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Assignment 3 (final)

For my final animated version of the concrete poem, I wanted to try to integrate the words I used into the image of the camera (source) and have the words animate an interaction of scrolling through images taken on the camera as a way to represent the new memories formed through photos. The statement I wanted my dynamic poem to show is how I see new things through a camera lens and commit those images to memory rather than through purely mental processing.

The movement of the text mimics the function of both the camera and my thought and memory process as a photo is taken. I have three main words, action, emotion, and color, which represent three aspects of life that are captured through photos, and those flash across the screen and act as the “image”. The words that appear in the top right corner are symbolic of the way I remember action, emotion, and color, and the fading in and out is meant to reflect the memories and how they are stored in my brain.

I struggled a little bit with the animation and due to some technical problems was not able to figure out how to make it work perfectly, but I think it gets the message across clearly, and the movement of the words is smooth and integrates well with the photo.

(couldn’t figure out how to embed an swf into this post)


Assignment 2: Subversive Advertisement

For this assignment, the first products I looked at were those which did not accurately portray the products themselves. Particularly, I was interested in companies like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, who make their food look very full and fresh while the actual product looks sort of soggy and sad. After a bit of research, however, I decided that there was already a lot of critique on that aspect of their advertising, so I wanted to go in a different direction. Some examples can be seen below:

Image     taco-bell-actual-taco

I think food is a major part of advertising on TV and in print. So I decided to look at weight loss programs and try to find an ethical problem in the way those are advertised. I found a lot of information on weight loss supplements, but not many of them are particularly popular, so I looked towards programs instead. Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers were the first to come to mind. It was very easy to see the types of ads they output. Something along the lines of “Look how much weight I lost, I’m so happy now!” Here are some examples:

hart1a_jennifer_hudson_weight_watchers_spokesperson    JennyCraig

After looking at many ads, I decided to critique the before and after shots and the idea that most of the time you don’t see results very quickly. I chose Jenny Craig as a more vulnerable target for a subversive advertisement as many of the reviews I read about the program say that the program did not work effectively and the food provided was bad and expensive. This resulted in the following first draft:


This is a play off of before and after shots, but instead of two shots, I used three of a woman who has not noticeably lost weight. Using three, I hoped to imply a longer period of time that has passed since starting the Jenny Craig program. The difference between the three images of the model is clear, but you have to look closer at the image to see that she does not in fact look much thinner. The purpose of this subtlety is to make you think about what you’re seeing. The meals on the side of the image are meant to show the poor quality and portions of the food, though in this draft, they look out of place. I used a black background to make it seem more negative. While most Jenny Craig ads I have seen are light and bright, which are meant to create a happy atmosphere, I used black to create a darker atmosphere.

Some of the feedback I received agreed with the fact that the food items on the side seemed out of place, and I also was told to experiment with different styles of advertisement, not just before and after shots. In terms of understanding the progression of time through the three images, some people preferred the lack of text while others wanted more information. Because I want to challenge the viewer, I decided to leave the text out of it.

For my final draft, I moved the three images of the model closer together and staggered them to create the effect of a transition from back to front and right to left as an implication of time. I changed the text on the bottom bar to be shorter and cleaner. The purpose of the text is to push viewers in the right direction in case they do not take the time to compare the body shapes of the three images. The addition of the massive pile of packaged meals was to show the true nature of the meals, which are processed and not fresh. See the final image below.


Assignment 1 Design Process

To start this assignment, I brainstormed a list of all the tangible aspects of myself that I could think of, including things I do and like. Then I moved towards the intangible things – how I felt my brain worked and how I react towards things. I knew I didn’t want my design to be full of symbols representing my favorite activities, so I tried to focus on the more vague things I could represent about myself.

My initial thought involved a lot of trying to symbolize feelings and emotions through the tangible things on my list, such as music and my guitar and my dog and my favorite movies. However, I quickly abandoned that thought as it involved too many icons.

I then though to represent myself through a cityscape. I like the organization of a city, and as I wanted to depict how I thought my brain worked, a city seemed like an interesting way to show that. Being from Boston, I chose the Boston skyline. I recreated the Hancock building and the Prudential as landmarks to make it distinguishable but added my own buildings randomly from there.


This is a very rough sketch of my idea brainstorming.

I hoped to represent two sides of myself: the top half would be a lighter, warmer color like pink and yellow, hopefully evoking a calm and serene feeling, while the bottom half would have cooler blue colors, representing a slightly colder and more turbulent side to myself. Throughout the image, I wanted to interweave subtly aspects of myself. Here is the in progress image that I submitted initially. It shows the layout of the city and the two opposing sides of it.



In this image, the pixelated look of the buildings’ reflections were meant to symbolize both a more agitated feeling to the bottom half of the image as well as an implied reference to 8-bit graphics, connecting to the fact that I am a course 6 student and work with computers.

Some of the critiques I received stated that I needed to add in more about myself as well as the interesting statement that there was missing emotion, that it was almost there. This was interesting to me as I have often been told that I seem to lack emotion or that my face is rather inexpressive, and I thought that this portrayal of myself is something that has actually affected my life rather strongly. As a result, I decided to keep it just on the edge of emotion for the final version.

In the final version, I added in some more layers. I worked with using negative space and different shapes in the clouds to add complexity, to represent the varying levels of thoughts in my head. I added in lines on the bottom half that are reminiscent of a music staff and also changed one of the building’s reflections to mimic a film reel. The red streak across the top half is meant to almost reflect the musical line on the bottom and symbolize a “wild streak”.

Overall, the design is meant to represent how I see myself. Though the view seems simple, the overlaying streaks of color are meant to show depth and variance.