Paris Hilton Inverted

By paul — 

So, my first few days as an Erasmus exchange student at Lahti University and I hadn’t really known what to expect. But learning NodeBox has been interesting. I usually take to computer programs like a duck to a glacier (it might have been noticed that it’s taken me this long just to log in to this blog succesfully!), but this software seems very interesting, and full of possibilities.

I study illustration at my home institution in the UK, and the current project there is focusing on narrative - my intended specialisation, so I’d been hoping to try to relate to this in my work here. My work stems from my sketchbook doodles.. I try to allow the right side of my brain more say in what I am drawing than the left. This often produces drawings which are a surprise to me, but which also contain some deep-set symbolic significance. I saw this particularly clearly recently, while making a large collage from various photocopied pages of my sketchbooks .. I began to see connections between images which I had previously considered “meaningless”, and the whole piece took on a narrative life which had previously been invisible, much as NodeBox makes some of its quasi-synaptic connections. The collage was finished with a quote that I found in a book on the shelf by the library photocopier, while I waited for my turn, which made mention of Bournemouth (my hometown, where the piece would be exhibited, but in this case the name of a scholar) and a disbelief in the spirit world (the theme of the collage). Quite an amazing coincidence? Or is it just that the photocopiers happen to be by the Religion section, and this is the area where I would be most interested to look? I suspect that this is the actuality of most “coincidences”.. an unconscious bias or influence creates these connections. The experience of making this collage made me think about all this, and also another ongoing interest - tarot cards.. how they can function as a visual lexicon, supplying archetypal elements from which the users can build their own narrative. No coincidences, but an engine to create connections between our personal situations and our symbolic world, the function of stories since time untold. So, I had been thinking about a way to present a visual narrative in this fashion, based on a randomised selection of archetypal story elements. Is it a coincidence that I now find myself in Lahti, learning a software seemingly perfectly suited to this idea? Or is that just New Age fluffy thinking? Was Philip K. Dick in his right mind or his wrong mind when he claimed that language is an organic system? And will I find my way back to the right classroom tomorrow?

I’m not sure! But what today’s lesson did confirm is that my idea does seem very possible, though I think I might need to set myself a goal that is more realistically achievable than an in-depth generative application based on tarot.. perhaps a program that generates ‘visual horoscopes’, as much open to interpretation as the written version, but based on broader visual associations. And perhaps with more overtly modern instances of classic archetypes - Celebrity Tarot anyone?