Media Review: Temporal Type

400 and 517, I’d like you all to read the four pieces listed below and write about your thoughts and experiences with them. Please be specific about the temporal, spatial, illustrative, and aural devices that are used in the works. How are these texts like and unlike other written and performative texts? You can compare and contrast the individual works if you like.

2 Blinds & a Bittern
Don’t Be Afraid to Help Sharks
Part of the Old Brick Chimney Still Stood

posted by Tony Brock on February 14, 2005 | comments: 23 | post a comment

i accidentally clicked on the text only version of 2 Blinds & a Bittern first, and it turned out a little chewy. Partially due to my lack of vocabulary, and because the white copy on black caused my eyes to water.
Then I backed up and re-experienced the poem with beautiful, connotation-laden imagery. It suddenly made sense. The analogies of the narrative were declared with visual support, atmospheric, eerie melodies floating around the environment, and a blinking eye inviting the reader to partake. The type treatment is done in a rhythmic matter, perfectly accentuating the surreal scenery. The mouse allows the user to change the point of view slightly, resulting in engaged and active readership. The transitions are announced by the blinking eye, and a subtle change of environment, just enough to recap the reader's attention.

Don't Be Afraid to Help Sharks reminds me of the Carnival-HBO series titling sequence, as it makes use of old, static imagery that is animated for another purpose. The interesting thing about this piece is the idea of having one large picture pane that the reader moves around in, we are guided through aspect to aspect, until in the end, the payoff is the complete painting. The copy flows into the different frames in a soft, organic way, reminiscent of spoken word protruding from the narrator's mouth (this also underlines the casual language of the poem).

Part of the Old Brick Chimney Still Stood gave me the most inspiration as it tackled the idea that I had in my head about the exploration of a burnt house. The imagery is beautifully shot, and presented in the most simplistic form, as a dia show. Instead, the focus lies within this brilliant presentation of copy. Transition happens not only through the entrance of a new slide, but also through the connection of o's from old copy to new, connected via animated illustrated lines. It doesn't really get much more beautiful than that. The music has been chosen carefully to support the depth of text and image without overpowering their message. It is jarring and might encourage completion of the viewing experience. and the payoff does its job, imagery suddenly changes color value, the o's remain on screen to add depth and possible connotations. "it was good to breathe the air."

Fields could be grouped with the Shark piece as we are moved around one large piece of work. The beauty of this piece lies within the gorgeous, precious photography and design, ephemeral via visuals and also text. The statements shrink in size and as my eye follows the words, I am delighted to understand that everything has to change. nothing remains the same. I am missing something in this piece. Although beautifully executed it didn't engage me as much. I wonder then, does this have to do with my desktop bg image? should we aware of such environmental stipulations when designing our work? what do i have to compete with when someone is at my site?

Posted by carolin on February 16, 2005 12:39 AM

For comparison purposes, I want to lump “2 Blinds & a Bittern” with “Don’t be Afraid to Help Sharks”. And then put “Part of the Old Brick Chimney Still Stood” with “Fields”. Why? Because I can understand the second two. With 2 Blinds, I really don’t know what’s trying to be said, nor do I quite understand the visuals. The one thing I do know about this piece was that the sound annoyed me so much that I wanted to rip off my earphones. The sound effects they used I thought were cheesy and a little overdone. I liked the visuals for a bit when some overlapping started to occur. But after a very short while, they started cleaning up the space. I wanted the poem (story…whatever) to keep layering onto itself making the scenery disappear. But I didn’t quite understand the language used, so maybe my idea is no good. Helping Sharks I found interesting because the story laid itself on the table, but occasionally I had to find it. I liked the visuals and then at the same time, I don’t. A little hard to explain. Maybe what I want to see is the visuals helping the story rather than being dormant to the overtone. The visuals really don’t add anything to the half-telling story. I was a little mad that I didn’t feel that the narrative didn’t finish at the end. I wanted a happy ending and instead I was left with a lot of ambiguousness. The sound/music to this piece I favored over the others by far. I’m very tired of the “ambient noise”. Odd sounds, slight screeching, anonymous noises are just too used. I’d rather hear something bold that gives character to the piece. This music makes it feel much richer than it is. Watch it without sound. I think the sound also helps you read the text properly and also keep up with where to go next. And the text! So simple, yet it helps this piece so much. Controlling the read path of the user is what makes this story what it is. The Brick Chimney story was a little slow for my taste. I grew weary of the fading in and out very quickly, and not long after I was sick of seeing the O’s transition into each other (even though I like how he did it). After seeing the entire piece and wondering why something felt left out, I read the background. I realized that all the images came from within one apartment complex in which this man lives, and the text was adapted from a book (he wrote?). Anyway, there was a limit on his images, yet the story goes all over the board. I found the background information crucial to appreciating the piece. Other aspects: The sound was annoying, after awhile I removed my headphones because the “piercing” music was hurting my ears (although you have to give the guy credit for doing the music himself). I liked how things started getting clearer toward the end. The paths between the O’s, the pictures, even the story became more clear at the end. Easier to see and understand. Finally, “Fields”. I didn’t quite know what to think about it. I like that it was mostly pictures. It gave me a break by letting me tell the story. Or maybe it didn’t. The text was so small in places that I could not read it. I assumed this was done on purpose so that it didn’t matter if it was read or not. Am I incorrect in my assumption? The imagery was beautiful regardless. And no sound, yay. It didn’t need sound to tie anything together. What did tie it together was the “on edge” type. Purposely cut off on the sides. Almost every time I saw this, I skipped to the next page in hopes that the type would finish there. I was disappointed every time, however, I did go to every page, so it worked. Curious about the designer who did this, I went to his website to see that not only is he merely 4 years older than me. But he’s also self-taught with one year’s worth of education in architecture. I also noticed that most of his work had the same feel, technical aspects, and color use. But it’s so good, what does that matter? Overall I would say that I could best relate to fields. There is a real sense to it that I don’t really “get” with the other pieces. It seems so much more tactile to me. Maybe because of my background, but then maybe people who were raised in urban environments can relate to it as well.

