In this exercise I am to explore a range of websites or other forms of new media and identify examples of what I consider to be cutting edge or inventive forms of visual communication.
Theyre not exactly cutting edge, they’ve been around for a few years now, but my first thoughts are Facetime, Twitter and Instagram.
Facetime – I’m only 33, yet in my lifetime I’ve known the world with no internet access and with no mobile phones in sight. Because of that I can appreciate quite how good it is to be able to video chat across thousands of miles with absolute ease. Video tech is probably classed as old hat by now but the changes it has enabled are astounding.
Twitter – Less for the visual use and more for sharing thoughts or ideas, Twitter is a handy tool for being able to get direct access to the thoughts and messages of people you admire.
Instagram – Free photo sharing platform for everyone with an internet connection. Excellent way to share photos around the globe. The search facility allows you to find photographs on anything you can think of.
Emoticons – With the evolution of text messages and smiley faces made from punctuation marks, emoticons have emerged as a new form of punctuation. In some instances they add feeling/body lannguage to a text message which could otherwise be taken out of context.
Text and emoticons can also be used badly, things can evolve too far. For example, it is now deemed officially (within the military at least)rude to end a message ‘Regards’, to be polite one must say ‘Kind Regards’. Ridiculous.
Another example of how it can be used badly is when generational rules become the norm, for example in the news recently they announced that using a full stop in a text message was deemed to be angry. A full stop is a basic item of punctuation, that’s all. People are allowed to go too far with their left wing pink and fluffy approach to everything.
In this exercise I am to find examples of different visual conventions used to convey time and/or place/space – frame by frame storytelling, handling or perspective, use of speech bubbles etc from different historical periods. I am to use this research exercise to develop by skills by accessing the online image libraries available to me at the OCA, conducting internet image searches or accessing my local library.
Every book of art starts with a cave painting. Cave paintings are the earliest records of events that we have found so far.
Within this painting there is a strong sense of place. Mountain ranges have been depicted and with the, animals being hunted by man. The scene even includes a campfire scene in the bottom right hand third. Time is shown by the limited use of resources that they had to paint with. Place is depicted within the scene. At this time there would have been little comprehension of the wider world.
Storytelling in Egypt was of massive importance. I found a great quote on http://www.portaalchemica.com which sums it up perfectly ‘ They wove complex cosmological knowledge into narratives that expressed both physical and metaphysical concepts. Those who told the stories, the storytellers, were known to be maa kheru – true of voice.’ The stories that they told often related the lives of common people directly to the Gods and Goddesses, especially with the Pharoahs who came to be deemed as Gods themselves.
In all the examples that I found, the Egyptian stories were all told within one frame. There were no obviously sequential images.
Time is depicted through dress, it may also be written in the heiroglyphs?
This painting entitled Bacchus and Ariadne by Italian artist Titian is an example of the kind of storytelling that used to take place in one frame during the renaissance period.
Within this image we have Ariande on the left hand side, she has been left deserted on an island by Theseus who was her lover. His ship can just be seen in the far distance as it sails away. Bacchus is a god of the grape harvest, he is the figure in the purple robe who has just turned up in a chariot drawn by cheetahs. He saves her from her fate on the island, and, the website tells me, marries her and grants her immortality.
The Bayeux Tapestry is the earliest example I can think of of an image depicting sequential action. This 68 meter long tapestry contains 75 scenes with Latin descriptions which range from the build up to the Norman invasion of England right up until the Battle of Normandy itself.
Commissioned to retell the story of a historical event, the time of the scene is set forever as 1066. The place is also dictated by the subject matter but reinforced with the pictorial representation of French boats and national armour styles etc.
Maps of different varieties are another visual convention used to display space or place. Different sorts can change with time, for example the British Empire used to be displayed in pink on world maps. Another example would be that as we lose coastlines and eventually islands though erosion via the global warming crisis, maps will have to be redrawn.
Film storyboards are sequential images designed to help film crew manage the time of the shoot and to ensure that timings within the fictitious story stay true to the plan. In these ways they are essential for conveying a sense of time. Storyboards can also be used as scene setters, to introduce and cement a sense of place for an audience.
Tintin was always a favourite of mine when I was small. I remembered that he was always trotting around the globe so thought that he would make a perfect subject for the Cartoon Strip entry into this research exercise.
This frame, set in China, demonstrates how easily a sense of place can be set. The banners and signs in the street have oriental writing on, the three faces nearest the viewer look obviously un-English and people are wearing oriental costume. Its very easy to generate a sense of location.
