ADZ5888 Reflective Writing

Overall I think Field module was an amazing opportunity to apply my contextual knowledge and theories from subject module and work collectively with students from other courses to find and design a solution for a given brief. I really enjoyed working collectively with others because we had the opportunity to share our knowlege while working on a brief as a team. Having to work in groups with people from other courses helped me to develop on my current skills as well as learning new ones and made me see things from other perspectives, such as from a sound producer or photographer’s perspectives. My first term of Field was more about exploring the moving image opportunities and navigating the urban environment while capturing different images of places and things in the area. Then, analyse them and create an abstract video of all of these images together. The fun part was that we were split into groups of 4 or 5 and each group were tasked with creating a 1 minute video of their urban encounters. Then, at the end of it all the groups come together merging each group’s videos into one big picturesque documentary film. The experience was great and it really opened my eyes, making me realise there is so much more to achieve and always try to push my boundries. Also, being able to work collectively is great as it can bring amazing achievements.

However, in the second term I’ve experienced something rather different and more independent. Information is Power being my second Field project was probably one of the best project I did the whole year. This project was about communicating with data visually. For this project we had the freedom to pick a subject of interest and take the data and visualise it. I took this as a good opportunity to build up on my activism and data visualisation skills. My idea was to collect data on the subject of sea waste and design an animation displaying all the facts surrounding the issue of plastic debris. Originally, I wanted to create a narrative infographic and illustrative outcome based on the collated data. Also I was thinking to create a series of posters showing the journey of plastic from the sea to our taps and foods but I wanted to take this opportunity to explore and develop my After Effects skills instead. In the end I decided to create a piece of activism design which focused on the plastic waste and how it not only affects our oceans but also affects us as well. The video portrays the narrative of how plastic circulates within our oceans and that there is only more plastic adding up each year and the old one that only begins to decompose after rougly 400 years it turns into small fiber plastics which then are consumed by fish. The idea of how it affects our oceans and then us.

In conclusion, this module taught me a lot of new things related to video and sound editing which I then I explored and expanded further within my second field project. Overall I think it was a great experience to be able to work in groups and learn from each other then being able to apply all that I learned in one individual project I think worked out pretty great. However, I did have a few challanges such as recording my own sounds and trying to figure out how to do certain things within After Effects.

 

 

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Information is Power – Ocean Trash Design Progress & Outcomes

In the last stage of this project I decided to go with the animation video showing the effects that plastic waste has on us and how it eventually returns back from oceans through the food we are eating. For this idea I got inspired by a documentary from National Geographic channel where they talk about the cycle of plastic.

The idea was that I’d pick something of interest and collect enough research and information on that topic to back up my design idea then create a powerful visual representation of the data through design. That could be anything, from pottery to computer graphics and handmade objects or animation.

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Initially I wanted to animate 2 pop up scenes. First, showing the content of tap water including microfibers and secondly, a fish containing microfibers as well.
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Also after animating my first draft I decided to cut out this scene out as it seemed a unnecessary to for the message I was trying to convey.

This project gave me the opportunity to explore my creativity and designing skills further and experiment with data. It helped me to understand the importance of Information Design as it makes everything so much easier for us.

Overall, I had a great fun working on this project. Although in the future I would like to work towards improving my Creative Suite skills which would allow me to create more professional work and to a higher quality. Also I chose the topic of ocean waste as it seemed like one of the huge problems the world is facing right now. I felt that I could help using my creativity and skills to raise awareness about the issue, so I have decided to address it by designing an animation video on the subject matter. The idea of plastic in our food sounds horrific, yet it appears to be true according to Telegraph seafood lovers eat at least 11,000 bits of plastic every year. In my opinion that is a dramatic number that needs addressing as soon as possible. Therefore, my video focuses on the fact that plastic ends up returning to us through the foods we’re eating, and that as a result of land and ocean pollution.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/01/24/seafood-eaters-ingest-11000-tiny-pieces-plastic-every-year-study/

 

Information is Power – Developing ideas and Research

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Using mind maps I begun writing down potential topics of interests including world politics, world problems and personal related issues such as Romanian Deforestation and many more ideas such as the endangered species and many more. As I was quite familiar with the issue already I decided to go with the Ocean Pollution, particularly plastic debris.

