Things Can Be Otherwise 4/8

Theory of Drawing

How you build your knowledge in constellation:

  1. Ideas and questions from seminars and from reading each week
  2. Ideas and questions of your own
  3. How you apply ideas and questions from 1&2 to each other and studio interests
  4. How you might explain and explore ideas and quesitons for reader and audience

During the morning session, the group took part in indexical drawing – I did not attend because I was ill. Within the afternoon session we discussed what some people had done for their indexical drawing and whether we think indexical drawing as a process is significant or silly.

What does drawing try to achieve?

How can you express emotion through drawing?

Abstract/expressive – conceptual quality through mark and line

Network of different terms – kinds of drawing

Symbols – suggest we’ve already got an image for it: why do a drawing?

Technology: in the broadest sense – what is it?

Indexical drawing:

  • expressive element of drawing
  • doesn’t conform to appearance to the object
  • changes our relationship with the image

Questions to answer:

  • Indexical drawing is significant because…
  • Indexical drawing is silly because…
  • Or a question of your own relating to the option so far…

My Ideas

  • I don’t it silly or necessarily significant
  • to me personally it isn’t significant as I don’t feel it would help with my practise
  • for fine art students it would be valuable because it is concept based
  • allows you to look at an object differently – see it in a way other that what it is
  • could be relevant for me to help with layout:
    • creating a shape for typography to sit in – could work with some weird shapes and give a direction to the type I wouldn’t have thought off
    • shapes for a logo could be interesting
    • wouldn’t really work if needed to use it for images of a poster/something descriptive – wouldn’t communicate the idea of meaning I would be communicating within the poster; too abstract, could be confusing for the reader

Is indexical drawing significant?

Indexical drawing is about drawing an object in a way that doesn’t directly symbolise what you’re drawing. For example, rubbing chalk on paper over a textured concrete; rather than drawing the object for what you see it to be, you are left with a representation [abstract form] of concrete. In my opinion, indexical drawing can be significant but it depends what context you use it in. For a fine artist, indexical drawing would be significant for their practise as their work is very concept based so using this form of drawing could help them represent certain ideas. For myself as a graphic designer, this form of drawing could be useful to help create shapes and layouts for positioning typography or creating a logo. It would be an interesting way to shape the position of typography by taking an indexical drawing I had done, – e.g. a leaf cut into  – scanning that into the computer then using the outline of it to shape my typography into it. However, there are many ways I can think of where indexical drawing would not be significant nor useful to my practise. One example is: Graphic designers use a lot of imagery especially when producing something informative like a poster. We have been taught that we must use images that is relatable to the words we are writing and in a sense communicates the idea/meaning in itself. Indexical drawing wouldn’t be useful nor appropriate because of it’s abstract quality; it wouldn’t relate to the text and could also confuse the person seeing the poster.

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KEYNOTE LECTURE

Invisible Cities, Italo Caluno

Italo Caluno – Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels

  • fiction with no storyline –
    • each time you read the book you have a different perspective
  • Has cities that have a certain meaning
    • they have a factual, histroic name behind it
      • gives another narrative
    • though he is not talking about cities; he is talking about ideas
    • playing with words in a way we do with our work – experimenting
    • He asks: how should we live?
    • He is challenging himself – so much complexity

Image project: part 2

Tues 8th Nov

Idea 1

Exchange to India

  • learn another language
  • experience a different culture
  • take classes in a school of a different country
  • USING IMAGES OF WHEN I WENT TO INDIA

I had the idea of using a variant amount of images that I had taken and places them as a collage. I looked at the posters of DaDa and I really like the placement of how mis-matched the posters are so I decided to follow my work in a similar theme.

Photos used from trip to India ’14:

IMAGE 1

All editing was done on Photoshop.

indiashortcourse

I began chopping out the images and placing them together. The idea was that it would look as if I had cut and stuck down these images by hand, hence why they are messily cut. I like that [for example on the tree] you can see the background around the edge so it contextualises it slightly but doesn’t take too much away from the object itself. I used a jumble of image, ones I thought best captured India. I like the background colour to it, I didn’t at first but I think it gives it a poster aesthetic.

After creating this I carried on with the theme of uneven cut images and collages but I felt that the photo above didn’t really capture the essence of India so I want to try more bright colours.

indiashortcoursesample

I much prefer the composition of this one. I think it the way the boats are placed are really dynamic and the placement of the train looks as if it’s coming out of the page slightly, like it’s moving out.

