John has 65 post(s)

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See you in the spring!

4 Blog    f       
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Y Upload your interpretive project documentation to Assignment 9
12/06/2012, 11:56 am

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Y Upload your final mapping documentation to Assignment 8
12/04/2012, 1:39 pm

Mine your formal analysis (or your classmates’) for themes, movements, or other interpretive analyses. Use the film as a jumping off point — as your assignment sheet — to make a work that is your own. It is not important that the viewer of your project connect the movie to your project, it is only important that you start from the film and find a point of departure.

Your project is due on the last day of class, December 5, with one week to revise thereafter. You should upload project documentation and the pdf files (if applicable) to a post on the site. Attach your post to category 9.

Image at top is from the last scene of The Graduate, a couple whose finale is reminiscent of Modern Times

As a first step to your last assignment in Making Meaning, write a formal analysis of the film we watched today, Modern Times. A formal analysis is a “purely visual description of the work irrespective of cultural context, history, or artistic motivation.” A formal analysis is a tool to deconstruct the visual (or sensoral) decisions made by an artist. It should identify the modes of communication (how and by what means) used to reveal relationships, identities, values, points-ofview. These formal decisions either conflict or support an artwork’s themes, context or storyline.

Your formal analysis may be fairly specific, focusing on light, camera angles, or use of sound. It should be between one and two “pages” and posted to the website in a post and categorized to Assignment 7. Everyone should attach a screen capture (or more) from the film that acts as support for your writing.

If you are having difficulty with the assignment, make a list of formal terms that you see during the film and making a list or a notebook with these terms. Note patterns and relationships between the formal terms.

Your making assignment will derive itself from this interpretive analysis.

Looks at communicative abstract marks (pictograms mainly) as they serve your mapping assignment

Download pdf

4 Lectures / Project 3: Mapping    f       


Using today’s lecture as inspiration, create a map of your site, place or journey. Your map may serve as analysis and research that leads to a future project, or be a work unto itself. The amount of voice and subjectivity that enters into the map is your choice — as is the format of the map itself.

4 Handouts / Project 3: Mapping    f       
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B On Mapping and Maps, Peter Hall

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B On Exactitude in Science, Jorge Luis Borges

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B Utterance Is Place Enough: Mapping Conversation

Read the Georges Perec reading posted to the site.

Chose a place or take a journey. Using Perec as an inspiration, work towards making an objective map of your site. What form is appropriate for what you’re trying to say about the site. What phenomena are you mapping? Temperature, color, space, sound, history? Geographical mapping is only one route.

Your Tuesday, you will be presenting your research findings as a presentation. Still photographs, sounds, sketches, tied together with your voice. I advise that you string together your visual research into a pdf or keynote that you can lead us through.

You will then have one week to produce an objective map. Consider a format and a scope that makes sense for the relatively short amount of time that you have.

4 Handouts / Project 3: Mapping    f       
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B An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, Georges Perec

Mapping notation, symbol, icon and typography — all elements of map making — are forms of visual shorthand. They are all signs, or “stand-ins” for something else. Moving through any landscape or environment one encounters enormous amounts of sensory stimuli. When describing a place or a journey, it becomes necessary to omit much of reality in favor of short hand or representation.

As “storytellers” you are being asked to describe the story of a prescribed place (much in the way a map functions) using various visual “sign vehicles.” The place is your choice, either constituting a journey, a small area, or a connected number of locations. Choosing the place is not unimportant, but almost any place will do.

This unit asks you to be observant, to come up with some opinion or conclusion about the place, and to execute a series of projects on the place.

4 Handouts / Project 3: Mapping    f       

Upload your files to Vimeo and make a post with the video embedded and categorize it under Assignment 6.


Jem Cohen film from 2000. May be of interest.

4 Blog    f       

Using photography and sound only, produce a 2-3 minute video to be projected on Thursday, November 8.

The resolution of the film should be 1280×720 dpi (720p). Compression should be H.264. You may use color or black and white. You may use ambient sound, foley sound and/or music. Avoid making a music video.

