Please write a short response to the lecture from Wednesday. What did you think of the topics Anezka touched on and how do you see them relate to your own practice/your discipline?
It is, in my opinion, of paramount importance for any illustrator regardless of graphical style or preffered medium to understand narrative structure. These are not exclusive to stories – or, it might be better to say, the essence of the story exists in all things, not just in books, films, and related media. There is a saying that a picture is worth a million words, and so art itself must contain enough sentences to fulfill the requirements of a narrative arch multiple times. Though illustration is not immersive, there exist ways to implement it’s concepts into new age media such as the types mentioned in Anezka’s lecture. My impressions of storytelling as a concept going into this class were very two dimensional, both figuratively and literally, but the contents of the course outline a path towards a different, more holistic and ergonomic form of narrative that I have yet to study. Illustration itself is usually defined as a picture, a flat image, but that does not mean it has to be bound to those rules. I believe immersive storytelling will lend an important hand in exploring my own path in illustrative art and narrative design.
After reading Chapter 1 of Computers as Theatre, how would you define ‘interface’ for yourself? Does it always have to be defined in relation to a human and a machine? If not, please elaborate.
Interface as defined by Brenda Laurel takes multiple different forms, some more unique depending on the intended actions they’re meant to have with a user. That relationship in and of itself forms the core of the interface, particularly as it relates to computers and humans. In any case, it is imperative in the interface for there to be ergonometrics – that is, for the communication between the user and the interface itself to be designed from the top-down for usability. In that sense, it will always be required that a user exists alongside the interface. This is not to say that the interface itself is an entity without it’s own inherent strengths as a designed system, simply that it is incomplete without one.
Brenda gives two reasons why theatre is a good way to think about interactions. What are they and why does she think they are worth investigating in detail?
One of the key reasons Laurel gives towards the importance of theatre is it’s intrinsic similarity to interfaces. This juggles a serious versus non-seriousness factor which Laurel explains as a popular misconception – theatre (and design, by extention) is representation of reality rather than reality itself which some believe cheapens it’s significance, yet interfaces share in that description and yet are widely regarded as useful tools with which our interactions are not just significant, but of great import. In the same sense that interfaces are representations of interactions, so too is theater a vehicle for exploring the same relationship from a different angle. The same key roles – users, experiences, visual language – are present in theater as they are in interfaces.
Going back to the seriousness factor of theater, Laurel explains that the physicality of theater plays an important role, as does the contents of the theater’s play itself. Melodrama, comedy, farce, and satire are handled in different ways in theater and are perceived differently by the audience member as a result, playing directly into “seriousness” not just in regards to the subject matter but in regards to how the actors in theater carry and gesture with their bodies in a given space. These form important interactions, this combination of physicality and narrative content, and represents a special kind of interaction that is especially easy to visually process and digest. In the process of the actor playing their role within their physical and imaginary space, one can observe how their actions represent a reflection of reality, and how that reflection is an important interaction in and of itself.