Posted by Jessica on February 16, 2005 02:32 AM

------> space
Things that are closer appear to move faster than things further away related to my movement. Things futher away appear smaller than objects in front of me. If I move downward from a bird that is in the sky i will eventually hit the ground. ----Aspects that appear in "2 Blinds" and "Sharks". I understand the movement because I have experienced it. I can move the reeds with my mouse and other objects shift. Lightning flashes and I hear thunder. I become involved in the space for it seems real. The idea of depth allows me to explore and learn through discovery. If the lighthouse light is rotating I click it. Lines lead me through space and I follow and read. My eye moves through the depth of the still picture the same as when the image is moved through space. How am I as involved in Fields as I am in 2 Blinds? Space is used differently, but same outcome is found.

------> Story (how type and image are used) and some sound too
Type in 2 Blinds is as varied as the landscape. Enriches the reading pattern (however lost the story becomes). Duration of fading type in this piece as well as in Old Brick and Sharks match flow of imagery. My eye moves through from type to image back to type as eah comes on screen. Each tells something different yet work together to tell same story. If i wait on the text as I do in Old Brick, it is though my patience is tried. Why? I enjoy reading the text, but I am tired of waiting for it. Smooth flow and poetic imagery with the lines mapping the text, but same feeling is achieved with static imagery in Fields. I move throught his space just as well and am just as involved with the story. What does this say? A trail of type that remains after I have read reflects my memory of reading. Smooth transition from image to type in 2 Blinds, Sharks, and Old Brick hold my attention, yet i become used to transitions and become tired of movement. I want to see something new.
Sound also tries for my attention, holding it in opening frames in Old Brick and throughout 2 Blinds giving me feedback over certain objects. How does this help tell the story? I react to these different elements in different ways, learning something new from all of them. My mind focuses on the involvement in 2 Blinds, following the movement in Sharks, reading the lines in Old Brick and exploring the static depth in Fields.

Posted by Alex F on February 16, 2005 11:43 AM

There is so much that pulls under my likeness
just like me
there is so much just like me
and it pulls out my like
all of me is stretched
a peeling
and a pulling
pushing against me
pressing the like into the abyss
pulling the other out
putting it by itself
to press against my own weight
full of so much that pulls
pushing to express my fate
picking at sore spots
to externalize the pull
putting myself on the line
drawing the line to lessen the pull
passing it back to the past
preparing to push forever
always pealing
to pull myself out

Posted by ANNAW on February 16, 2005 11:44 AM

Each motion/ interactive piece was very different. I didn't understand the conten of some of them, but I was able to pick up on design techniques. I learned from each piece and their unique visual, spatial and illustrative presentation. 2Blinds and a Bitten. I wasnt quite sure what that title meant, but it did match the abstract poem. However there was value in the imagery and the use thereof. The images were very mysterious, illustrative, imaginative and surreal. The music made me feel like I was in a creepy environment haunted by spirits and bugs. The best part ws the layers. The designer (s) gave the illusion of depth through the use of layered images. There appeared to be a foreground, middle ground and background. The animated performance text added to the overall depth. Key element: layers and depth. " " Don't Be Afraid to Help Sharks" was my favorite piece. The imagery resembled a oil painting and revealed beautiful details and textures. The text played a major role in this piece. The text becomes a tour guide for the viewer. It mimics the actions of the images and compliments them as well. The text leads us downward, upward, side ways through the piece. I was in a movie. I was apart of the journey of the sea. What did learn from this piece? I learned to create interaction between the images and the text that will provide guidance for the viewer. The last two pieces didn't spark much interest. But I did find a few valuable elements. "Parf of the Old Brick Chimney still stood" was piece that was composed of a simple interaction between images and text. The framing device within keeps the viewer contained and forces concentration. The images were ambiguous and abstract but yet clear and clean. The best part was the animation of the text. The designer used the "o"s in the text as a vehicle of transition. The unique use of the vowel and streaming graphics was great! The Fields piece was very different from the others. It made me feel like I was navigating around a large collage composed ot playful, active type, texture paper and vintage photography. Wheew. That was alot. But I learned alot and will use the tidbits of techniques that I collected, in my exploration of motion and interaction.

