Sunday, 24 January 2010

"Day and night the same - blank. Precisely like death."

For the last project I did, the brief I chose was the Don't Panic poster with the theme of 'Resistance'. I decided to look at resistance and time. The area of this I chose was memory. I had been inspired by a tv show I saw on BBC4 called 'Time' presented by Dr Michio Kaku. One segment of it was about a pianist called Clive Wearing, who for 25 years he has been suffering from anterograde amnesia. This is when new memories cannot be formed any more. Like in the film Memento, 50 First Dates, also what Archer had in the episode Twilight from season 3 of Star Trek Enterprise. Clive's is the worst case known, he can only remember things for about 30 seconds or less before forgetting again. Every time he sees his wife it's like its for the first time in years, it's really sad. Here's a clip of it:

For my poster i'd decided to draw Clive in profile then have a representation of his thoughts going through his head in a strip. As well as that I had the idea of having a sieve behind him (memory like a sieve), I thought it would represent him forgetting and look quite cool and sieves are a bit strange for on a poster. My first thought was a film strip for his memories, I added a quote his said on top:

"I've never seen anyone at all.
I've never heard a word until now.
I've never had a dream even,
Day and night the same - blank.
Precisely like death.
No thoughts at all.
Brain has been inactive."

The film strip wasn't quite working out. I then came up with a great alternative! Musical note lines..i'm not a musical person at all, can't remember what they are called but you know the things, 5 horizontal lines the notes sit on. It was perfect! It fit in much better with the style of the poster which was simple line drawings. I studied what the different parts meant of the sheet music and decided to just use the horizontal lines, treble bass and the end thin and thick vertical lines to show the end of the 'song' or memory in this case. I then had the cool idea to repeat the end lines 2 more times along the horizontal lines to represent that memory being forgotten and totally at its end. I placed the quotes in a way which looked like strike through because Clive sometimes writes in a diary but forgets after he has written a line then crosses it out as he doesn't believe he has wrote it. It's all there in my poster.

I'm really pleased with it. It shows his brain resisting new memories and himself trying to resist forgetting. His memory is resisting normal time, to him it is as if he has been unconscious for years and in a way he has time travelled to the future, resisting the normal passage of time. This was the personal project, and it was personal because I too took on the theme of resistance and resisted my usual urges to crowd pages and make them really colourful, this time I tried being more minimal and simple.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


I got back to Manchester yesterday and there was still loadsa snow in our backgarden so we went out and had a play. I stayed out longer though, 2 hours in fact, and built a snowoman :D

I was pleased how it turned out. In my head I had decided I wanted to make an Aenar just so I could put antenna on it but when i built the snow column tall enough and added shoulders and boobs it soon transformed and i decided to leave it sans head. It looks pretty freaky!
I recommend building a snowman for exercise, back and forth grabbing snow from all over the garden for 2 hours, i've bound to have burnt loadsa calories, awesome!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

A Short History of my Christmas Holiday

Bird feet and cat paw prints in the snow!

22nd December 2009: With flash.

With flash again..

Without flash.. 1am, the sky was peach and illuminated, it looked so eerie and cool! I think we are on Mars, thats the colour the sky is there! It was like day time! It went dark after about half an hour though when it stopped snowing.

My cat Simba is bonkers. I had my suitcase in that same place and he sat on it, then my backpack too! I think he likes that location near me on the computer :)

I have a very intelligent cat:

New Years Eve, I wasn't out partying, I stayed in..well not quite..I went out in the back garden at about 8.30 in my dressing gown with my telescope and gazed at the moon. It was so bright and full, and the sky was so clear. It was freezing, I couldn't feel my fingers! I tried to hold the camera still and take a photo, this was the best outta the bunch, better than my usual attempts of photos of the moon anyway:

Today. I bought this plastic squirrel in a set with a mini plastic racoon from home bargains years ago, I wanted to screw them to the mantel piece in the living room but my parents wouldn't let me, pffft! My Dad put them in the garden instead, and so here is poor Mr.Squirrel covered in snow :(

I thought it would look nice to hang christmas tree baubles on snowy branches outside and add some colour to the ubiquitous white:

I started reading a new book on the train from Manchester to back home. The book is "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. I'd been meaning to read it for a few years, I came across it in the charity shop a few months ago and ever since it's been in my book pile waiting for me to finish "In Search Of The Edge Of Time" by John Gribbin which took forever! I do like to read but it always seems to take me forever coz I read in bed and i'm always too tired so usually I manage about 5 pages then put it down and try and go to sleep. I've been trying to make more of an effort with this book and yesterday I came across some people who get through about 94 and 120 books per year! I really have to pick up the pace! So i've been trying even harder and read during the day instead of watching TV, and got through about 60 pages in the past 2 days, better than 10 in 2 days! I'm a third through the book now, it's really good. Next up after this book is "The Physics of Star Trek" which i'd wanted to read and finally found in a charity shop a few days ago for £1.99 :). Anyway back to the current book, I learn stuff every day from it, the other day I learnt what a Micron is, one thousandth of a millimetre (or equivalently one millionth of a metre or one thousand nanometres). There are lots of cool names for things, here's a paragraph I read last night:
"As physicists build bigger and more ambitious machines, they began to find or postulate particles or particle families seemingly without number: muons, pions, hyperons, mesons, K-mesons, Higg bosons, intermediate vector bosons, baryons, tachyons."

There are interesting and funny facts and stories about crazy scientists and such like this
"John Dalton was an exceptionally bright student - so very bright, indeed, that at the improbably youthful age of twelve he was put in charge of the local Quaker school. This perhaps says as much about the school as about Dalton's precocity, but perhaps not: we knew from his diaries that at about this time he was reading Newton's Principia - in the original Latin - and other works of a similarly challenging nature. At fifteen, still school mastering he took a job in the near by town of Kendal and a decade after that he moved to Manchester."

And we have a building at MMU named after him! Now I know all about who it was named after. There are a lot of scientists who ended up in Manchester from all over it seems, from reading this book. And this next guy is from the same place as me:
"Owen had grown up in Lancaster, in the north of England, where he had trained as a doctor. He was a born anatomist and so devoted to his studies that he sometimes illicitly borrowed limbs, organs and other parts from corpses and took them home for leisurely dissection. Once, while carrying a sack containing the head of a black African sailor that he had just removed, Owen slipped on a wet cobble and watched in horror as the head bounced away from him down the lane and through the open doorway of a cottage, where it came to rest in the front parlour. What the occupants had to say upon finding an unattached head rolling to a halt at their feet can only be imagined. One assumed that they had not formed any terribly advanced conclusions when, an instant later, a fraught-looking young man rushed in, wordlessly retreived the head and rushed out again."
This is funny/weird:
"Brand became convinced that gold could somehow be distilled from human urine. (The similarity of colour seems to have been a factor in his conclusion.) He assembled fifty buckets of human urine, which he kept for months in his cellar."
He didn't find gold but instead found phosphorus.

I recommend the book anyway.