So to get a better understanding on what I am working with I decided to look up some more data from different sources such as government agency websites and documentary videos along with a reportage and vlogs surrounding the issue.

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As I understand the Plastic Pollution around the world has increased in the past decade especially with the population  on the rise there is more demand for more products therefore more plastic is being produced as a result. Yet, as plastic could be useful it is also extremely damaging and it can eventually transform into a huge problem as it usually take around 450 years to decompose.

Information Source: U.S. National Park Service; Mote Marine Lab, Sarasota, FL (decomposition times); National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration Marine Debris Program

http://uk.businessinsider.com/plastic-in-ocean-outweighs-fish-evidence-report-2017-1

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/more-plastic-in-sea-than-fish-3-strategies/

A bottle of soda takes about a day if not hours to consume but it takes years to decompose resulting in a huge amount of plastic being collected and only a certain amount being recycled and the rest ending up in landfills or most commonly our oceans.

 

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So I looked for facts and interesting points surrounding the Plastic issue and used that to sketch out different design concepts. I was thinking of mediums such as plastic made sculptures and experimenting with plastic within itself maybe create something out of plastic that would be sustainable as well as presenting a powerful tone.

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/various-ocean-pollution-facts.php

http://oceancrusaders.org/plastic-crusades/plastic-statistics/

Also to get some inspirations I looked for other artist’s works of art or related designs as well in order to see whats already out there that would hopefully influence my design decisions and help me to come up with a unique idea myself.

I really like these designs as they stand out in different ways even if some of them represent the same type of data, each one of them is still very creative in the way they are telling their story using visual language.

https://visual.ly/tag/ocean-pollutionhttps://kite.sista.zone/ocean-cleanup-plastic-pollution-problem/

https://kite.sista.zone/ocean-cleanup-plastic-pollution-problem/

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I begun thinking of a story line and the idea of info graphics showing the things damaged by the plastic waste such as the amounts of plastic compared to the highest point on Earth or the weight of the ocean plastic compared to the weight of a whale in order to show a significant comparison. Yet, it wasn’t something that hasn’t been done before. I was looking to tell a message that people didn’t already knew. So I after a tutorial with my tutor he suggested I looked deeper and pick something more specific. Rather an unknown story that hasn’t been told yet or a deeper area of the issue that hasn’t been explored by other designers yet. At this point I was just experimenting and still not sure what to go with.

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I was thinking of plastic bottles filled up with water and colours showing different statistics such as the amount of plastic in the ocean starting from 1960s up until 2000s and the outcome if we do not stop it now. Like a bar chart using bottles and colours.

Yet, I don’t think this idea is engaging enough. So I will move on for now.

Watching these National Geographic documentaries was extremely eye opening, it helped me to understand this topic more like finding out the causes and the results of the effects of plastic waste.

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So after some more research I came up with this idea of the world’s map using animated dots representing ocean waste being drifted by ocean currents from continent to continent, and how it spreads across the oceans infecting even the less polluted part of the earth with garbage.

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Another idea was to go and collect old plastics and waste from the beaches around Wales and try to identify how old are they then photograph them and use them to design posters. Such as “plastic chair 1960s”.  Obviously putting the fact that we are in 2018 and just found an object dumped onto our beaches from “1960s” into perspective would be rather eye opening.

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Another idea was to create an animation showing the potential causes of marine waste and the effects it has on us people as well. The cycle of plastic and how it returns back to us through food or within other products such as toothpaste or drinkable water.

Information is Power – 1 Week Project

For this 1 week group project we had to design information based on the data we’ve collected. First we sat down and decided on what kind of data we want to design and how we will do it. After we had a group chat we’ve decided to do a social experiment using a paint tub and a brush left on the floor then record people’s reaction to it and use the recorded data to design a piece of information design, though at this point we were not sure what.