Posted by Candace on February 16, 2005 11:45 AM

Technically, I found "2 Blinds and a Bittern" very interesting and engaging. There were several elements that were very much controlled by the reader...The shift of the images, birds flying from behind the "birdmen", and the control of movement through the poem/story. But like Jessica, the story itself was very confusing to me and I didnt understand what it was trying to say. It probably has deeper meaning that I am just not getting. And since I am always trying to find meaning in everything I view, I am not quite satisfied with this piece. I really liked the style used in "Dont Be Afraid to Help Sharks". I found the use of vintage imagry with spots of movement within the overall static illustrations to be very appealing. This in one case where very simple and subtle imagery is really effective. I also enjoyed how the text was animated in line by line, sometimes word by word. This control over how it is read really makes the piece what it is. To me it reads like a conversation. It is also interesting to note that the story told is more or less unrelated to the imagry used. It's interesting to see how such a contrast can change what this story is saying. The combination of the text, the unrelated imagry, and soft music makes it very dream-like and whimsical. "Part of the Old Brick Chimney Stood Still" had very beautiful, abstract imagry with wonderful use of light. I also find the transitions between the pieces of copy very inventive and elegant. The only probably I have with this piece is that it is incredibly too long and because each transisition is more or less exactly the same, I loose interest fairly quickly. I think it would hold my attention longer if it switched things up a little bit. "Fields"...this piece is very beautiful. Its imagery, once again appeals to me because of its old, gritty, elegant qualities. And just like all design that we love, it has small details that may go unnoticed at a quick glance. Its very engaging to try to actually read what it says. And once I do read it, it starts to make sense. I really enjoy what it is saying about expectations in life and even how it is written is very beautiful, poetic and like a thought process. I really enjoy this piece but I dont feel it is living up to its potential as an interactive piece. Right now, I see them more as print pieces or pages in a book that we are flipping through. What would it be like with some "meaningful transitions"??

Posted by Colleen on February 16, 2005 11:54 AM

The “Don’t be afraid to help sharks” piece is absolutely pure in beautiful to experience. The text brings great imagery to mind filling my mind full of thoughts of growing up and how everything in life was an adventure. The music makes me reminisce about my childhood with my sister and close friends and how it never will be again…

The music and visuals give me thoughts of fairytales, hopes and dreams. All of that purity is now gone, and all I have left is my memories. No more will I ever frolic and loose myself in the world around me.

This subject is very touching and beautiful in its subtleties. Only until reading the text about the author’s sister did I have such strong tear jerking emotions. My relationship to the authors experience is almost if not identical to the wonders of my imagination as a child. The music and detail of the beautiful and almost motionless birds takes me back to my own memories.

This piece is the most beautiful interactive piece I have ever seen.
I only wish and hope to achieve such a design.

None of the other pieces give me such emotion as this one.

“2 Blinds & a Bittern” make me feel sad in a way and the depth of imagery is genius in design. The close up view of the eye and ambiguity of the man with a surreal head gives me the impression that I too have had this emotion. I must say the strongest of the emotion is only second to the “Don’t Be Afraid to Help Sharks” but by no means is even a close second. I felt sad when reading and experiencing this piece but not in the same physical emotional way I did with the “Don’t Be Afraid to Help Sharks”.

As for the other two they are great compositions but the music was annoying or just didn’t do it for me and made me feel bored.

Posted by Quentin on February 16, 2005 12:05 PM

I feel like I am nested within an enviornment. As such in 2 Blinds & a Bittern, I feel like I am at the vantage point of a marshland creature, peering through the marsh grass at a gloomy landscape, interrupted by a clump of buildings, and presented with a half man/half bittern and fragments of written text. At times this slightly out of focus marsh obstructs my view, so I must move the marsh out of my way in order to read the type. This interactive element distinguishes this story from similar performance stories (i.e. the progression of the story is typically linear, not interactive). I begin to feel like I am spying, or sneak peaking, as if I'm not supposed to see this, or, whatever we're looking at is not supposed to see us. The changes in scale and contrast within lines of text call my attention to some lines and not others. The aural elements reinforce the glum, slightly erie ambience. There is an uplifting sound sense of hope every time I rollover the hybrid man/creature and "liberate" a flock of bitterns. Similarly, there is a nostalgic, gloomy story line in "Part of the Old Brick Chimeny Still Stood." This story line is a little more interactive than 2 Blinds and a Bittern, because at any point I can jump to any of the six chapters, or even pause the story. At first I jumped to random chapters. Then I started paying closer attention to various passages out of each chapter. I wanted to know what previous events led up to the passage I was reading, and, thus, eventually I found myself starting from the beginning and going all the way through. The melody brings down the tempo of the story to a very slow and heavy pace. I feel like it is foreshadowing something bad later on, although I don't know what yet. Similarly, another grabbing element that held my attention was the transitions between each passage, The author/designer chooses the o letter-form to carve transitional paths to the next body of text with corresponding "O" letters, and I was always curious to see what lines were going to link up with what words in the next passage.

On the other hand, the visual and aural transitions in "Don't Be Afraid To Help Sharks" left me confused after my first viewing. I had to go back and look up a few words before I could understand the story line (never heard of a conflagration). I liked the canvas texture with overlaid brushstrokes, which suggested a setting that was a few centuries before this one. The interactivity seemed a little random; I wasn't sure when or when not to click in order to access the next passage of the story. Additionally, the pace of the story was fast, insomuch as that I was barely able to read all the lines of text. One reason for this might be that it conveys the hastened and nervous state of the narrator—obviously this narrator is stealing an underwater treasure, and having to go to extreme measures to do so (I'd probably be nervous jumpy too). This idea is also backed by the ambient music; there are awkward periods of silence and then abrupt piano keynotes that made me uneasy throughout the entire story. Also, visually, the mood of the story changes from beginning to end, as at the start it is bright and sunny, and then underwater and at the end the light and colors become darker, more subdued, lower in contrast.

