Assignment 1 – Graphic Form: Scorpion

Animal:

Scorpion

Initial Inspiration:

What inspired me to pick a scorpion is from a show called “Locked up”. It is a show about female prisoners in Spain and how they try to survive day to day against all the abuse from the male guards. One of the prisoners kept a scorpion as a pet as she resonates a lot with the characteristics of a scorpion. The rest of the prisoners then use the scorpion as a symbol of survival.

Research on Scorpions:

Scorpions are found on all major land masses except Antarctica and New Zealand. They have eight legs and are easily recognised by the pair of grasping pedipalps and the narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger. Scorpions range in size from 9 mm / 0.3 in to 23 cm / 9 in. Female scorpions are broader and are more aggressive than males. The female scorpions are are more likely to sting too as they tend to be more protective especially when they are carrying their offsprings.

Brand/ Logo Research:

Initial Sketches:

These are my sketches.

01_20 Sketches

 

Graphic Form:

For my final 3 logos, I really want to show the characteristics of the female scorpion as I am fascinated by their behaviour. The two Yin-Yang logos are to show balance between the male and female scorpions in the world and it also to evoke the view of two scorpions “dancing” when before they mate. To make them different, I decided to fill in one of the scorpion to indicate the female species as it shows it is full and carrying offsprings.

There are further descriptions in the PDF.

02_Graphic Form

These are some of my extra sketches before ending up with the final 3 logos.

extra sketches

 

Colour Study:

The description of colour choice is stated in the PDF. I tried colour study for my initial scorpion logo and the other one, I added a circle at the back to show more depth in the design. View PDF descriptions for more information.

Logo with circle added behind:

Initial logo, without circle at the back:

  

03  Colour Study testing

I decided to go with the logo with the circle at the back because I feel like it gives me more depth and looks better with the colours. I also like how the additional circle at the back looks make it seem like a burrow hole and the scorpion being inside the hole.

This is my final colour studies:

03_Colour Study final

 

Final:

I decided to choose the red logo because I wanted my logo to suggest a subtle form of danger and alertness but also alluring. I also like how the gradient of the red which guides the viewer’s eyes and the way it emphasises that the tail with the sting is the most dangerous part. I feel like this logo can be used for games, clothing brand etc.

04 Final

 

Thoughts on ‘The Society of the Spectacle’

I felt that DeBord was definitely trying to critique on the contemporary consumer culture and the quality of life. The world we live in are much more divided that united and the mass media has definitely been fuelling to this problem. He suggests that there is a deviation in life, in a society that is always consuming, material, knowledge etc, life does not seem to be about “living” but about “having”. Then, the “job” of spectacle imagery ; to convey these messages, the people’s needs and wants, and just the societal progress in general.

In the passage “the society of the spectacle”, I agree with Guy DeBord when he stated that “the spectacle subjects living human beings to its will to the extent that the economy has brought them under its sway.”. A spectacle is suppose to be a scene that is visually striking and impactful, in my opinion, for it to be effective, I believe it should depict or comment on the situation in society. When situations in current society are being brought to light, viewers will be able to relate to it easier. Thus this might ignite a fire of situation reconstruction, and causing a revolutionary uprise of the reordering of life.

Although Guy DeBord states that “the spectacle cannot be set in abstract opposition to concrete social activity”, I feel like, if possible, the spectacle further venture and the opposite of what the universe depicts because it can be used to deliver ideal reality we are seeking but yet to have. This way, the spectacle does not have to be just a still image that has been frozen in time, it can be timeless and overturned through revolution.

 

Thoughts on Lev Manovich’s The Language of New Media

After reading into Manovich’s book, I actually find myself agreeing with Manovich that database is just a continuous loop between the user input and the computer’s algorithms. The lack of a cause-and-effect trajectory does in fact makes the works look like just a collection of items where each item having the same level of importance as the other. When this happens, it does not matter whether or not additional information is added in as it does not have much of an effect on the work. This is when narratives comes in and provide some sort of flow and excitement to the data. In today’s day and age, everyone has really short attention span, which is why if the work is unable to catch the viewer’s attention within 10s, the viewer moves on. It is important to include the narrative as without it, it will be just a slide show of a bunch of boring information. Hence, I agree that the narrative engages the viewers and intrigues them to want to know how it starts and ends and at the same time able to communicate whatever data the database wish to communicate.

What intrigues me most is that in this digital age, where technologies assist instead of restrict, it is possible to create difference interfaces on the same material with new media. This creates something revolutionary in which the new media object consist of one or more interfaces to a database, hence creating a multidimensional immersive experience that is different from the traditional art with a single interface constructed. Hence, with this new formulation, as stated by Manovich, the user of a narrative is traversing a database, following links between its records as established by the database’s creator.

