Digital Studio – Week 02

Digital Studio – Week 02
Image: Wonderfully simple package design from Naoto Fukasawa (via TheDieline)


Package Design isn’t something we’re taught in Digital Media, but spoke about in class this week. It probably fits in with the visual ID topic of Professional Practice also, but it’s something we’ll need to consider for the second part of Digital Studio: Professional Portfolio (yes, the subject titles do get confusing). It’s not to package a product, but our own work.

How to sell interactive/installation/motion design as a product is going to be a difficult prospect. If someone can’t experience the work (for example, when canvasing for a job), how do you convey a physical, often site-specific event?

The obvious choice is through a DVD, or website link and whilst this idea has been host to some really thoughtful treatments, I would like to at least make an attempt at taking it a step further. I love when packaging is considered in a powerful way. Whether this is through graphics, materials (or lack thereof), paper mechanics, or flashing lights and dancing girls, it’s wonderful when something that most would see as a necessary evil is presented as something as compelling as its contents.


Video Projection Tools (VPT) is what I’ve been taking a quick look at to get an idea of which direction I may take for projection mapping. Serendipitously, VPT is created in MaxMSP and now that I have Max for Live, I will be able to use the source patches provided with VPT to create a purpose-built system for my project (should I choose).

One of the VPT patches in Max for Live. Things could get very messy

Whilst I’m likely to continue tinkering with VPT and MaxMSP, for the time being I will almost exclusively be working in Processing. It’s ability to sketch out ideas efficiently makes it ideal for getting out thoughts quickly and without investing too much time in something which may not be ultimately useful.

With Processing, I’m hoping to make a series of test experiments to gauge audience response to various type of interactions and audiovisual elements. I’m interested not only for this project, but generally to track feedback to interaction, so it will be an intriguing process. The first will be a simple series of shapes, controlled by the Wii remote (I’m not going to use this controller for the final work, it’s simply an out-of-the-box interface that will serve my purposes for now). The shapes are inspired by simply geometry, akin to some of Saul Bass’ work.

The first test is not yet complete, but here is a very simple Kazimir Malevich/Saul Bass inspired sketch (may need to left-click to begin): testExperiment01_20100316

After looking at the work of Saul Bass last week, I picked up a book on minimalism, creatively titled Minimalism Minimalist. There is a lot of art/design/architecture inspiration to be found amongst its 999 pages, but there’s also an interesting history of the movement and its major players. A couple of points grabbed my attention…

“What is important is not the work of art, but the literature it generates around it.” p.19

This is one of the main concepts around my work: I want to engage an audience not purely with my work, but to engage people with the public space that holds it. To put it another way, there is…

“…concern for the visual perception of the viewer, and the relationship between works of art and the spaces that contain them.” p.46

I feel as though what I am hoping to create is a form of minimalism: there is a limited amount of art present and I’m brining focus to the object. What also struck me was the early minimalists’ insistence that the artwork was not complete without an audience…

“…viewers took possession of them, turning from viewers into performers.”

A lovely concept, particularly for a project that is based around interaction.

Because my project output will be in a public or semi-public space, something I need to take into consideration is where that site may be. Whilst it’s not necessary to lock it all down at this stage, it’s important that I begin thinking about what steps I may have to take to get the installation approved. Projections in a public space will require council approval and an installation of any kind will need to be looked at with OH&S and public liability in mind.

I have emailed both Sydney City Council and Marrickville Council (I live pretty much on the border of both), requesting more information about installing public art projects, but am yet to receive a response. I’m also yet to receive a response from the Dean of COFA about the location of the 2010 COFA exhibition, The Annual. With a massive site development taking place at COFA this year, just where it will end up is anyone’s guess.

It would be fantastic to have my work as a part of The Annual and in fact, I would quite enjoy working within a construction site (for my final project, certainly not during this year’s studies).

Some of these thoughts have overlap into Professional Practice and hopefully the communication lectures we look at will help me out here. With some more information on grant proposals, contracts, budgets and project schedules, I will be in a better position to create a public work.

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