Even though there are no fluid transitions in "Fields" as in "2 Blinds and a Bittern" it seems that "Fields" functions similarly to "2 Blinds and a Bittern" as a narrative. This is the bleakest narrative of all four pieces. It talks about life and grandest scale, and how easy it may seem to fail at succeeding in it. There is nothing but emptiness it seems, such as the emptiness found in the imagery of an open field. The colors are muted to take the life out of the imagery, showing that it is fading away, such as certain passages within the story suggest will happen to all of us one day. The only interactive element is clicking and "jumping" to the next or previous field. In some fields there are no text passages, others a little, and still others whole paragraphs.

Posted by Liollio on February 16, 2005 12:13 PM

Colleen said:
I really enjoy this piece but I dont feel it is living up to its potential as an interactive piece. Right now, I see them more as print pieces or pages in a book that we are flipping through. What would it be like with some "meaningful transitions"?

Colleen I must ask you what a meaningful transition is, or what you would like it to be. I guess what I'm saying is that I would have to disagree with you (respectfully of course). I think the transitions were very purposeful and done well. The way the type is on the edge of many of the parts forces you to want to see the next frame. However, Because the type is not finished on the next "slide" there is a purposefulness to the piece and keeps one in wonder (maybe of what it's all about). All the pieces are almost guaranteed to fit in a way because they are all of the same subject matter with the same stylistic design. The writing, unreadable at times, helps to create an atmosphere where there is no wrong way. Just as life (or whatever you want to compare it to), there are many directions that may have the right answers. However, there is an obvious path to follow. Back to the point, meaningful transitions, did you want them to animate? Or be truly meaningful? Just curious.
(PS: I am not doing this to be a bitch, I just want to have a conversation about it)

Posted by Jessica on February 16, 2005 12:15 PM

I understand what you are saying Jessica...maybe we are meant to just jump from image to image. But what I was trying to say was that this could be just as effective in the form of a book. The words on the edge of the image could just as easily provoke us to turn a page. I said this as a comment on its interactivity, not on its effectiveness as an artifact. I know this is just my opinion, I'm sure not everyone will agree with it. (p.s. dont worry you aint a bitch)

Posted by colleen on February 16, 2005 12:47 PM

Two blinds and a bittern initially presents me with three key establishing details. The collage style and ambiguous image edges suggest an unreal space, the dreamscape of the poet that I am carefully allowed entrance to. The limited and subtle color palette enhances the otherworld feel (providing me with a subdued mood) while simultaneously encouraging me to look for subtle details as the text asks of me. The use of sound is certainly narrative in its end functionality—certain key sounds are given when my mouse has discovered, from this landscape, the next step in the story, and this is as if to reward me and to titillate my senses for the next goods. Yet the sound isn't purely narrative in function, but affirming, similar to how the continuous sound loop affirms that I am still in this space.
The perspective is maintained, but the subtle shadows of previous text entries remains. The transition between the text portions is a repetitious event, like the turning of a page, or the addition of a bittern. The bitterns themselves accumulate upon the landscape as if characters gathering upon a stage, but like birds remain still and silent. Their monolithic function is the 'page' or 'step' number.
The amount of text presented at once is quite short, limited as if calling itself out for some thoughtful digestion. I myself haven't yet grasped the moral of the story.

Don't Be Afraid to Help Sharks also utilizes a calm and subdued color palette, but the narrative, sounding as if the recollection of a memory, changes the palette's meaning into that of a faded but fond memory. The color is its age. The text carries through quickly like a conversation, but pauses for the imagery to have the opportunity to seep in and take over again. The music is more than an affirming loop, but a soundtrack that accommodates the cinematic aspect ratio of the window, and together these elements create an experience different from the space of Two Blinds.

Part of the Old Brick Chimney's textual content is an essay on thoughts about an experience, but appears less directed and more wandering. It's strictly narrative, with its own pace; its chapters and introspective feel, along with its formatting, reference the written word or a journal and carry no element of performance.

Fields: a scrapbook wander. My eyes do all the work. I don't know where to click exactly, so there is no strong sense of chronological structure.

Posted by D-cal (formerly known as Daniel C) on February 16, 2005 01:00 PM

I don’t know where to start with these. They are all very beautiful, and work very well. My favorite was Part of the old brick chimney still stood. I just felt that everything worked so well together to construct a scene, feelings, a time period, and such a sense of emotion. What I really loved is that it was made in such a way that I created something in my head from the parts that was different from the aspects of the piece that were presented to me. The piece is very long and builds so much tension into the long drawling, sometimes dissident and cacophonic sound track, along with the slowly fading images and text while the events and interaction that happens in the story probably happened within a few moments. A few words were exchanged, while 2 people, possibly lovers, move around a space. Because of this incredible contrast, I feel as if I am in the narrator’s body, feeling what he is, which is a moment, probably a brief moment so dreadful that time stands still.

I think the aspect that really pulls this piece together is the language that is used, the other aspects function more to complement it, help build it out, and change the meaning to some degree, but it is the story that kept me involved. I wasn’t as interested to see what image comes up next, or how the music progressed, or how the lines drew themselves but what was this story about, and what was going to happen next. The presentation might have made the text far more interesting, but I can see this text working as well in other contexts with similar effect.

