Wild things and Poetic Space
Visual Narratives
“...rather than focusing on general,
abstract situations or trends, stories are
accounts of what happened to particular
pe...
How Important are objects
and spaces seen to be in
representations of
narratives?
Though representations of people
play an important role in describing
stories, the representation of objects
and spaces ca...
Objects and People
• [All] stories are accounts of what happened to
particular people.
• All narratives centre around repr...
John Badham (1986)
Anthropomorphic Objects (and Spaces?)
Hayao Miyazaki (1997) Princess Mononoke
“Suppose that there be a machine, the
structure of which produces thinking, feeling,
and perceiving; imagine this machine ...
Joe Dante (1987) Inner Space
Objects People Spaces
What about ‘normal’ objects and
spaces?
Barthes (1915-1980)
“...we see... that there is continuously a kind
of breaking loose on the part of the object
toward the...
Barthes (1915-1980)
“Every object touched by the loved being’s
body becomes a part of that body, and the
subject eagerly a...
Bachelard (1884-1962)
On the House:
“...we shall see that the imagination functions
[strengthen our sense of reality] when...
On the Cellar:
“... It is first and foremost the dark entity of
the house, the one that partakes of the
subterranean force...
Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975)
Julie Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (1999) The Gruffalo
Material Culture
Workbench at the Museum
of the Jewellery Quarter,
Birmingham. Photo by
Karen Bryan (2009).
“ ‘Things’ … m...
Material Culture: where people,
objects and spaces meet.
Alessi (1994) Anna G Corkscrew
you have to be looking to find it…
Psychogeography
Myst (1993)
Riven (1997)
‘Upper Case’ and ‘lower case’
Apple iMac by Jonathan Ive
Back to Narratives
Upper Case lower case
Warren Ellis (TBR) Excalibur
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller (1995
and 2005) Dark Pool and Opera for a Small
Room
Giving objects and spaces narrativity
Eisner 2008, p.15
Jake Cress
(1990)
Oops no 9
Spaces
• Paths: “We can conceive of plot as a metaphorical
network of paths” or “our image of a work can involve
the paths...
Laika Inc (2009) Coraline
Baz Luhrmann (1996) Romeo + Juliet
Daniel Libeskind (2001) Jewish Museum
[Denmark and Berlin]
“...rather than focusing on general,
abstract situations or trends, stories are
accounts of what happened to particular
pe...
References
• Attfield, J (2000) Wild Things, Material Culture of Everyday Life. Oxford, Berg.
• Bachelard, G ([1958] 1994)...
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
Wild Things And Poetic Space
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Wild Things And Poetic Space

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A presentation exploring the meeting points between Narratives, Spaces and Place.

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  • Let’s keep this idea at the back of our minds for now...
  • Taking quick survey could lead us to accept this premise unquestioningly. For example we might look at DVD or book covers or movies posters, because it is there job to convey something about a longer narrative. They have to offer a kind of summary, they’re synecdoches. (or at least some reference point). Looking at film covers it becomes apparent how important people are considered to be...
  • There endless examples of stories that take there title from
  • What we might consider as critical practitioners is the role of the film industry in all this. The ‘star system’ still plays a big part in the marketing and general appeal of movies. So, the centrality of figures might tie as much to the economics of film distribution as it does to any fundamental necessity for ‘people’ – or recognisable characters – to be so central in these designs.
  • Of course we’re not just taking about ‘people’ per se, but if we are talking about movie stars then we’re talking about identifiable actors, people who have been selected for a part (and perhaps generally successful) primary because of the way they look. These images are obviously selected, edited and manipulated over and above the original casting decisions and other stylistic choices. If our hypothesis is that the importance of ‘people’ is to be identifiable (in these Hollywood examples at least), then we might also point out the important of the face in these images. The face is the primary way we recongnise individuals. It has become so focal to many posters that I’m sure we’re all now familiar with this kind of ‘head cluster’.
    Again however, perhaps this is a Hollywood thing (it’s a certain system). And even considering this system I think we looked carefully we could see the important of some objects and spaces within them. Clothes and costumes is an obvious starting point...
  • Continuing with Star Wars for a moment... It might be worth just thinking about what some of these objects do. How they function to represent the films, and how (though this would entail further study our part) how they function in the film. In the top left of this film poster we have the Death Star. It’s name reveals its scale, a star, it’s an object of planetary proportions. It’s so vast in fact that we might think of it as both object and space. And though here it’s hidden in the background, I think it’s actually really central to defining Star Wars against the legends from which it was taken. This scale implies an epic scale struggle between good and evil... This object, and those surrounding it, facilitate a interplanetary battle ... So vast that it is imbued with mythic qualities. This is also about fate and forces, it is about the universe, yes, but not a scientific one but one characterised by a very human, moral struggle.
  • Name of the director becomes a selling point – so you might say, it makes it less necessary to draw in stars. This link however to Artistic intent. Kubrick pushed towards narrativty over narrative.
  • Close to action code... Genre the car chase.
  • Looking through my own DVDs I was amazed how few used objects as a primary mode of representation... The one example I found, had literary connections. And I think that’s somewhat significant.

