And it all comes together…

My final project and course portfolio can be found here.

Happy winter break, everyone.

Progress Report: 3-Nov

Criminy, its November? How did that happen…who let that happen…

1. What did you accomplish last week?

I feel highly accomplished, nailing all the coding issues I was running up against last week and am now the proud creator of a grid-based image gallery. I was having problems getting the  xml file to correlate to the flash file to display the final output, but now everything is working nicely in harmony.

2. What are your goals for next week?

This week is all about adding the textual conversation to the larger images; some I have to manuver around a little bit to create more white space so as to add text, but beyond that, I just need to figure out how to add this lone “piece” to my website on its own page and create a means of conversation/thought to the overall presentation (facebook links or a purely comment-based section? Still uncertain). If that is somewhat easy (what a stupid term to state), I hope to re-visit my initial desires of having the gallery display in a flattened double helix means of presentation, but I’m uncertain of the level of difficulty required.

3. Whats going well?

Mastering the task of creating code that worked for what I wanted, super key. Not only was I able to manipulate the code to fit my desires, but am starting to understand what I’m doing. A double-bonus.

4. Whats not going well?

I’m really displeased with the level of quality of my images. I used my scanner at work which I thought was decent, but I really want to have a higher resolution present in the final product.I might go back and scan every piece as a PDF and re-create things thusly.

5. What help do you need from classmates/instructor?

Feedback. Does “it” make sense? What tweaks can I make to make it more cohesive and critical and less art project?


Progress Report

1 – What did you accomplish last week?

I currently find myself to be knee deep in coding for my flash photogallery layout of my materials from pieces of literature that I decided upon. Some components of actionscript 3 are highly new and I’m learning on the fly, so to speak, but its not frustrating at this point. Ask me again next week…that aside, I think I will be highly pleased at the outcome, given my lack of familiarity of Flash prior to this Quarter, as well as the content and overall aesthetic quality.

2 – What are your goals for next week?

Am aiming on having the visual pieces finalized (all 20); the combined image with analysis attached is the second component the viewer will see upon clicking on a thumbnail from the photogallery. That would be a huge next step to finish.

3 – What’s going well?

The visual analysis of the pieces has been really, kind of fun while simultaneously challenging while I engage in this new medium.

4 – Whats not going well?

I initially wanted to include commentary from someone directly associated with the organizations; communications associates have not been too kind in responding to my requests whatsoever. Not sure if I should just go ahead with statements and objectives given from my five organizations (Alzheimers, American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s, Team in Training, and Team to End AIDS), but that’s what Im currently leaning towards. Though maybe I’m not being persistent enough, even though I am in a similar field of profession and know what requests are made upon them at any given time.

5 – What help do you need from classmates/instructor?

I know my main need is feedback. I’ve talked to classmates that happen to share other courses during the week with myself, but a collective inquiry is never a horrendous thing. At least I think so. I just don’t have anything concrete to show at this point. Its just a bunch of code and JPEGs.

Best of Intercom – Chicago Film Festival

I can’t claim to have much filmography understanding or background, but I think that’s what drew me to the option of seeing something new and unknown. So, I chose to attend the Best of Intercom event as part of the Chicago International Film Festival.

In short, the first half hour was a frantic smattering of different award-winning “multimedia films”, followed by the full-length 11/4/08, which as a “participatory documentary”, provided a confluence of footage from across the country, and the world, on the election day that saw President Obama named POTUS.

I doubt that I was supposed to feel this way, but I found myself much more intrigued by the first component of the evening than the feature film. There was little rhyme or reason to the presentation of the variety of films presented, but most were on screen for no more than a minute or two; the name of the film, along with the country of origin, production company and the category + award it received was shown and thats about it.

The little snibbits ( I know not what to refer to them as) that were engaging were far too short while the topics of less interest felt to last much longer than the actual sixty seconds they were displayed. The pieces that were more technically focused ( a brittish drug that shows promise in fighting cancer when combined with chemotheraphy) felt so odd when juxtaposed against more documentary-based material; Rutgers students facing the drama of launching a robot to cross the atlantic, members of a south american slum reclaiming the neighborhood through painting, for examples).

The most captivating (and I felt the most topical given the class I am writing this for) piece displayed was on those that paint large-scale billboards by hand.

The individual who opened the clip stated that you cannot get pixels printed on a sign to look like the way paint does when they paint it. In the following scene, two men lament that when they got into the business, they did not/were not allowed to paint for the first two+ years; that who they were apprenticing under talked them through the process before they were allowed to try out their craft.