The other piece that I really loved was the Don’t be afraid to help sharks. The piece was so poetic and lyrical that I fell in love with it. It is so vague and contradicts it self in so many ways, but I still believe it because the language is so beautiful and the scene that is built from the parts is so wonderful and nearly ethereal. I also found the most poetic dictionary entry ever. In this piece the final word other than replay is “yew.” I didn’t know what a yew was so I looked it up on and its definition worked so well with the piece I was just astounded. Part of the definition for yew was “scarlet cup-shaped arils and flat needles that are dark green above the yellowish below.” This relationship between two seemingly non-reated parts lead me to think about how can a designer use this relationship between external and internal aspects to generate a greater experience, either in enforcing or subverting previously established relationships. To me, this had the effect that the entire world had turned into a beautiful poem. At one end of the spectrum, I had some expectations of the poetic nature of this piece, but I had absolutely no expectations for to be poetic in anyway. So to find this relationship was very disorienting.

Looking at these pieces as a group made me question the relationship between designer and writer. It seems that the kernel that these grew from was the writing. Is this something that we as designers should be more engaged in, how we understand and manipulate language? Are we creating stories to tell, or is our job in how we tell stories that are given to us? To create stores, though fun, seems to be the preoccupation of another profession. I don’t know too much about these pieces and who created them, except for the brick chimney piece, which was someone who received their masters in writing, but it seems that new media and interactive design needs to be concerned with how the elements of graphic design can be manipulated to tell stories and achieve desired manipulations to communicate the story. We have a rich history of cinema to draw from which has an established language in how to manipulate the viewers understanding of events, can we as designers draw from novels, poems and other structures within the literary tradition to manipulate language and other elements of graphic design to similar ends? I have no idea if this has been done, or even makes sense to do, but it is an idea that was spawned by these pieces.

Posted by Jon Brock on February 16, 2005 01:19 PM

All of the pieces were very visually engaging and all seem to bring you into an environment. I can't say that I undestood the content of all the pieces but I enjoyed being locked into the environments and exploring the visuals. "Fields" was my favorite of the four pieces partially because I really liked the old, grainy imagery and typography that was used. I felt however, that this could function very easily or maybe better as a print piece. I didn't feel like the interactiveness or transitions from one image to another helped enrich the piece. It also took me a minute to figure out how the navigation worked throughout the site. The transition and interactiveness was nice in "Part of the Old Brick Chimney Stood Still." The "o's" in the type worked nicely as a transition from one scene to the next. This piece seemed more interactive than the rest because you could jump from one section or chapter to the next and you could control the pace of the story by pausing and playing it. I liked being able to jump from one chapter to the next. " Sharks" and "2 Blinds and a Bittern" both functioned similarly in that you followed a narrative by clicking on certain elements to go through the story. I had a harder time following these stories but I liked the movement through each one. The experience of searching through the piece to find the button to get to the next scene was nice, it forced me to explore the visuals more. All of these sites certainly gave me a new perspective on what interactive design can be. Its almost like these pieces are reading a book and you are the listener.

Posted by Matt H on February 16, 2005 02:38 PM

2 blinds & bittern

2 blinds and bittern, the format of the flash movie is sort of cinematic; it has the basic proportion of a widescreen movie. However images do not move linearly without our prompting.
We can only move foward in the experience if we choose to; so time is irrevelant. The viewer can only move forward; there is no way to backtrack. The eye that opens and closes everytime we click to move forward subtly opens slower as we progress through th emovie until it is in slow motion. I didn't notice this detail until I had played the movie multiple times and just stared at the screen to see what would change.

There is a second subtext to the movie, the letters that are highlighted before each block of text appears spell out "Sadness in minds"

Spatially the viewer is the one speaking in the poem about being inside a "blind" otherwise known as the hunting tent used in marshes to hunt fowl. Spatially we are looking out of the blind and moving 'opening' and 'closing' the hatch when we move the mouse left and right. The blurriness of the cattails tells us that we are looking through to something more important, the text and the bittern who are dressed in suits.

the poem speaks about the hunting and killing of 'Bitterns' which are a species of crane. But it's more then being inside of a 'blind' as it is to be blind; to be hidden and to see.

Every time we move forward in the movie sound is cued; the sound underlines the sadness of the poem, also bolstered with the deep green hues and orange. If we click on the suit clad bittern another sound cues, a harp. And if we continue to click then the sound begins to layer onto it self. The movie is surreal, the giant eye that closes while we read and opens while we wait against the random city and cloudy sky. This is a world that

After interacting with the movie I decided to read the plain text version of the poem and found that I got a much more succinct read. My understanding of the video increased exponentially when I read the text outside the movie. I understood why the screen was masked and why the movement of the mouse was tracked left and right. When the text is read with the movie I get more of an idea or feeling of the space rather then reading into the text for meaning. I believe that I get sidetracked inside the movie; I'm trying to figure out what sound cues when and what moves when i click on a certain area rather then trying to focus on the meaning. Reading the type is secondary for me. I try to figure out the experience then I sit back and actually experience it.


I remember seeing fields last year and being awe-inspired. I enjoyed the imagery and writing; the way he moved us through the piece is disjaunting for me. I became very impatient while while clicking through the piece. I have a hard time just letting something wash over me if I know I have some sort of control over the duration.
The images are only and nostalgic -- similar to the Bittern piece; however not truly surreal in the cut and paste sense.

I believe that this piece uses closure; or forces the viewer to use closure because the images/frames don't directly relate to one another; but rather rely on us reading and compiling meaning from what we have already seen or read. There is no direct narrative thread but by cutting off the images and letting them bleed over the edge tamblay is creating a space that we are moving through. At the sametime we arn't immersed directly in the space; we are two steps back where the time is two pts too small and we can see teh supposed edges of some of the images.