This sequential cartoon strip demonstrates how action and location can be put across through a series of frames. The use of speech bubbles mainly follows the left-right placement which the viewers eye is naturally programmed to follow. Occasionally the speech bubbles are positioned to enhance the idea that dynamic movement is taking place.
This political cartoon sets both time, an approximate place and also refernces popular culture. The time is set with the word ‘Brexit’ and Theresa May painting the tunnel, this gives us a definite time frame. The Brexit tunnel itself looks suspiciously like the Channel Tunnel, our link to Europe. The form of the coyote references Road Runner and how the Wily Coyote is always trying to catch the road runner.
TV animated sequences
Short animated sequences can be used as scene setters for time and place very effectively. This intro to the series Dads Army manages to communicate in under a minute that we are set during World War Two, Dunkirk has happened, English forces are regrouping back on the mainland. This is all accomplished through very basic graphics.
In this exercise I am to examine knitting. I am first to create a mind map (1) of what knitting means to me and what I associate with it. I am then to do some visual research (2) by finding contemporary and historical examples of knitting being represented. I am then to see how the examples of knitting that I’ve found support or contradict the associations identified in my mind map (3). I am then to see if there is a general stereotype of knitting and how have contemporary images of knitting played with this stereotype (4).
Mind Map I first brainstormed everything I could think of to do with knitting. I immediatly came up with the stereotype of old ladies sitting around knitting and churning out scarves, gloves, jumpers etc. I then thought of different types of knitter that I had seen. A Scouse friend of mine used to bring her knitting into work and do it during tea breaks when she was feeling stressed (the needles were a blur and she would swear profusely the entire time but she always felt better afterwards), a lady on Dragons Den submitted a pitch for giant yarn and giant knitting needles. Last year I went to Bowood House craft fair (Kirsty Allsop event) and there were knitted covers on lamp shades, lamp posts and everything inbetween. I guessed that there might be cases of extrmee knitting and sure enough I discovered both the incredibly small and the oversized. This soon morphed into (2) find contemporary and historic examples.
And then…..I discovered…..yarn bombing….
What is yarnbombing? ” the action or activity of covering objects or structures in public places with decorative knitted or crotcheted material, as a form of street art”
( Dictionary.com. (2019). Dictionary.com Is The World’s Favorite Online Dictionary. [online] Available at: https://www.dictionary.com/ [Accessed 26 Aug. 2019].)
Knitting as street art?! Surely not!…….but how wrong I was…
Ive always thought of knitting as a womens activity as traditionally we have been the ones to stay at home. I’ve found a picture reference which backed up that point and made me laugh quite a lot. It doesnt get any more ‘female in the home’ than Mary the mother of Jesus pictured knitting in a painting created in the 1350’s.
I initially started looking for the earliest trace of knitting. Every book or art starts with a cave painting of something and sure enough I found a photo of what looks like knitting in an Egyptian looking stone carving. I was quite excited to read more about this on the website I discovered it on, unfortunately though they do not seem to know anything about the picture themselves, it isn’t mentioned at all in the text. I’ve included it as a point of interest.
This is the Vand A’s earliest example of knitting. It is a pair of socks from Egypt dating from around the 3rd to 5th century AD.
Knitting was recognised and protected as a trade in England from an early age. In 1571 the cappers act was past which enforced the wearing of caps for most common people on every Sunday and holiday “a Cap of Wool knit, thicked and dressed in England, made within this Realm, and only dressed and finished by some of the Trade of Cappers, upon pain to forfeit for every Day of not wearing three Shillings four Pence”
In the 18th century knitting became a pasttime of wealthy ladies who had the hours to spend learning to knit properly. It soon became a ladies ‘skill’ such as singing and playing the piano. The creation of fancy items became a widely accepted way of demonstrating ones taste and skill level.
As knitting became more well known it was adopted by sailors and fishermen as a way of creating garments to keep themselves warm, around this time the cable stitch was developed which added bulk and warmth to the items.
In the First World War people were encouraged to knit items to keep the soldiers in the trenches warm. Again in the second world war with wool in short supply people were encouraged to recycle with knitting, picking apart old jumpers to make new ones.
I was quite surprised to see quite how long knitting has been going on for!
3. Looking at the stereotypes which I came up with from my initial mind map and the actual history of knitting, they are worlds apart. Whereas I was under the impression that knitting was something that only old people did when they were less mobile and had more time on their hands, it is in fact something that people have done for thousands of years. Its an economical way to generate clothing and provide garments with added warmth to those who may need them. I particularly enjoyed learning about how during World War Two people used to unpick old jumpers to recycle the wool and knit new ones. Everything I have learnt in my research absolutely contradicts the associations identified in my mind map.
