For this quarter our focus is on perception. Each article allows the reader to consider how a new orientation to familiar things modifies the way we consider our source idea. The four articles in this issue deal with very differing aspects of this notion: perceptions of natural things within urban environments, how park and tourist wayfinding applied to unexpected content challenge the viewer to “revisit” their understanding of a place, how typographic form and logic can be used as a matrix with which to generate sound, and how Shakespeare’s sonnets can be viewed through alternate visualization schemes, as opposed to text in sonnet form. In every case a device, logic, or algorithm serves to shift the content, or treat it in a fresh way. This can yield insight into the way we receive, and ultimately, respond to the things that directly or indirectly inform our collective representational knowledge and patterns of knowing.
Jihoon Kang, Publisher, and William Bevington, Editor-in-Chief
Parsons Journal for Information Mapping
by William Bevington & Erik Freer
by Salvatore Ianconesi, MEng, Luca Simeone, MSc, & Cary Yungmee Hendrickson, MSc
by Owen Mundy, MFA
by Siu Chong, MFA
Couplets, Elizabethan literature, Helen Vendler, keywords, quatrains, relational diagramming, relational mapping, Shakespeare, signified and signifier, sonnets, VT-CAD, word mapping, word networks
That rich and emotional inward feeling—where both desire and profoundity meet—is well expressed through the outward form of the sonnet. Sonnets serve as companions in our quest for this type of profoundness; the best sonnets deliver rich, intellectually deep qualities reflecting life’s insights and feelings. Such profoundness may be gained through both general, and close reading. The intellectual depth of this experience is yet more enriched through the incorporative effects of taking in a sonnet sequence (if the author created such). Though we may seek to grasp this “source” element, profoundness, we realize it is externally intangible; we must approach such obliqueness through tools and mentors. The tools are representational models that can direct us toward our aim; the mentors assist us with these tools (directly, or by adding more tools). Our signified thing (in this case, profoundness) is achieved through signifiers (in this case letters arranged into words, making the language of the poem visible, and further arranged through rules and structures agreeably organized to constitute the type of sonnet expected). Shakespeare is literally dead, but he is figuratively alive through the representational strength of the printed page (or digital means of visual and audio rendering).
We physically read Shakespeare’s sonnets (symbols in line) nearly as his contemporaries did in the late sixteenth and the early seventeenth centuries. Such representations are fairly direct pathways to the source. In this paper, we refer to these direct, textual constructs as tier-one representational models. Is it possible to construct representations that yield even greater insight into the author’s conceit? Yes, perhaps, through two approaches, the first by building a better tier-one representation—a representation that more informatively points to the source with less noise.
The second approach is to construct a representation that is more direct in its path to another representation then it is to the source; we refer to this as a tier-two representation. These representations, designed to work in conjunction with other representations, may yield new and valuable intelligence respecting the source. If tier-one representations are the bricks, tier-two representations may allow us to understand the mortar, or view the building the bricks were arranged to compose. Relying most heavily on the research of the gifted critic and close reader of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Helen Vendler, this paper provides a built-out example of what is meant by, and what may be gained through, the reorienting strengths of tier-two representations.
William M. Bevington currently serves as Associate Professor of Information Mapping in the School of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design, The New School, New York. He formerly served as the Executive Director for Parsons Institute of Information Mapping, Chairman of the Communication Design department at Parsons School of Design, and various professorial and instructional roles at his Alma Mater, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He is an information designer and information theorist specializing in creating tools for the rapid assessment of complex data. His first significant project was the Blackout Procedures Manual for Con Edison in 1983, and the last was a major Geospatial Media Mash-up Tool under U.S. government contract entitled the Geospace and MediaTool (GMT). Mr. Bevington has developed toolsets for transit systems applications, stock trading applications, and health management tools as a principle designer at Spire Integrated Design, New York. He has lectured worldwide, illustrated Graphic Designers Production Handbook, co-authored Working with Graphic Designers and Designing with Type with Jim Craig. He is also the author of Typography: The Principles, A Basic Guide to Using Type published by The Cooper Union.
Erik M. Freer is an undergraduate student at The New School in the dual degree program pursuing a BFA from Parsons the New School for Design in Communication Design and a BA from Eugene Lang College the New School for the Liberal Arts in Writing. At Parsons his focus is on Information, Print, and Typography and at Lang his focus is on Poetry and Playwriting, with a minor in Japanese. Erik possesses a deep interest in ideas of mapping and the visual representation information. The Comparing Shakespeare’s Sonnet Sequence project featured in this paper was developed as part of an assignment in Topic: Information Design studio course taught by Professor Bevington. In addition to the project images, Erik contributed associated captions and schematic plans, as well as the sections entitled “Helen Vendler’s Keyword Model” and “Developing the relational device.” Erik dedicates his spare time to any and everything cultural and creative he can produce and or experience.