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So here is our recorded data being divided into 5 different behaviours.

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Then we begun our idea generating where we thought of different ways to design our collected data. So we begun by drawing little icon idea for each category.

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We wanted to give this a bit more context by being able to visually distinct one from the other.

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Then, we’ve sketched down some ideas of graphs using the icons that we’ve created for each behaviour. We thought of using different mediums to do that. Such as shoe Laces, Plasticine, Foam, Collage etc…

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Next, we begun exploring with the shapes and came up with a comparison graph using the simplified versions of the icons.

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After having a tutorial with David our tutor, we decided to think how to bring elements from the actual painted area itself into the design.

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So, we’ve sketched down the shape of the area that is being painted and created a graph using colours and depth.

Next, we’ve used what we came up with already and expanded on them. Then we all split the jobs in order to have 3 designs showing different statistics of the data through different design ideas.

Number 1, was the idea of colours representing each behaviour and comparing them by the amounts of paint in each cup. Then the cups are being placed on top of the colour sheet which give more context and detailed explanation of what you’re looking at.

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Number 2, was the paint trap experiment showing the movement of the people during the experiment and their behaviour.

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And number 3, is a 3D bar chart of each behaviour category. Showing the statistics with the most interaction within the painted area. For example, green was the people who stepped over the most as compared to other behaviours as they were passing through.

Overall, this workshop put us on the right track with the major brief, making us to critically produced and analyse our own data. I think it was quite interesting to be able to record your own data and then design something to represent it. I quite enjoyed the idea generation as we had plenty of ideas to work with. All we had to do was to choose the best one and improve them. I also enjoyed the fact that we all worked together to produced each of the final outcomes. We also signed in for a laser cutter workshop where we cut and built our bar chart 3D model. It was a good team experience where we all were critical over the outcomes and fully committed as we kept in touch through Facebook group-chat in order to ask each other for opinions. In the end the outcome might of not been the best as it happened to face a few problems in our development but it was a great experience to work as a group and identify and fix the issues that we’ve faced during the design process.

Information is Power – Intro and Group Works

With the beginning of this collaborative project we have been introduced to the subject of Information Design and also had the opportunity to complete a small group work and a one week project related to the information design concept as well.

As quoted on the InfoDesign website.

Modern life is saturated with complex information and data. For information to have impact, it must be easy to find, simple to use, and instantly understandable. In short, information needs to be designed!

As I understand, information design is all around us. From way-finding to data being recreated and made more clear using creative techniques. Few examples are things like, maps, and understanding your utility bills, signs, instruction manuals and much more. It is the idea of narrowing down or simplify and design a clear piece of information. Or to make complex ideas such as boring, ugly graphs and bar charts to be more interesting and clear using creative techniques and tools.

So, we were also shown some examples of Information Design and David talked about the techniques and talked about some strategies within the works of different artists as well. He was talking about the Map of London Underground and showed us the difference on how it really looks behind the sharp and clean design of today’s London Underground Map, and how it has been simplified and improved, making it more clear and easier to read and understand. I picked the Tube map as it seemed like a great examples of effective clear information design.

Example:

The original.

After it has been redesigned and simplified.

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Now.walkmap

However, after the keynote, we had the opportunity to work as a group for a half a day project which we were asked a bunch of questions where we had to write our answers on small notepaper then leave it on the table next to the question. Then, we have been assigned into small groups where we had to create a piece of information design based on the answers given by the whole class on a specific question. My group’s question was “When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?” 

We started to analyse the answers and sort them out by categories all the answers in small groups based on how they relate to each other. Creative and Academic, what is left in the middle are the ones that stood out and somewhat relate to the both categories.

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Then we had an idea of creating a simple symbol for each one of them. Or, only 3 symbols for the different category. Such as “Aid, Health”, “The “Pen” is for Academic and Writers. And the “Megaphone” is for actors, singers and artists that communicate something to the world.

