2.14.19 9:56PM -- Experiment Thoughts

The experiments in design were not experiments in common design practices, rather experiments in places of design that I feel are generally not considered in the fact that there seems to be no other options.

12.11.18 2:38PM -- Next Semester

I think a film component would be appropriate for next semester as well a book-- could be like a documentary type film where I can talk about everything I have in mind and show all of these visuals and everything in an interesting way--which would almost be like finding a way for me to be able to reproduce my presence in explaining my project to people. It could then be recorded somehow onto the book, like a usb or dvd?

12.4.18 6:25PM -- New Semester II Plans

The previous six experiments were all experiments in communication. How well can this idea be transferred if it is flexed under a certain proportion? The idea behind all of them was to push the way we think about communication, and using it as less of a utility and more of an element in a piece to further the idea. This new understanding of communication, how we communicate, what we respond to, how we interact with objects, influencing the way a viewer interacts with a book which also presents the information and findings from the first semester, and other experiments/studies done second semester simultaneously to working on the book. The book will very much be a graphic designed object. It will be the design experiment counterpart to the 6 experiments in communication.

Week 1: Project Briefing and Preparation // edit write-ups of each project

Week 2: Organize chronologically the files, documents, notes, emails, etc. and scan into computer

Week 3: Begin formatting information, decide on paper for body pages

Week 4: Continue formatting information and exploring communications techniques

Week 5: Finish formatting information and exploring communications techniques

Week 6: Implement additional techniques, begin exploring cover materials

Week 7: Implement additional techniques, continue exploring cover materials

Week 9: Begin cover development, final touches on additional techniques

Week 10: Continue cover development

Week 11: Complete cover

Week 12: Bind book and attach cover, elements, etc.

Week 13: Make changes if needed, photograph results

Week 14: This week will probably be filled with something because inevitably I will lose track of timing

Week 15: Book Final Complete

11.28.18 7:52 PM -- Reproduction and Performance

The reproduction experiment will be open source photos on my website of myself in various poses in front of a green screen. Anyone can download and alter however they wish.

Hopefully the performance will be the polygraph machine hooked up to me during a critique. This would allow for me to record my physical response to people trying to get information from me. It isn't about knowing whether or not I am telling the truth, but using the machine as a tool to document the interchange of information through my body.

11.19.18 12:14 AM 

A means or medium is not constricted to any one condition. Computer graphics as a medium does not solely belong to the condition of Communications Design.

11.16.18 1:16 PM -- Kyu brought up something interesting

What if the final form is literally just me lugging around these objects and talking about them? The only way to access the information is literally digging into me with questions.

11.14.18 3:09 PM -- public questions

Make a google form to send out on socials, etc. to ask people of both the design world, and non-design world, their opinions on the questions being asked with this piece. It will be interesting to see how the general public addresses design vs. how designers address design. This will be a good supplement to the theory, etc.

11.13.18 7:37 PM -- thinking more

Now I am worried this won't work because a live stream allows people to enter the space and be exposed to the information on their own terms--as opposed to me forcing my presence into their information intake.

11.13.18 6:30 PM -- performance and reproduction


What about live streaming me reading/describing myself scrolling through my phone and reading everything out loud while describing what I see? It's like something everyone does every day through design that completely lacks human contact--plus it's personal which works for the theme.

I can't tell if that's a good idea or if I'm just itching to get things moving--and sacrificing quality.

I was also thinking of getting rid of the reproduction piece because, after all of this time I've realized that it is kind of dumb and that of course design doesn't have to be mass reproducible, I don't have to prove it.

Again, I can't tell if I am only thinking that because of time restraints/getting annoyed not being able to think of a solution, or if it is actually the smart thing to do. I could include it but say that it never got completed because there really wasn't a need for a solution? Idk. Seems dumb.


11.10.18 -- tracking

I began tracking my location live today with an app that syncs to a webpage that I have embedded on my website. I'm nervous not going to lie, but what could go wrong in all honesty?

Here is a link to the page: https://www.joeowens.co/trackme

11.4.18 3:04 PM -- Change of direction

What if the performance piece was literally just me sitting a polygraph machine and anyone who wants to can just come in and ask me questions. Then, the final designed piece would just be the polygraph records.