There should be a title card at the beginning, with the title, your name, and my name. It should be white text on black. Do not spend any time working on the titles.

I will collect the video files on Tuesday November 6 and we will project the films on the 8th.

Please upload the films to a new post and categorize it to assignment 6.

Bring in final printed storyboards in book form. Paste in your photographs, framed and cropped into the pages. Use quick shots that act as sketches to the more developed shots that will develop later.


Our visit to the Special Collections library included a look at the following photo narrative books from conceptual artists.

  1. Baldessari, John, Close-Cropped Tales
  2. Calle, Sophie, Suite Vénitienne.
  3. Calle, Sophie, Exquisite Pain.
  4. Ruscha & Weiner, Hard Light.
  5. Michals, Duane, Sequences.
  6. Snow, Michael, Cover to Cover.
  7. Frank, Robert, One Hour.
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B “Assemblage”, La Jetee by Janet Harbord

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B Introduction and beginning of On Directing Film

Bring in at least 300 blank sheets of text-weight paper to bind in class on Thursday.

Collect images that demonstrate possible stylistic look and feels of your end piece. Bring in printed examples or an organized gallery (tumblr, pinterest) of references.

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B Understanding Comics, Chapters 1 and 4

We will be watching this in class. This is the French subtitled version.


Please upload a pdf of your poster with a jpg image to the website and assign the post to Assignment 5.

Bring in your final physical poster on Tuesday. It should be trimmed to exactly 24×36 and be suitable for hanging in the Graphic Design Gallery. I will store the posters in a flat file cabinet until then, so no need to bring it rolled up.

We are beginning a new assignment today. The final deliverable, due November 6th, will be a 2-3 minute film made up of still images and sound.

For Tuesday of next week, please bring in three stories that you might want to work with. Your film may work with a portion of one of the stories. Choose a range of stories, from first-person memoirs, to fiction, to historical non-fiction. It should be subject matter that interests you and may be visualized.

In selecting your story, look for a clear plot and vivid character descriptions.
Keep in mind that your narrative should have a distinct beginning,
middle and end.

Also, consult the reading list for this unit, making sure to purchase David Mamet’s On Directing Film.

Below is a list of story structures prepared by Tom Wedell, which may help.
• Action: Non-stop chasing, fighting, etc.
• Adventure: Heroes and incredible action in escapist fun.
• Biographic drama: A story of a real life.
• Body swap: Being someone else.
• Caper: Loveable rogues pull off big heist without hurting people.
• Chase: Pursuit, crashes, stunts and capture (perhaps).
• Chick Flick: Fun for women.
• Classroom drama: Emotional students and brilliant teachers.
• Comedy: Funny things happen to funny people.
• Crime: Good guys catch bad guys.
• Disaster: Terrible things happen. People survive.
• Drama: Just everyday excitement.
• Escape: Good people captured by bad people. Escape themselves.
• Espionage: Spies, counterspies and political secrets.
• Fantasy: Wizards and heroes battle with monsters. Good guys win.
• Horror: Scary things trigger fear.
• Journey: A process or course likened to traveling; a passage.
• Kitchen-sink drama: Mundane stuff at home.
• Mystery: Solving puzzles.
• Pioneer: People go to strange places. Discover themselves.
• Psychological thriller: Scary and subtle excitement.
• Rescue: Saving people from harm.
• Romance: The path of true love is not smooth, but it is inevitable.
• Science fiction: One of the above, set in the future.
• Slapstick: Comedy with custard.
• Survival: Man vs. nature. Man wins. Just.
• Swashbuckler: Pirates and daring on the Spanish Main.
• Thriller: Exciting things happen.
• Tragedy: Sad things happen. People die.
• War: Big battles. Good guys win in the end.
• Whodunnit: Detective detects who done it.

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Y For Thursday: Actual size poster
10/03/2012, 12:03 pm

Design a 24″x36″ poster that promotes a social or political cause. The poster should designed to post in public and timed before the election on November 6. The election may or may not be an important factor in your poster. Imagine your poster also being postable on Facebook or a crowd-sourced website like “Green Patriot Posters.”