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Then, we had the idea of balloons, where each colour represents a category. Orange is “creatives”, yellow is “in-between”, and academic is purple, and white representing “other”.

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In the end we put together a little 3d/2d piece where we show the statistics using little colour balls to show the numbers as how many chose to do something academic, how many chose to have a creative job and the middle being the in-between line. The white ball represents others such as “cowboy”.

Circle Line – The Progress and Outcomes

The aim of this project is to teach us in-depth about the experimental documentary making around the theme of Psycho geography. This is a collaborative project and it encourage us to experiment with raw footage, photography and sound as being part of a collaborative team.

So with the start of the project Chris our module tutor has introduced us to the brief, and showed a documentary made by the last year students in order to get a basic idea of what they’re expecting from us. Then he talked to us about the meaning and definition of Psycho geography and how we would eventually work around it to create our 10 min documentary film. Once, we have been given a detail explanation of the brief, we then have been given the freedom to team up with others as opposed to being given a group. The idea is that the whole class is split up into smaller groups. Each group is working on a minute each and bring the outcomes together to come up with 10 minutes edited final documentary film.

As part of the project and to explore the theme of psycho geography Chris bought up a map and drew up a line from point A being Cardiff Met and point B being Pontypridd and as a group we had to choose where our point C was going to be forming a triangle. My group and I have decided to go to Weir as our third point on the map and decided to explore it further. We meet up and begun taking photographs and videos of places that were emotionally connected to us. While taking pictures I looked for things such textures, patterns, and abstractions. I thought the patterns can give a nice finish to our film and it can give the flexibility to play around and experiment with the frames. It was all the idea of experimentation and exploration of natural environment through photography and the recording of images.

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Also, as a group we have worked together to create a voice for our theme, we were the contrast team. So we come up with a manifesto that was to help us have a focus on the reflection idea. Literally speaking it is the idea of reflective imagery. So we came up with the idea of reflection through a physical object such as the mirror. We wanted to sort of implement the idea of another dimension and force people to move on from the repetitive imagery and cliches angles towards a more deeper and distinctive reflection of a 5th dimension. Third dimension being what we see through our eyes, a 4th dimension is the sound and touch, then the 5th dimension is what we were trying to achieve using a physical object.

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So, as part of the research process I have looked at different type of reflections rather than just the mirror. I looked at the reflection within the water, stones, leafs, windows, and even the effect of of light onto a reflective surfaces such as grass, trees, and many more. My idea was to experiment with the nature around me as well as with psychical man-made objects such as mirrors and windows. I wanted to explore the effects of the surroundings even more. Unfortunately part of my work has been lost due to not enough space on my phone HDD. Yet, I managed to recover a few good shots and with the help of others I still managed to post a good amount on my blog to evidence all the good things that we were looking at.

 

So, after our trip to Pontypridd and collecting a broad amount of footage and pictures, we were ready to do some editing. We kept in touch with our composer and we had him briefed on what kind of music we are looking for. In order for everybody in our group to be heard we sat down and discussed our ideas and concepts on what we personally wanted from this video. We created a concept and begun editing our first draft.

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After a class discussion we sat down and watched everybody’s draft videos where we have been given feedback by both, Chris and Tom regarding what needs further editing and their opinions on our first outcome.

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I believe this presentation was a great opportunity to get inspired and to see everybody’s work so far and to discuss possible issues about the editing part and our outcomes, what needs to be changed or improved upon. So, the issue with our video was that some thought it was too busy and that the tone of our video was not clear enough. It helped us to see what other people think of our draft and it gave us enough feedback so that we can go back and do further edits. Chris and Tom both agreed that we need to simplify it slightly and that it needs to be more clear on what our tone is throughout the whole minute video.

Pontypridd Trip:

However, after some more editing and feedback from our module tutor we have finally come up with a final 1 minute video that we were all happy with.