Once of the things I think about trying to convey was the language that could be learned on the short course so using google translate, I attempted to add some language in there. I thought it worked well, looks a lot better with the orange behind but I felt that it didn’t really need to be there. It looks a bit lost and pointless sat in the corner and the arrangement of images doesn’t really gain anything by it being there.

At this point, I began focusing on the colours and trying to make it brighter. I wanted to capture the colourfulness of the culture of India so that is why I picked pink and green as I like that they’re bright colours. Changing the hue/saturation of the image (left photo) didn’t really work, it’s just turned the image into a really tacky piece of work. Instead I tried using the paintbrush tool; I like the effect as it looks like it’s been done by hand so it links with the theme of how I made the images collage, but, in this particular image it doesn’t work. I think this is partly because the photo is too smaller so everything is squished together and it looks like there’s too much going on.

FINAL IMAGE

indiashortcoursebright

In the end, I decided to stick with enhancing the colours on the image itself. After looking at the collage in a bit more detail, I found that there was enough colours in the images as it was to work with so there was no need to try and add different colours into. I enhanced the images brightness and made it so that there was a strong contrast between the colours as well as enhancing the vibrancy. I didn’t want to add a background to it as I felt that if I added a coloured background (like in the first experiment) I would lose the colours in the collage. There needed to be some kind of colour though so I went back to using the paint brush tool; two strokes in the background, making the colours green, white and orange, all colours of the Indian flag. It has a minimalist effect the strokes in the background but I really like it. It strong but not too strong that it detracts from the collage.

I thought this approached worked really well so I continued with this for all of my other photos so that there was a clear theme and link between all of them.

IMAGE 2

indiashortcoursebright2

Unintentionally, all the colours of the images used in this collage work really well together and are all on the same scale. Even though the previous image worked well with strong contrast of different colours, I think this one is a really strong collage but in a way the textures of the objects are shown. The rustiness of the boats at the bottom sit strong against the gold on the large temple. The tree isn’t as strong in brightness as I would have liked it to be but it doesn’t look bad as it works as a separation between the top and the bottom of the collage.

FINAL IMAGE

indiashortcourselan

I positioned the collage towards the bottom so that there was a slightly different dynamic to the first image. With the direction of the paintbrushes it leads you to the bottom of the page where the ohm symbol is which I think is a nice lead to the collage. It fills the page a bit more than the top image but I feel it looks leaves a good amount of white space.

IMAGE 3

For my final image, I wanted to try it out in landscape to mix it up a bit compared to the previous two. It didn’t seem to work. The images were too neat and spread out and it would have worked a lot better if the photos weren’t so aligned. The problem with having it landscape is that it felt like there was too much blank space which I wanted to fill but then what happened what that I was left with too big a collage. I think another reason was perhaps because the photos weren’t right for what I was trying to make. Compared to the previous two images, it wasn’t a good collage.

Back to portrait it worked a lot better. I changed the images I used and the dynamics of the way the collage was created worked a lot better. The previous collages gave a element movement with either the direction of the paintbrush strokes or how parts of the collage was placed. In this one there’s movement in the paint strokes and how the taxi and bicycle wheel has been placed.

FINAL IMAGE

indiashortcourselandscape6

I love the brightness of colours in this; most of it comes from the beauty of the temple but it doesn’t overpower the rest of the images which works well. You can still see way they’ve been cut out, it’s subtle but when you look properly, the way everything has been layered it still looks like they’ve be cut and stuck on by hand which was the aesthetic I was going for.

FINAL 3 IMAGES FOR- EXCHANGE TO INDIA: SUMMER COURSE

Overall, as a set of 3 I think they work really nicely together. Even though the brief isn’t stuck to just doing 3 images, I felt that because my photos had a really prominent theme running through, it would look best as only a set of a 3. I’m happy I chose to use orange and green as the colours for the strokes. I did think about changing the colours in each image but I really liked the green and orange as it built a strong relationship between all the images.

 

Image project: part 2

Tues 8th Nov

Brief:

Series of image; exploring graphic strategies that will group them stylistically even when content varies

Design two sets of images that will be used to promote summer courses for 18/19 year olds. (Choose a topic of interest.)

The images will be used to decorate information sheets and suggest the courses are interesting, well thought out and will be a positive experience

Do not need to contain information/content of the course.

