Circle Line – Psychogeography

Psychogeography


“Psychogeography: a beginner’s guide. Unfold a street map… place a glass, rim down, anywhere on the map, and draw round its edge. Pick up the map, go out into the city, and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the curve. Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour: film, photograph, manuscript, tape. Catch the textual run-off of the streets: the graffiti, the branded litter, the snatches of conversation… Go out into the city, hungry for signs and portents, and see what happens. Open your mind, let the guiding metaphors of the walk find you.”


– Robert MacFARLANE, reviewing the writing of Iain SINCLAIR
The philosophy behind Psychogeography is fascinating. It reads somewhat like the practice of mindfulness. The notion that we go through much of our lives without truly being conscious of our surrounding and attempting to combat that by making a concerted effort to throw off a routine and mix things up. 

I am certainly guilty of, at times, wandering through life without taking the time of notice things. For example driving, I can perfectly easily arrive at a destination having driven there in a kind of uncocious autopilot. I drove perfectly well, but I didn’t truly experience the journey. 

I am not naturally good at looking at thing son a philosophical, none linear way. That is why I chose to study this module. I want to expand my thought processes to allow me a greater pool of knowledge from which to draw. 

The idea of this brief, I am coming to understand. Is to take the unique experiences you undergo as you travel through the world and convey them as best as possible to a wider audience. Each journey, even along the same path, will be entirely unique. The weather, the sounds, the temperature. Each will have changed subtley from one day to the next. 

This may sound like I am using layman’s terms to understand a very complicated concept, but that is how I am able to invisage the philosophy and so writing about it allows me to reinforce what I have learned. 

I intend on using this time to challenge my preconceived ideas and to review my thought process in rider to widen my perspective and allow me to appreciate ideas I may previously have dismissed. 

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Circle Line #1

In our first field lecture with Chris, we were given an insight in to the work of the previous year’s group. They had created an 8minute, abstract documentary style video exploring the visual language of the Circle Line. 

The intention behind this video was to bring a sense of the circle line’s past in an implicit manner through the use of editing, animation, visual effects and musical composition. They used both their own and archival media in the form of footage and audio recordings. 

We were shown this work in order to convey our own brief that would follow in a similar vein. The course seems to have a great deal in common with Psychogeography which was one of our potential topics for our Subject ‘On Display’ brief which I had previously completed. 

In order to demonstrate the concepts we would be employing, Chris took us on a nature walk along the banks of the Taff river and told us to record anything that came to mind. Sights, smells, memory triggers, colour patterns, shapes, textures, anything at all. 

Sasha the Staffodshire Bull Terrier 

Lleuci the Shi Tzu 

The river Taff

I am not naturally good at thinking in entirely abstract ways. I like the media I consume to be quite matter of fact and to be explicit with its meanings. But I am beginning to understand the purpose of all this. We are aiming to appeal to a very base and pure idea of the world around use. Rather than explaining it in a linear manner we attempt to show the individual impact it has on the viewer. 

Apply my brand to ephemera

At this late stage of my project I have settled on a final brand identity. It IS the final identity because even if I wanted to, time has run out for that. But luckily I quite like it. In order to present it in a manner that will allow my audience to understand its real world application, I have mocked up a number of pieces of ephemera across numerous media.

The poster and ticket design are the basis on which all these other elements revolve around. I did this in order to create a consistent visual brand. Here are my completed pieces.

Ephemera

I’m happy with the results of this work. I have tried to not simply reprint the same poster image again and again. But to adapt the signage for each piece while maintain the overall theme. I have to say that despite the rocky start I had on this project. The results are far more promising than I had originally anticipated.

I had considered making a mobile app for the exhibition, but given the nature of the subject, anything that I could include in an app would simply act as spoilers for what would be to come in the exhibition. I may create a webpage to simply work as an advert for the exhibition. Explaining a brief overview of the history  behind the topic and including some images and explanations of the exhibition, akin to a teaser trailer for a movie.

My next step will definitely be to establish a way finding system within the exhibition. I want people to be guided around in a unique way that is in-keeping with the theme of the  exhibition itself. I will explore this in my next blog post. I already have some ideas in the works.

Personal Tutorial and work overhaul

I recently had a brief personal tutorial session with David. I showed him my ephemera and animation thus far and he seemed to have some positive things to say. He also, however, had a lot of useful advice and constructive criticism. 

We agreed that the typeface, although he liked it. Was barely legible when overlayed on a concrete background being of the same texture. The blending between the two was blurring the outlines of the type. 

He also suggested making the most of the type’s ability to push the exhibition’s message. It was suggested that I leave the ‘playground’ section of my ‘BRUTALIST PLAYGROUND’ title in full colour, to emphasise it’s playful nature. But to desaturate the word ‘brutalist’ to juxtapose the two words. 