Overall this project was an awesome experience as to me film making isn’t my strongest strength and having to work with video editing and photography in one project worked out pretty fun for myself. My favourite part of the project was that we finally got to work with people from a different industry together in order to project our practices within this one film. It was great to see and hear how Music students produce their work in exchange for what we do as visual artists. Having a graphics background it was good to collaborate and discuss the issues we have been put against. The idea of collaboration with people from different fields it is something I will always be keen on, as much as it is interesting to learn about other subjects, it is also a great opportunity to teach people what I do and to inform the work we produce through the knowledge I have achieved previously from my subject and vice versa. Also, the brief was pretty straight forward and well explained to us. Having to work with Psycho-geography theme again was kind of exciting and I looked up to it. As part of the research process, I looked up abstract documentaries and how they relate to my theme. I was given readings and I have also looked for books around the theme of reflection and Psycho-geography in order to get a broad and a clear understanding of what I need to do. The idea of a manifesto is what helped us to create a tone for our final outcome. The fact that we sat down and discussed our ideas and concepts for this really helped in the creation of our final 1 min outcome.

I have to say, at first I felt like it was going to be a difficult brief and that we would struggle a little through creating the video as with no prior expertise in video editing and photography. I believe it went exceptional and with the extra thanks to Chris’s and other groups feedback the final outcome seemed to come along great. Working with music students and students from other subjects has taught me the importance of collaboration as well as the importance of other’s skills that could potentially inform and boost my own practice in the future.

Also, I was looking forward to work with abstract art and experimentation, as with graphics that seems to be diminished by the strict grid systems and implied rules. So, this project was overall fun and a great experience in terms of learning about other subjects and the flexibility that we had with the creation of our videos. In terms of group experience I think it went great and that we all got on with each other which have influenced the strength of the work that we did. I would say that my strongest contribution to the team was to bring in new concepts and ideas that I’ve learnt in graphics and to help them take decisions and try to help with the photography and camera angles as well. Also,  I have contributed to the video editing and the decisions for our manifesto. My strongest knowledge was the fact that I had previous experience with psycho-geography and that I knew a bit about After Effects that helped us to create the credits and logo for the final 10 minutes piece.

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Circle Line – Research and Studies

As part of the research stage we have been given some examples of documentaries to look at and even an an essay to read titled “The Art of Documentary Practice” where he talks about the art behind making a documentary and different effects and techniques encountered along the way of time by different practitioners. The way the world is being captured by the film maker and photography. He then talks about the differences between the way a documentary-practitioner uses his work to make a difference and based on the social encounters around the world. Whereas the contemporary artist as said in his essay is mostly illustrating the human drama and interpreting the world around him thought creative intelligence and visual interrogation. And then the photographer capturing literal interpretations of the world around.

This essay is a mind opening, as a practitioner it is important to tell the difference between the jobs of a contemporary artist, graphic designer, photographer, film or that of a documentary maker. It is the idea that every one of these artists see the world differently and each one of these techniques are capturing the different parts and meanings of the world around them.

So I started to look up the examples given within our group in order to identify and construct an idea about documentary making and different effects and techniques used.

So here it is a documentary by John Smith The Black Tower (1987) I chose to put this on the blog as I found it very interesting the way he implemented different shots of places, buildings and patterns then gave it a purpose, also through a voice narrative. It brings me back thinking of a project that we did a while back about the animation making and the creation of narratives. Sometimes the image is just to give a visual representation. The importance of perspective and the focus on the narrative is what gives a documentary a sense of purpose, a story. In this case the message is being translated by a voice over but mainly through shadow, time, colour, the sound and movement also. Every image has a narrative of its own, yet the implied narrative by the artist is what gives this documentary a story, an interpretation of the documentary maker’s reality within various pictures, sounds, repeated scenes and patterns of things and his voice tone is what makes this video appealing to me.

