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Synoptic Translations

Aoife Mooney Reflections on the convergence of formal vocabularies in the creation of an integrated visual language or graphic landscape. NiNA

Increasingly, students exhibit a heightened reliance on digital tools to both create and influence their work. This often undermines a fundamental understanding of the relationship between form and content as it can prompt emulation rather than encouraging critical construction of formal representations and relationships. To circumvent this, a new project was developed with a focus on creating integrated visual narratives derived from first-hand research. Invoking Isotype, Francesco Franchi as well the TED-ED platform, and looking at the increasing importance of data visualization in digital publishing, students were asked to create longform (rather than isolated) visual narratives to describe intangible processes or systems. In this way, students learn to both create and speak in a graphic language, treating their skillsets as extensions of their thought process. By engaging with esoteric and intangible data directly, students consider how to translate concepts and functions into more palatable ‘synoptic’ formal landscapes delivered in digestible form. This presentation will outline the research basis for the development of this new project, contextualizing the project outcomes in light of historical precedents, and reflecting on the affordances and approaches characterized in new media that shed new light on old approaches.

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