Experience and Environment
Initial Reaction to RVC archives
My initial reaction to our brief was fairly positive, I was slightly confused by the requirements of the brief but this automatically became clearer after having spoken to our tutor, Emily, on the first day back. I found the visit to the Royal Veterinary College really interesting and it gave me some starter ideas for my project. Something that particularly took my interest was the large skeleton of the horse; one of the lecturers there explained to me the benefits of an animals eyes being on the side of their heads (for better peripheral vision when being hunted) and in the benefits and fall backs of this with horses in particular. He talked about how because a horses eyes are on the side of its head its nose gets in the way of parts of its vision; when a horse gets close to an object, a fence for example, it becomes blurry/invisible. This is what indicates to a horse that it needs to jump. This alongside a jockey's relationship with a horse and the information they give them is what makes/encourages a horse to jump over jumps. I found this hugely interesting as it's not something that I would have ever considered and it almost contradicts the instincts that humans have in relation to the fear of the unknown; if i couldn't see a particular object I would be obliged to stop rather than attempt to jump it or go near it. This lead me on to the question of 'Why do horses do what they do?' - or any animal for that matter. The ways in which animals see and understand the world around them is completely different to humans. I think that encouraging people or providing people with the opportunity to understand this could be an interesting topic for my exhibition. I will do a bit more research into horse mentality and visual understanding tonight and see if I can find some information that inspires me a bit more.
Horses Visionary Adaptations
The below video preview about Carabao and their ability to see in UV light shows how they can easily detect a wolf against a camouflaged background. This adaptation helps survival.
Animal's visionary adaptations really interested me after having read more about a Carabao's visual perception of the world and I wanted to do some further research into how other animals see things and are adapted to better suit their environment. I found a bit of information about the ways birds, bees and dogs see things due to the different cones in their eyes and how this differs from human vision. Below you can see some images of how this looks.
Interim Crit Feedback
Our feedback we got today was positive, our peers and tutor liked the idea of the immersive pods but suggested that the laser tag type game after having been in the pods might not be successful because it requires a certain amount of people that want to play so the process and preparation for it could end up being too long - it also relies too heavily on lots of people wanting to play which in reality probably wouldn't happen.
We talked a lot about the purpose of our pods and how we will introduce an entire experience including involving sound and vision and potentially touch and smell. Our tutor said we had a clear narrative through the exploration of a comparison between human senses and specific animal senses as well as experiencing these animals as a sequence going through the food chain. We will have to consider the location of our exhibition and the surrounding area. We discussed making these pods portable so they can be relocated if this were to work in correlation to the type of animal and their habitat.
If it were to be a more permanent exhibition we can begin to think about incorporating information from the RVC archive and provide more information regarding the structure of skulls and the placement of features such as eyes and ears. This would allow us to introduce a more educational aspect to our exhibit which could reach out to a much larger target audience. Seen as we have considered eliminating the laser tag part of our experience we will be able to target a bigger age range from young kids to adults.
Me and Alexia are going to meet tomorrow so we can finalise the idea and begin working on the designs for the exhibition. I found today really useful as it allowed us to solidify an idea and gave me confidence with the direction we are looking to take. I think after some more research it'll be easy to start considering design, location, target audience, visuals etc. in much more detail!
We explored different logo designs using different animal eyes. We were keen to incorporate an eye within the logo as we thought this represented our theme, title and strap line in the best way. I drew both a snake eye, hawk eye and looked and images of a rodent's eye but the snake stood out to me the most due to the more obscurely shaped pupil; I thought this would be a nice shape to incorporate the title within - which you can see below. Using this logo and if we have enough time we'd like to design some kind of merchandise for the gift shop at the end; t-shirts, notebooks, tote bags etc. We thought this would be a nice addition to our final product and outcome.
Pod Elements Proposal
We have also explored how we can incorporate coding to generate visuals of ourselves which would target our idea of having visuals that allow the audience to understand what we would look like through the animal's eyes e.g. in infrared as a snake and blurry as a rodent. We were able to work out these two codes using the program P5 which we have been using in our Digital Programme. This is another aspect of our exhibition that makes it easier to visualise as a finished outcome and has helped us to understand how it could actually work. I'm really glad we explored this area as it has made me realise how important it is to incorporate all areas of graphic design within my work as well as how I can draw inspiration, ideas and processes from a huge range of subject areas.
Code for Pod Video
Emily's feedback was positive:
"13. Organise information sequentially; good attempt to design the logo and exhibition floor plan. Your proposal would benefit from a poster design to explain the concept and attract visitors. Think about looking more closely to the science of how we see for you logo design (currently the typography is too distorted and needs refining; go back to the first proposal and develop that one)
14. Experiment with graphic design conventions;
good investigation of experimental format to use the pods; this was also mentioned by Grace from the RVC as very innovative and realisable solution to an immersive experience in an exhibition. Presentation sheets were very clear, well organised and thorough. Well done."