Art performance, augmented reality, biodiversity, computer vision, ecology, education, realtime mapping, urban anthropology
It is possible to capture and electronically recoginize discrete, or fragmented elements, such as leaves, from nature. Once captured these elements can then be enhanced through layers of additional data. An example of such a tool is one we created called Leaf++. Leaf++ is designed as an ubiquitous, augmented reality, information tool. It functions as a naturally-informed, new “eye” that can be used to look at the natural landscape of our cities, and to see and understand a landscape that is beyond the mere sight and must be understood as a way to reconnect the fragmenting caused by the urbanization of the formerly contiguous landscape. This realm may be referred to as the Third Landscape. Using contemporary toolsets it is possible to re-engage this space.
Salvatore Iaconesi is an artist, robotics engineer, hacker, and interaction designer. He teaches Cross Media Design at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Rome. He is president of FakePress Publishing, an international think-tank exploring the frontiers of publishing together with artists, architects, designers, institutions, and businesses worldwide.
Luca Simeone teaches design anthropology and interaction design at La Sapienza University. He is the founder of FakePress Publishing and of Vianet digital design agency. He has served as a research affiliate with the SENSEable City Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Mr. Simeone works as an independent expert for the European Commission.
Cary Yungmee Hendrickson received her MSc. in environmental studies and sustainability science from Lund University. Her research interests revolve around theoretical and empirical intersections of political ecology, the commodification of nature, and global institutions for environmental management. Her doctoral dissertation is focused on multi-scalar linkages between the networks of actors involved in carbon offsets.
Archive, data, engineering, history, mapping, military, Military Academic Industrial Complex, National Park Service, politics, technology, visualization
This paper details the motivation and the method behind the creation of Camp La Jolla Military Park, a fictional national park on the current site of the University of California’s San Diego campus. Camp La Jolla Military Park borrows the iconography and language from historical battlefields as designated and protected by the U.S. Congress; the use of such iconography and language allows for the investigation, as well as consideration of the campus as a site for research and development of weapons and technology for the defense industry. The website http://camplajolla.org/ is the publicly accessible collective of the research and expression behind Camp La Jolla Military Park.
The project began by developing a data-collection system in order to record the historical, geographic, and economic ties that bind the relationships of power within the complex of military, industrial, and academic institutions in Southern California. Through appropriating the vernacular language and imagery of the National Park System the research was made public and accessible to audiences both within and outside of the protected spaces of art and academia. This writing introduces the concepts and processes of the project in order to encourage the restaging of other similar creative disturbances.
Owen Mundy is an artist, designer, and programmer. He was a photographer in the U.S. Navy, has a BFA in Photography from Indiana University and an MFA in Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego. He is an Assistant Professor in the School of Art & Design at Florida State University. In 2010–2011 he will be based in Berlin, Germany on a DAAD Fellowship.
Audiovisual mapping, experimental music, fonts, graphical scores, sound, type, typography
An audiovisual research project experimenting with how fonts “sound” through an applied sonification process. Type Sonification explores different conceptual paradigms in which typefaces can be audified through audiovisual mapping. By exploring the attributes of letterforms, this conceptual approach expands the standard uses of type by giving a font a “voice” of its own. The identity of the typeface will no longer be only a representation of the spoken word but an auto-synthesized soundtrack for a body of text. Based on visual and analytical aspects of the font, the generation of typographic notations can be created as a unique textual score.
Siu Chong is an information designer and new media artist. Co-founder of Spire Integrated Design, a consulting studio in New York City, she has created software interfaces for stock trading firms and transportation providers.
Siu’s training began at Brooklyn Technical High School in the area of Graphic Communications Technology while simultaneously pursuing studies at NYC Technical College and The Cooper Union. She received a BFA degree in Communication Design from Parsons School of Design.
She has been a guest panel speaker at the CAA Conference on the topic of “Information Mapping the Graphic User Interface.” She is also part-time faculty at Parsons and has taught Graphic Design, Typography, and User Interface Design. Siu holds an MFA in Design + Technology from Parsons. Her love of typography inspired her thesis, “Typometrics: A Computational Method for Objective Typeface Classification.”
As a new media artist, Siu explores the experimental electronic music arena. She was an artist in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 2010 where she started exploring Type Sonification.