  • choose two topics
  • design of set of images for each (3 minimum)
  • variety of shapes within each set
  • find a graphic strategy that will group each set of images – show they’re within the same brand

Use own photographs where possible.

img_0025

Research:

Dada

Dada was a cultural movement originated in Switzerland (founder: Hugo Ball, writer) – spreading to Europe and USA. It was anti-war politics and began as a negative reaction to the horrors and folly of the war. It was also an anti-art movement; they wanted to break away from traditional art aesthetics. They created writings and protest materials that were handed out in gatherings and protests. Its influences were: abstraction; expressionism; cubism and futurism. Dada then self-destructed when it was in danger of becoming “acceptable”.  I like what it stands for and how the movement began.

Hannah Hoch was an artist for DaDa and created much of what DaDa’s work is known for. It’s weird, unusual; it’s such abstract collage and quite confusing too but I really like it. It engages you to really look at the image rather than just see it for what you may think you see it as at a first glance. She includes a lot of different context in her images but they weirdly still flow. The images I’ve picked have quite feminine themes and focus on features like jewellery and high heels. The image that particularly stands out to me is where the man has a bug on his head and is pointing at the body of a woman stood on a record player. Thinking about the time at which this work of art was shown it looks like she is showing how the man is objectifying the woman in her tight clothing and bare legs and the large face of a woman’s expression on top of the body could show her reaction to the pointing man.

There’s so much context within her work and so much you can talk about which is kind of what I want to do in some of my images. I like the presentation of collage and how you can tell a story within the combination of many images without actually using any words. For one of my ideas I’m going to use collage as I like how you can make so many different shapes and stories just by combining a few images.

Figure/frame

Fri 4th Nov

The brief asked to create a portrait using images I have taken. In the background was to be a pattern of an object (the object must relate to the person in the portrait) and the portraits sits in the middle. They had to align with each other and the colours had to work well.

Image 1

I started off by using a portrait I had taken of my boyfriend – he’s a Guardsmen in the Army so wears the bright red tunic. I thought that the colours are really bright and stand out. I photographed a bottle of Budweiser beer to use for the object in the background – obviously beer has a huge connotation to the army lifestyle.

bottles.jpg

I photographed a bottle of Budweiser then cropped it in Photoshop and began editing it.

After creating the pattern I began experimenting with how to place the portrait.

bottles1

I made the background of the bottles pixelated as I felt it would make the portrait stand out a bit more. The colours work really well together; red is a really strong colour on its own. Even though the bottles are pixelated you can still tell what they are.

bottles4

I added the red border around it as I felt it needed some separation between the image and the background. This is a much stronger image, however, I think the portrait needs to be smaller, it’s a little overpowering on top of the pattern.

bottles5

I turned the image into grayscale but I don’t like it compared to coloured version. It doesn’t capture the essence of the portrait and the beer behind it.

bottles6

Instead of having it all black and white, I just tried the background. I like it, it quite similar to the work of Barbara Kruger with the black and white and the red border around the image. The size of the portrait is much better, but by the background being in black and white you can’t really tell what the image is. This could be a good thing as it makes it more abstract, then again, it doesn’t show any relevance to the image when it isn’t in colour.

bottles3

FINAL IMAGE

I like this final image. The colours all work really well and I think it’s a strong photo. It reminds me of pop art in the 70’s with the pixelated patterned background. The bottom bugs me a lot and it does need cropping so that there isn’t a small bit left.

Image 2

I wanted to try a completely different image so that I could use brighter colours. I had some portraits I had taken of my friends so I decided to use those. The objects I photograph a polaroid camera and some pink headphones which are stereotypically objects for girls so it would have a strong link to the image. I have brightly, patterned bedsheets so I photographed the objects on top of the bed sheets so there would be a brightly coloured background.

girlpattern3

Pattern 1: Original images set in symmetry/patterns – no edit of colours.
girlpattern4

Pattern 2: Experimenting with different colour combinations – making the objects brighter.
girlpattern5Pattern 3: After choosing a combination of colours, I doubled the pattern and tried to create like an optical allusion as if the objects were moving around. I like the effect of this; my eyes are drawn to one of the cameras in the middle where it is more still. I like the blue and green too I think they work well together.
girlpattern6

Pattern 4: I tried this with the original colours but I don’t think it works as well. The green and blue are really strong and bright colours and even though pink and yellow are too, I don’t think they stand out enough on top of the pattern background so it looks a bit of mess as this kind of pattern.

