Archive for September, 2009

An International Language and X-Ray Vision.
September 21, 2009

Modern Hieroglyphics

“Modern Hieroglyphics” is about the international symbols such as the little black people that are the signs for the men’s room and the lady’s room.

When describing these figures, the article said that they were created by combining the empiricism of photography with geometric, mathematical structures.  Who knew?  I’ve never really given the small man or woman on the bathroom a second thought.  They’ve always just sorta been a given, which I guess means that they’re doing their jobs cause they clearly depict something.  So much that I don’t even need to think about it anymore.  And it’s not just me.  People all over the world know that the little black man means men’s restroom and the little black woman with the triangle dress means women’s restroom.  It’s pretty amazing how a simple image can translate all borders and language barriers.

One thing that I did find troubling about the article was when it talked about the female figure.  She only appears twice out of all the symbols in the D.O.T. (the list of international symbols).  One, as the symbol for women’s restrooms.  Second, as someone standing behind a desk, selling tickets to a man.

It shows her “assisting” him.  It shows her serving him.  Out of all the times when a human figure is depicted (in elevators, in a waiting room, at a drinking fountain) the woman is only necessary twice.  To show where women can use the restroom and where they can serve men.  hmmmmmm……Needless to say, the system of symbols was created by a man.

Visual Explanations

“Visual Explanations” is about how how diagrams can help depict and explain an action.  Actions used, specifically, in how-to books.  I think we’ve all tried following diagrams that just make no sense.  You know.  When there are 50 different dashed lines and about a dozen arrows going in every direction.  My favorite is the origami diagrams.  You try to mimic the little pictures but somehow, your little scrap of paper looks nothing like the paper rose in the book.  “Visual Explanations” deals specifically with the diagrams that teach magic tricks.  Through blurring, ghosting, and dotting lines, sequencing images and combining text with pictures, artists “make verbs visible” so little kids can learn a card trick or two to show their friends at parties.

The article described said that the diagrams “must simultaneously depict the revealed and the concealed.”  ….That’s kind of an interesting concept.  Kinda like x-ray vision.  It makes sense for a how-to book (Even though explaining magic seems kinda contradictory and oxymoronic, doesn’t it?).  But what happened if we could do that for other situations?  …Like with people.  What if there were diagrams that depicted what people revealed and concealed?  What would we see?  …I suppose we would see the truth.  Granted, it would be depicted in dashed lines, but still…seeing what hides beneath the surface of a person.  Now that would be magic.


Combining Logos
September 17, 2009


Virgin and Nike

Virgin and Nike

Taco Bell and Dirt Devil

Taco Bell and Dirt Devil



We had to take different logos and combine/ alter them in some way.

Oh the Lengths We Will Go…For Stuff and Perfection.
September 17, 2009

These are two of my required viewings for my Electronic Media Studio.

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff is a video about where our products come from, what it takes to make these products, and what happens to them when we’re done with them.  From the forests to the landfill.

Last night I went out to the movies with my best friend to see District 9.  It’s one of those movies where aliens come to live on Earth.  Honestly…I was less scared watching bunch of aliens tear a human to shreds than when I watched The Story of Stuff.  It’s scares the heck out of me when I think about how much our country is consuming and how much waste we produce.  I start having fantasies about being an old women and telling my grandchildren about a time when trees were everywhere not just in parks.  I’m sitting underneath a tree right now writing this blog and worrying that it’s gonna be cut down cause we’ve used up all of the rain forests! …ok.  I know I’m exaggerating, but the thought that we could run out of sufficient natural resources before we die is frightening to say the least.  If nothing else, it makes me wanna go recycle my water bottle.

The aspect of this movie that I really appreciated was that as soon as the video was done, a link popped up that said “Click Here For 10 Recommendations For Another Way.”  THANK YOU!  I was thrilled to find that they didn’t just complain about a problem, but actually offered up a list of possible solutions.