    So here the type writer is deemed significant enough to represent the film, and of course it speaks directly of its literary heritage. But this isn’t any old typewriter. It old, yes, but it seems loaded with this sickly green slime. It kind of rusted, disconcerting... I might say uncanny... It’s familiar, but it set you on edge.
  • It’s interesting this is a literally cross over, because it seems books covers seem to belong to a different kind of system.
  • Now this survey could be adapted to lots of different forms of imagery – you won’t be suprised I’m not going to attempt to cover them all. (Even my survay of film covers/ posters has been partial. When a book has been adapted to become a film, it often gets re-released with a still from the movie on the front. But otherwise, it just wouldn’t make sense to sell books in the same way. Certainly Identity plays a part in the selling, the identity of the author (like the director) ... And words too.
  • New york free-lance writer, who narrates the story, otherwise anonymously. The cover doesnt give us too much of that story, but it’s got a sense of narrativity. The cigarettes in the ashtray continue to smoke, revealing someone’s recent presence. Though this seat, sitting on the other seat seems almost sitting itself, but leaves us with an impression of discomfort. Move on... The background space is relatively anomymous, but with the english text, and maybe even with the slightly film noir aspect of the dirty ashtray there seems to be something quite american about it.
    Academic book, analysing emotion... We’ve got matey chairs. Warm, wooden and fleshing they seem kind of made for that gentle nude together... There’s a certain space left around the chairs, but ...
  • This is one version of this cover, the other has two plums and a banana on it. Bound to be controversial, this debut novel from a young Australian writer features four women friends discussing their sex lives and fantasies in frank detail. In doing so, they raise such issues as the difference between pornography and erotica, the role of gender politics in society, and what constitutes feminism.
    Welsh's most coherent and satisfying novel in a decade showcases the Scottish author's inimitable combination of dark realism, satire and psychological insight. Having been placed on leave after suffering an emotional meltdown, Edinburgh detective Ray Lennox, introduced in Filth (1998), and Trudi, his fiancée, fly to Miami for a few days to relax and plan their wedding, but from the start the trip is a nightmare. Lennox gobbles antidepressants and begins drinking again in a desperate frenzy, but things really tilt out of control when he parties with some locals, who reacquaint him with an old obsession, cocaine. One of his new friends has a 10-year-old daughter, who's been targeted by an organized ring of pedophiles. Can Lennox save the girl and redeem himself?
  • The House of Sleep is an intricate cat's cradle of a novel, full of both sly satire and oblique meditations on the interstices of love, sleep, memory, and dreams. The setting is Ashdown, a wind-swept old house by the sea that once provided university housing and now is home to a clinic for sleep disorders.
  • McGahern (Amongst Women, etc.) expertly captures the rhythms of smalltown Irish life in a graceful but underplotted novel that takes a diverse and gregarious cast of local characters through a transitional period in a lakeside village. Much of the narrative revolves around the daily life of the Ruttledges, a farming couple who become the focal point of the village's social interaction after they leave the London rat race for a more peaceful life.
    The Christmas rush is at its peak in a grand Reykjavík hotel when Inspector Erlendur is called in to investigate a murder. The hotel Santa has been stabbed to death, and Erlendur and his fellow detectives find no shortage of suspects between the hotel staff and the international travelers staying for the holidays. As Christmas Day approaches, Erlendur must deal with his difficult daughter, pursue a possible romantic interest, and untangle a long-buried web of malice and greed to find the murderer. Voices is a brutal, soulful noir from the chilly shores of Iceland.
  • Mmmm... It just doesn’t feel right. We know people are pretty complex. A representation of a person if its going to be at all convincing has to demonstrate so many qualities that we might associate with people: it has to show someone to be responsive, thoughtful, to have desire, emotion, love, compassion, hate, curiosity, a sense of humour. And though other terms my be subject to philosophical consideration [which I’m not going to attempt here], we might also expect to see free will, rationality
  • Candle sticks dancing in Disney,
  • Grand Narrative of magic or spiritual space. It a story that seems to pit human culture against nature and the spirits of the forrest...
  • Anthropomorphic objects are a bit like royality. They’re very lucky objects... I imagine right now the robot who played short circuit is now on a beech in malibu somewhere sipping cocktails.
    So what about ‘normal’ objects? Well, actually I think this is where this becomes more interesting, because this is where we start hitting some really interesting and contemporary ideas... But to create a sense of suspense let’s just pass over some precedents on the way.
  • The semantics of the object 1964. Objects, as things that always have to be perceived by a person, always seem to resonant with meanings. Objects like pens of chairs can develop and grow as they enter into language, and we make sense of them... or better perhaps, as we construct senses around them.
  • Lover’s Discourse, called an anatomy of desire.
    On Agony:
    “Tonight I came back to the hotel alone; the other has decided to return later on. The anxieties are already here, like the poison already prepared (jealousy, abandonment, restleness); they merely wait for a little time to pass in order to be able to declare themselves with some propriety. I pick up a book and take a sleeping pill, ‘calmly’. The silence of this huge hotel is echoing, indifferent, idiotic (faint murmur of draining bathtubs), the furniture and the lamps are stupid; nothing friendly that might warm... The background of the things that are here.” p. 29.
    The identity of the lover that Barthes describes might set themselves in contrast to the dumb objects, but is nevertheless using them to magnifiy their sense of loss and agony.

