As part of one of my master program’s courses, “Discovery and Invention”, we addressed questions of transitional spaces. We where asked the question “How can we capture the intellectual and emotional quality of such experiences?” Furtheron, we where asked to focus on individual impressions and experiences of specific transitions as seen from multiple perspectives.
Group work (phase one)
As the project started, we where divided into groups of three for the initial idea generation and research. My group consisted of me, Sienna Xin Sun and Colin Stricklin. We immediately started brainstorming around themes of interest and came up with two ideas we believed would be visually and emotionally compelling.
The first was the idea of virtual and artificial reality versus reality. This was brought up by Colin who had an interest in the field. The second idea was on the transition of moving from one place to another. Since all three of us had recently moved to Atlanta for our master’s, we naturally found the theme very affecting and chose it to be our project theme.
Later on during the project, we where given further instruction which included us coming up with 50 ideas for the theme. This step (which we had quickly gone through after our first project brief) was approved by our professor to skip. This due to the fact that the subject of our interest (moving from one place to another) was so dear and intriguing to us at this point that there was no reason to enforce anything new.
The individual process
The instruction for the indivisual task was to come up with 100 ideas. From these I would then draw out those sketches I would want to pursue on 13 x 13 inch paper. After doing so I would choose three sketches that I thought succeeded following my idea of the transition best.
The trip from Sweden to Atlanta: Initial ideas
I started drawing out my 100 ideas, trying to by having an open mind on what a transition of this kind would visually look like. My professor had previously shown examples on how maps and transitions had been used to tell stories. This helped me in opening my mind to the visual ways in which my experience could be shown.
Although the idea formation process was quite fulfilling, it was also very time consuming. In the end I had around 30 sketches drawn out in my sketchbook.
I did however find the goal of having 100 ideas very helpful as it let me have a distance to my own performance output which in turn helped my become more open to just drawing ideas as they come, without any weight being put on it being ”good enough”.
As I pursued drawing more detailed sketches of the initial ideas on 13 x 13 inch papers I noticed that some of them where repeating the same idea and that some would not be translated as visually compelling as others. From my 30 initial ideas I created four large scale, detailed examples from which three where shown during critique session in class together with the rest of the groups transitions.
Transition and border crossing shown through the act of flying. My thought here was the act of stepping in to the physical space of an airplane only to step off in a whole new setting without actually moving.
The different sides of the plane showed Atlanta to the right, with its large area and roads and Falun (my hometown in Sweden) to the right, with its much smaller geographical area.
Transition and border crossing shown through the familiarity and identification of one place compared to the other.
Here I portrayed my connection to one country through the shaping of its borders with wording.
The words shaping Sweden to the right are amongst other things; family, my big love, name of the store I used to buy my groceries at etc.
Critique session one
Our group showed our final sketches during the first critique session. The first row shows Colin’s trip from west side of America to the east, the middle row shows Sienna’s trip from the airport (where her plane from China landed) and bottom row showing my journey.
We all got valuable critique during the first session. Comments on my sketched included mostly tweaking on some of the design choices which made me very happy as the overal message I was trying to convey seemed to have been received by my audience.
Group work (phase two)
After critique session one each of the group’s member was to choose one sketch to complete according to the critique. We now also entered a stage of the project where our transitions where to become a ”set”, which meant that we had to further analyze our individual interpretations to become connected to each other.
Based on the critique I received on my pieces, I chose to continue working on ”Feelings”. The piece had managed to awaken most responses and caught the audience attention through its simplicity as well as colorfulness.
At this stage, my group met in order to look at our pieces and decide upon ways in which we would connect our three perspectives.We decided to do this by placing our final destination (Georgia Tech) in a symbolic center by using our maps to show directional movement towards it.
Critique session two
For critique session two we had done the placement version of the transitions. Due to time constraints, not all groups where able to get critique by the class on their created sets. We did however recieve valuable insights from our TA who helped the group further think about. My piece was met with advice on how to use free perspective (and size) to fit my story, not having to be contrained by realistic visualization of maps.
During the final presentation the group showed the T-shaped set, consisting of our individual journey to the Georgia Tech.
Colin’s journey (from west to east) on the top left, my journey from Scandinavia to the US on the top right, and Siennas taxi drive from the airport to her hotel on the bottom row.
The critique showed need for further development of the framing of the three frames. For instance, we where given the advice to show the three pieces on larger background — allowing the center of our pieces (the final destination) having more flexible space and also making the set more coherent.
As a whole we succeeded to tell a story of three journeys through three diffrent approaches. The audience appriciated the individual differences shown through design, but brought together with the use of placement and direction.