The way the images are treated makes us believe we are in a space. We believe there must be some image that is to the left and right of what we are seeing though we do not have to see it.

The type also doesn't scream to be read. it labels the images; changes voice and tense.

There is no sound associated with the movement.

though this isn't a flash piece I believe it still gets across the loneliness of the Bittern; maybe even more successfully because the viewer/reader/interpretor may make the space even more sad, and slow then it may be intended.

I don't think the words without hte images would have operated as well while in the Bittern piece reading the words still gave me the same sense of the movie.

Posted by Kim on February 16, 2005 02:42 PM

All of these pieces seduce the user but do not teach them. In each case, these pieces were either unreadable, or I did not wish to read it's structure, or my interest was not held long enough to read the piece. This is not to say they did not have successful narrative. '2 Blinds & a Bittern' creates a in-depth environment that activates my interest trough motion parallax , however my eyes do not want to decipher the typography and the designers vague narrative. In its place, I create my own interpretation. This is a good thing, if it were purposeful. In most cases I was bored before I was confused, but in all cases I was left uninterested. The context of online new media is immediate. A sense of clear message, or dumbingly simple message, has to be clear followed then by the availability for further in-depth narrative. I don't want to discuss form. They all had good form and were well put together. Faults such as pacing and envelope in 'Part of the Old Brick Chimney Still Stood', were disappointing.

Posted by Stimmel on February 16, 2005 02:47 PM

I understand the framing aspects of each piece, and the poetic nature, although nothing particularly piqued my interest. To me, the eyeball in "2 Blinds..." does not belong. It is a "hey, look, an eyeball, window to..." approach. A bit corny. Plus, frankly, it creeps me out a bit. The movement of the foreground with middle ground and the reeds becomes irritating as well. It does provide depth and an abstract sense of space, but does not pull it off realistically enough to be perceived seriously.

I feel that the overall audio in all of the pieces seemed a bit too gloomy/scary, where it didn't quite seem that it should feel like that. It seemed more like a haunted trail than a visual poem. The audio seemed very default to create a sense of absent space. When you think of a cellar, you think of a low dreary hum. Perhaps a drip-drip pattern. Tinging pipes. Dreariness. Default. Add in jingling chains, and you have a creepy atmosphere.

The Shark piece was probably the most intriguing of the 4 pieces overall, simply because of the A-to-B sequencing that leads the readers eye to the next anticipated scene. The piece with the most interesting aspects was "Part of the Old Brick Chimney..." with the o's linking together. Having 6 sections that took 5 minutes each to view seemed a bit overdone and by the end of the story, I was very disappointed to still be seeing the same thing. The same joke isn't funny the 500th time, no matter how funny the comedian.

Each work had its own sense of space and depth, and some more than others gave me a true sense of environment. The imagery provided depth to some degree, but portions seemed to make me feel really let down at their attempt to make it seem like an actual space.

Posted by m. courtney on February 16, 2005 04:42 PM

in regards to link #1. i felt that it appeared to be a very interactive piece. unfortunately, i was greatly disappointed with the lack of interaction. i have to commend the creator for using still 2d images to create a unique environment that felt like a 3d space. i'm just sad that it was so limited. unlike some mentioned in class, i was disappointed with the eye. considering how the piece talks so much about it, i'd hope the last thing they'd do is smack the user again with the visual. anyway, overall, i was disappointed that the story was so linear and directed. i left the site wanting more.

i'm sorry, i couldn't get past the bad animated type on #2. the imagery was very lucious in a childlike way. i felt like it was a dream that only areas i could define—the areas that were animated. i didn't find that the hot spots were difficult to locate at all. actually, i would have much rather enjoyed searching for them in the lucious environment. and lee-oh-lee-oh was right about the distracting.

so i'm starting to feel like each piece has some small flicker of uniqueness, but overall they're lacking something that would keep me engaged over time. the chimney one just really got monotonous. i didn't even go through the whole site. i got bored. the photography was beautiful though. once again, lucious imagery keeps us engaged enough to keep us around. however, despite how montonous the transitions become when you realize the "trick" behind them, you're like okay. find something new and clever. but until that moment you realize theres a pattern, you delight in how wonderful the transition is. i actually quite liked that more than the content itself (well, besides the photography).

finally, fields. a site i've come across from before. and still, despite the fact that i've seen it. i still delight in its beauty. mm, elegant typography. clever cropping. texture. low-saturated photography. delicious. it'd be nice if they threw in a dead end or easter egg just for fun. another linear piece that makes me desire more. i'd love to get lost in this piece over any of the previously discussed. its just a beautiful atmosphere to get engulfed in.