11.4.18 2:47 PM -- more performance

Another thought is to just connect the sensors directly to my body and conduct a series of tasks to produce sound. I wonder if I can just use a lie detector or other electromagnetic pulse sensor to create something in the same vein. I know that with 16mm projectors, sound is produced based on the density or presence of dark film over a light, and the sound is altered based on how much light is going through the film, I wonder if I could just get a sensor to record the pulses and then I could run a printed version of the record (a pulse line--like what happens on a lie detector) through the audio visual mag device the play the sound. It would be less magical sounding, and more like scratching a record, but it would still be very interesting. Where can I get a lie detector to transmit signals? Could I just take a lie detector test and convert those signals into something? I'm going to do research now on finding a lie detector.

11.4.18 2:36 PM -- A solution for performance?

I found a device just now that lets you connect a midi system to a plant, and sound will be produced based on how the plant is existing in space. It is likely the coolest thing in existence. My bathroom is full of plants and I think it would make for a beautiful soundscape to record the waves the plants put out in response to me meandering through my bathroom on my daily morning routine. Showering, taking a dump, brushing my teeth, shaving my face--all things that come in contact with, or change the state of the environment of, the plants. The final product would be another soundscape, potentially converted into a visual device to pair alongside it--the signals and system have the ability to be converted into visuals as well, so maybe these would pair well. This would function as the performance experiment of design.

11.4.18 1:55 PM -- End product

I am starting to consider the end product for all of this to actually exist online--I know I love the physicality of books and collections like books but I'm really enjoying documenting this online like I am right now--and this feels like it needs to live online for the rest of it's life. Just a thought.

11.4.18 12:45 PM -- Personal Interference

Trying to come up with ideas that involve my own personal experience is surprisingly difficult. What made the texts with Connor so successful? I think for one its that it is something normally kept private. It's private, It is something familiar to everyone. I think in order for people to find interest in something that is about me, it has to be highly relatable but also have some level of intrigue--like they have this connection to the outer shell of the content due to their own experiences, but the content itself is inaccessible for them without the piece--and so interest builds and they want to dig in more. I keep thinking about things I generally keep private--and generally feel uncomfortable about sharing. So bank statements and information comes to mind again, I think this could be part of my performance piece. If I can find a venue to live-produce the information I think it could be successful; publicly recording every transaction I make. The first things that come to mind are a website and a book--but a website seems too easy and a book doesn't seem public enough (or live-updatable). I think those LED scrolling signs are fun what if I just put on in my window that listed the transaction whenever I purchased something? Or maybe social media? I could just post my daily statements on socials. That is very public and feels more difficult for me to do because I would be putting it into a space where other people will see it even if they aren't looking, which I almost feel is less strong than putting it in a space where people have to want to look in order to see it. I think a common theme in this thesis is desire.

I've decided for the materialization piece it will be something along the lines of an audio recording of my sitting naked in a room only with a mirror and a recording device, recording myself describing my body in grave detail. There is something really satisfying about pairing this non-physical manifestation of design and communication, with the physicality of my figure. There are notes of body image, insecurity, it will be interesting for others to sit and listen to what I view my body as. But they never see it, or at least not while they are listening.

I think too, a common theme in this thesis is just for me to overcome my own anxiety and become more comfortable with my actions and myself. I think I am a very private person generally and so exposing these parts of my tends to be a very ritualistic experience in a way. It feels good to sort of rip off the band-aid and force myself to live publicly. I don't think its either a good or a bad thing to live more publicly it is just something I have never done.

Going back to the performance based design--I like the idea of posting bank statements, but how else can I post them other than on a website? If it were web based, I would definitely have to manually post them, which I sort of like more than an auto update system. I have more of a hand in it, and it allows for me to have the temptation to censor, which I think adds tension--at least on my end. I of course won't make it a point to censor (and just won't let myself), but I think the piece is more powerful if the viewers know that there is a possibility that this could be entirely true or, it could be missing the dirtiest bits that I wanted to censor out. I have bank statements online going all the way back to when I first moved to NYC, so I feel like that is an appropriate range. Thinking about it, this could also work for time--maybe even work better because the original question being answered about performance and design is why there is never a human present--what happens when a human enters a space designated almost to help us avoid human interaction? I could argue that the performance bit is simply that I am existing and the art is my general existence and lifestyle that is being viewed publicly, but I am not necessarily spreading information through my existence. Idk--I might've just decided that I am going to use this project for time instead. Now I just have to think of something to do for performance and reproduction.