    Barthes tries to build up a collage of texts if you like drawn from literature and personal experience to describe what it’s like being in a powerful relationship. Objects have this almost magnetic ability to pick up meanings...
  • Poetics of Space 1958.
  • Like Barthes, and many narrotologists Bakhtin was concerned with literature. But I’m sure you can see that these ideas are relatively easy to translate. In fact, visually it’s probably easier to gather information on a space – hence why I would use images here rather than text.
  • roads
  • Objects and Spaces might not be seen as people, but they starting to be seen as social agents.

    Think about this room...
  • Designers themselves seem to be responding to these ideas... Emphasising fun and playfulness, interactivity, personalisation.
  • [clean something]
  • Read Ian Sinclair...
  • Asks you to socialise with the world around you, somehow puts you in a position where you have to be looking to find it. The game is designed very carefully to create a sense of intrigue. There’s a borrowing of classical architectural forms, thrust together with quaint, old-worldly technologies and clumsy pointers to the future. The game isn’t solely visual and it builds into it diary extracts, and letters. As well as clues to help you navigate around.
  • Useful terms?
  • Holy Grail, Doctor Who’s Tardis, Batmobile,

    The smaller objects might not carry the story themselves, but are important to a sense of realism. Verisimilitude, ‘truth to life’, or it when the image conforms to our ‘model of the world’ These details add to a sense of realism, there semi-invisible status is important I think for given us a sense of a particular reality. Presumably these object need to be selected very carefully too, to reflect the time period, the class, the gender, the ethnicity of those involved.
  • Thing of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet... What makes it different. Well you could say its the editing, of the casting. But surely you’d have to mentions the objects and spaces allowing characters to extend their identities and communicate with one another in different ways...
  • In fact the film starts, not with a person, but with an object... A fuzzy screen. A true object immediately vocative of lots of broader themes ... Contemporary society, news, politics, life mediated by images...