Another suggestion was that ‘Brutalist Playground’ should act as both the title and logo of the exhibition. The typeface is far two abstract to work as body text and so I should explore other potential typefaces to work as my body text. 

 I found this brief encounter very helpful as I felt that my project had, once again, started to stall. After the meeting I immediately set to revamping my work and In my next post I will showcase my new and improved designs. 

Changing Faces – Finalising the Piece

The deadline is right around the corner and so my Changing Faces Project is just about completed. After receiving feedback from David I had a few final changes to implement. Some of them were technical issues to do with misalignment from columns and some were design alterations of a more subjective perspective. I made all the essential changes and did some other alterations to compromise between what I had envisioned and what was recommended to me.

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 11.54.56

The next stage was printing which caused me some issue as the recommended printer was overcapacity. I found a new printer promptly but was unable to get my work cut to size by them. The cutting process with scalpel and ruler was tense because my crop marks had not printed correctly and £15 and a lot of time was in the balance.

Thankfully my margins were large enough to cover any errors in cutting. I could simply trim slightly closer in to correct for any mistakes. This is something I’ll consider whenever I have to do this in future. The gluing and binding went rather more smoothly with some help and final adjustments could be made one all three spreads were together.

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Here is the finished piece. I was overwhelmed by how perfectly it turned out. The print quality was exceptional which made every tiny detail included and adjustment made, stand out. It really made my work look better than I could have hoped.

Across the course of the project my design has fundamentally changed due to constant edits and improvements. It really seems strange the amount of time it took to design three double page spreads. But completed,  it really allows me to understand the difference using professional methods can have. I feel I have learnt a great deal throughout this year and here is the pinnacle of my work. Looking back to the work I produced at the beginning, it really looks quite poor now.

Despite how stressful it was to have to create my own imagery, I’m very pleased it was a condition of the brief. It took ages but I developed my ideas and refined my images to a point where I could not see how to improve upon them. The colour scheme is clear and allows the piece to flow and remain uniform while not being repetitive.

I learnt a great deal from my research, not only into the topic of climate change but into typography and layout design. I am especially happy with the design of my pullout quotes. I used a bold serif font and reduced the leading to near zero, the size of the font allows it to remain clear while being compact, chunky and powerful.

The quality of all the work I have seen during this project has been exceptional and I am eager to see it displayed as part of our end of year exhibition.

Changing Faces – One to One Consultation

Recently we were scheduled one to one meetings with David to discuss our projects and evaluate them. Seeing what ideas we had come up with, looking at how we could refine or build on them, as well as looking for basic errors and misjudgments.

By this point I had a very solid basis for my project. My core ideas had been laid out and begun taking shape. My color scheme or blue/cyan tinted monochrome was solid and my imagery was coming along.

Page 1&2 #5pages 3-4 #5

Still far from a six page spread. The last spread being columned text and nothing more I decided to just leave it out and save some space. Since my last version of this I had entirely redesigned the second spread with my photo series of a dying candle. Details of this can be found in a prior post. Here were the major points of improvement suggested to me.

  • The quote on page 2 is not pulled from the article and therefore must be removed.
  • The text would be far more flowing and dynamic if it was not justified
  • there is no need for a stand first on the second spread
  • All pull out quotations should have a common font size, color etc.
  •  The candle image should not have a border and the title along the edge should instead be in the foreground of the image (this is something I had tried previously but changed last minute)

What I’ve changed

Pages 1&2 #10

In my first spread I have completely reworked the typesetting. Unjustified the body text (this was done throughout the article) and adapted a new pullout quote. I have also created stylized wax dribbles, the details of their creation and reasoning behind them are explained in detail in a prior post.

Pages 3&4 #10

On the second spread I did something similar. The stand-first remains as I neglected to change it by this point. However the quotation has been adapted, the image on page four has been expanded and the title placed in the foreground in white font that is of the same family as the heading and pullout quotes (Bodoni 72 Oldstyle). I also increased the contrast of the image to make it appear more stark and highlight the change as the eye progresses down the page.

Pages 5&6 #10

Similar things have been done to my third spread. Another wax splash, a pullout quote in blue and a final image that lends the article an air of finality. The progression from dark to like as the reader progresses was an idea David nudged me towards and I feel it works very effectively.

My thoughts

These improvements from my fifth version to my tenth were made in just two days, possibly my most productive two days in the course of this project so far. This task quickly went from something I was desperately trying to make presentable and get over and done with, to a piece of work I’m genuinely proud of and filled with enthusiasm to have completed and professionally printed.