The second part of the Design Literacy brief requires me to explore the wider cultural contexts surrounding the square and and to critically examine its use as a representation, sign, or symbol.
To start this section of experimentation, I dedicated 1 hour to go for a walk with my camera and take as many pictures of square things I could and compile them altogether in a reel. This included items from my room, in my building and outside.
During experimenting with the shapes attributes, I came across some research that I found interesting and helpful.
Firstly whilst experimenting with line and plane, I came across Point and Line to Plane by Wassily Kadinsky. In the text is says how a point is 0 dimensional. A line is 1 dimensional and it is a point pushed by some force. A plane is 2 dimensional and it is a line pushed by some force.
Secondly, whilst looking at mass and what happens when I changed an attribute of my shape, I came across What is the Meaning of Shape? by Baingio Pinna in Gestalt Theory (2011) Vol. 33, No. 3/4, p.383-422. In this journal, Pinna talks about how a square can be distorted, and we will perceive it as a square with happening, rather than see it as a new irregular shape (fig 2.)
I wanted to illustrate these theory’s via After Effects. I started by constructing the square according to Kadinsky and then distorting the square similar to the examples in Gestalt Theory (fig 2). I wanted to exaggerate the ‘happenings’ by using sound and colour.
To help get some more ideas for our unit 1.1 projects, today we grouped up with students on the MA Branding & Identity course to produce visuals in response to three questions.
Each group had an hour per question and the aim was to discuss our ideas and produce short experiments visualising what we had discussed.
Q:How can I illustrate the inherent, emotional properties of my shape?
As a group we agreed the square is the most protective shape. The idea of ‘backing yourself into a corner’ to protect yourself, four walls acting as a barrier, and also battle formations involve soldiers standing in a square.
We also considered that the four walls could also be a negative property. It can be restricting and can give the feeling of being trapped and limited.
This idea stemmed from the one above. The idea of feeling trapped and the walls closing in on you.
Q:Illustrate the process of formation or the effect of duplication, division and rotation.
A short video showing cutting up a square creates other shapes, and no longer remains a square.
Q: Explore structure. Look at the physical structure of the form as an object. Comment on it’s position within society.
A: Balance & Structure.
For this topic we looked at how squares and cubes are used in building and architecture and used cubes to demonstrate how they are easy to balance and build upon each other. We also compared balancing a square on a triangle to emphasise that squares are the better shape for support.
For the first set of experiments for my unit 1.1 design literacy project, I have been looking at shape. Specifically looking at line, plane, mass and void.
Point to line to plane.
I first looked at how a square is constructed from point, to line, to plane. The square starts with a point, then forms into a line, then forms into a plane.
I then also experimented with the concept that a line is an infinite set of points. Below are some images of my experiments.
Mass. I then looked at mass and how to make a square without actually drawing the outline of the square. I tried using different media; first a stencil of a square and playing around with Sharpie’s, pencil crayons and fine liners.
Then I looked at watercolours and inks, wet a square shape on the paper and experimented how the inks and paints will stay within the watered shape.
I used the same methods and techniques to experiment with void, however this time coloured the area outside the square so the negative space would create the square.