The current political situation in the Middle East is nothing less than history in the making. It would be absurd to suggest that without social media the revolution would not have happened, but social media helped to inform and reach a larger audience in a short time, and allowed them to organize and collaborate that much more efficiently. To comprehend that the situation escalated to the extent it did, in so many countries, one after the other, with the people unified and informed via social media is mind staggering. Live and real-time tweets and updates from on-the-ground citizens became the major source of news, found more credible and trustworthy than mainstream media sources, whose affiliations with local governments were well known. It is also noteworthy that international media quickly picked up on social media networks and relied on them for news and updates.
Technology has long been the object of fascination and desire for mankind, and yet, simultaneously, it has been exclusive to an omniscient circle of professionals that obtained the tools and the skills to utilize it. The Internet and social media have brought a whole new genre of author – both literary and visual- to the world. Citizen journalism cultivated by social networks, blogs, micro-blogs and other platforms has elevated the status of the user from passive recipient to active participant and author in today’s media.
What makes social media platforms so user friendly and engaging to the average internet user, to the extent that it prompted a large majority to participate actively in a creative sphere that they had previously shied away from? Text based templates that require little or no effort from the user may be one aspect (take for example, the facebook model vs the old myspace model), cultural communication trends another, whereby it has become a regular method of communicating with peers, colleagues and friends. Choice, the ubiquity of it, is a another facet to consider.
‘Could I be a dead reader… while still being a live designer? I guess so, but what kind of professional life would this be? Little growth, a few paltry connections buzzing about in my brain, limited input to stimulate the dearth of output – not an appealing proposition…’
‘ The Met is a wonderful and yet difficult place to bring young kids. There’s so much to see, and one young man I saw wante to tug his parents around to every last thing that caught his eye. His annoyed mother finally said, ” We only have time to see the important things.”
Suddenly I remembered all the “important” books I was told to read as a kid. Why? Because they’re important, damn it. I remembered the school field trips to supposedly important places or important exhibitions. I felt privileged, but I didnt understand why. It was a neat package again, one as easy to accept as any other. In any case, my teachers provided guidance but little encouragement to think for one’s self.
What disturbed me about the exchange I overheard between the parent and child was theat this boy’s curiosity was trampled. He was clearly born with the desire to seek information out and make it his own. In return he was offered a McArt lesson. Importance, he may later realize, is culturally understood and artificially constructed, a McIdeology.
I think its fair to say we all want to be genuine, and some of us go to great lengths to prove our uniqueness. It stands to reason then that intellectual growth and critical-thinking skills are valuable assets to the designers in terms of personal identity and profeesional performance. But how much of our decision making is based on a unique sense of self– a critical ideological base from which to work – instead of from the many McIdeologies pervasive in society? as my memory reveals, we’re taught from an early age to be McThinkers, McViewers, and even McReaders.’
Excerpts from Two Days in Limbo, by Micheal Shmidt, from Graphic Design and Reading: Explorations of an Uneasy Relationship.
Is the negative space the predecessor? Can one call the blank page negative space? Or is the initial void a nothingness, a mere idea or potential of what could be, and becomes negative space as the positive takes over, receding into a secondary afterthought as a tangible form is created?
If negative space is simultaneously constructed as the counter form to the positive form, is a tension born between the two entities, an equal and opposite force, holding each form in its place?
How does one determine what is negative and what is positive?