March 20

Look at the page 102 in Unflattening, Sousanis includes only two panels, both showing rain.

The two panels are significantly different and demonstrate different emotional situations.

How are the details in these images different or similar to each other?

What do the details communicate?

Finally, the focus is on the details used to show the rain to communicate different emotions.

Discuss the two panels.

Consider ways to describe rain.

What words do we use?

What are some of the phrases we use when talking about rain?

Stop Draw 3/20

Sousanis discusses the power we have, “it’s the capacity to host a multiplicity of worlds inside us” (96), and he uses the analogy of a door to introduce the expansiveness of our imaginations.


With this in mind, draw the door to your imagination.

Reading Question 3/20

Sousanis discusses several dimensions in his text, and at this point, we arrive at the fifth dimension. These frames illustrate that from the same mind that creates dimensions, it also limits them by our habits (111). Advocating for “plasticity,” we need to lessen our habitual tendencies or learn flexibility. What I am struggling to grasp is then why Sousanis chooses to illustrate/write a graphical book. What do we need to re-learn or be more flexible on in order to comprehend more opportunities than a book for composition? At what point do we stop forming habits?

Big Ideas 3/20

  1. Visual knowing is a knowing in relationship—relationships of movement. The eyes constantly move, discerning depth. Marks across a surface create contours and define relationships of interiority and exteriority and of impressions between marks, viewers, situations. These impressions are a seeing, but a seeing this is always a seeing like that. We see from vantage points that can vary, but are always creating gaps even as they create new relationships (Sousanis, p. 72-74, 150). [TP]

Glossary 3/20

Perceptual Experience: Sousanis cites Alva Noe’s suggestion that perceptual experience is a way of encountering how thing are by making contact with how they appear to be (Sousanis, 73). Sousanis asserts that by being able to hold dual views of what something appears to be while recognizing other aspects of its appearance, we negotiate experience.

Derive: When speaking of how a person shifting the routes they take, rather than taking the same consistent path again and again, allows them to encounter different sights and make new connections, Sousanis mentions derive, which is a walk conceived of as a playful drifting rather than a goal-oriented journey (Susaanis, 112). Hence, shaking up our approaches and processes can help us avoid getting caught in a visual rut.

Big Ideas: 3/20

We understand new concepts by drawing on what we already know, so this new knowledge is constructed by bringing together the similar and dissimilar. This visual process allows us to draw connections through many different, subjective views. Therefore, we constantly create perception, which is invaluable to thought. These multiple thoughts and perceptions provide us with multidimensional sight; thus, a good seer is a good thinker (Sousanis 81-82). [HD]

Reading Question 3/20

In the second half of Unflattening by Nick Sousanis, imagination is a key term used to help us see beyond what is presented when it comes to ideas, concepts, visuals, ect. Sousanis describes imagination as a way to “exceed our inevitably limited point of view to find perspectives not in existence or dimensions not yet accessible” (88). It seems that embracing imagination validates discovery, helping us see in new inventive ways.

With this in mind, what role does imagination play in our critique and understanding of visuals and is our interpretation valid?

Reading Questions (3/20)

On page 78, Sousanis writes, “Drawing is a way of seeing and thus, a way of knowing.” He claims this allows us to extend our thinking by “distributing it between conception and perception,” and argues this is a generative process by which we form ideas in search of greater understanding (79).

This makes me wonder – does someone need to have some proficiency/mastery in drawing to fully extend his or her thinking in this way – or for the process to be successfully generative? I think of myself (a self-professed poor drawer) during most of our stop-draws; I’m often consumed by the notion that the image I am looking to create is never truly reflected. When I write, however, I do experience this extension of thought. So, should we think of this experience from drawing as universal, or as just one of several formats to engage with this thought-extending process? Perhaps the woodworking or the quilter – folks who may self-profess proficiency in neither drawing nor writing – could also experience this? Is this more generally a notion realized through the creation of art?

Sousanis cites Masaki Suwa and Barbara Tversky’s idea that drawing is a means of developing a conversation with ones self, allowing us to tap into our visual system and see relationally. He claims that his relational viewpoint, or perception, is fundamental in meaning making. Sousanis writes, “in reuniting thinking and seeing, we expand our thinking and concept of what thinking is.” He ends the idea with stating, “to prepare good thinkers we need to cultivate good seers” (81).

This is a bit of an extension from my question above, but doesn’t Sousanis ignore a specific population of people in this claim? If I am blind I cannot reunite thinking and seeing – does that mean I cannot expand my concept of what thinking is? Do I not have the potential to be a “good thinker” (in this sense) because I cannot be a good seer? Or should we, again, look at this as just one of the potential avenues to cultivate expansive thinking?