Posted by m. blume on February 17, 2005 08:40 AM

In my opinion Field is a treat for graphic designer’s eyes. It is serene. It is emotional. It is simple yet complex that shows variety in terms form and composition. This is an excellent piece that shows the marriage between the poetic text and the image. Each compliments the other and takes the meaning farther. Type is more lyrical takes on the narrative form depicting the mood, emotion, and space similar to an image does. The uniqueness of type is that it retains its readability. Excellent compositon! Great color palette! It is refreshing and inspiring to see such beautiful and elegant sites. Designs like this resonates long after you have logged off from the site. It touches at deeper levels!
Two Blinds and a Bittern seems heavier in terms of design compared to Field because of the use of full bleed images and loud, bold text. But they do a wonderful job of suggesting viewer interaction by altering perception of depth and space. It uses some finer elements like the hand drawn arrows that directs and keeps audiences engaged. About type, I think all caps is hard to read and is annoying too. It kills the elegance of the poem and takes away the human emotion and narration quality from it. It becomes more like a bunch of machine generated words.
Don’t be Afraid to Help Sharks is another splash page. I like the small shark window that is launched from the index page. It shows that some things are better viewed at smaller scale. It shows a good sense of depth in space through panning of still images and through animation. The deep under water images are well animated which serves as a directing tool. I don’t like the type on these pages because it makes me think of the readymade animation feature available in powerpoint presentation. It kind of looks cheap!
Part of the Old Brick Chimney Stood Still with a small window displays poems in an elegant, and lyrical manner. The patterns of ‘O’ that comes from the foundation of the Chimney layout used as a device in directing viewer’s attention to parts of the page where the image or poem is about to show. The pattern is varied based on the number of ‘O’s displayed in each poem this keeps the viewer’s engaged but at the same time loses the purpose of the poem. It limits viewer’s to get the deeper meaning of the poem. The trasitions works like a brief moment to reflect on the previous shown poem and at the same time preparing for the next one. This site is also an example that shows how meaningful photography accompanied with great writing could reach at higher level--the visual and the intellectual levels. This site has the serene quality of the Field as well as the variety in composition in combining different elements such as the effective writing, excellent photography, and right tool that displays them with meaningful transitions. This shows the control of designer with respect to how the content is shown and the timing of the transitions. On the other hand also gives user a false sense of interaction which is limited only to the order in which one wants to view each chapter.

Posted by Preethu on February 17, 2005 11:01 AM

2 Blinds & a Bittern:
I loved watching the subtext "Sadness in Minds" build up, but when I saw the piece in comparison to "Sharks," it became all the more obvious that Bitterns is much more "user" conscious. It directs the participant via arrows, holding onto old-school interface conventions—the visual version of "click here to continue." 'Sharks' is much more successful at using the piece to direct the viewer, with the subtle visual cues of where to click to proceed.
Gorgeous! Spatially sophisticated, using what is beyond the boundaries of its small area to emphasize depth and distance. And, as I said in the 'Bitterns' review, it uses subtle visual cues to engage the participant to propel the storyline. The music is effective in providing mood and assisting pacing... I'm starting to appreciate the value of audio beyond that of providing a soundtrack/background.
Part of the Old Brick Chimney Still Stood:
ooooooo! Need I say more? Well, in case I do, the text is a gorgeous integration of narrative and navigation. The photographs provide a mood, but the real engagement for me is the way the text weaves through the story being told.
I just submit to the unknown... The multiple points of entry remind me of a Stuart Malthroup hypertext piece that we just reviewed for Scott's seminar. The shifting order of how the story is presented puts the onus on me (and you, as viewers) to interpret the meaning.

Posted by Tracy on February 17, 2005 01:53 PM

Many of these excel in certain qualities over others. I very much enjoy the 2 Blinds piece for its spacial and illustrative touch. I am very moved by the type and how it is displayed through motion. The copy reinforces how the composition is set up. It talks about upper middle and lower, and we see objects oriented upper middle and lower. 2 Blinds also works well temporally allowing us to read and make connections between the copy and the imagery, building a tension that encourages further reading. I am a sucker for depth of field so I love the rich environment that is set up here. The color palette greatly compliments the use of depth. More vibrant colors are present in the middleground where less saturated ones remain in front of us, but blurry. I also have to be conscious of environment when making connections in "Don't be Afraid to Help Sharks." I am intrigued by the motion of the water in the second frame of Sharks. I wonder if the designer purposely wanted us to see waves on a beach or if this was a sloppy way of faking the motion of the water at the hull of the ship.

The imagery in Fields is probably the most rich out of all four. This piece works the best spatially I think. The text leads us where to click and we then want to break out of the frame, if we haven't already. There is such a large periphery in merely dealing with "fields" that we can help but imagine what lies beyond the frame. I stay on one page long enough to absorb what text we can read and then continue, but I sometimes forget what I read and have to return. The images, however, make my return enjoyable.

Posted by Wes Richardson on February 17, 2005 08:07 PM

i wanna focus on "chimney" here, and talk specifically about pacing, repetition, and ambiguity.

this piece was probably my favorite overall, in terms of personal engagement and attraction to its overall visual, linguistic, and aural qualities. i noticed above that several students were bored with the piece or thought the pacing was too slow. i actually really liked the fact that it was that slow and took so long to get through. during the viewing, i did think to myself, "how long IS this thing?" but eventually began to live with the piece and let it unfold on its own terms. i wonder how many of the "bored" viewers went throught the whole piece, and i also wonder about the larger issue of pacing and attention span in visual culture at large today. it's no secret we're bombarded with 5, 15, 30 second commercials on t.v, radio, and the internet. stuff is constantly flying around the screen. t.v. commercials may have 20 or 30 edits in just as many seconds. i personally am in favor of design that, at every appropriate opportunity, fights against this contribution to a.d.d. the question becomes, what is the balance that needs to be struck? it's a sensitive one, and is entirely contextual. we are willing to sit for hours with a book and read static text on cream colored pages. why are we so bored with a 5 minute screen piece that requires interactivity and has motion, images, and sound?

next, repetition: i agree with mr courtney about the same joke being told 500 times. while the typographic transitional element was incredibly inventive, i did become tired of seeing it used the exact same way throught the entire piece. there were subtlties in the amount of traces used, but some progression in its use would've been good.

finally, ambiguity: i really enjoyed the way the photographs and floor plans were handled, and felt they were great complements to the ambiguity of the text. i was sent in a visual/ verbal direction, but not told how to interpret it, which more fully involved me in the creation of the narrative. the blurriness of the photos suggested hazy memory and caused me to dig for a similar experience in my own past. i've learned that ambiguity is very different than arbitrariness, and it's something that i am striving for to engage my own viewers in more meaningful ways.

