Scribe Notes 4/10

I had big ideas for the final Scribe Note–video, comic, maps. The end of the semester time crunch allowed me to construct this. I attempt a flow chart of some sort, possibly in a spiral shape, with some sub-categories. Kind of a messy outline.

Stop Draw–4/3

For this Stop-Draw, I was thinking about combining maps and the spiral exercise from Syllabus. Think about a specific point in your life, any point, and begin a spiral–keep the spiral as tight as possible. When this point of reflection transitions to another point in your life, move across the page and begin another spiral. Don’t worry about crossing lines, but try to keep your pen on the page for the duration of the activity.

The difficulty for me when trying this was focusing on my reflection rather than the spiral I was drawing. I don’t know if there is significance in where your focus is. When you are finished, you will have a map that only you can interpret.

Brooke Notes: 3/20


Sousanis, Nick. Unflattening. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015.


perspective, imagination, self-awareness, viewpoint, seeing, constraints


Our imagination fills the gaps in our understanding. Our understanding of new things relies on what we know. Awareness of what we know allows us to venture into the unknown. The unknown is sought to feed our imagination.

Works Cited

Aiken, Nancy E. The Biological Origins of Art. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998.

Latour, Bruno. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Moore, Alan. Watchmen. Illustrations and lettering by Dave Gibbons. Colorist John Higgins. New York: DC Comics, 1987.


“When ideas are written in stone with the certainty that we got it right, we risk following without reflection” (110).

“Through repetition over time, we become proficient. Forming habits is essential so we do not have to relearn every activity continually” (111).

“To set ourselves free, we can’t simply cut our bonds. For to remove them (if we could) would only set us adrift, detached from the very things that make us who we are” (134).


What is the significance of restraints in relationship to developing an identity?

Big Ideas–The Individual

Who is the individual within an interpretation? “The notion that the most important
aspect in understanding a visual image is what its maker intended to show is sometimes called auteur theory. However, most of the recent work on visual matters is uninterested in the intentionality of an image’s maker” (Rose, 22-23). Yet  it doesn’t seem we can forget the individual without removing their agency. If intent is disregarded, does the individual lose their seat at the negotiation? But. “This doesn’t mean erasing or ignoring differences. Instead, it’s a complex dynamic, what Simeon Dreyfuss calls ‘holding different ways of knowing in relationship.’ in recognizing that our solitary standpoint is limited, we come to embrace another’s viewpoint as essential to our own” (Sousanis, 38).


The German art school Bauhaus was mentioned a couple times in Graphesis. For a little fun, I wanted to post a song by the post-punk goth band from the early 80s who shared the same name.

Reading Question – 2/13

The workings of power, the force of ideology, the transmission of values, and other abstract ideas have no specific visual form, even if they work through a material social world (22).”

“An eye looking at a line drawing a round shape that nearly closes on itself will tend to see a circle under many circumstances, just not all (48).”

“For a humanistic approach, these have to be designed as rhetorical arguments produced as a result of making, a poetics of graphical form, not in the reductive or abstract logics of Boolean algebra (54).”

The interpretation of visual forms will likely vary from person to person and culture to culture. We do recognize that many of these forms will be seen in common ways though. Knowing the commonality of visual forms has led to the desire to find a formal system of interpretation. We have found that this quickly breaks down. For one group a swastika can denote “well-being,” while for another “genocide.” Despite this, Johanna Drucker goes on to say that “the systematic analysis of ‘graphical language’ remains crucial,” though it cannot be the final focus (53).

How does a novice of “graphical language” begin their understanding of how these forms create knowledge? Is it useful to approach any language in the abstract as a beginner? Do we require building blocks, phonemes and coloremes, to lay a foundation for “nuanced solutions” to interpretation? Or does this miss the reality of how we become fluent in language altogether?

Big Ideas (2/6)

As with water, constraints of communication materials are often social and historical (Wysocki 56);

What is unavailable in these images? How does a social and historical context inform them? What are we asking of the audience when presenting them? Sometimes an image can be a record of a precise moment in history, yet without knowledge of that history, it loses much of its significance. Even a computer generated logo has the ability to engage in a complex discussion of the social. But as with words, a language must be shared among the audience in order to elicit the desired response.

An image calls for words, and words produce images; they cannot be separated.

Glossary Term – Design

Design: “It is important to point out that thinking of composition as design shifts attention, if only momentarily, from the product to the act of production (George 18).”  Diana George also notes how the visible and material nature of writing provides a link to the modern theories of graphic design (25). The emphasis on visual construction comes to the forefront when writing on the web–colors, images, links, font, white space, etc. (26) This can certainly be applied to posters, ads, help documentation, and other forms of professional communication that call for visual design, but even in the design of objects (see video below). Design then shifts back, if only momentarily, from the act of production to the product.

Glossary Term – Image

Image: A modern understanding of this term points to a material/visual representation, which depicts something–a photograph or sign for example. Lynda Barry uses image to refer to “something which feels somehow alive, has no fixed meaning and is contained and transported by something that is not alive (15).” This definition is closer the the Latin imaginem, which may refer to a “phantom” or “ghost.” The object that performs this in Latin use is imago, referring to an insect that has reached its final form. Can we think of image as the sad person who smiles at a stranger in order to depict a state of happiness? Barry uses the example of a child’s blanket which is an image of safety. Safety has life, has no fixed meaning as we all experience it differently, and is contained in the blanket. This usage comes close to the idea of punctum