So to bring design out from under the thumb of content, we must go one step further and observe that treatment is, in fact, a kind of text itself, as complex and referential as any traditional understanding of content. — Michael Rock
Art is the provocation for talking about enigma and the search for sense in human life. One can do that by telling a story or writing about a fresco by Giotto or studying how a snail climbs up a wall. —John Berger
Unit 12 / THE ‘READ’
Question: How can you design narrative experiences in physical places/environments, taking into account your audience and community?
Graphic designers are often tasked with shaping visual or verbal messages using two-dimensional typographic, digital, and pictorial means. But designers are also called upon to help make sense of environments beyond the surface of a screen or a page. We help to organize flow and message in museums and in places of commerce; we develop signage and informational markers in built environments; and we work in any number of other spatial and material ways.
• This unit asks you to explore and experience spatial and dimensional design
• This unit as you to consider the potential for spaces to be, or become, narrative places.
• This unit asks you to consider space, place, and experience through the eyes of the community of users (audience, humans).
• How can you “read” a space and how might you intervene in a way that allows that space to “speak”?
• What can you help a place to say? What does it need to say?
This unit asks the question: What is it to design spatially, materially, experientially, and narratively.
How can you consider and use metaphor, story, and association in a relational way in a public built environment.
• To expand upon your understanding of what constitutes a “narrative.”
• To expand upon your understanding of what constitutes a “place” (see resources and readings on Space and Place)
• To learn basic concepts within the sub-field of environmental and experience graphic design.
• To exercise your understanding of metaphor, association, form, abstraction, and other primary GD concepts, but in spatial settings.
• To expand your abilities in thinking and making off the 2d surface.
• To encourage engagement with your local environs and community.
• To explore the possibilities that exist within the act of creating a communicative documentation. How will you document your spatial explorations? In what way will you organize the evidence of the experiences you created. How can you share the process of finding your site, analyzing it, coming to an understanding, and then intervening or “drawing out” a narrative from within it.
Goals and Outcomes
1) to design a narrative experience in a physical public space using any means appropriate to the space and the audience; to expand upon or extend or embellish or subvert what the space is saying, needs to say, or can say.
This should include (but needn’t be limited to) the use of typography, projection, addition of formal elements, signs or symbols, any object or material which holds narrative potential or signification, color, contrast, light, performance, etc.
2) to design a documentation using any necessary and appropriate media in order to share the physical experience and the process of making it with those who cannot be there in the site.
1) Choose a site. You are encouraged to choose a site downtown (over the canal) but no further than a 10-15 min walk from school.
2) Analyze the site first. Develop lists, keywords, histories, associations. Identify its use, and especially identify its users. What is the site’s culture, its past, its present. Write about its character, its nature, its forms and values. What is already there? What’s in the site. What is lacking? What might it say?
3) Begin to sketch/draw/photograph/ the formal, visual, and narrative potentials and interventions that you want to attempt.
4) Implement your plan(s) and experiments.
• Be sure to document ALL versions, iterations, failures: It may be better to attempt a number of approaches than to get hung up on a singular idea.
Try to be truly experimental. Your approaches can be poetic, pragmatic, linguistic, purely formal, or practical or all of the above. They should be appropriate and authentic in how they relate to the site.
• Students should explore and experiment with a variety of possible ways to alter or intervene in this site:
including but not limited to text, image, form, material, scale, contrast, sound, performance, projection, interaction, etc.
-Consider color and contrast.
-Consider mood, tone, temperature, the five senses.
-Consider uses, users, intentions and assumptions.
-What is your site for and why is it there? What is its history? Its culture or story?
-Why might it need or benefit from an intervention? What is the voice you will use to intervene?
-What do the site’s forms and structures suggest in terms of intervention, addition, narrative, etc.
-Consider how one might alter the site simply, with bold moves using contrast or color or material or form.
-Consider the metaphorical implications of the space/place and how you can highlight or subvert these.
-Consider precedents throughout history and world cultures.
WORKING IN TEAMS IS ENCOURAGED HERE
but no more than 3 people per team
Wed. Sep 30
Introduction talk / presentation / writing exercise
Students to walk and map and choose a site. Make a mapping and an analysis. Details to be posted on ds1416.
Class 1 Mon. Oct 5 / The Read
DUE: a THOROUGH and EXHAUSTIVE site analysis. What does your site tell you? What could it say? Come in with mappings, other drawings, photos, recordings. Also due: ideas and sketches for potential narrative/site interventions.
Class 2 Wed. Oct 7 / The Proposals
DUE: proposals for site intervention/narratives. Show examples of materials, supplies, proposals. Over the course of the Unit, expect to make between 3-5 interventions. They can be fast, materials can be cheap, etc.
Mon. Oct 12 NO CLASS – COLUMBUS DAY
Class 3 Wed. Oct 14 / The Variations
DUE: show documentation of actual in situ interventions, between 3-5 at least; show variations and iterations; show a wide variety of elements, parts, communications, using various media. Each site and situation will call for its own approach. Photograph carefully at close up, long shots, medium shots; think macro and micro.
Class 4 Mon. Oct 19 / The Documentations
DUE: Show refinements, show the development of your designed documentation or presentation of the projects/experiments.
Class 5 Wed. Oct 21 /
TWO THINGS DUE: The Experience(s) and the Documentation (site visits?)
DUE: final presentation of a narrative experience as well as your designed documentation to share with all sections
Sophomore and junior-year core graphic design studio at The Rhode Island School of Design