Archive | February, 2011

Boxed Up & Isotypes

24 Feb

On Monday (21/02/2011) we went on two trips. One was for our Illustration module (Isotype exhibition at the V&A) and the other was for our Packaging and Branding module (Susan Hiller exhibition at Tate Britain). Both of these exhibitions are in relation to the assignments we are currently doing for both modules.

I’ll admit, I didn’t get a feel for either of them and neither did it make me go completely in awe, but there were some stuff in both that I found interesting.

The concept of isotype (International System Of Typographic Picture Education) and it’s use is intriguing, as it uses repetitive pictorial elements to portray data in a format that can be understood by visual communication, making it a language that uses only graphic elements. The pictures themselves are simplified in design, taking the most complex of objects and making it as simple as possible to place into a pictogram or any other statistical format.

The Susan Hiller exhibition – some of it I did find interesting and some made me go completely blank in the head. I did like the Hand Grenades (1972), which was of ashes of canvas paintings Hiller had done and sealed them in glass bottles and rubber stoppers, attaching labels to them and placing them all in a glass bowl. I found it quite mysterious, as you don’t know what the paintings were of or why Hiller chose those particular pieces to burn. But it implemented a scientific look to it with the objects that have been used, as it implies them as being ‘test subjects’, as well as being a memento of these paintings.

10 Months (1977-79) was another that I quite liked, portraying images of how Hiller’s body is changing over the months during her pregnancy, also recording thoughts from her journal. It gives the feeling of how quickly time goes and how things change so drastically in a space of time, but it also allows mothers to relate to this piece as they probably had the same or similar feelings as to what she had. It also gave a ‘bond’ between mother and baby, allowing in the future for her child to see how Hiller wanted to remember every moment of her child’s ‘life’ until they were born.

From the Freud Museum (1991-7) was based on personal mementos, private relics and talismans that were collected by Hiller, and presented in boxes along with information about them. This gives narration to the audience, allowing them to get a whole new perspective as to what they are, how and when they were used and perhaps what they mean to the artist. Putting the objects in a box along with their information, gives the historical value of them as well as implying them to be ‘priceless treasures’ as they are not items that have been ignored and thrown, but items that have had recognition and memories to the owner.

Glitz, Glam and Greed – The World of Advertising

22 Feb

As you can see I haven’t done any posts the last few days due to other work issues, but I’m here now to recall some more things that has happened over the past week.

Last Monday (14/02/2011) in our Packaging & Branding lesson we watched a video called Ways of Seeing, presented by John Berger, an English art critic. To be honest, I never heard of this man until I watched the video, which I personally found quite interesting at the end. In advertising, there is the hint of  glamour, the manufacturing process used to manipulate the mind into making us want things and buy them, even when we don’t need them. The reason is that it’s to make us feel richer in possession, but unfortunately poorer in the pockets. It is used to make us believe we will have a better life with it although we may not use it at all, but it is an item which is worth the such money we are willing to part ways with. However, it can only achieve such radiance of possession, and when a new updated version of that product comes on the shelves, a new emotion of complete envy is born watching others have the item you want, giving us the anxiety to buy and spend more no matter the consequences, just so we feel wanted and appealing towards the people who “hold” glamour. And those who aren’t, become faceless and excluded.

Advertising is in itself, a work of art. Some adverts make you completely mesmerised, and become inquisitive to what the product is, whilst some make you pick up the television remote to switch the channel over. But the use of fine art in advertising is somewhat perplex, however, when looking more closely into it, you notice certain aspects of the images that are referenced from such artistry. Gestures, poses, objects, they’re all positioned in a way that is similar to that of a fine art painting. This portrays the different life you can have and the wealth you may “show” if you buy the product, which I’m sure that almost all of us have fallen into this trap many times.

Publicity works greatly on the imagination, having objects being made glamorous and more exotic or appealing (e.g. a beautiful woman holding a drink), making us feel this is the life that we should all aspire to, allowing us to dream of being a part of it and being in a faraway place, taking away the everyday problems that we face for just a few moments.

Even though these advertisements allows us to escape reality into unreality, we get hit into reality again, realising the true aspect of advertising and how there is such a strong contrast and disconnection between the two ‘realities’. The language and images on paper all seem to be real, but between each page there is an image completely opposite to the one you are originally viewing. These images would be hard-hitting, ‘play with the conscience’ ones.

