Archive for February, 2011

Exactitude: Emblem

My emblem for exactitude is a compass.

Growing up, I used the compass a lot as a Girl Scout. One of the first badges I earned was about finding your way in the outdoors. We learned to look for the North Star. But, more importantly we learned to use a compass. We had challenges where we would have to follow written directions and use a compass to find our way to a treasure. The compass would always lead us to the exact spot.

A compass is precise in the direction it gives you. It tells you exactly where North is and from there you can figure out the direction you need to go.

The compass is also a source of information. It gives you the direction.

As I mentioned before, Carpenter uses directional signals in The Cape. These directional cues add to the aesthetic and design of the E-lit piece.

My emblem for multiplicity is Photoshop.

Photoshop is known for its ability to allow users to manipulate photos and make a new photo.

In high school, I taught myself Photoshop and I haven’t stopped using it since then. I love that using Photoshop you can create unrealistic images that look realistic.

Two years ago, I made holiday cards for the employees at my work. I used Photoshop to take a picture of the managers and a picture of mountains and make it look like we were in the mountains. I even took a silhouette of Santa and his sled and placed in the distance. I also used additional layers to make the reflections on the ice.

The author of Self Portraits as Others, Talan Memmot, most likely used Photoshop to create her images, or a program like Photoshop. She took many paintings of different artists and cut them up. Some of them she even manipulated with filters in Photoshop. And then she placed the many layers together and created a single image.

I used Photoshop to create the image above. I broke apart the layers of the Photoshop logo to show how it is made up of layers.

As I have mentioned before, multiplicity uses many kinds of layers to create the many facets of a single piece of work. In todays world, we use Photoshop to create these visual images.

My emblem for lightness is a falling leaf.

Growing up in Atlanta, my favorite season was fall. I loved the changing leaves. As the leaves would fall from the trees my sister and I would run and try to catch the leaves as they unpredictably fell to the ground.

The most obvious reason I chose the falling leaf is because it is light. But, also I am using this emblem because of the E-literature piece. It is called Tailspin. The story talks about a Grandfather’s scary story of when his place went into a tailspin during a war. The falling leaf falls as if it is in a tail spin, is light.

Finally is in motion as it falls. This emblem perfectly depicts time and motion, Calvino’s feelings on lightness, and finally my E-literature piece.

Balance acts as a catalyst for form – it anchors and activates elements in space…Rhythm is a strong, regular, repeated pattern.

William Poundstone uses both rhythm and balance in his E-literature piece.

As each word flashes by there is a random symbol behind it. The symbols do not balance the piece because they are all different in size and shape. However, Poundstone consistently uses a blue background, white symbol, and black word. This consistency creates balance as the different length words and different sized symbols flash by.

Each word and symbol are on the screen for exactly the same amount of time. This consistency in time creates a nice rhythm throughout the piece. 

Half way through, the background starts to change. There is a circular gradation that appears and get bigger and smaller, frequently moving. The circle comes from the middle of the page. This keeps the symbol and word balanced and grounded in the middle of the page. The circle continually pulses in and out. This pulse creates a rhythm as well throughout the piece.

The accompanying music  follows the movements of the background. When the piece begins, the background is static and the music is slower. However, when the background starts to move, the music picks up pace. The music not only complements the background, but adds its own sense of rhythm to the piece.

With a E-literature piece named Tailspin, you are going to need motion.

The use of a spinning spiral not only entices the reader to pass their mouse over it, but it also gives the feel that the reader is falling through a vortex. The story slowly reveals the a story from the Grandfather’s past. Through the story you do go back in time and the viewer can imagine that they are falling through the spinning vortex into the Grandfather’s story.

The story tells of when the Grandfather went into a tailspin during a war, as it simultaneously talks about the present day. Once you have placed your mouse over all of the spirals on the page, a blue spiral appears in the middle. When you click, on that new spirals appear and the old ones disappear. Different animated objects appear in relation to what the

text talks about. When text appears about hearing aids, a hearing aid will appear. When text appears about the war, a plan will fly across the page and the background will become a sky. All of these animations require motion and motion requires time. As you move your mouse over the swirls the text will dissolve onto the screen and then when you move it away the text dissolves away.

