash Landing on You, Romance Is a Bonus Book, One Spring Night, and Hyena

Netflix continues to churn out a strong selection of Korean dramas, both as a distributor and producer of Netflix Originals. Crash Landing on You, Itaewon Class, and It’s Okay to Not Be Okay are some of the more recent international hits available on the streaming service; new seasons of Kingdom and Arthdal Chronicles are rumored to be on their way. And Netflix shows no signs of stopping. Multi-year partnerships with CJ ENM (tvN/Mnet/OCN), Studio Dragon, and JTBC are positioning the media giant to continue growing its already-sizeable collection of Korean content.

Netflix’s market dominance means that Korean dramas are more accessible to international audiences than ever before. What does this mean for dramas? Here are five of the positives and negatives of Netflix’s growing k-drama collection. …


[PHOTO] Koo Se-ra submits her application to run for district council.
[PHOTO] Koo Se-ra submits her application to run for district council.

There are a lot of things to love about Into the Ring. The story revolves around Koo Se-ra, a serial job hopper who wins a seat in the District Assembly. While her initial motivations are completely financial, she thrives in her new role, shaking up a stale and often corrupt political system and eventually finding purpose in advocating for the local community.

Se-ra is an over-the-top (occasionally inebriated and somewhat prone-to-violence) character who could easily feel like a caricature, but Nana plays her with the perfect blend of charm and resolve. She’s balanced out by Seo Gong-myung, an awkward, grumpy deputy director played by Park Sung-hoon. …


Growing up, I viewed whiteness as the default. Asians were SAT tutors, punchlines, or silent extras. Then I met Claudia Kishi.

Image for post
Image for post

Claudia Kishi was my childhood idol. Not only was she the vice president of the Baby-Sitter’s Club — a classic children’s book series —but she radiated an effortless, cool-girl energy. In book #1, Kristy’s Big Idea, Claudia pulled off plaid overalls, a black fedora, and red high-top sneakers. She was described as having jet-black hair and almond-shaped eyes, and even though that description seems a little problematic to me now, in the mid-90’s it felt ground-breaking.

When Claudia wore a red beret in book #13, I begged my parents for a red beret. When Claudia painted stars on the ceiling of her bedroom in book #101, I did the same. In book #11, “The Baby-sitters Remember,” Claudia reminisces about the time she got in trouble for drawing a butterfly as her self-portrait. I immediately started drawing myself as a butterfly, secretly hoping for a similar school project to showcase my creativity. …

About

Chelsie Messenger

Experience strategy, equity-driven design, and k-dramas.

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