Project 2: Objectives + Outcomes

Objective:

  • In this second project, I have two important objectives to explore. The first is to introduce colour into my exhibition. Currently, the exhibition has been realised with black etching on transparent acrylic and layered glass, but I want to enhance the realism of my designs by using colours natural to the scenarios I am working with. Examples include the fiery orange of sunset, the calm blue of flowing water, and the silver lining of mountain skies.
  • Another important objective will be to add text to my exhibition. The plan is to project type around or above the exhibition, rather than etching it onto the layered pieces themselves. Both the colours and type will require light projection to achieve. I will experiment with laser-cutting acrylic into right-sized circles to affix to a light projector, and etch text on these, for use in my exhibition.

Outcomes:

  • A key outcome is to see the range of text that can emerge from this process. I would like to discover key words, phrases and/or sentences that will really boost my exhibition. Another outcome will be to investigate the best method for introducing text into my exhibition. I will begin with using light projection, but am open to more effective methods. In this way, I will learn different techniques.
  • Developing my work further, based on feedback from my colleagues.
  • A further outcome will be to see which materials work best to introduce the gradients of delicate, natural colours that I require for my exhibition.
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Project 01

In preparing the design for my first project, I conducted a lot of research into the psychology of inner mental states. My findings inspired a lot of ideas, including the five senses, inner spaces of calm and reflection, and the connection between outer surroundings and our mental states.

I thought carefully about places and scenery which have a strong mental impression (positive or negative) on people. Research showed me that these spaces are often outer natural environments, such as the sea, mountains, and forestry. Having decided on these three, I decided to begin my experiment by focusing on the visual sense.

The decision to illustrate by hand rather than design with a machine or software was a conscious one, because this technique is one of my strengths. In addition, I felt that it would lend realism to the images, rather than something digitally cut.

My line illustrations began on transparent tracing paper. Using black ink, I sketched outlines of mountains and sea waves. From here, I progressed onto designing on glass. This was a little difficult, because some pens did not leave a permanent ink on the glass. I had to find and use PILOT pens.

The second element of my project involved projecting light to enable people interact with the sketches. In addition, the layering of the glass pieces provided further opportunity for interaction for my audience. People were able to move and re-arrange the layers as they liked, at the same time playing with light projections to create desired images.

This glass worked very well, until I noticed that glass was an unsuitable material. As people began to interact with the glass, it occurred to me that the glass was easily breakable, and often the edges bruised participants. I needed to find another material. Opting for acrylic, I etched my illustrations with a machine. However, the outcome gave thicker lines than I wanted. I have decided to use acrylic material because this will be better for my exhibition, but I will continue illustrations by hand.

Project 1 has been a good experiment, and it will form the foundation for successive projects. I will build upon it by introducing colour, and experimenting with sand. To enhance the storytelling element of my project, I am considering shooting a short video of my layered pieces. In this video, I will highlight the “journey” through the outer spaces, using location-specific sounds such waves and birds singing.

Artist Statement + Images

Bridge Through the Senses

Navigating the connection between our inner space and nature.

The vast amount of technology to which we are exposed in modern life inhibits our potential for evocative interactions and experience of places and spaces. Constantly loaded with stimuli, our senses struggle to form impactful responses, leaving us with little to recreate our inner space. This thesis investigates the role of the senses in creating meaning and memory through sensory experiences of places and spaces. Using design illustrations to construct 3-D imagery of three distinct natural sceneries, I explore the connection between the sensory stimuli of these outer spaces and our inner calm or inner chaos.

Objectives + Outcomes

Objectives and outcomes:

Objective:

Principal objective will be to use 3-dimensional layering to create a structure of 3 different natural elements which have place, space and location variables: the Mountain, the Sea, and the Forest. I will be exploring the sight sensory element of these 3 spaces specifically.

An important objective will be to give depth to the created pieces, first through the layered glass technique, and then through features of these places that enrich the Sight sensory experience. For example, the layers for the Forest will include leaves and trees.

The third objective is to focus on layering and depth that has the potential for duality i.e. the potential to reflect inner calm, and also inner chaos. This way, the sensory interaction between my audience and the designed pieces will be binary.

Outcomes:

Learning different techniques for creating the optimal number of layered glass pieces in a single collection.

Seeing how the RGB colours can work with and give depth to the layered glass techniques.

Seeing the audience participation with the interactive exercise. In this exercise, the audience will be invited to recall and recreate a place or space they have visited and formed in memory, using one or more elements of the 3 location variables. Depending on their sensory experience of my pieces, audience may recreate a space that reflects inner calm or inner chaos.

Developing my work further, based on feedback from my colleagues.

In Class – Feedback:

Following on from my class discussion, I was encouraged to investigate the concept of synesthetic experiences in my project. Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which a person experiences “crossed” responses to stimuli. This happens when one sensory pathway (hearing) receives a stimulus, but is not alone in responding to it. It is joined automatically by a second or third sensory pathway (sight, taste). The potential combinations are varied: sound-sight, as in where a person hears music, and sees resulting colours or patterns. Though it has been statistically shown to affect around 5% of the world’s population, it appears that most people experience one or more forms of synesthesia.

Another form of synesthesia joins objects such as letters, shapes, numbers or people’s names with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor.

 

Jan 20th

Possible investigations:

What is the condition/topic/area of interest?

