Tuesday, January 29, 2008

VizThink 08

I've spent the last several days out here in San Francisco at the VizThink Conference where I gave a talk about visual language. There have been a lot of interesting presentations, some more amenable to my thinking than others.

It's also been a great pleasure to hang out with Scott McCloud here, who seems to be the other "comics" guy. I don't think I've spend this much time with him since I kept his girls occupied by teaching them how to make paper airplanes so he could sign books about 8 years ago at ComicCon.

I've been struck in particular about two things about Scott. First, he really knows about the very disparate facets of the comics industry and culture. And second, he's an unbelievably adept spatial thinker who deploys the processes very eloquently. Even in casual conversation he does a great job of organizing ideas and conversation topics into spatial configurations (usually gesturally). It's been fun to see.

There have been a lot of interesting ideas floating around here, and one in particular that I've been thinking about doing some video podcasts of my theories to further balance out the papers on my site. Anybody have thoughts on that?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Connectedness in comics

Weber, Heinz J. 1989. Elements of Text-Based and Image-Based Connectedness in Comic Stories, and Some Analogies to Cinema and Written Text. Paper read at Text and Connectedness: Proceedings of the Conference on Connexity and Coherence, July 16-21 1984, at Urbino, Italy.

Weber attempts to create a textual model of comic communication drawing on cinema studies and text research (similar to the intents of Saraceni and others).

He describes three sections: Graphic, cinematographic, and textual, as well as the intersections between them. He also postulates several degrees of “connectedness” ranging from conformity, sequential and integrated connexity, cohesion, and coherence.

Conformity deals with arrangement of panels – conventionalized formats, while connexity can either relate to the internal relationships of elements within panels, layout issues, divisional panels, metonymic panels, the shifting of a balloon's tail to different roots, etc. Cohesion depends on causality between the succession of panels (syntax/semantics). Finally, coherence deals with pragmatic relations between “text external” elements.

Like other papers of this ilk, it provides a broad scale analysis of aspects of comics' structure, yet doesn't delineate them carefully enough to detail the componential role they might play. Instead, it uses overarching "principles" to tie them all together to create a goolash of comic structure.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Podcast on Visual Language

Later this month I'll be giving a talk at the VizThink Conference in San Francisco, so to promote it I did a podcast yesterday. Here's the original post, though they were nice enough to give me the feed here as well.

Mainly I discuss the Big Ideas behind my visual language theories. What is "visual language"? How does it relate to "comics"? Etc.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

New Year, Old Projects

Usually when I'm on break, I end up blogging quite a bit. I'm surprised I haven't been as active online lately. I have, however, been working on several projects...

I'm very very close to having my paper about how people navigate through page layouts done, and I'm getting really excited about how the theory in it has developed. Hopefully it will make its downloadable appearance soon.

Over break I finished my review of Groensteen's The System of Comics, which will hopefully emerge in a web-based journal sometime soon. I'm still waiting to hear back about that.

I'm also getting closer in my analysis of the Peanuts experiment data, and making my way towards the final leg of that project. I'm already looking down the barrel of my next project which will create novel strips out of panels from various Peanuts strips. That should be a lot of fun, and a whole new round of interesting.

Finally, tomorrow I'll be recording a podcast about my visual language research to help promote the VizThink Conference I'm speaking at in a few weeks in San Francisco. Once it goes live I'll be sure to post it/link to it.