4. There is definitely a general stereotype of knitting as being associated with old people. I think this is because those who are in their 60’s now were probably the last generation to use knitting as a necessity. I have parents in their 60s and they both have tales of knitted swimming costumes. Thanks to the internet and a new interest in all things craft, knitting is becoming more well known again. New interest in it as a hobby is awakening. I think that if the same question were to be asked in another 10-15 years the answer would be that Knitting is something craft loving people do. I for one hope that it will be around for a long time to come.
In this exercise I am to look at the set textbook pages 80-82 and write down the signifier and the signified of such images. I am then to take note of where these phenomena are formed and their relationship to the land.
Signifier – the form a sign takes : Flattened corn in a stylised pattern
Signified – the concept to which it represents or refers : Crop circles in Wiltshire “traditionally the home of paganism and New Age mythology” refer to an unexplained relationship between the land and possibly paranormal forces.
I remember the early 90’s when mystery crop circles were all over the news. It seems a shame that artists owned up to making them and although taking the credit, also ruining the sense of mystery. This has not put people off attempting to ‘prove’ that crop circles are made by aliens, I found one BBC report (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2191565.stm ) in which a crop circle artist states that he has been told crop circle artists are part of a cover-up by the Government, even though he himself has confessed to making them in the first place.
I think crop circles are class, they give people a sense of wonder and fire up imaginations in a way in which a lot of things often fail to do when you become buried in the humdrum of adult life.
They are most often found in wheat fields because wheat when bent gives the sharpest edge to enable artists to create the crispest lines. They are most often created down in South West England where tales of folk lore are the strongest. They are often located on ley-lines, or lines of energy believed to be within the land itself.
In this exercise I am to examine a location and how that environment can be perceived differently.
I chose to do something a bit different for this exercise and briefly talk about Pinewood Studios Underwater Stage and Exterior Tank. (Within the Youtube video start watching from approximatley the 1.50 point)
At 6 metres deep and containing a million litres of water, the inside water tank at Pinewood studios enables directors to create the perfect filming conditions. This facility allows production companies to save time, resources and budget allowing them to continue to make stunning imagery for almost any application.
Credits for the Underwater Stage include; Black Sea, Gravity, Great Expectations, Dark Shadows, Les Misrables, Skyfall, Captain America – The First Avenger, Johnny English Reborn, Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows, X-Men- First Class, Clash of the Titans, Gullivers Travels, and Casino Royale to name a few!
CGI now ages so much and so obviously that more reliance is again placed on excellent model making. Large miniatures of vessels are built and displayed against blue screen technology allowing the sky and ocean, or in the case of Mamma Mia where entire fake villages were built, entire dwellings to be constructed and filmed as if full size. (One secret of filming I was stunned to learn whilst touring the Harry Potter experience was that in the films, when the castle of Hogwarts is seen in its entirety….its actually a model. Incredible.)
Between model makers, highly trained divers and inventive film crew, one large tank of water has contributed massively to the construction of more different recreations of time and place than one physical location ever could.
In this project I am to choose an example of contemporary visual communication and answer a series of questions on it.
The piece of visual communication that I chose is an advertising poster for Australias first organic energy drink. Stangelove’s Ginger Beer.
I chose StangeLove Ginger Beer because of the advertising campaign. The cut-out nature of the static poster reminds me of the work of the Dada artists from Part 3, Project 2 Exercise 2. When I saw the poster it made me think of someone using Dada to suit a modern generation. This made me curious about whether the company were intentionally referencing an earlier era or if it was a coincidence. This was cleared up for me the moment that I watched the YouTube TV advertisement for the same product. Using the tagline ‘the recipe we stole from old people’ makes it quite clear that they want to reference the older eras and make them relevant for the now.
What charaterises it as ‘new’? How does it fit within wider contemporary trends?
I characterise this poster as ‘new’ because of the use of colors and content. Everything on the poster is designed to make the bottle the star of the image. The colour palette complements the yellow of the liquid whilst the montage of classic art cut out images complements the bottle as opposed to distracting from it. The subject matter of plants and fruits and bees etc reflects the organic elements of the bottles ingredients. The choice to include human elements is a little harder for me to explain other than of adding aesthetic interest? The sprawled man at the bottom left hand side of the bottle and the pose of his arm draws the eye along the tag line at the bottom of the compilation. A human eye immediately draws attention from the viewer as it is a natural reaction to look at someones eyes to make a connection. The only eye available for the viewer to connect with is on the label of the bottle which makes sense. So, to answer the question a little more clearly, for me it is the chosen style of presentation of the historic items contained within the poster which make it new.
