In this course, we explored various visual narrative forms and their role in visual storytelling. Using contemporary visual narrative theories guided us as we explored our effect on storytelling. We had to choose the appropriate media, narrative structure, pace, rhythm, and sound for each project while also stretching our design abilities to tell dynamic stories in visual form.
“The sphere to which she belongs is everywhere enclosed, limited, dominated, by the male universe: high as she may rise herself, far as she may venture, there will always be a ceiling over her head, walls that will block her way.” —Simone De Beauvoir, The Second Sex
The quote used for this narrative was taken from Simone de Beauvoir’s text, The Second Sex. Beauvoir is one of the best-known feminist thinkers of the 20th century. Her writing has stuck with me as she highlights the frustrations women have had in every aspect of their lives regarding their gender; those frustrations and thoughts are still relevant today.
I chose to continue with the collage surrealism aesthetic, as it pays homage to one of the ways feminist thinkers communicate their views. Use of the paper edges helps divide, yet unify the narrative; as it is meant to be read horizontally, this will help the viewer to do so. Through the images, we follow a woman seeking to escape the “sphere” that the patriarchy has put her in, however realizing each world is dominated by men, no matter where she goes. In the quote, Beauvoir explains that “there will always be a ceiling over her head, walls that will block her way”. It is a metaphor that implies that women have been forced and trapped into the housewife stereotype. It is also a reference to “the glass ceiling”, a metaphor used by feminists to “represent an invisible barrier that prevents a given demographic from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchy” (Google). I chose an image of a 1950s kitchen in the “sphere”, in reference to both of the metaphors. In the last scene, the image of the culdesac is another representation of that life, even if women dared to explore, they were forced to return: to a world controlled by men. Hands, specifically male, are used to communicate the enclosing and limiting feelings mentioned in the text. They can be seen in every scene except the last one because we finally put a face to the hands. The man looming over the woman reminds the viewer that women will always be “enclosed, limited, dominated, by the male universe”.
Visualizing a journey
For this project, I chose to do a time-based rich visual description of a place: the kitchen. Kitchens are commonly known as gathering spaces for both food and conversation. By having a general narration about kitchens and the feelings/actions they evoke, I wanted the viewer to be able to connect and relate on a personal level to the video. I chose to do this project about the kitchen because of how much depth there is to this simple space. We learn in the kitchen, we’ve made memories there with loved ones, deep conversations happen there, you can find peace in the kitchen, and there are many more experiences that can occur in the kitchen.
Stories from the future
Narrative Written by myself:
At the current rate of climate change, human civilization as we know it will be gone. 75 years from now, all vegetation will be extinct. The United Nations council gathers a group of scientists, engineers, architects and designers from all specializations to find a solution before humans become extinct. At this point, at least one-third of the human population is gone. By researching nature and observing old footage of nature, they turn to the science of biomimicry. A process of designing and organizing materials, structures, and systems modelled on biological entities and processes. From there, the group creates homes, vehicles, city landscapes, everything based on biomimicry; while using renewable energy and sources. After 15-20 years, Earth has returned to its original form, but this time even greener. Humans, plants and animals are all coexisting, replacing the concrete tyranny the Earth once knew.
“We need to learn how to work with nature rather than against it”
—David Attenborough, A Life on Our Planet (2020)
Through the journal, we follow a twenty-one-year-old designer chosen to help re-build/re-vitalize civilization. I decided not to name the story’s individual to allow the viewer to open their imagination to the future and even consider themselves as a hopeful and innovative designer. The reader may notice that this is more of a journal sample because the last entry jumps 25 years, from 2097 to 2122. As it is a sample, I focused on different aspects of the re-build. For example, the main theory for the rebuild (biomimicry) and the history, living arrangements, energy and transportation; all designed with the theory of biomimicry.
The spreads are made to look old as this highlights that the author starts this journal when living in a bunker. The brushes, pens, and ink colours used were limited to simulate the lack of supplies the author had at the time. The cover of the journal reflects the story within itself. The front has present-tense (to the author initially living in a bunker after a nuclear war) stickers and inspiration, reflecting on what is known (pre-2097) and what is the 2097 reality. The back cover represents the author is striving toward a better, cleaner and greener future using nature as the inspiration.
Sources for Journal:
(Green roof photo)
Photo by Jim Petkiewicz on Unsplash