In relation to the video, it shows of a dead body with flies and a woman holding a young baby in distress. When looking at an advertisement or a more ‘attractive’ image beforehand, then looking at the realistic images, it causes the mind to become distressed so as a defence mechanism the body ‘backs off’ and the mind does not want to linger on the images, ignoring the fact that there are such disasters in the world. Whereas if you saw a dead cat on a road (like I did a few months back), the image of that in itself is very powerful and is clearly remembered for days, or even weeks at an end. When I first saw those images of the people on the video, my first reaction was to look down as I couldn’t bear to look at the expressions and how distressed they were. It did stay on my mind for a while, but now I only remember them every time I think of this video.

What I’m trying to get across, though, is how easily forgotten these things are. As my tutor mentioned to us, he felt more affected with the portrayal of these people because of seeing executions/killings as live broadcasting and these type of images based on poverty that affects the mind even to this day. With this stuff, some people urge themselves into wanting to do something to help. Nowadays, however, especially in my generation and perhaps even younger, some teenagers and young adults may not be as affected by them as one will want them to be, therefore being ‘used’ to them. Media perhaps plays a part in this, where before it wasn’t able to publicise as much as it wanted, causing people not to get much access into having this knowledge. But now, almost every day the problems are mentioned in one form of media or another, asking people to donate or help the causes through yearly charity events. This, in the end, makes people become accustomed to it, ignoring the pledges and the real need of helping others. But unless it hits at home, we mainly ignore the fact poverty is always around us and unfortunately we continuously act on our greed of wanting more materialistic items, whether it be for consumption or pleasure, we will always want something new to add to our wish lists.

Egg, Paper, Skills

17 Feb

Task: In groups, create a new packaging that can hold two eggs using only paper.

The simplest idea was to make a paper bag but the only problem would be that the eggs could easily break and basically become a bit messy… An ice-cream cone shape also came to our minds, but again, it would cause a bit of bruising and bashing. So it was back to the drawing board.

The task progressed and still no ending result, we started talking about origami and what we can make: penguins, boats, chatterboxes… Chatterbox! It finally cracked and our creative ways flowed. We first started recalling how to make them and came out with one from using notepad paper. Obviously, due to the strength of the paper, it wasn’t that great. We then experimented more with office paper, layout paper then finally cartridge paper to get the overall result to make it stable enough, with folded flaps, to hold the eggs.

Yay! We finally did it without there being any bad result or egg mess.

So here it is, the new Egg Cup Package.

The Neat World of Semiology

17 Feb

Semiology: the study of signs and symbols.

How one goes about understanding this can be simple enough but somewhat also confusing. To be honest, I should remember this as I studied it back in A-Level English Language. But after a few years, I guess your mind forgets most of what you have learned if you haven’t focused on that subject after a year or so concentrating on art and design. Some of the stuff though is completely new to me. Like the whole signifier/signified thing. That’s easy to get to grips though as it’s really just the word/image (e.g. Stop sign – signifier) and the whole concept behind it (i.e. Stop, do not proceed etc – signified).

Language also plays a part within semiology. Take the word apple. It is a signifier. So is the word pomme and apfel. The signified, of course, is apple. It may be a little confusing but the whole concept behind the two words is what they translate to in the English language.

The use of a signifier and signified, is almost similar to a denotation and connotation of a word.

Denotation is the literal meaning of the word; Connotation is the association linked to a word. Take the word rose as an example. The denotative value of rose is that it is a flower and the connotative value of rose is that of love, death and beauty.

Looking at this now, maybe I do understand what it is about. Hopefully if I get the presentation I’ve been requesting for, I can check if my understanding is up to scratch and correct.

Being a complete “newbie” to this

16 Feb

So right now I’m just trying to get to grips with how to work this and what to do. I have never done blogging before from what I can remember. Perhaps on social networking sites as a teenager but not on a website that is dedicated to this type of writing.

It’s probably going to take me a while to get used to this… The whole technicality and navigation is getting me confused! Although, I can see that it’s most likely simple enough to do. Starting to get used to it as of now, so maybe it won’t take as long as expected. Guess we’ll see what happens.

Ok, so this website will mainly be focusing on my studies and what I’m doing, but every now and then maybe show something to my interest or something I have done.

Right now though, I don’t really know what to write. Hopefully by later, I’ll think of something.