Are there any direct lines of influence from other contemporary artifacts – or historical ones?
This poster is very reminiscent of Dada art. Dada was satirical and often nonsensical whilst spreading messages on themes of anti-war. The use of pieces of classical art in juxtaposition to each other to enhance the presentation of the product reminds me of their style very strongly.
What factors will lead to your example becoming last years thing? What aspect of the design will age first? What do you think will replace it?
Advertising styles much like fashion often seem to go in cycles. I believe that the element that will lead to it aging first will be the choice of collage as a medium. I think we are due for more use of classical art paintings within advertising, we have recently peaked with the use of highly detailed photographic images and stylised futuristic shots. Despite this there seems to be a growing swell of peoples awareness of the planet, what they are eating and where resources actually come from. People are making lifestyle choices to help the planet not just for material gain. I think the pendulum will swing the other way from photographic images and we will continue to see more of classical art imagery or Photoshop originated fantasy gain prominence in advertising campaigns.
In this exercise I am to look carefully at a provided image (Navy recruitment poster) and describe its literal elements. I am then to think about its implied meaning.
The poster depicts a Navy sailor straddling a giant golden torpedo in the manner of a bucking bronco. There is accompanying text ‘Join the Navy – the service for fighting men’. The sailor is in a position of exuberance, he is successfully riding the torpedo but has one arm cast jubilantly into the air.
At the time the poster was created, which I would guess to be approximately the 1920’s (from the style of the uniform) the messages of the poster would be a lot different from what they would be if such a poster were to be released this year. At the time the message of the poster would be concentrating on reinforcing the fact that the Navy were the best of the three services, that the manliest men would join the Navy to truly fight the enemy. This is signified by the sailor so skillfully riding the torpedo. The emphasis for the artist at the time would have been on depicting the sailor as a fighting man, a warrior.
If the same poster were released this year the first thought that would spring into a lot of peoples minds (mine included – so ashamed) is that they had depicted the sailor riding a massive phallic symbol. The message would still be the same, that they wanted to show the Navy men as the ultimate manly men, the only difference is the shift in cultural emphasis. Sex seems to be used in advertising a lot more now, we’re surrounded by it, so unfortunately, its one of the first things that springs to mind.
Above are the latest attempts by the modern day Army to lure in recruits through its doors. What the recruitment company has attempted to focus on are the reasons why people think that they are not suitable for the army and to quash them. They have used the juxtapositioning of something detrimental like “Phone Zombies” next to an image of someone smartly dressed in uniform to create an interest for the viewer. The range of posters were intentionally created in a style reminiscent of the iconic Kitchener recruitment poster. These new images have had a mixed response. I for example, can see what angle they were attempting to work with, I can see what message the poster designers were trying to put across. A lot of people have been immediately getting offended by being labelled a ‘phone zombie’ or a ‘snowflake’ or a ‘me meme millennial’ and miss the point completely.
In this exercise I am to choose a film and its corresponding poster and reflect on how the image, colour, composition and typography are used to reflect the nature of the film.
This poster for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them immediately sums up the recurring theme of the film, light into darkness.
The way that the main character is positioned on the right-hand side framed by a blaze of light against the dark gloomy backdrop of new York city illustrates the characters journey through the storyline. The body language of the character communicates that he is a modest and unassuming man, a traveller as can be seen from the briefcase. The wand in his hand has a glowing tip, an echo of the brighter light behind him and potentially hinting at its source. He is well dressed yet the building he is standing on has been ravaged by either a beast (as hinted at by the film title) or events as yet unknown. The colouring of his backdrop, bules and greys, reflects the atmosphere that the character finds in the USA, his destination. Magic is strictly regulated there, paperwork for every visitors wand permit and regulations on interactions with non-magic citizens.
The character arrives in new York from the more enlightened 1920’s England, he brings with him modern thinking, new ways of doing things and new attitudes towards many aspects of life including animals. One of the themes of the film is that he is on a quest to educate fellow human beings to better understand and live alongside animals rather than being scared/attacking them.
This film poster is reminiscent of the film City of Angels in which angels are all around us, invisible but keeping an eye on events. Within the film they are usually pictured on high rise buildings in long brown greatcoats, this is what springs to mind for me when I see this poster, the character is an angel sent to help the creatures and possibly people that he finds at his destination.
The typography links directly to the Potter franchise. It has the same basic font shape and flourishes despite the nature of the letters being a lot more organic and less jagged.
