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I’ve had a niggling feeling that something wasn’t right about my final image for Project 1.3. Last night I was looking at it again and noticed the feeling centered around the child on the right hand side. I decided to remove that image and found that the child had been blocking the overall flow.

I’ve also been looking at the message from a more right-brained perspective. In other words, what was my subconscious working on while I was consciously thinking about “Electronic Workers?” (For more about “Electronic Workers”, see previous post.) Removing the child on the right opens the picture up to a completely different and , I think, much stronger interpretation. Now it conveys a positive view of alternative energy – one in which the viewer is smart to choose green energy and has the opportunity to join a mass movement embracing that choice. Removing the child also completely reveals the blades of the wind turbine, which looks similar to a cross, evoking the feeling that alternative energy is the salvation of the future. The “Electronic Workers” would then be those people working to make this future a reality.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of a universal language. I agree with my instructor, Matt, that one doesn’t really exist, although if you believe ancient Hebrew and Sumerian stories one did exist thousands of years ago. Then, I came across this video clip and realized that concept applied if one was considering only written and spoken languages, including signs and symbols. If the form of communication is music, then all bets are off.

This video clip shows Bobby McFerrin demonstrating the Pentatonic Scale to panel and audience members at the World Science Festival 2009. The topic of discussion was expectations and the audience participation was spot on.

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The text image from Project 1.2 is the basis for Project 1.3. Working with the main words from the text image, we had to create a photo montage that further developed the theme of the text image. The images had to come from a variety of sources and the photo montage had to incorporate only 3-5 images.

My main theme from the text image, Electronic Workers, could be interpreted as robotic entities or a human/robot composite (not unlike a Borg). I decided to explore the human composite idea in my montage. While no “electronics incorporated into a human” appears in the image, the idea is implied through the the visible nerves in the boy on the left and the plugged in brain of the child on the right. Nerves are the electrical system of the body, thereby encompassing the idea of electronic workers. The wind turbines provide a forward thinking view, i.e. clean, alternative energy.

What would happen if electronic workers were developed? Would they be formed into an army by people wanting to control society? Would they also still be considered human? If considered human, would they still have any humanity left? I raise the army issue with the addition of the picture of the troops (never mind that they are female). The children passing a flower between the them addresses the question of the retention of humanity.

Finally, the look of the words “THE POWER!” reminded me of the political propaganda posters from the 1930s and 1940s. I kept them in the montage (they were part of the wind turbine image) to convey the feeling of a propaganda poster and imply the creation of an army of electronic workers for the greater good.

photo credit: Zack Czengoldi

photo credit: Zack Czengoldi

My brother went to China recently and found this sign. You’ve probably seen something similar – Asian translations into English typically go awry. Something I hadn’t thought about before taking this Visual Literacy class is how the English translation completely changes the intent of the sign. The symbol on the sign clearly shows a warning which I would interpret as “Slipping Hazard.” However, the English translation changes the context of the sign from warning someone so they can avoid the hazard to announcing a foregone conclusion, but couching it as an invitation. All that’s lacking is “Please” to make the invitation complete.

That got me thinking about the lack of universality in signs. I can’t think of a sign that every single human on the planet would be able to interpret similarly. One could argue that some iconic signs are universal, but they still require context in order to be interpreted. For example, the sign showing a symbol of a dog on a lead would only mean “you can walk your dog here” to people who know what dogs are and that people keep them as pets and walk them. Anyone not familiar with dogs wouldn’t understand.

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