There is a level of artistic disconnect when the lack of permanence is removed from the act of crafting text or imagery in a digital space. I can erase and re-type this sentence without concern. The sense of fear…of wasting paint or misaligning a design component or misspelling something is non existent, and that seems to be a detriment to the art of creation.

The same can be said for the 11/4/08 piece. With digital film, the formality is gone; footage can be captured with little interest in content from both the point of view of that who is filming and that who is being filmed. The level of crass displayed by the much younger generation (note, this is my generation…eek) placed a unhappy tinge to the whole film, which soured me. If this was supposed to be a collaborative effort, it was so self-centered and some jubilation really felt forced; that only because the individuals were being captured on film were they vocal about the election results.

All in all, it was a free event that exposed me to a different medium which I find myself to be highly unfamiliar. I internalized much more than I should have, but would be interested to hear what classmates who were in attendance felt.

My proposal

As I started babbling in class the other day, I find the use of highly similar typography and imagery within reading/promotional literature, especially those aimed at charity runners or physical events of excursion (walks in many instances) that not for profit organizations dispense somewhat interesting.  Yes, they all have different causes to promote, but with the need of fundraising being just a crucial element to not only the survival of the organization but the means of creating a lot of publicity/greater sense of awareness on a larger yet more humanistic scale…I question why there is no interest in differentiating one organization from the other beyond a logo.

Wysocki’s article looks into the feel behind content and presented imagery, and as the first supporter/promoter of a more emotionally-charged discussion, I find her take to be the most relevant when dealing with material that has a more emotional-tied nature. When comparing the differences in artistic presentation on a compact disk, she states that

“the visual presentations of these CDs are not then differences simply of form or theme or emotion or assistance to memory…the differences between the visual presentations of these CDs are differences of assertion and thought.” (152)

So with that being said, what assertion is being stated in a tri-fold pamphlet for a 10k walk against breast cancer that fails to separate itself from information to support the American Heart Association? Where is the thought?

I find a two-pronged approach would work well here; a visual display for analytical purposes comparing all that is similar betwixt a collection of artifacts (or stuff, as it was called in class), combined with a small interview with a sample of each organizations mouthpieces—to compare the message they are attempting to convey, and how the vocal and the visual correlate, help or hurt the message at its core.

The intended audience would be the marketing/communications wing of each organization, with a goal of treating the end result (a comprehensive website)  as a means of consulting organizations need to improve/build upon their current visualizations and  an end result of diversifying  and utilizing emotion in a more unique presentation, which would theoretically increase awareness and revenue.

A flash-based photo gallery., found on creates a really nice overall presentation with visualization being key. I plan on either obtaining similar codes or implementing the program seen here as my flash skills are not up to this level whatsoever.

C. Lauer’s Contending with Terms

Claire Lauer’s “Contending with Terms: “Multimodal” and “Multimedia” in the Academic and Public Spheres” discusses the differences and polarization of the academic setting versus the industrial/public usage of said terminology.  Let’s look into a trio of examples utilizing Lauer’s thought on the relationship between the author and the consumer/reader from the non-academic side of things.

Given that my field of work is within college athletics, the three examples are all utilizing my understanding of the nature of the business, especially the stark shifts that the media side of things has encountered even throughout my short tenure.

No. 1: The Media Guide

The media guide has evolved into a multimedia piece very quickly; almost quicker than the industry can handle. From what was simply a combination of photos, statistics and information professionally printed is now a confluence of video, audio, text, interactivity and more—creating a great divide between those athletic departments that can create such glimmering beasts of information, and those that cannot.

In a traditional sense, a media guide presents like a magazine, concentrating on the team/program and gives the audience a view of what the guide is to be presenting (city, academics, facilities, etc.).  But, while some universities merely create a PDF version of their guide (no longer wasting resources to print them professionally), others expand the experience out to include the aforementioned modes of video/audio, etc.  While Lauer states that “A design necessarily adapts to the medium being used to produce and distribute it” (236), this is a case that the ultimate functionality of a guide is the design, but it is shaping the medium (in this case, online distribution/presentation) rather than the collection of video and text shaping the guide.

Traditional guide (placed into a page turning medium)’s%20Basketball%20Media%20Guide&et=1285789382898&er=36

Compared to a “Virtual Publication”

Purdue's 2009-2010 XC/TF Media Guide (Click on link to view)

Note the use of the schools fight song, video components that utilized “green screen”,  interviews, etc.