No Logos

No Logos is about anti-corporate resistance.  Basically, it’s showing the negative affects of globalization and how it’s basically prompting a race to the bottom (meaning that companies are trying to sell their product at the lowest prices and trying to pay their employees the least).  It’s broken down into 3 parts:  No space.  No choice.  No job.

One of the interesting portions of the video was when they talked about the America’s sacred place of gathering.  The summit.  The throne.  The epitomy of American culture.  The almighty mall!  The mall is the true heart beat of these logos and corporations.  It is a way of life.  You walk in a mall and it tells you that your clothes aren’t cool enough.  Your shoes aren’t shiny enough.  Your skin isn’t smooth enough.  YOU aren’t enough.  Fortunately, all of your problems can be solved.  All you have to do is BUY BUY BUY!!!!  Perfection is yours with the swipe of a credit card.

…Now I don’t know about you…but if buying useless objects and wasting tons of natural resources is what it takes to be perfect, then I’m not so sure that I’d want perfection.

Dafen: Kinko’s of the Art World
September 14, 2009

Through the new readings for my Electronic Media Studio, I learned about a place in China called Dafen.  It is essentially the Kinko’s of the art world.  It’s where hundreds of Chinese artists make copies of master art works and send them out across the world.  They aren’t trying to pass these off as the original work, just the copy.  As an artist, I cannot imagine being fulfilled with that.  Spending your life as a copy machine cannot be that stimulating.

In one of the articles, someone sent out the picture of the man standing in front of  a line of tanks in the Tiananmen Square protest on June 4, 1989 to several Dafen painters.  The interesting thing is, that some of the artists either omitted parts of the painting or refused to do such a political piece because it was illegal.  Many of them had never seen the image before.  Why?  Because their government controlled what they saw.  This was an image that the Chinese government felt should not be displayed.  So it wasn’t.  The thought that history, that fact, that the past could be controlled, censored and altered is mind boggling.  It’s as if the government were trying to play God.  In fact, for the millions of people who live in China…the government might as well be God.  It recreates their past and determine their future.  It can take the truth away from them.

Of course, I know the truth about what happened in Tiananmen Square.  I’ve seen the pictures.  So it must be the truth, right?

Beauty. Then and Now.
September 10, 2009

TODAY's ideal woman.

TODAY's ideal woman.


I took the Venus of Willendorf and altered her in Photoshop.  Even though no one really knows for sure what her original purpose was, many believe that she was a representation of the ideal woman back in 24,000 BC.  So I thought I’d take her and turn her into the TODAY’S ideal woman.  Isn’t it kinda funny how different our ideas of beauty are now?

What the ideal woman WAS.

What the ideal woman WAS.

A Fable Agreed Upon
September 8, 2009

The next assignment for my Electronic Media Studio is to take an image and change it up someway in Photoshop.  That could mean inserting something into the background, altering the photograph itself, etc.  But before we do any of that, we have to read “Photography as a Weapon”   This article talks about how altering images changes our perception of history.  It said, “We can go back to Mao and Stalin and Castro and Mussolini, and all these guys. All the dictators doctored photographs in order to effectively change history.”

Reading this made me think of one of my favorite quotes:  “What is history but a fable agreed upon?” -Napoleon.  History is what we want it to be.  It isn’t necessarily reality.  This quote is true now than ever.  With all the technology available to us today, such a Photoshop, it’s become frighteningly easy to distort images.  Whether it’s completing a project for a class, or trying to show the world that you’re a threat (such as the Iranian missile photograph), all it takes is a few minutes to twist an image.  To twist our perception of reality.  And now with the internet, everyone in the world can look through the window of your imagined reality.  You just need to post your picture online…on a blog…and your contrived world can be shown to everyone.  One has to wonder, “What kind of reality will we post?”

Altering Myself
September 3, 2009

So I had to take a picture of myself and do 2 things:  create a new and improved me and make an old, wrinkly, witch-like me.

me minus a bunch of flaws

me minus a bunch of flaws

hopefully not a glimpse into the future

hopefully not a glimpse into the future