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V for Vannever

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Minimalist Travel Poster – ds106 – Design Assignment 57

The Assignment: My first ds106 assignment this semester is a bit of mash of the Minimalist Travel Poster based in Movies assignment. The assignment instructions tell us to:

Create a minimalistic travel poster for a location in film, TV series, etc.

Fortunately we are allowed to interpret the assignments we choose to do as we wish. Nobody is going to say, “Hey man you don’t have any location in your poster – you fail.” Well maybe somebody will say so in the comments, but that person will get PLONKed. The point here is to create something and place it in blog post that documents the process in some way and also attempts to provide some context (a story if you will).

The poster might or not be truly minimalist – we can leave that open for interpretation. It doesn’t depict a destination. On second thought maybe it does, the destination is wherever the associative trails of the journey our memex could document might take us. So I guess it does work as a travel poster.

As for the film reference. The idea of using the first letter of a word and the word in a film title has been done with three letters I can think of: M, F, and V (well the ‘M’ one had another verb in front of it).

So this one sort of matches the assignment description, but it doesn’t match up too well against some of the other awesome posters that have been submitted in semester past. Take a look at Colin’s Mount Doom for inspiration. Michael Branson Smith’s Spend a Night in the Box is another one worth checking out.

The Process: Another part of submitting ds106 assignments is to document the process of creating the assignment. This has always been one of my stumbling blocks but I’m striving to improve this type of documentation this semester. As this is such a simple image to create, this assignment might be a good starting point for others.

First I had the idea of wanting to do a blog post about Vannever Bush. I wanted to talk about the experience I felt when I first read As We May Think several years ago. Then I thought it would be cool to have a bit of ds106 assignment type art work to go along with it.  While walking around bouncing ideas in my head, the “V for Vannever” appeared out of the blue. That’s when I decided to do the minimalist poster.

The application I used was a free web-based image editor called Aviary. For those used to working with Photoshop or Gimp, this will be a very low powered image editor. But it does work with painting colors on layers, adding text and importing images. These are the three things I did.

First I painted the bottom layer orange. On a second layer I painted the black border. After that, the next steps were selecting a font, typing and arranging the text. Finally, I did a Google image search for Memex and found the image which is added to a fourth layer (the site where I found the image looks interesting and worth further investigation). The image was bordered in white so I had to select and erase the white so that just the memex shows up over the orange.

All of that took about 20 minutes. I then downloaded the image from Aviary and placed it in the blog and began writing this post.

The Story: Now that I’m nearly 600 words in, the original idea to write a blog post about my first thoughts on first reading As We May Think seems to have drifted away. One thing I do remember clearly though is being blown away with how contemporary the functions Bush attributed to the Memex seemed. Though the pieces of technology used to describe a Memex are early 20th century (almost steampunk a student said last semester), I was amazed with how accurately Bush predicted how we would come to manipulate and interact with digital information.

And I also remember being puzzled with the title. There’s a delicious ambiguity with the word “may.” On the one hand it can be seen as predicting the future. But it could also refer to the status quo or prevailing opinion. I still haven’t figured out how best to interpret the title. Perhaps this is something we can try to figure out in the comings weeks.

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