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When I watch this commercial, two things stand out to me:

FIRST, I feel that this commercial illustrates the clashes between the Mods, Rockers, and their respective images.

SECOND, the way the yellow motorcycle “Karizma” is presented – it seems to have its own mind and will. It seems alive.

When I say this, I am referring to the scene after the attack – after the yellow motorcycle’s name and image are attacked and muddied.

After the attack, the yellow motorcycle comes to life. He hunts down his opponents, and smears the very mud thrown on his body onto them, the ones who have defamed have had their defamations returned to them; the ones who have ridiculed are themselves ridiculed.

Why do I feel this motorcycle has come to life? The close-up shot of the yellow motorcycle at the beginning, the top-down view of the attack, the flinging of the mud – it is almost as if the motorcycle is gathering the mud and aiming at and hitting his enemies calculatedly – mud would not fall off of a moving vehicle with such precision. Maybe it is because the camera focuses so much on the yellow motorcycle, almost as if it is a person itself.


The class challenge: Is there some object that is so foreign that we cannot find a “way in”? Is there ever a place where we don’t have horizons?

Conclusion on 10/28/10: It is impossible to have no horizons; we always have some relation to something; our horizons help us interpret an object; there is always a way in to something

Imagine this is true … that within your head is “some bit of knowledge” that can help you relate to some object, no matter how strange or foreign that object appears.

So here’s the visual culture object I’d like you to relate to: a film clip from The Lost Weekend. I have heard some recovering alcoholics say that this is a realistic portrayal of what it’s like to be an alcoholic; this is an example of an alcoholic’s alcoholic.

But, and here is where it gets interesting to me: I have heard some Alcohol & Drug counselors argue that you can’t counsel or help an alcoholic unless you’ve been one … so they would disagree with Gadamer; they would say there is no way in to the life-world of an alcoholic unless you’ve been one and been through it. Watching a film, reading a book, observing, talking with an alcoholic, won’t work — to understand an alcoholic’s life-world you must have lived it.

So, I’m wondering, is it possible for a non-alcoholic to find a way in to the world of an alcoholic? What might a non-alcoholic say to convince an Alcohol & Drug counselor that they could understand the life-world of an alcoholic?

I’m not sure if what I’m asking and wondering is related to Gadamer exactly, but I do know that there are many films and objects that attempt to give viewers a glimpse into the life-worlds of others. I guess I’m still not convinced that there is always a way in to everything.

Here’s the film clip:

I’m going to apply Gadamerian theory of life-world as a means of understanding an interaction with a digital artifact from the user perspective.

I define life-world as: the world as experienced by someone in a particular time and place.

So I need to take into consideration how someone’s life-world shapes their ability to understand an artifact.

As an example of an interaction, I played a Nintendo game called Ninja Gaiden. As I was going through the process of trying to understand the game world, its rules, and the meaning of its symbols, I encountered a “great” difficulty – a wall.

I was unable to jump over the wall, and whenever I tried to jump my little ninja character would become stuck on the side of the wall. When I first saw him on the wall, I thought he was trying to climb the wall, like I would climb a ladder in my world. And when I tried to move him up or down, he was totally immobile, eventually the timer would run out and it would be game-over.

After “many” failed attempts of trying to get him off the wall, I eventually thought to myself “if I were climbing a wall in my world how would I get down from the wall”? After thinking this, I was able to translate immediately my experience of climbing into the game world, and then I intuitively knew which button combination to press to get down from the wall.

After this, I realized that in the little ninja character’s reality, he was not trying to climb the wall like I first thought, but rather he was doing ninja tricks; he was trying to jump from wall to wall, like a squirrel leaping from tree to tree.

Is this an example of “fusing” my life-world with the life-world of the ninja gaiden?

How does the individual interpret a “remake”?

Today, Jeff reiterated: “every design is a critique.”

Tuesday, Jeff said (as a critique of the Cross reading while explaining the weakness admitted by Barnard on page 84): “expression theory is useless for anonymous forms of design (i.e. HCI design or service-oriented design) with expressions.”

In my head, I sort of consider a critique to be an expression.

That is: a critique has an implicit content and associated emotions (Roth) that I translate into words (Bell) as best as I can with my language and vocabulary (Gombrich). I am the author of that critique; as a piece of work, it is an external expression of my internal ideas, judgement, and feelings about a given thing I am critiquing. That critique could be a literary critique, a verbal critique of a painting, or A DESIGN. A design as a critique seems to me to be taking a very auteur-like theoretical stance about design.

So… if we take issue with auteur theory and Cross having an expressionist view of design because he ignores the weaknesses (acknowledged by Barnard) of visual culture in terms of individual expression, then we must therefore take issue with saying: “every design is a critique.”


(I feel like I’m overlooking something that would completely fix this conflict in my head. Someone find a way to say this is wrong because I really like the idea that “every design is a critique.”)

So I also am going to put up what I have been thinking about for the mock outline exercise. The interaction (again) I was thinking about looking at phenomenologically is the Rock Band character creator:

So I won’t be able to give the “whole” outline here, but the topic I would be talking about is that creating rockers are a painful and reflective experience. The “pain” and “reflective” aspects are the things I would like to attempt to work out phenomenologically. In terms of the actual game experience, the pain comes in through what type of controller you are using to create/edit your rocker, how much time you can dedicate to your rocker, when/where you play Rock Band, and also if you can actually find anything in the rocker’s closet that will please your tendencies.

In terms of a reflective experience, I find this interaction to allow one to reflect on what it means to be a rocker for his/herself, reflect on the achievements done in game, listen and take action on other players’ comments about your rocker, how one can continuously keep reforming their “rocker identity” to the world, and how one can keep pushing themselves to make a better rocker.

So I’ll have to go back to my notes and see if I can find anything to support this (which I believe so, as this came from a reflection on my notes), but I was wondering what the class thinks of at large about how to pull this off in a written form.


visual culture in metro logo design

visual culture in metro logo design

I came across this collection of metro logos that spans across various countries/towns/cities. I am particularly amazed how many different ways the letter M has been represented based on the design intelligence of the creator which differs from one designer to another. I would like to think that this variety in the usage of the letter M for logo design is just a resultant of the influence of the cultures, the designers come from. It is also interesting how culture varies within a nation too…from city to city, town to city. In some sense I am glad that visual culture(especially in this case) goes beyond superficial boundaries of race, religion and tonwship, nationality and what we see is refreshingly creative and meaningful too. What I am also wondering is, if these logos are simply a consequence of cultural impact or are also impacted by the design intellect of the designers which is a blend of their unique interpretation of the patterns they see in the real world and the intersubjectivity in perceiving metro and the letter M?

I realized that I did not understand what Jeff said in the class about why we study “visual culture”. I want to reconfirm or revise my understanding about this question. I inferred, from Jeff’s syllabus and Bernard’ shoe book, that we study “visual culture,” because 1) “visual culture” is related to “information culture” and, furthermore, “interaction culture”; 2) like social science borrowed the way that nature science views the world in the first place and developed its own way of viewing the world later, it will be meaningful that “interaction culture” borrows the way that “visual culture” views the world in the first place and develop its own way of viewing the world later. 

Am I right?