Patterns with portrait:

girl3

Keeping the original pattern I made, I put the portrait on top using a similar approach to image 1 by having a border around the portrait. I like this because it separates the portrait from the background but doesn’t overpower either.

girl2

This pattern works a lot better with the image than on it’s own. The white in the portrait stands out a lot though, could do with darkening.

girl1

As well as having the background pattern distorted, I had a go at distorting the image as well. I like the image pixelated, it’s still eligible as a portrait, it just makes the image as a whole look a bit fuzzy and you’re not quite sure where to look – which I think is a good thing.

girl4

I like the colours in this and this pattern is my favourite of them all. I feel the image has a nice tone to it. However, again, the white is a bit too prominent and would work to be darkened slightly.

Using the original pattern, I used a different image which I thought would work a lot better. This portrait is colourful and has a warmth to the photograph which I think connects well with the patterned objects.

This portrait definitely works a lot better with this coloured pattern compared to the other image. My favourite is the image with the mustard yellow frame. All the colours work well together and it has a real warmth to it. I like that there is a lot of different tones of yellows within this.

Selected final two images:

 

 

Things Can Be Otherwise 3/8

On Being With Technology

notes

We are cyborgs: where do tools stop and begin?

Harraway:

  • “A cyborg is a hybrid of technology (or machine) and organism”
  • “All the experiences we have, thoughts we hold or actions we take are either enables, expressed or informed by technology.” – ‘Skipping of original unity’; Harraway 2000:292
    • argument against that??

Tools and technology:

  • Techne – know how to use it at its best
  • Technology has an effect and makes a mark on the world
    • “anything that can have an effect is a tool” – G. harman (2002) tool-being, p.20
  • consumed by tool e.g. hammer break, tool is lost
  • technology has an effect/leaves a mark on the world

Pre or sub-personal – are you independent?

Equality feminism – Harraway is a feminist

  • challenge boundaries/not fixed identities/change shape reality
  • equality is in a state of flux

Harrrawy: we are cyborgs

  • different meanings of technology

Harman: capacity to have an effect; as beings we’re shaped and changed by tools around us

Harraway: “we are actually morally obliged to acknowledge our status as cyborgs”

Several different definitions of technology – which one is true?

  • We use tools and need tools to live
  • acknowledgement calls attention to our responsibility to create ‘noise’ or kinds of living to become something other (Haraway 2000: 292,312)

Moral obligation: recognising life is not fixed; ever-changing.

Argument: statements in supports of a conclusion

Fallacy: bad or weak argument

Forms of arguments:

  • What she says about Johannes Kepler’s astronomy of the 1600s must be just so much garbage. Do you realise she’s only 15 years old? – very little support; attack person rather than addressing ideas; assumption; undermining girls view; 15 year old – what does she know?; weak argument
  • He’s rich, so he should be the president of our parents and teachers assumption. – conclusion: he should be president because he’s rich; rich = power; appeal to money; wealth = success; weak argument
  • Well it’s time for a decision. Will you contribute £20 to our environmental fund, or are you on the side of environmental destruction? – black or white; false dilemma; pay £20 or you’re a bad person; weak argument

Thesis of connection: working-with or playing-with

Have an idea then find a tool to use? Or use a tool then find an idea to work and find what you can do with that tool?

Nicholas Carr: The Shallows – digital technology makes us shallow

Next week:

Indexical drawing

  • e.g. smoke is a trace of fire; paper on top of a door handle- imprint of door handle

Lecture: reading image and representation

Wed 2nd November

Within this lecture, I learned how to analyse images and construct meanings to show a design decision. When designing images, to make decisions on how people may receive my work, I should use academic studies to provide support for analysis.

We were shown how to use the ‘column approach to analysis’ to unpick someone’s design decision. This is where you have 3 columns named description, analysis and theory and you go through stages of unpicking the poster design. So for description, this is where you describe what you see in the image; you then draw an arrow into analysis and analyse what you see this to be and the ideas it shows. Once finishing the analysis, you then draw a line into the theory column; this is where you go onto the internet and books and find research that support the ideas that your presenting through the analysis. The more theory you read, the more you start to see in the image – the analysis and theory column always link.

As a group in this lecture, we analysed two James Bond film posters; one from the 60’s and the other from the 80’s.

Questions to think about:

How all aspects of visual design convey meanings about characters and their identities?

What attitudes towards characters are also generated from the visual construction? – what does the spectator perceive?

How male and female are designed in the posters for two James Bond films? – compare and contrast representations; what do these representations illustrate about changes in attitudes from the 60’s to the 80’s?

Framing/layout/gender; femininity and masculinity – what are we learning from these posters?