In this exercise I am to research a selection of artists mentioned and then using a current news item, re-contextualise an images to say something new about the story it represents.
John Heartfield was an artist who managed to earn himself the 5th spot on the Gestapos most wanted list, pretty impressive work. Between 1930 and 1938 he created artwork for popular left wing magasine Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (AIZ). It took until 1933 for him to leave Berlin after an SS assassination squad broke down the door to his apartment and he narrowly escaped.
I found a variety of covers for the AIZ magasine online, this is my particular favorite as the message is so clear. The dove of peace impaled upon the bayonet of war needs no further explaining!
Peter Kennard is a photomontage artist who is most well known for his political works made for CND in the 70’s and 80’s. Trained as a painter originally he abandoned it in favour of montage in the 70’s in a bid to better unite art and politics for a wider audience.
I chose this image because although simple it has a few definite points to make. I think that it is illustrating the absurdity of human having filled the Earths orbit with lethal missiles pointing down at our own planet. Some are meant to strike at an enemy, some are meant to shoot down an enemies missiles, but all of them are designed for the same thing, death. Humans are killing each other but worse, the very planet that we are stood on with our ignorance and greed.
Hannah Hoch was a German Dada artist who was one of the original photomontage artists.
Hoch survived the Third Reich despite being classed as a degenerate artist where many of her works linked the liberation of women with political revolution.
Cut with the Kitchen Knife Dada through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany (1919) was a famous piece that is seen as a criticism of the democracy imposed by the Weimar Repulic.
Im still not sure how this can be seen as a criticism of the Weimar democracy? Maybe its the juxtaposition of the word Dada with the different elements Hoch has chosen to represent?
Much like Hannah Hoch, Martha Rosler focuses a lot of her work on the position of females within a male dominated society.
Born in America in the 40’s Rosler had a different view of women within a male dominated society from Hoch but still reaches approximatley the same message. The woman shown in the above image ‘ Woman with Vacuum, or Vacuuming Pop Art‘ shows a woman in a domestic setting. She is surrounded by images by male pop artists and is pictured in a subservient role. It reminds me of an essay I had to write years ago about the film Oceans 11, at one point in the film Julia Roberts is shown wearing a stunning dress alone in an art gallery. The point of that particular camera shot was to show that she is considered by the male character as just another possession, another piece of his collection. I receive the same message from this image by Rosler. The woman with the vacuum is far prettier than anything on the walls, far more useful, yet she is relegated to cleaning the area. The area which I notice is small and cramped and looks to be trapping her inside. But then again that small corridor could be seen as an attempt to frame the female character and present her as the greatest work of art of them all, everything is very open to interpretation.
In the second part of ths exercise I had to ” using a current news item, re-contextualise an images to say something new about the story it represents“
I chose to use Boris Johnson because I think that he’s a fabulous character. Of all the issues he’s thrown himself into lately I chose to use the Brexit deadline. When he gets going he really reminds me of Winston Churchill and his anti-Nazi rhetoric. I used a selection of photographs to put my montage together.
I kept the message quite simple, I wanted to just communicate Johnson’s Churchillian determination to stand up for the independence of the UK against the oppressive EU overlords. I think this image does that quite successfully.
In this exercise I am to look at 5 different examples of statements written in different typographys. I am to describe what is being communicated through the combination of the message and the typeface. I am then to (optionally) extend this exercise by finding my own exampleswhich are both complementary and those with discrepancy.
Enjoy Your Stay: This is written in a bold calligraphic font which reminds me a little bit of a gothic type face. The phrase ‘enjoy your stay’ makes me think of hotels and guest houses. When presented in this font I would assume that the venue is somewhere like an old abbey or a country manor.
Do Not Feed The Animals They Are Dangerous: This is written in plain capital letters. Capital letters make a phrase seem emphatic, as though someone is shouting. I would expect to see this coloured red to reinforce the message.
We Are Professionals: This is written in a font which resembles a typewriter. This does not strike the right tone with me. It is probably that I am used to seeing official documents written either in Ariel font or Times New Roman. Decades earlier there would have been no choice but to use a typewriter, now it is just another font which is a stylistic choice.
Luxury: This is again not written in the font that I would expect. The font it is presented in reminds me more of something that a product wanting to promote it’s organic origins would use. It looks handwritten and not as smart as I would expect from something denoting ‘luxury’.
Hand Made: This text looks like Ariel, this is what I would choose for the phrase ‘we are professionals’. It is a default font encouraged throughout several industries as the only official font to use. I would have chosen the font that has been used for ‘luxury’ to communicate this phrase.