Another thing brought up is that the words “interactive” and “narrative” have been loosely coined and defined causing them to seem all-inclusive, many people then do not understand that there are criteria to meet in order to consider the work a narrative work. Theorised by Manovich, interactive narrative can then be understood as the sum of multiple trajectories through a database. However, apparently according to literary theorist Mieke Dal, merely trajectories are not enough. He states that narratives requires both an actor and a narrator, text, story and fable, and its content should not be a series of connected event caused by the user. However, I feel like that is little too specific and a narrative should just be a series of event with at least one climax. I feel like there is a possibility to have multiple actors and the content should be a collection of event experienced by the users which is what the use of interface is for and making the work interactive between the computer snd also potentially other players. However, that is just my own thought as I believe that a narrative can be multidimensional and does not have to be that restricted by these “rules”.

Lev Manovich’s “The Database” from The Language of New Media

Database and Interactive Narratives

Interactive narrative, or interactive storytelling, is defined as the art of telling stories enhanced with technological, social or collaborative interactive features to offer content adapted to new behaviours in a rapidly changing cultural ecosystem.

Simply put, it is made believed to the audience that in the virtual world, the audiences’ click, touch or scroll can significantly alter the storyline of the project. It feeds into the needs of human nature to be in control of what they are exploring in front of them and the act of self expression. 

The most common example of projects containing database and interactive narrative are games. I myself have been engaging in this mobile application developed by Will Wright called “SimCity” for almost 2 years. It is designed to lead the users and to educate them on the underlying model of the game. This means that users will make their own decisions at the start, but if they do not align with the model of the game, the game will prompt problems to “force” users to change their choices. For example, user can build lots of buildings but little roads, the game will have the game  will suggest traffic congestions and angry citizens that are not willing to pay tax money. Users are then guided to upgrade more roads and build leisure parks to enhance the welfare of the citizens. This game is a good example of using database and interactive narrative to support long-term player engagement as it contains a complex but ultimately transparent model of how the city works.

Another game example is Choices by Nexon and Episode by PocketGem. These applications have a range of interactive games within them. Some are collaborations made with singers like Demi Lovato, allowing fans to form friendships with Ms Lovato or possible relationships. The audience can spin the storyline however they like with no real life consequence and immerse themselves in an experience they could probably never have in the real world.

https://www.episodeinteractive.com 

A newer example of projects integrating interactive narrative are films. As time goes by, the media outlets have caught onto the consumer’s need of control. The most exciting development from the mass media is Netflix’s interactive drama/ thriller series special called Bandersnatch from Black Mirror. It allows watchers to make decisions for the protagonist through his journey of app development and along the way, tempts viewers with bad but influential friends, drugs and many taboo factors. To keep it interesting, Netflix introduces a large range of endings and you are allowed to watch the series over and over again at Netflix’s recommended checkpoints in the show so that there is no need to restart again. Bandersnatch is a really huge step for the media industry as traditional films always has a decided endings, and the show also managed to reach an even larger audience which includes those who do not consider themselves gamers. The series was so successful that Netflix will be introducing more interactive shows in the future. Here is a breakdown of how Bandersnatch’s endings (spoilers): 

In conclusion, numerous projects are exploring the different forms of interactive storytelling and the possible experiences it can provide. Now that technologies enables instead of retains, we have entered an exciting era and shall not waste this chance to further develop the emerging field of interactive narrative.

 

References:

https://medium.com/reinventing-storytelling/what-is-interactive-storytelling-46bfdd2a8780 

http://theconversation.com/the-future-is-in-interactive-storytelling-76772 

https://www.ign.com/wikis/black-mirror/Bandersnatch_Endings 

Thoughts on Marsha Kinder’s “Designing a Database Cinema”

Marsha Kinder suggests that “databases and narrative are two compatible structures and their combination is crucial to the creative expansion of new media.” I could not agree more as with the mergence of databases and narrative, they create a whole new dimension to the work. Her Labyrinth Project is a databases narratives and a collaboration of traditional artist with new technologies. The work is used to educate the users on the historical moments through storytelling. Even though it is a tedious step to include artists with non-digital making background, I felt like the works have a good balance of traditional art medium and narrative being backed up by a new digital mode of expression. 

One of the works that strikes me the most is the “Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920 – 1986” by Marsha Kinder and Norman Klein is a databased detective story. The project’s setting is in downtown Los Angeles, an ethnically complex location, and is documented through archival stills and films. Moreover, these works are interactive by allowing viewers to write a fictional story together with Molly’s (a fictional character) dead husband and view back stories of real life people, which are parts of preserved history and allows them to reflect on the cultural implications within LA’s urban dream factory. Viewers get to compare between old and new images of Los Angeles, taken from precisely the same angle, to view the contrast between the past and present is the most dramatic and uncanny way. 

 

I find this way of exposing the audience to historical knowledge based on their own choices and at their own pace very effective. The movement between fiction and history, prompts users to tap into their own databased memories, be it first hand, from documentaries, etc. I feel like the juxtaposition of a fictional storyline with the serious histories stories is an amazing step because it does its job of passing historical knowledge and also provide a fun game-like experience for the audience. Although a database narrative may have no clear-cut beginning or ending, no three act classical structure or even a coherent chain of causality, it spikes users’ curiosity and desire to spin their own tale. The idea of transferring the decision power to the viewers is a transfer of responsibility and can be quite disquieting.

