Postcard Texts

BRIEF: Each week you will be asked to make a postcard that is relevant to a piece of literature. This is a postcard-sized image that represents an element of the text, with a relevant quote on the back. You must submit a post that documents the postcards and explain why you chose the postcards, and how the texts you chose connect to your practical work in a blog post.

The postcard part of your portfolio will be assessed on the effectiveness of your attempts to do the following:
Research: Engagement with relevant theoretical and design resources, engagement with debates around coded spaces and objects, initiative in finding appropriate resources?


farman_2The first postcard I produced for the series was in response to a quote from the first chapter of Jason Farman’s book ‘Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media’ the quote which can be seen above is, “The mobile phone is now deeply woven into my everyday life, and I’ve become so comfortable with the ways I use it that I have gotten to a point where I don’t think of my mobile media practices as noteworthy.” I like this quote in particular because it personally resonated with me, I’ve grown up with the internet and smartphones and it doesn’t feel as though I have adopted the technology it’s just always been there. It’s easy to look around and see the permanent attachment we all have to these small computers which we carry around in our pockets, they are so ingrained within our everyday lives that they almost feel like an appendage, like they are part of us. We rely so heavily on phones in modern day society, probably more so today than when Farman was writing back in 2012, I think Farman sums this up in a really powerful and eloquent way in this short quote I selected for my postcard.

For the image on the postcard, I wanted to illustrate a powerful image to accompany the quote on the back, so I drew a loose sketch of a smartphone in someone’s hand, but with the phone handcuffed to their wrist, to accentuate the idea of our reliance and our attachment to these devices that are so prevalent in our lives. The handcuff has connotations with law and order and being arrested and I feel like an illustration that depicts someone who is handcuffed to their phone, gives the viewer the impression, that the person in the image has been attached to their phone against their will. It feels like we have to have a smartphone in modern day society to function or we are consequently left out of many perks, such as; fast communication, transport services, discounts and digital media consumption. Then once we have a smartphone we are trapped in the ecosystem, and we can’t get away from it because we have become too reliant on phones in living our day to day lives.

The caption on the phone screen reads “DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY” this is a direct reference to the 1988 film, ‘They Live’ where the main character, Nada discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world the way it truly is, and when he looks at a magazine through his sunglasses, it reads “DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY”. I thought this was a powerful message and was relevant to the mobile phone because it feels like smartphones are arms for governments and corporations to reach out to us, feed us information and monitor us. This seems like it is the status quo and just the way things are and we shouldn’t question that. I believe if smartphones were featured in the film ‘They Live’, “DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY” would be the message that Nada would see through his sunglasses hidden behind the shiny touchscreen exterior.


bathes_2The second postcard I produced for the series was in response to a quote from the start of Roland Barthes book ‘The Death of the Author’ the quote which can be seen above is, “the reader is a man without history, without biography, without psychology; he is only that someone who holds gathered into a single field all the paths of which the text is constituted.” I chose this quote because I thought Barthes makes an interesting point, I also think it’s intriguing that although ‘The Death of the Author’ was written before the proliferation of smartphones and portable mobile media, I think that the statement holds true for users of smartphones today. To take Barthes quote and update it for today’s society, I believe that a user is someone who holds gathered into a single field all the paths of which the phone is constituted. The user of a smartphone is the epitome of a constitution of data or as Gilles Deleuze describes in his journal article Postscript on the Societies of Control, ‘Dividuals’.

For the image on the front of the postcard, I wanted to attempt to depict the reader that Barthes describes, a man who is nothing but a constitution of the whole text. To do this I did a sketch of the outline of a man sitting cross-legged reading, he has no clear features the only thing that’s defined are the clothes he is wearing, which are a suit. I then filled his whole body in with words and text, specifically the actual text from ‘The Death of the Author’ so my illustration is a depiction of the metaphor of ‘the reader’ in which Barthes describes in his book.


stevens_2For the third postcard I made for the series I produced an image in response to a quote from the second chapter of Quentin Stevens book titled ‘The Ludic City: Exploring the Potential of Public Spaces’ the quote I selected which can be seen above is, “Play often runs against orthodoxy, ignoring the systematic organization of human activity, and transgressing the boundaries of seriousness, including taboos.” I chose this quote because I feel that it epitomises the power of a game, I believe that playing a game has the power to break down barriers and relieve tension between people. I think this is why we tend to play games at the start of conferences, to get people to break down their inhibitions by playing a silly game, then people are more likely to open up if they have already made themselves look silly. Especially when we play games in large groups because we conform to others behaviour and are more likely to get involved if everyone else is taking part and enjoying the game.

For the image on the postcard, I illustrated a professional looking woman who could be on her way to work, carrying a briefcase and behind her on the ground is the shadow of a child playing. My thinking was that the shadow is a younger version of herself, playing as a child, but also her inner self that has the desire to play but is being repressed when going about her professional daily life. The image is a metaphor to embody the quote and to articulate the idea that no matter has serious we are, play is capable of taking us out of our orthodox and sensible day to day life and returning to our childhood state of play where we have no inhibitions about it. The idea of using the shadow as a metaphor was intentional because we all have a shadow, therefore, we are all capable of ignoring mundane life and transgressing boundaries and playing no matter what our age, race or gender may be.

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