This documented animation ‘Feeling My Way’by Jonathan Hodgson shows the life seen through his conscious and unconscious mind at work on a journey to work from his house. This visual representation of his urban encounters works powerfully as a movie collage and animation. It feels almost like you are living through his mind and experience his thoughts which is to me quite fascinating and rather beautifully illustrated too. From human interactions to architecture and sounds it seems to work quite efficiently.

Dziga Vertov also a documentary film-maker of 1920’s has created this documentary that wanted to show and experiment with the power of a movie camera through a political film created in 1924.

Dziga Vertov  – The man with the Moving Camera 1929 these two movies both remind me of the movie metropolis 1927. The movie metropolis is a very popular dutch movie created in 1920’s and is mostly know for its powerful images of the future represented at that time through a lot images of a mega futuristic architecture and technology. The movie is also a silent film but it is narrated by actors and dramatic sounds. It is a powerful example on where imagery and sound work together to conveying a tone. The shots were also taken from certain perspectives that makes the movie even more interesting.

Browsing the internet archive for manifestoes I have come across a 2010, 90 minutes movie Manifesto that screens the actor Cate Blanchett impersonating 13 different manifestos from a homelessness manifesto to Suprematism / Constructivism and 11 more. The movie draws on the writings of different movements and is questioning the role of the artists within the society. After watching the movie I feel like there is a lot more to know regarding the exploration of cinematic picturesque images and the way it is seen by different movements and interpreted by people around the world and within different industries as well.

So, I have looked up more examples of manifestoes where I have come across this interesting manifesto about life.

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Next, I have found this manifesto Everybody’s Free ( To wear Sunscreen ) Moulin Rouge created this lyrics based on an essay Mary Schmich from 1997 called “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”.

So, as a group we have explored the map and planned ahead prior to the journey to Pontypridd.

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In order to get some ideas of the place we were given a booklet about the history of Pontypridd in the booklet it talks about places like the old bridge, the museum, the Pontypridd canal, the Ynysangharad war memorial park and more also there is a brief history of the place as well.

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Psycho-geography:

The term Psycho-geography was invented by the Marxist theorist Guy Debord in 1955 in order to explore this. Inspired by the French nineteenth century poet and writer Charles Baudelaire’s concept of the flâneur – an urban wanderer – Debord suggested playful and inventive ways of navigating the urban environment in order to examine its architecture and space.

As for Psychogeography I have come across different books and articles regarding the theme and different studies. So, I came across this article called “Experience the city: Urban literature which is evaluating the different aspects of the city and the effect that the city has on people and vice versa. Talking about the encounters that do not only change one’s perception of a place but also how people influence the city to change as a result. However, this made me think of the idea of perspective and how one thing seems to be only “a thing” as looked at it from one perspective but what if somehow we manage to create a second perspective of every space around the psychogeographical encounters. Like a building is just a building in the eyes of a street walker but what if that could also be reflected in a way that it becomes something else as well?

So I have thought about the idea of reflection and perspective vision. I have looked at books and articles regarding the idea of perspective vision and reflection and found this journal by Charles H. Carman titled “Meanings of perspective in the Renaissance: Tensions and resolution” where he studies perspectives of different philosophers and artists of the middle ages talking about the differences between “(a) that it seeks relatively successfully to depict the way we see, or (b) that perspective is not so much an
attempt at accurate representation of physical vision as it is a way to establish
significance beyond the evident sense certainty of sight” ( Source at the bottom of the post )

With that in mind I tried to look up different ways to explore the theme of reflection and perspective using photography and film making.

Few good examples of high quality reflection is through water, glasses, windows and mirrors, then we have more natural sources such as light and colours seen through leafs, stones, wood, shells and many more.

Here are a few photographic examples taken by artists worldwide representing the relationship of reflection and shapes. Shapes that are changing and depicting totally different meanings than what is seen through our eyes.

( Source at the bottom of the post )

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Sources:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-awesome-inspirational-manifestos.html
https://mycourses.aalto.fi/pluginfile.php/439226/mod_page/content/6/Carman%20-%20Meaning%20Perspective.pdf
https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/50-beautiful-examples-of-reflections-photography/