11.3.18 6:55 PM -- lol I forgot about this


I completely forgot I had this log until just now when I was trying to remember an idea I had and was trying to figure out where I had written it down. Anyways, thinking now about things that people in general can have a common understanding of. Bank statements, phone bills, any bills, taxes, money I guess is very common as all of those have to do with money. Um...allergies? Sadness? Certain aromas like old books and gas from a stove burner maybe. Common human experience includes being part of a very large whole. Or a part of many many smaller wholes. Emotions and the drive to be part of something. The desire to be not single is interesting. The idea that we as humans have the ability to function on our own to a high degree, but also this lack of functional ability once someone we had coupled with leaves us. A lot of people use lotion and lip balm, moisturizers. A lack of desire to grow old, or at least a lack of desire to look old. Sometimes I feel much older than I actually am. And sometimes I look much older than I actually am. I think physical appearance is something all humans pay some sort of regard toward. Whether it be choosing what clothes they wear, how to wear their makeup, hairstyles, even the people who swear they don't care about their physical appearance pay some attention to it in the sense that they are aware that they have a physical presence and can not just walk around completely naked. Nudists make the conscious effort TO walk around nude--which is perfectly fine, just making a comparison. I like where this is going-- I think this may work well in the materialization format.

I have been considering the final form of anything I do with materialization to take place on 16mm mag tape; I like the physicality of it. I want to avoid the final form of a digital recording because it transmits so easily, in 16mm mag form it lives in only one place at a time and only begins to exist when it is played. If it is not playing, there is no way of telling if a sound actually exists on the film. A digital file can only exist with some form of audio existing in the file. I digital file either does or does not exist, there is either content and a vessel, or no content and no vessel. A 16mm 'file' exists as a vessel even without the content. Yes, you could argue that the work exists as a materialized form due to the vessel taking on physical space. But to that, I argue that the vessel holding a physical presence is merely the means of transporting a design--like a billboard, and doesn't condition the designed piece itself to be manifested physically. The design itself is how the designer chooses to present the content unto the vessel--this being the medium. The medium determines the physicality. In terms of a billboard, the medium exists physically as a printed image, or digital file that gets converted into pixels on a massive LED screen--both things being explicitly either in existence or not. For a chart describing conditions, modes, means, and mediums, see 10.21.18.



10.29.18 12:14 AM -- Still thinking

So far I think I only have an idea for the time experiment (plus the audience one that is already almost complete). I need to call home more often, and I think the best way to do that would be to publicize the fact that I don't call home enough. I'm thinking either a website or a something more physical like a light/lamp in my window. It would operate very simply, if I am on the phone with one of my family members, then the website or light would turn green, if I am not on the phone with one of my family members, the light will turn red. I like the simplicity of it, but am worried about executing it. I think the website would be stronger but it would be difficult to code. Honestly it could even just be a button on my website homepage that changes color. That might be interesting.



10.28.18 11:38 PM -- Update to the thesis


I've decided to change the content from being about my sexual identity and just make it about my own human experience. I'm not sure what I am going to do with that yet, but here is an updated statement:

Originally I wanted to say I was exploring the line between communications design and fine art but now I don’t believe there is a line at all. In fact, I don’t really even believe categories such as “graphic design” and “fine art” should exist. Classification constricts the imagination. I believe design is limited by antiquated structures set in place by the evolution of a system of tools, where old technology becomes obsolete and undesirable due to new technology having higher capabilities. Because of this, I think it is easy for designers to fall into a repetitive and mechanized process. I want to approach design in a way that is completely contrary to what I thought design was when I began my higher education. I want to explore new mediums and processes with which I can communicate information and ideas; and I want to push myself to detach from common design practices. I want to address graphic design critically, and challenge its conventions through experimentation. Each of the experiments will address design through the scope of one of the following: time, materialization, performance, audience, and reproducibility. A sixth convention, designer presence, will be apparent in every one of the aforementioned experiments, as the content for all of the pieces will be derived from my own human experience. Tentatively, the end product will be a conglomeration of information regarding my process, execution, and findings of each experiment. The form of this final element will be decided on once all five experiments are complete to avoid allowing the final form influence the development of the experiments.


