Story shapes, grids and gestures: Visual activity at play

The visual assignments for GVIII were fun to consider, and gave us a chance to incorporate activities directed at storytelling. I chose to capitalize on the buzz around the Grids and Gestures activity from Nick Sousanis, because of the encouraging no drawing skills being required component, and the consideration for using narrative to define a 2D space. To get warmed up I asked participants to watch the Kurt Vonnegut video on the shape of stories and consider the associated infographics. I wasn’t intentionally trying to combine two activities into one when I did this, but presenting them this way did exactly that.

Both of these examples require the designer to represent a concept occurring over time (a story, narrative or conversation), within a 2D space. I became fascinated by this idea and following up on Nicks’ suggested warm up thought experiment (paraphrased), “to observe the ceiling tiles in the room you are in and imagine different tiles triggering sounds“, and leapt off on a tangent in many ways unrelated to drawing, that of music.

A visual soundboard: The idea of representing a flow, in a 2D space struck an immediate chord in that these are exactly what synthesizer Graphical User Interfaces (GUI’s) are designed to do for music. In the most simple terms, a synthesizer can take a pre-programmed set of instructions (the grid) and generate a loops, patterns and guide emotional responses dependant on users selections.

Activity: Try interacting with the music grid below by clicking on the individual squares. Turning a square “on” will trigger a sound based on the position of that square in the grid. By turning on and off more squares, increasingly complex soundscapes will quickly emerge.

Audio synth grid: < from network effects >

Blog posts on Grids and Gestures – Here are some notable blog posts on the GnG activity. I’m still processing these so have not been able to pull out quotes, but they will be my reference looking back. I have no conclusion for this post.

From Alan @cogdog

[Almost] A Week Gridding and Gesturing

#gridsgestures with Nick Sousanis and #ds106 Daily Create

From Amy @amyburvall http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/thinking-through-comics-with-nick-sousaniss-grids-gestures/62027
#gridsgestures with Nick Sousanis and #ds106 Daily Create

From Jenny Mackness
http://linkis.com/wordpress.com/zorS0

From ProfHacker Anastasia Salter @AnaSalter
http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/thinking-through-comics-with-nick-sousaniss-grids-gestures/62027

Grids & Gestures: Day 1

My previous comics workshop skills, and future Going Visual sessions are getting a work out this week thanks to Dr. Nick Sousanis, and his Grids and Gestures activity which began today. As per Nicks instructions I…

  1. Considered my (rather vast) knowledge of comic panel layout and eg thereof.
  2. Considered my surroundings, life, and “shape of my day”.
  3. Found a single page upon which to draw, my pens and filled it up.
  4. Was careful to be non-representational (which didnt work)
  5. Posted online and tagged it  (and for bonus points #tdc155)
grid and gesture acrtivity
Grids and Gestures drawing comics activity – Day 1

Not exactly sure how the religious iconography snuck in there, nor how effective I was at staying non-representational. Still, I found the activity challenging to do quickly (in under 15 min) as I tend to dwell and futz around with things to no end.  Still it was a much simpler and faster way to get at the main idea behind a more elaborate version I did in a Scott Macleod workshop a few years ago.  One thing I take away from these activities is that, even when doing a very simple drawing task, it becomes much more complex if your subject matter is personal.  You are drawing for two audiences in this case, both the reader and yourself. The reader I can deal with, but the other target audience seems always more difficult to please!