Sensory experience facilitates the reception of stimulus and creation of a response to any given place or space. For this reason, sensory experience is at the core of my design project. I am interested in examining how the sensory elements of places and spaces enable the creation of inner calm and connectedness or of inner chaos and distraction.

What is your intent; What will you be doing (making/exploring)?

My intent is to combine the five sensory elements to project a single, unified experience of a place or space. The sea is one place in particular that I will be exploring, as its dynamism gives it versatility – sensory experience of the sea could be both a source of inner calm and connectedness and of inner chaos / distraction.

I will explore this project using design. Design will involve more 3-dimensional, tight layering of the tools I work with, in order to give depth and contour to my images. Design will focus on 3-dimensional layering to create 3 different natural elements which have place, space and location variables: the Mountain, the Sea, and the Forest.

To give depth and contour to my pieces, I will include features of these places that enrich the sensory experience. For example, the layers for the Forest will include leaves and trees.

How do you want to change/affect the condition/topic?

Given the vast amount of technologies used in daily living and modern society, the potential for sensory interactions and experience of places and spaces has become inhibited. The level of stimulus and response situations available to the average individual has increased greatly, and limited the possibilities for creating meaning and memory. I want to affect this topic of sensory experience of places and spaces by calling people’s attention to the activity itself, and encouraging a revival of the interaction between the outer and inner space.

What will be the effects of your work (implications)?

Through interaction with my design pieces, people will, depending on their specific personalities and sensory tendencies, connect my work to an inner feeling of calm or an inner feeling of chaos. Whereas for some, sight may be the principal way by which they interact with the design and create meaning and memory, for others, touch may be the principal sensory route.

word + sentence + paragraph

4 thesis topics

Sensory experience

Sentence: I am interested in exploring sensory experience of places and spaces,

Paragraph: Sensory experience is at the intersection of stimulus and response i.e. the cause-and-effect process that occurs when both variables are present. Sensory experience facilitates the encoding of both variables: stimulus and response. Often, these are located in and across places and spaces. For this reason, sensory experience is at the core of my design project.

Space

Sentence: I am keen to investigate the associations of outer and inner space to memory.

Paragraph: Space is a variable in the formation of memory. At the same time, space can be virtual or physical, autonomous or shared. I will explore how memory of outer and/or physical space reflects on inner space.

Chaos | Distraction

Sentence: I would like to explore how sensory experience of places and spaces can lead to inner chaos

Paragraph: Although I am addressing my thesis concept from the perspective of inner calm and connectedness, I see the possibility for internal chaos | distraction to result from the sensory experience of outer places and spaces.

Focus

Sentence: I want to analyse the connection between inner calm and physical and mental focus

Paragraph: My hypothesis is that the memory created from sensory experience of a calm outer place or space can be recalled at a later point and recreated internally. The resulting inner calm evokes physical and mental focus. 

in-class feedback:

Following an in-class discussion among my peers, Professor Law, and I, of the three principal topics – space, sensory experience, and chaos/distraction – I received very instructive feedback on my interest areas. In particular, the wider discussion gave me insight into combining my earlier concept of inner calm through sensory experience, and exploring the opposing idea of inner chaos through similar stimulus.

Zine

I have chosen to design a zine based on skulls. This is a topic of interest for me, and notably, for some other individuals. Skull symbolism differs from society to society, but some of the common meanings it has include – death, protection, strength, power, fearlessness, wisdom and guidance, overcoming death, surviving through a difficult time, or even immortality.

I have brainstormed a few ideas to best describe the persona of my likely target audience i.e. those who would be interested in and attracted to reading my zine.

Reflection

Initially, I conceived of the idea to create the zine as a collage – cutting pictures of skulls from magazines, and glued them together in a fused arrangement on white paper. Whilst this was not digitally designed, preparing the zine this way was disconnected from the image I sought to achieve with this project – one of a clean, neat, hand-drawn illustration in which the pieces fit and fuse well together. In addition, it was at odds with my conscientious, prim-and-proper personality.

My alternate approach involved actual hand-drawn illustration of a mesh of cut-outs from the magazines I used. Some of these images were illustrated, and some were photographed.

Looking at the finished piece, this was far more reflective of my design style. Furthermore, this experience gave me a deep appreciation of the artistic challenges faced by historic designers, in a time without cameras, printers, or computers.

Having said that, I also enjoyed the challenge of creating a hand-drawn piece from scratch, not least because I am passionate about skulls. Therefore, designing a zine for skulls is my utopian project. This is why I took my time in designing the images, paying careful attention to the detail, as well as to the message I want to communicate to my potential audience – the skull-loving persona.

One challenge I did not enjoy was that of locating and placing two articles on skulls within my zine. At first, I sought the material using information from the archaeological sections of museums. However, the material I gathered struck me as inanimate, unevocative and therefore unengaging to my potential audience. Taking a different turn, I researched offline and online, and found two intriguing pieces – quotes from an interview with Damien Hurst, and a stream-of-consciousness from a book. These articles provided the emotional and passionate angle I was looking for, and I am confident they will attract and appeal to my audience persona.

Mindful of the steps involved in the process, I deliberately designed my pieces side-by-side so that they would be easy to scan and printer-ready, for double-sided printing. This mindfulness helped me further along the process, when I needed to digitize and print my work.

I chose white layout paper, of a near transparent look and feel. This backdrop really helped my illustrations stand out – as the deep, dark black of the pen ink stood sharply against the thin, translucent look of the paper.