No. 2: Team Rosters

There tends to be a common theme of adding multimodality for multimodalities sake throughout college and professional sports. Here, in the most simplistic information in relation to a sports team, the roster of who is on the team, is expanded into a video collage of game highlights, personal information, stats….which in turn leads to the players individual page, that includes means of “Staying connected with your player of choice via text alerts”.

“Design concerns making choices about which modes a person will use and how to develop a concept or content that will eventually be realized or expressed through one or more media (236)”

This most certainly comes with the territory of information presentation online in the sporting realm. The New Orleans Hornets used to (it was taken down with the conclusion of the 2009-10 season) have an interactive roster that included a gambling theme of sorts, with rotating playing cards that featured each player and an interactive video.  This level of presentation begs the question: who is the audience? Who are you placating to; the media/the fan/the stat junkie/the random passer-by?

The sometimes conflicting audiences present a quandary of sorts in regards to the author’s presentation.

No. 3 The Promotional Video

In this instance, unlike the media guide, I did not have a hand in creating the video. Here, the video (which became a commercial on basic cable last fall) animates photo, takes audio and video footage to create the final product, which is supposed to capture ones attention and get people to pay to come to basketball games. The animation of the photos, photos from the previous season, plays off Lauer’s notion that social knowledge creates these seeds of interest in the multimodal space. “Definitions are the result of a shared understanding of the world and are both the product of past persuasion and a resource for future persuasion” (225).  So by utilizing understood/familiar imagery (players, mascot, fans looking happy), the use of this multimedia piece is easier for the audience to accept, embrace, and in theory, it will be successful if the viewer/audience buys tickets. As this was in different arenas (website, facebook, and again, on cable tv), it fell into the sphere that begins “the discussion and brings a diverse group of people (with different knowledge bases and discourses) together on the same page.” (234)

McCloud Images

Interdependent Example

Duo-Specific Example

Parallel Example

Word Specific Example

Montage Example


Worked alongside Joanna and Mary. We cannot help but be awesome in collaboration.

Chicago is a new media town…

Kress, in his text “Multimodality”, observes and deconstructs the ever-shifting confluence of image, shape, text and more. To me, the more important factor/facet of the first section was the conversation on personal choices and social factors:

Many (still) rely on information being brought to them rather than taking responsibility for seeking such information by means that are now available (Boeck, 2004). (pg. 23)

He goes on to point out the importance of social factors and education reference points playing a large role in shaping the foundation of understanding exactly what people are not only looking at, but how it is construed and interpreted. Differences run the gamut from age/race/gender to educational levels to cultural differences…these different points of reference can shift one simplistic piece of material in a somewhat fascinating way, which can certainly change the perception of an entire cityscape, such as our fair Chicago.

I also like the idea of the onus being placed on individuals to go and find out context on their own instead of being spoon fed reference points, meaning, etc. That there is some accountability taking place within the space is a good thing.

Utilization of history and memory is what makes Chicago a new media town. Drawing on the past taps into an individuals conscience and makes something new feel familiar, not jarring or scary. Chicago casts a sense of comfort, so as new modes of technology arise, it feels like a natural evolution.

So taking such thought process into account, my take on this ad for breakfast locale ORANGE has my mind recall such grandeur advertising from the art nouveau era, especially with the use of the contrasting color scheme; but my memory utilizes a stronger sense of art history than that of say, one from the middle of New York who may wonder why Otto the Orange is present on the side of a building off of Halsted.

So again, we find another piece (artifact?) that draws upon individuals understanding of some ancient history; the chiseled effect of the lettering, images of the acropolis mingling with sculpture and a (presumably) set of Greek musicians. One thing I found that was somewhat odd is that there is no sense that any of these photos were taking IN Greektown. So is the idea that Greektown is a piece of Greece, or is it hearkening a sense of wanderlust for those who want to discover a taste of the nation? I’m somewhat uncertain.

My next stop whilst traipsing through Greektown had me come across Artopolis, one of the few eateries to utilize 1- gold and 2- a sense of harvest/earth/agriculture in their signage.

The pretense of a shimmer certainly stood out amidst a sea of faux neon signs or more matte text on a sign/banner/overhang, and the rounded shape looks enveloped by the stalk of grain that curves along with the oval shaped sign. I like the contrast of the straight horizontal piece of wheat (it is wheat, right?) with the swooping, flowing piece that wraps around the bottom: the horizontal piece places the focus on the name of the establishment, which the rounded shape somewhat lulls you in, draws you closer in a way.

I am creating a new post.

The wordpress outline is much nicer than blogger.