In conclusion, Marsha Kinder’s Labyrinth Project has allowed us to taste the art of databased narratives. The effects of databased narrative spikes inquisitiveness of users as it is a fresh idea in the market. Moreover, I believe that this technique of merging database and narrative can be used in schools and for other educational purposes as I believe it might be a lot more effective as compared to the current educational system. The Labyrinth Project is like no other at that time, now that technologies enables instead of retains, I am very excited to see what this new era of advanced technologies can bring to the table.

TeamLab – Japanese digital design collective

TeamLab is a collaborative creative group consisting of various professionals from different fields of practice in the digital society. Their aim for their projects is to achieve a balance between art, science and technology. TeamLab believes that digital technology can expand art and allow  digital art can create new relationships between people.

For this reflection I will be talking about one of their recent work in Art Science Museum: Story of the Time when Gods were Everywhere. In this digital artwork, it provokes interaction and crazy beautiful artistic visuals. When the children touches the screen which contains Chinese and Japanese characters. After that, the words then transformed into animals, other organisms and natural elements:  wind, rain, trees and mountains . Just like that, a story is being created. With every interaction, a new object is breed from the characters and they co-exist and interact. Children using their touch to keep changing the world, and together creating and experiencing a new story each time.

This work encourage people to rethink the relationship between humans and nature as well as their relationship with the world. It teaches the kids that whatever action is introduced, there is an outcome or possible consequence after it. The paradigm in traditional art has always been to treat the existence of viewers as question-less takers. However, it is different for interactive art. One key principle of interactive art is the connection between the behaviors of the viewers and the influence on the art. Story of the Time when Gods were Everywhere blurs the line between the art and the audience, confusing what is 2D and what is 3D. The large screen allows them to set the feeling of the environment and allow the audience to fully immerse themselves in the screen. The intense and vibrant colors attracts the viewers but also overwhelm them, and providing the kids with a very happy and uplifting environment.

I believe that the constant changing of the interaction between the animals that they breed is very interesting because a new story line is boring with a random interaction from a complete stranger. With smartphones being a big part of kids’ growth, this co-creating experience through a large common digital screen is exactly what kids in the 21st century needs. The main aim of the work is for the children to enjoy moving their bodies about freely in a shared space, interacting with other children, collaboratively creating in a “co-creative” experience, and creating an artwork and a story. The digital technology paired with visuals are expanding the conception of interactive art today. Furthermore, these techniques can liberate art from a being traditional and one-sided, hence creating this space where both the artist and the audience are contributing the artwork together.

 

 

Reading Assignment Reflection

Bibliography: Dixon, Steve. Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art and Installation. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2007.

I find this article very intriguing as the authors talked about how the vast exploration with digital technology within performing arts has been crucial for the past few years. As we ourselves can witness around us, performance artists have been constantly instigating digital new media into their pieces, and new forms of interactive media have been heavily incorporated into the world of art. The impacts of the new media technologies diversifies the types of performing arts and providing the traditional live performance art a new taste.

These types of performance are usually  unscripted, random, spontaneous or otherwise carefully planned with or without audience participation. It felt like the artists were engaging with the audiences’ own curiosity and interpretation to be part of their works so that work is an artwork that communicates both ways.

The introduction to the usage of computers have become popular and an essential part of new performance pieces during the process and the main production of the performance. The writers’ overarching knowledge of the digital technology used was concluded by analyzing the history of art movements and event, and technical innovations which contribute to the interactive digital components which were used to engage with the audience and to stand out, introducing a new artist to the work. The book talks about topics related to digital performance practice, specifically performance themes, movements and events that concern the body, space and time. I feel like the new era’s artists who digitally represent their performance are introducing a new artistic genre that is both contemporary, experimental and avant-garde. To me, it is obvious that the link between interactive designs and performance art is a mutually beneficial and so much more to explore, I am glad the industry is constantly pushing boundaries and merging both worlds together.

History Of Graphic Design: International Typographic Style: Helvetica

International Typographic Style is a graphic design style that emerged in Russia, the Netherlands, and Germany in the 1920s and was further developed by designers in Switzerland during the 1950s. The style is also associated with a preference for photography in place of illustrations or drawings.

The typeface I will be exploring about is Helvetica. The principles of the International Typographic Style are: cleanliness, readability and objectivity. The principals are obvious in the type face Helvetica:

Helvetica was created by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann in 1957 and was meant to be simple and clean—a set of letters that would disappear to let the words speak for themselves

As time goes, this font has gained massive amount of popularity. The neutrality of Helvetica was designed specifically not to have much impact or evoke any meaning. Due to this, its usage is very versatile and adaptive for different types of projects and web designs as seen online nowadays.

In my opinion, this font is both classic and modern, conservative and edgy, elegant and relaxed. Its sleek  and modern lines are easy to the eyes and suitable for an untrained eye. It is almost it introduced a new era with a new look, which was opposite of all the kitschy, fancy, decorative typography that covered corporate materials and advertisements in the past.