10.21.18 8:32 PM -- A solid plan

Originally I wanted to say I was exploring the line between communications design and fine art but now I don’t believe there is a line at all. In fact, I don’t really even believe categories such as “communications design” and “fine art” should exist. Classification constricts the imagination. I believe design is limited by antiquated structures set in place by the evolution of a system of tools, where old technology becomes obsolete and undesirable due to new technology having higher capabilities. Because of this, I think it is easy for designers to fall into a repetitive and mechanized process. I want to approach design in a way that is completely contrary to what I thought design was when I began my higher education. I want to explore new mediums and processes with which I can communicate information and ideas; and I want to push myself to detach from common design practices. I want to address graphic design critically, and challenge its conventions through experimentation. Each of the experiments will address design through the scope of one of the following: time, materialization, performance, audience, and reproducibility. A sixth convention, designer presence, will be apparent in every one of the aforementioned experiments, as the content for all of the pieces will have something to do with my experiences exploring my sexual identity. Tentatively, the end product will be a conglomeration of information regarding my process, execution, and findings of each experiment. The form of this final element will be decided on once all five experiments are complete to avoid allowing the final form influence the development of the experiments.


I drew the conclusion that communications design and fine art do not exist as separate entities through this chart:


A direct link represents a mode existing within a particular condition.

A secondary link represents a transformation of a mode in response to an external force (ie. commercial influence*).

Each and every mode that is linked to a condition also has a secondary link to another mode on the opposing condition. Therefor, both conditions are essentially the same, the only dividing factor being the intent of the maker. For instance, if Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa’s lips a certain shade with the intent to promote the newest Renaissance era lipstick, then his piece should be considered in the mode of “illustration”. If DaVinci just painted the lips a certain shade because it best supported his visual or conceptual vision, then his piece should be considered a painting.

*The term commercial is used here disregarding commercialism of the art market. In this specific case, the term commercial refers to a work being made with the intent to emphasize the value of a product that is not itself, AKA an advertisement. This does not define everything in Communications Design to be something that exists in order to emphasize the value of a product that is not itself. A piece of Communications Design can also exist to emphasize the value of itself, its content, or its maker as well -- or it does not have to emphasize the value of anything at all. Commercialism is simply one route a mode can take in order to transfer itself from the condition of fine arts to that of Communications Design, and does not stand to justify any difference between the two. The only variable that can justify a change of condition is a change in the maker's intent, or personal definition of their work.

See below for a chart regarding the definitions of Condition, Mode, Means, and Medium.




10.7.18 12:28 PM -- Audience Size

Concept for audience experiment: 2 stacks of paper, 8.5 x 11 inches, both vacuum sealed. In one contains all of the text messages my boyfriend, Connor, sent to me over the 14 months or so that we were in a long distance relationship. The other contains all of the text messages from me to him. The stacks can be separated, or kept together. However, if they are separated, the full conversation can't be read. If they are together, the conversation is accessible but tantalizingly out of reach, one would have to break the vacuum seal in order to read everything. In doing so, the entire concept of the piece is disassembled, the audience changes completely, and the information may as well not even exist. Breaking the seal destroys the message of the design.



9.5.18 11:39 PM -- Origin


Six experiments critically addressing graphic design techniques, inspired by each one of the following:

1. Time -- does design have to be instant?

2. Materialization -- does design have to physically occupy space?

3. Performance -- why is design normally void of human interaction?

4. Audience -- does design have to exist in the public eye?

5. Personal Interference -- why doesn't design ever show the maker?

6. Reproduction -- does all design have to mass reproducible?