Your final poster is due October 11 and will need to be trimmed at 24×36″. The version due Tuesday may fit on an 11×17″ sheet of paper but should be trimmed proportionally to the final (2×3 ratio).

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% John completed


Save our trees

{ 5:45 pm


Working from the provided box of green foam peanuts, make a photograph with a caption that acts as a poster for your social cause. Any point can be illustrated with the foam peanuts. This will force you to abandon the obvious and to construct meaning from a fairly meaningless image. Considering framing, point of view, location (background) and other formal concerns. Construct your photograph and upload your image to the website and assign it to the Assignment 3 category. Please use your caption in both the title and as text beneath the image.

Break up into three groups of about 4 people per group. Either pin up your 50 sheets of paper or lay them out on the floor or table. Everyone in the group other than the person pinning up should write words that they associate with the images directly on the paper. These can either be formal attributes: “dark, scary, empty, gross” or concepts: “honest, depressing, surreal”. It may also be helpful to describe the image as either objective, subjective or idiosyncratic (given your classmate’s cause).

The image notation session should lead into a discussion.Consider the following questions during the discussion.

  1. What sort of textual counterpart works with the images chosen?
  2. What is the image maker’s point of view given the image?
  3. Do multiple images together start to create a new meaning?
  4. How can the social cause or approach be refined even more?
  5. Would any of these images work for your own topic? If so, how?

The collector of the images should pick out a few images to discuss with the larger group — either because they were read differently than expected, or because there was a certain enthusiasm around it. Bring some aspect of your small group discussion forward.

Your fellow groupmates should pick 5-10 images apiece from which to design their own “poster” for next week.

The goal of this activity is to more finely tune the way we see and talk about images. Certain images may be powerful or provocative on their own, but do not lend themselves to a textual counterpart. And given the end deliverable, you should also learn to look for the unexpected and consider images outside of the standard content area.

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B This Means This and This Means That, Sean Hall

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B Five Ways to Design for a Cause, Michael Bierut

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Y You can email links to the website
09/20/2012, 11:44 am

Following the maxim, “it is easier to find than to invent,” spend the next 48 hours collecting 50 images that speak to either (or both) the subject matter you’ve chosen or the style of imagery that you’re interested in. Consider a range of perspectives, tones and voices (subjective/objective/idiosyncratic) in your search, but focus your time and attention in areas that most interest you.

Your images should come from: existing posters/book covers, magazines, your camera, your pencil and the Internet. You may find the juxtaposition of images forms the meaning you are intending. Consider cropping images that do not focus our attention on what we’re supposed to see. Use this assignment as a way to refine your focus. What starts as “women’s rights” may turn into “better pay for women” based on the images and research you find.

Although the focus of this step is not on language, make notes with wording that may be of use to you as you refine your idea. In some cases, your wording may be so good, that you may opt to print it as an image.

Print each image (black and white in most cases is fine) on one side of a letter-sized sheet of paper. Leave some space around the image if possible. We will work with the printouts in class on Thursday.

The matrix was meant as a site for visual and textual research for a poster on a social cause.

Spend about 10 minutes looking and commenting on two of your classmate’s matrices: the one that is listed above yours on the website, and the one that is listed below. Copy the below questions to a text file, answer the questions and paste your results in the comment section of the post for the matrix.

  1. What topic has your classmate chosen to defend?
  2. Do any of the cells in the matrix make you agree more with your classmate? What about less?
  3. Has your classmate missplaced either text or image content in the matrix? If so, what effect does that have?
  4. Would another combination of text and image from this matrix make a more compelling argument for the chosen cause?
  5. Do you have any other feedback to share?
4 Project 1: Matrix    f    J        
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B Destroy this book: About Green Patriot Posters

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B Lester Beall and the Rural Electrification Administration

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Y Linked by Air lecture, Wed. Sept 19, 4:30p, Auditorium
09/18/2012, 12:27 pm