Posted by tyler on February 18, 2005 01:07 PM

I just watched "Sharks" again.

I loved it. It took me somewhere far away, intricate, slow, and intense. I wanted to go there again. Was it a painting, a cut paper puppet show, a magical whisper of poetic description? Yes. Yes, it was. It was an interteresting mix of engagement and resonance. I wanted to click on, but not too fast because I wanted to relish the solemn music and grainy texture of the screen. What a great piece. This was a true delight to engage with mentally as the word choice and picture choice were peculiar and unfamiliar - I had no idea how to outsmart the piece.

I just watched "Chimney" again too. I never got tired of the stringy spagetti or the little o's, I liked the framing and the familiarity of the maps and really, I liked the slow, faded layering of the type. On each screen I knew where to look, and got really good at watching things "o" into focus, but I agree that the meaning of the o's was "0" or zero really, and it should have been more. I agree with Tyler on the languid pace and seemingly endless cycling of comments. However, I felt perfectly fine leaving the piece and returning to it - on my own terms - here a few weeks later even. I liked knowing this "experience" was around for the viewing if I choose to go there again.

But actually, this poses a very intriguing question to me. Should we prep the viewer for a long term viewing experience? It's more palatable when seeing a movie now-adays because you can see how many minutes long it is - right there on the shiny DVD cover. This is possibly a sad fact, but it could become something that is stated or at least considered in the future. Books don't need that affordance as they represent their depth quite physically. Perhaps a measure of time should be included on our pieces, to provide a sense of groundedness as we enter these limitless worlds...

Jess G.

Posted by Jess G. on March 20, 2005 11:15 PM

2 Blinds and a Bitter

Dark muted, almost muddy pallet sets up a slightly disturbing atmosphere when coupled with the grainy images and distinctly odd bird head people. The off balance cityscape and solitary scraggily tree, not to mention that creepy spastic eye are more overt cues to the odd-ness of the atmosphere. Layering. overlay especially, of images and more noticeably type build a nice sense of depth into the space. There is a deliberate limited range of motion afforded the viewer that hints at a continuation of the enviroment. Speaking of atmosphere there is something innocently eerie about the sound effects. When taken separately of with a different image they take on a completely feeling. The copy’s double meaning/ ambiguity is greatly enhanced by the atmosphere created by image and sound.

Don’t be afraid to help sharks

Maybe it’s just me but this personifies the way I remember story time as a child. It’s unapologetic stint into nostalgia with the worn book illustrations. I’m reminded of The Velevteeen Rabbit visually and aurally. There is something entrancingly off about the whole experience though. The way the music trails off menacingly in addition to how dark the color pallet really is, not to mention the quirky text that may not be as lighthearted as it seems at first glance, all contribute to the mildly eerie atmosphere of the work. There is an interesting conceptual and connotative depth to this piece. The realitive static nature of the imagery allows the other elements to define the atmosphere. The music in particular puts me in mind of the quote, “Nothing in particular is wrong, its just the suspicion that forces are aligning quietly and there will be trouble.” There is a certain uneasiness about this piece, almost like when I’m holding my breath during a horror film, that sense of suspence and the unknown.

Part of the Old Brick Chimney Still Stood

It feels like the exposition to a horror film of a film noir solique. Again the music sets such an eerie tone. The blueprints at the beginning of each section make me think of a crime scene. The bright flash of white and the clinical presentation of the information enhance this feeling especially when juxtaposed with the atmospheric and dark photography used thoughout the rest of the piece. The intigration and placement of the blueprint elements plays off of the type so beautifully and gives the viewer an abstract sense of space. Type furthers this particular experience by drawing out connections and leaving residual impressions. The type is so beautifully handled and discreet, while playing such a piovotal role in establishing the sequence and atmosphere. I was inspired by the type the first time I viewed this piece and I find myself enjoying it even more the second time around. It’s quiet power and presence struck me as much as the eerie background music. It feels like a ghost story to me and in a way it is, even though it’s more or less a recollection. I’m put in the mind of the movie Darkness by this experience. Darkness’s cinematography was gorgeous the pallet was rich, dark, and ambiguous. The confustion and half glimpses drew out the suspence and hightened the effect of the revelation in the end. Similar techniques are employed well by this piece. In Darkness the focus on the architecture and planning of the house in the film helped viewers get a better sense of the physical space and the scope of the depravity of the situation. Most importantly this piece makes me ask questions and analyze insead of just accepting the situation blindly.


Beautiful. The pallet coupled with the texture. Not to mention the gorgeous crops and type integration. Aesthtically, this experience is delightful. The type treatment is sophisticated and sensitive but also unreadable in places. The viewer is given very little mobility or sense of special control in this piece. The static nature of the piece forces me to focus on image for the sake of image. Repetition and a consistant pallet allows for a smooth transition into divergent imagery toward the end.

Posted by rachel gamage on September 21, 2005 07:06 PM