Alternative outcomes for “The Prism of Language”

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Augmented Reality

I felt that our use of metaphor from daily language could be transferred to a digital space, where the user could interact with the physical spaces through technology. I considered how augmented reality could fit well and provide an extension onto the experience by making it more interactive by the user being in control of their view, so each user can have their own physical perspective of the language.

Augmented Reality (AR) refers to situating a virtual image over real-world objects.

‘The user base of AR is expected to grow up to 1 billion by 2020. This technology is currently being tested and experimented with in the market today with businesses working out how they can implement this feature into their user experiences.’

(Jain, 2017)

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Augmented reality 11

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Window test 3

Physical Space

I then considered how the metaphor could be explored in a physical setting or become an experience for the user. I thought about how the paths of light of the metaphor could be turned into physical paths to walk on. I began thinking about how typography could be attached to different surfaces such as the wall, windows or the floor.

I decided to place some of my typographic experiments into the context of physical spaces so the architecture around the uni campus became the canvas. I wanted to try using surfaces that would allow me to experiment with changing the angles of the paths of type. I thought that the users could be taken on a physical journey in order to explore and experience features of their language.

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Light Photography and Film

I collected some glasses, filled them with water and placed them on the window sill. The sunlight that was shining through the window moved through the glass and dispersed to create the colour spectrum.

I then photographed, filmed and edited them in Photoshop to make the images clearer. I aimed to create a link between light and the perspective of language.

I then took my photographs, printed them out onto paper, then got a sewing needle and pierced a series of small holes into the paper around the shapes. This technique was inspired by Daniele Buetti. I believed that the light shining through the paper was an interesting effect that I could carry forward and experiment with further in a different way.

I felt that the pierced holes could represent the pathways of light. Light is used in order to represent our language which illuminates our thoughts and reflects and shifts.

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Type Rotation

From my research about perspective changes, I thought about how you can physically do this. I thought about changing angles and position. One way to do this is to change your location. I explored how letterforms as the symbols of our language could be rotated to see the letter from different angles.

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I took the wireframes from the letters and considered how our language could be mapped onto a physical space. I enlarged the rotated letterform and overlayed it over a map of the local area. I placed a dot on each of the intersecting points in the wireframe and them removed the shape to leave the dots on the map.

I then used each of these points to create a route to visit each of the individual points.


Filming Shadows

I looked at systems that change in the natural setting to see how external factors could influence something to create an interesting visual. I had been testing changes in perspective and shifts in angles. I thought about how the sun changes its position in the sky which casts different shadows.

I considered how this could be used as an experiment to create different shapes and shadows of different objects. I aimed to depict the differences in peoples thought as each individual has a different idea and view of the world around them, formed from their experiences and culture.

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Typographic Rooms

What if language was a room or a building?

I sketched out a few ideas for floor plan designs which would visualise the ability for humans to use different languages to communicate. It represents the freedom to navigate and way find around the building, entering the rooms. In the example above, each of the rooms have a window that faces inwards which would allow the person to see through to the Earth figure.

In Ancient Greece, orators visualised their speeches as a mansion, placing topics in each room, then retrieving them while taking an imagined route through the building.

Edward Sapir, a linguist who proposed the Whorfianism theory, suggests that the “Strong Whorf theory might be compared to the idea that language is a prison, while the Weaker Whorf might be compared to the idea that language is a room, but you can leave the room and enter other rooms, and return to your original room, shifting perspectives as you go

Imagining languages as different rooms that contain different objects as their interior design. All languages are made

up of different things.



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24 Hour Perspective

I took my research that I had collected from my survey where I asked people to choose which gender they associated with a selection of nouns. I then created visualisations of this data intro blocks to create patterns which were unique to each answer. I aimed to show the differences in our perspectives and opinions visually.

Once I had created these, I thought about how this might apply to a context or how it could be applied to a system that exists already. I felt that it could be transformed into a digital output so people could input their own answers to different questions and get their own customised pattern.

I believed that this could be linked with Facebook as I felt that it would be sharable, people would be able to collaborate and compare answers with friends and people around the world.

The data visualisations could be shared by users on Facebook by updating their profile photo temporary with the customised filter.

Users can invite their friends to take the questionnaire as well in order to merge their answers to create a collaborative image. each of the users is a different colour. The mixing of these colours creates a new colour if the friends choose any of the same answers.

The questionnaire would be set up in order for the users to submit their answers.

Users could also explore the worldview, which would be on a live update throughout the day. The bar underneath the data visual allows them to explore the changes that have happened throughout the day by dragging the square along the timeline. The user can find out about similarities, differences, their complete matches or mis-matches in their perception with others around the world.

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Trapped vs Freedom Layout

I took my research that I had collected to understand what people associate with the words captive and freedom. I took the keywords and answers that participants had left to inspire some ideas for layouts.

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Light and Metaphor Layout

I sketched out some ideas for how different behaviours of light could inspire the layout of type. I found a link between metaphor and light as they both reflect and can shift. I wanted to explore the pathways created by light rays.

I researched different properties including:

  • The Law of Reflection
  • The Law of Refraction
  • Dispersion
  • Interference

I saw how the change in direction of the path of text could represent the shift that happens over time for metaphors as they turn from live to dead.

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Visualising the presence of metaphors in speech, showing how common they are.

The next experiment I completed uses the idea of highlighting the use of metaphor within speeches. Holes are punched into the paper over the top of the metaphors to represent how over time we become oblivious to the presence of a metaphor.


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