Dr. No – 1982
dr-no-poster

Description:

Male has cigarette and gun in both hands; in a suit; smoking gun; leaning forward and looking at the camera; smug look; wear black on a yellow background, dominant part of the poster; eyes are instantly drawn to him

The women are in minimal clothing; sexual objects; plain compared to Bond; all in heels; showing skin; in a line behind bond

Analysis:

Bond is perceived as being very masculine. He has a black, bow-tie, suit on which shows off his masculinity; giving ideas of wealth and power and the tuxedo shows class. His casual and relaxed nature of leaning forward and looking at the camera, shows a lot of confidence. In his left hand he holds a gun and in his right he holds a cigarette, showing two sides to him. His gun shows a dark side, along with his chilled/relaxed nature shows that he’s used to using it and isn’t afraid to use it either. Another analogy of Bond’s smug looks and gadgets is to his sexual nature; he looks dominant in the poster but is also always sexually dominant.

On the other hand, you’ve got the women. As Bond is places in the foreground, the women a sat in the background, out the way; posed formally, making themselves look presentable and showing all that they’ve got. They have open body language, giving away everything; they are defined by their bodies which makes them insecure. Bond however is fully clothed and doesn’t have to show his body. Not only are the women undressed, they’re in a line queuing up to be with Bond and have lesser clothing the closer they get to Bond. If you look at the end of the queue, the woman has more clothing and is slightly turned away suggested that Bond hasn’t got to her yet. Her leg is showing though so has a sexual demeanor but because she’s further away she must be harder to get. She’s also ethnically different – Bond is the good side and the good side is always white western – and is the same race as Dr. No the villain so is of course on the bad side. (Bond film’s villains always have accents, western vs. eastern; keeping Bond British).

Theory:

Another analysing the poster we were then shown quotes from different picks and we picked out parts that related to what we were already saying about it.

“Sorts of men who enjoy power and wealth” – Hegemonic Masculinity (Mackinnon, 2003, p9-12) – this links to Bond wearing a suit which implies power.

“Woman are subordinated” – Hegemonic Masculinity (Mackinnon, 2003, p9-12) – links to how the woman are in the background; less important

“Woman are…confined to their sexuality” and “men are shown as dominant” – (Strinati, 200, p184) – Bond is fully clothed and has a gun – masculine objects – and is shown as dominant in the poster; woman are undressed, showing skin, showing them as ‘sexual objects’

A View to Kill – 1985

view-to-a-kill-posterDescription:

Woman is background with gun; blue coloured; looking down on James Bond; evil-eyed; yellow/white gradient’

Bond is unsteady; open body language; worried look on his face; is in the centre of the page by the woman standing over him looks stronger and more dominant

Analysis:

Grace Jones (the woman in the poster) shows dominancy as she’s holding the gun pointing up and she is looking over Bond. She looks as if she’s appeared out of no-where but her black body among a white suit and her closed, static body language shows a powerful, dominant force – she is the villain. Bond on the other hand, has unsteady, open body language. He’s not as chilled as he was in the other film poster and is looking at the direction of his gun – not posing – and along with his facial expression it suggests anxiety and he is not in control.

In this film they’ve tried to show woman in a different manner but Grace Jones looks machine like and doesn’t appear to be a woman in this photo. Her flesh looks like metal showing her as if to be weapon to Bond and they’re making her out to be a powerful, strong and threatening black woman. In the 70’s, woman rights groups began to stop letting people objectify woman so in the 80’s when this film came how they have shown they’re trying to move with the time. But they’re showing strong and powerful women in a negative way, that the strong woman are making Bond confused and that his doesn’t know what is going on. Also, woman are still seduced and eventually have sex with Bond to show they’ve been ‘put back’ in their place so that they are not powerful anymore.

Grace Jones does look slightly masculine and is shown to be powerful and strong and is a threat to Bond. By Grace Jones being the villain, her being a strong woman has complete negative connotations because she is not on the ‘good’ side of Bond, therefore saying that all ‘strong and powerful’ women are not good people.

Theory:

“The girl is presented as a disturbance. Too aggressive, out-of-place” – (Bennet, T (1982) – a strong, powerful woman being shown as the villain in the story

“Anxiety about female sexuality” – (Street, 1997:86) – the woman isn’t shown sexually and is slightly masculine looking

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed this lecture. I learned a lot about not just how to critically analyse design but also about how objectified woman are in the Bond films – which is something I’m really passionate to learn about. I will take from this, how to analyse an image but also when designing my own work what to think about in terms of what other people would think when looking at my design and how they could read it.