Based on this I would really like to work with Alexia to rework the logo to make the type less distorted to work better with the overall aesthetic of the brand design. I would also like to try and design a poster to advertise the exhibition; involving the branding and an explanation of the concept.
Peter Hall's Lecture
Peter Hall discussed the idea of 'becoming animal' in a short lecture today. Exploring the relationship that human's have with animals could be an interesting path to explore and I could incorporate a jockey - horse relationship within this if I chose to. He talked about the documentary/film 'Grizzly Man' and how he tried to experience 'becoming animal' by attempting to live with grizzly bears, this idea of attempting to live as an animal does interests me, perhaps creating an experience that allows humans to understand what it's like to be a certain animal might be a clever path to take. Understanding the In relationship to the actual exhibition space he also talked about considering how we want people to move through the space. When I visited the Wellcome Collection exhibit "Making Nature" there was a a series of rooms you progressed through but within each room there was no level of direction. I think within the context of this brief it could be more interesting to consider just one room with a clear sense of direction through it - some kind of progression, as I have noticed that from previous exhibitions I have been to I am able to take in more information and spend longer considering work and information if I follow a clear path.
He also spoke about the different elements of an exhibition and how an audience can engage with an exhibit after or before having visited it through leaflets, websites, handbooks, guides etc. These are all elements that I wouldn't have thought about and will now spend some time considering and developing across the next two weeks.
I visited the Wellcome Collection exhibition Making Nature. I found the parrot installation video regarding parrots intelligence and understanding of our language really interesting. The historic classification of animals also really fascinated me and how people believed that they would find an animal, a vegetation, a mineral etc. of a particular colour. It hasn't really inspired a huge aspect of my project but I would potentially like to explore animal intelligence in more detail as well as how animals read and interpret us as humans.
My research into a horses visual perception said a lot about the survival benefits of having certain features. This has lead me to consider the different adaptations that other animals have that improve their chances of survival against predators or allow them to have a heightened sense of where prey are. This predator prey relationship and the extraordinary and non-human senses that a lot of animals have that protect them against certain situations is something that I find really interesting. As I mentioned earlier the fact that animals experience an alternate version of the world through these difference sense forms really intrigues me and is something that I could do a lot of in-depth research into. An animal that came to mind was the bat who are able to send out some kind of ultraviolet signals so that it can detect objects in ways other than sight and smell. I did a quick bit of research into some other animals that have these alternate senses:
- Alligators - skin is sensitive to changes in vibration which allows them to locate prey
- Platypus - electroreceptive sensors their bills to detect prey in murky water
- Elephants - Use seismic activity generated by their trunks and feet to communicate with each other
- Star nosed mole - 22 trunks containing 100,000 nerve fibres
- Wolves - high sense of pitch to pick up their own note in a howling chorus
- Seals - Whiskers pick up the hydrodynamic trails of fishes up to 600ft away
- Snakes - Tongues pick up scent molecules of prey which pass through specialised ducts which can detect where a scents source is located
- 4 Eyed Fish - 2 eyes partitioned to watch for predators and prey above and below the water
- Jumping spider - 8 eyes for almost 360 degree vision
- Jewel beetles - sensors that detect infrared radiation from forest fires as far as 50 miles
- Catfish - Body wrapped in tastebuds to detect the flavour of prey
As a result of this research I think these alternative senses could be the topic of my exhibition. I would like to involve the concept of becoming animal and attempting to introduce how we can experience these animal sense as a human. This might be completely impossible so creating a way of at least understanding how these processes work might be more successful.
Snake IR Vision
I met with my group partner Alexia today and we discussed our individual research with each other and discussed the main idea/theme that we want to follow up on and propose in our crit tomorrow. We have decided to focus on sight as we felt that exploring too many senses wouldn't give the exhibition a clear direction and there could end up being too many conflicting elements. After some joint research into the comparison between human and different animal sight we decided on proposing an experience that encourages the audience to experience what it would be like to see as that specific animal. We wanted it to be a very personal experience so that it becomes completely immersive and personal - we think this would be the best way to heighten the intensity of the experience. We spent a while discussing this but settled on the idea of having individual rooms or pods that provide the experience of being a specific animal. This way we could, if we wanted to, introduce the other senses.
We thought about the relationship between a predator and its prey and how we could explore this. With our pods we could have two dedicated both so each individual is able to explore either/or. They would experience becoming either the catcher or the chaser. We then thought about translating this into a game, like later-tag! This would introduce a whole other dimension to our experience and would encourage younger children and teenagers to engage with an educational but fun exhibit. We want to focus on a target audience of young children to teenagers as we think this could leave a lot of room to be very playful and fun. If we were to target adults we would have to take a more educational stance, perhaps involving these 'pod' type experiences but with a greater level of education.
We have produced several mind maps and mood boards which will discuss with our peers and tutor tomorrow. I think it will be really interesting to talk about how the two rooms could work together and whether they would be successful or not with our proposed target audience.