Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Corporate friendster

On his radio show today Thom mentioned this fascinating/scary site that shows the degrees of separation between board members of major corporations. If any person out there doubts that the a small handful of people control most of the wealth and influence in this country, this site fairly clearly shows the connections upfront.

I highly recommend using the "find connection" function, where you can plug in two companies and see what link they have. Amazingly, and unsurprisingly, the oil and military industrial corporations (like Halliburton) have only one degree of separation from all the media companies.

Friday, May 26, 2006

"Cartooning Symbolia"

Derik points to this comic, Cartooning Symbolia, by Dash Shaw that uses Mort Walkers terms from The Lexicon of Comicana for various symbolic elements of the graphic medium. It's an interesting experiment in formalism, and I especially appreciate the last twelve panels that introduce "new symbols," which well exemplifies the complete conventionality of symbols given that the reader has no idea what these things mean.

I read Walker's book for the first time last year, and here's what I wrote back then to the comixscholars list:
Its not a bad read. Its funny and lighthearted. One gag even got me to laugh out loud. He does point out an awful lot of graphic conventions used throughout many American comics – particularly strips – and makes a few interesting observations about them. Its by no means exhaustive, though it does have a surprising amount in it.

He also attaches a myriad of useless names to them, to the extant that you feel that his whole point for jargon is to be facetious (which it may well have been). You can tell that some of his terms have a logical origin to them, while others just seem made up because he wanted to give everything a name. I also have some discontent with his organization of these things, but for very specific structural reasons that I will bring up in some future writings of my own.

This organizational issue is related to my own attempts to compile a list of conventional signs in visual language. Many of the things he puts as separate signs I will include together in a larger category (like "smelly lines" and "sun rays" as both types of "path lines"). And while I'm at it... my list is ongoing, so please alert me to any more signs of this nature if you come across them. Perhaps someday I can compile them into more of a dictionary/wiki type project with examples and whatnot...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Part Deux!

So, today begins the posting of another version of the John Keats poem La Belle Dame Sans Merci. After I had done the initial version, I was reading through and old poetry book of my father and aunt's which featured the poem, and along the margins I saw notes interpreting the poem in a different way than I had. So, I thought it would provide the perfect opportunity to draw another version in contrast and relation to the first.

I particularly like how having two versions shows the ambiguity of words and the power that images can have towards an overall expression of meaning. I think making two versions of the same verbal work provides a nice creative experiment too.

Aside: My wrist pains continue to pester, so blog posts will continue only sporadically. :-(

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Glass of Water Debate

Today's brand spankin' new update to my Meditations is "The Glass of Water Debate", a two-page musing on the classic idiom. So, the conclusion to this one will be online Thursday.

Technically speaking, this was an experiment in how much I could make with very little — still in the early days of my playing with digital creation (circa Spring 2000). This first page was only made from one drawing (half of each panel). In all, both pages combined took only about two and a half hours to do.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

La Belle Dame Sans Merci, concluded

I've posted today's conclusion of "La Belle Dame Sans Merci". Next week I'll be posting something a bit different, then following that up with a second visual adaptation of "La Belle" with a slightly different interpretation. So... stay tuned.

"Graphic book"

This writer discovers the troubles of labels like "graphic novel" and "illustrated book." He eventually lands on "graphic book," and using "graphic" as a general adjective – which is interesting since I proposed much the same a year ago.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Future Dr. Cohn

A few weeks ago I made a trip to Boston with the promise of some more details, so...

I am happy to announce that I will starting up grad school as a PhD candidate in Psychology at Tufts University in Boston starting in the Fall. I'm especially excited because my primary advisor will be Ray Jackendoff, whose work has always fascinated me, and who is what drew me to Tufts in the first place (my other advisors will be Phil Holcomb and Gina Kuperberg).

The program is in experimental cognitive psychology, meaning I will get to test my theories with lots of experiments on people. That means you can count on papers from me doing both behavioral testing and ERP brain studies about visual language in the coming years.

East Coast here I come!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Comics, words, video

Neal (with an a) sends along the start of an interesting new comic... worth checkng out.

After asking for a glossary, Kelly now writes on the words of (web)comics

And... Steve Barnes has a nice growing collection of political video clips.

(Btw: I've been having bad wrist pain lately, so my internet presence in the next few weeks may be limited)