  • So...
  • Wild Things And Poetic Space

    1. 1. Wild things and Poetic Space Visual Narratives
    2. 2. “...rather than focusing on general, abstract situations or trends, stories are accounts of what happened to particular people – and of what it was like for them to experience what happened – in particular circumstances and with specific consequences.” [my emphasis] (Herman 2009, Pp. 1-2)
    3. 3. How Important are objects and spaces seen to be in representations of narratives?
    4. 4. Though representations of people play an important role in describing stories, the representation of objects and spaces can change the significance of those people’s actions, while in certain contexts acting as important vehicles for the imaginations of viewers or readers.
    5. 5. Objects and People • [All] stories are accounts of what happened to particular people. • All narratives centre around representations of people. • Can narratives centre around objects? • Can objects in narrative be representations of people?
    6. 6. John Badham (1986)
    7. 7. Anthropomorphic Objects (and Spaces?)
    8. 8. Hayao Miyazaki (1997) Princess Mononoke
    9. 9. “Suppose that there be a machine, the structure of which produces thinking, feeling, and perceiving; imagine this machine enlarged but preserving the same proportions, so that you could enter it as if it were a miill. This being supposed, you might visit its inside;but what would you observe there? Nothing but parts which push and move each other, and never anything that could explain perception” Leibniz (1646-1716) (1840 cited in Dennett 1993, p. 412)
    10. 10. Joe Dante (1987) Inner Space
    11. 11. Objects People Spaces What about ‘normal’ objects and spaces?
    12. 12. Barthes (1915-1980) “...we see... that there is continuously a kind of breaking loose on the part of the object toward the infinitely subjective...” (Barthes [1964] 1994, p.181) “...there is always a meaning which overflows the objects use...” (ibid)
    13. 13. Barthes (1915-1980) “Every object touched by the loved being’s body becomes a part of that body, and the subject eagerly attaches himself [sic] to it.” (Barthes [1977] 2002, p.173)
    14. 14. Bachelard (1884-1962) On the House: “...we shall see that the imagination functions [strengthen our sense of reality] whenever the human being has found the slightest shelter: we shall see the imagination build ‘walls’ of impalpable shadows, comforts itself with the illusion of protection – or, just the contrary, tremble behind thick walls, mistrust the staunchest ramparts”. (Bachelard [1958] 1994, p.6)
    15. 15. On the Cellar: “... It is first and foremost the dark entity of the house, the one that partakes of the subterranean forces. When we dream there, we are in harmony with the irrationality of the depths.” (ibid, p.18)
    16. 16. Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975)
    17. 17. Julie Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (1999) The Gruffalo
    18. 18. Material Culture Workbench at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. Photo by Karen Bryan (2009). “ ‘Things’ … make up the totality of the physical world not as a raw mass of matter, but as a material culture with human associations … informed by meanings as fundamental as identity, life and death.” (Attfield 2000, p. 9)
    19. 19. Material Culture: where people, objects and spaces meet.
    20. 20. Alessi (1994) Anna G Corkscrew
    21. 21. you have to be looking to find it…
    22. 22. Psychogeography
    23. 23. Myst (1993)
    24. 24. Riven (1997)
    25. 25. ‘Upper Case’ and ‘lower case’ Apple iMac by Jonathan Ive
    26. 26. Back to Narratives Upper Case lower case Warren Ellis (TBR) Excalibur
    27. 27. Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller (1995 and 2005) Dark Pool and Opera for a Small Room
    28. 28. Giving objects and spaces narrativity Eisner 2008, p.15
    29. 29. Jake Cress (1990) Oops no 9
    30. 30. Spaces • Paths: “We can conceive of plot as a metaphorical network of paths” or “our image of a work can involve the paths of the protagonists around their world, bringing together time and space to shape a plot.” (see below, p 55) • Containers: Spaces that create insides and outsides. • Portals: Could simply be a door through which a character peers, but it could also be a magical link between distinct spaces and forms of imagination. (for further reading see Bridgeman 2007, pp 52-65)
    31. 31. Laika Inc (2009) Coraline
    32. 32. Baz Luhrmann (1996) Romeo + Juliet
    33. 33. Daniel Libeskind (2001) Jewish Museum [Denmark and Berlin]
    34. 34. “...rather than focusing on general, abstract situations or trends, stories are accounts of what happened to particular people – and of what it was like for them to experience what happened – in particular circumstances and with specific consequences.” [my emphasis] (Herman 2009, Pp. 1-2)
    35. 35. References • Attfield, J (2000) Wild Things, Material Culture of Everyday Life. Oxford, Berg. • Bachelard, G ([1958] 1994) The Poetics of Space. Massachusetts, Beacon Press. • Bakhtin, M. (1930) The Dialogical Imagination in McQuillan, M (2000) The Narrative Reader. London, Routeledge. • Barthes, R ([1964] 1994) The Semiotic Challenge. Berkeley, University of California Press. • Barthes, R ([1977] 2002) A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments. London, Random House. • Bridgeman, T (2007) Time and Space. In Herman, D (ed.) Narrative. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. • Dennett, D (1993) Consciousness Explained. London, Penguin. • Herman, D (2009) Basic Elements of Narrative. West Sussex, Wiley-Blackwell. • Woodward, I (2007) Understanding Material Culture. London, Sage Publications.

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