Time and motion is a great way to express lightness. Just as Wilks did in this piece, motion can make things look like they light and flying through the sky. Wilks used both birds and plans and had them fly across the sky, as the blue background with clouds dissolved onto screen. There was also a lightness to the swirls as they consistently spiraled in the same place, just floating on the screen.

A diagram is a graphic representation of a structure, situation, or process.

Carpenter utilizes the diagram well in his E-literature. Every slide has a picture of a geographical map.

There is a strong focus on the location in this piece. Carpenter even named the work after it, The Cape. The cape is so important to the story that it becomes an active character. The diagrams bring attention to the role of the cape.

The diagram not only gives the viewer a better sense of where the characters are geographically, but it also adds information to the story. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Carpenter usually speaks with short, factual statements. The diagram complement his factual tone with their own factual information. The diagram to the left shows wave directions in Cape Cod.

Carpenter also places directional and other map symbols throughout the work.

Diagrams help authors to be more exact. By showing a picture and labeling the picture, authors can show viewers exactly what they wish to prove. Instead of having to describe it.

The obvious graphic design element for Multiplicity is layers.

As an avid Photoshop user, I work with layers a lot. Here is the definition from

Layers are simultaneous, over-lapping components of an image or sequence

Memmot clearly uses layers when composing the images of the artists. She takes different pictures, puts effects on some of them and then layers them over each other to create the images you see in her E-literature.

Here you see the picture of “Vincent Manet” she created. The top layers are from images of actual paintings done by one of the twelve artists. However, the layers in the back are obviously images that have been manipulated digitally. The background is a combination of layers of color.

Memmot also used a verbal example of layers when she combined the biographies of the artists. You can think of each body of text by an author as a layer. Memmot then cut up these layers of text and combined them to create a new biography.

For Christmas two years ago I got a Holga. A Holga is a cheap, film camera that is made in China. Within the last few years she has gotten a large cult following. And I am one of the members of that cult. One of my favorite feature about the Holga is she allows the photographer to take multiple and long exposure pictures.

A multiple exposure picture is the process of opening the lens multiple times on the same piece of film. For long exposure pictures you leave the lens open and catch movement on the film.

Multiple and long exposure pictures are visual examples of multiplicity. You visually see the multiple images, one on top of the other. Creating a story or defying the usual.

Just as Memmot juxtaposed multiple images on top of each other to create a portrait of her invented artist, I am choosing visual images to place on top of each other to tell a story with my pictures. 

As Calvino says, multiplicity is like a tangled skein of yarn. No piece of yarn can be moved without affecting another portion of that yarn. When you take a multiple exposure picture, every shot will affect the last shots taken. The two images will now be visible through each other.

Below is a long exposure picture that capture the headlights of taxis in Times Square. This pictures captures multiple details over a span of time.

In Project for Tachistoscope [Bottomless Pit] one word at a time flashes quickly across the screen. Each word has white symbol behind it. For example, to the left you see the word by and a 35mm projector behind it.

The author, William Poundstone, is bringing association between word and image. And doing so quickly.

If Poundstone slowly changed from one word to the next the person would get bored and it would be harder to follow along with the story. Imagine having to read: The……………………………………. boy……………………………….  ran……………………………………….. home……………………………….

The viewer’s attention would not be caught. However, each word is flashed quickly across the screen. Not only does this keep the viewer alert and entertained, but it assists Poundstone in reaching another goal.

Poundstone wanted to make the reader “highly conscious of how texts and images are read together”.

Because the words and images flash across the screen, the reader does not have time to analyze why the word “by” and the image of a movie projector were placed together. Instead, the viewer barely has time to take in the word and image before the next one appears.

I have chosen modularity as the graphic element for Visibility.

A module is a fixed element used within a larger system or structure. The example the graphic design book gives is that of a pixel. Many pixels work together to create a digital image. Modules can be found in many places. For example, a brick wall is made up of bricks. Each brick is a module.

In Soliloquy, the author’s modules are words. Each word is a fixed unit that builds up a sentence. The sentences are also modules. These sentences work together to create dialogue.

The author, Kenneth Goldsmith, highlights the use of modules in dialogue. You can only see one sentence at a time. By highlighting a single sentence on the page, Goldsmith is highlighting the module. No longer do we focus on the dialogue. But, instead we focus on each sentence on its own.