Making progress – final projects for the semester

All of the roads are leading to the same place now. I think for a while I was exploring many different directions and I feel like now I’m on only one path, which is good!

I have an idea that’s still being formed, but it involves a shape/symbol/index framing some part of the cityscape.

Here is the sketch of this idea. The shape frames an otherwise hidden aspect of the street and is an index to the underlying form in our surroundings.

I also took one photo every minute for an hour to capture a slice of community in time and space. Here are a few of those photos – I should put them into a video, but I’m still trying to figure out where I think that’s going. It’s probably something I can use a little bit down the road.

I set up the camera under an overhang on the eastern section of Rivington street. I have to say, it was really boring to stand there for an hour especially when I’m not even sure what I got out of it. My favorite part of the progression is the hard line between sun and shadow that moves east along the building where ABC No Rio is located. To take it further I could also splice the photos together to create a collage that describes the whole hour.

Ok, here are ideas for final projects this semester:
I’m working on the definition of a neighborhood in New York City. What is a neighborhood? My attempt: A neighborhood is a place with defined boundaries that communicates a distinct essence – unique to that area. How are they defined differently by residents and visitors – what are symbols, landmarks, boundaries, distinct paths? What neighborhoods have strong visual organization? How does each neighborhood communicate to people differently – with ads, storefronts, contours, colors, architecture? How does the visual organization and communication effect the strength of mental image of a place and how does that effect the attachment people feel to neighborhoods?

One project I’m working on for Visual Language incorporates the history of the place as well. I’d like to compare three different locations and create a system of symbols to describe the hidden meaning and story behind them. So far I’m interested in looking at Wall Street, Greenwich Village (or Lower East side) and Chelsea. I chose these neighborhoods because of their unique characteristics and distinction from other areas of the city. They all have distinct communication as well. I need to narrow down the options by taking a walk through the different areas and documenting the forms/signs/sounds I observe.

So I have two different projects going on:
1. An audio experiment to capture the essence of visual form through community perception. I’d like to create a game online where people can play the different audio clips and guess which neighborhood they are listening to or hearing a description of.
2. Describing the hidden meaning of a place/uncovering the history through a symbol system. For this one I want to insert the symbols into the physical environment (like the photo sketch above) in many layers. I like Plexiglass for this project because you can place a symbol on the glass and maintain clear view within and outside the symbol, then it would make the multiple layers possible with sheets of plexi sliding out to reveal a different story. I need to figure out where the text would be written so it’s easy to read but out of view.

So for the audio project I need to figure out who I’m going to interview and what questions to ask. I’m thinking that the interviewees need comparable profiles for each neighborhood. So long-term residents and then visitors/tourists plus just the ambient sound of the street. I will ask what their impressions are of the place – what symbolizes this neighborhood, what are common landmarks, paths? Maybe ask what is one word to describe how it feels.

For the history symbol project, I need to do some research into events and interesting anecdotes about buildings in these neighborhoods. Coming soon!

Published by Elizabeth Pizzuti

Design, art, and cats mostly

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