About

About this website

This website is my personal website for DART450. Enjoy my reading responses and my awfully disgraceful exercises.

Cheezy intro

I am a design student from Montréal. My work ranges from print media to cyber space. I speak French, English, Html, Css, Jquery, Processing java and disposed to learn more. I am all about the mindful experience, where every input has an output, where distance and perception are equal. I dig digital authenticity, where each detail is computationally perfect, where all forms are sensibly generated. I dream about typography, where the ‘f’ loves the ‘i’, where the ‘s’ reaches for the ‘t’.

About this layout

This responsive layout is based on an initial grid of four boxes. Once a box is clicked, it gets resized to fullscreen and the other boxes scale down and fade out. In the reading section we experiment with another transition which is to show a panel by making it appear from the bottom while scaling the current one down. To see it in action, open the reading section and click on one of the article items and navigate through them.

Projects

Exercises

Exercises

Weekly exercises.

Readings

On the Origins of Social Movements

Every day that we live is another day where someone profits more than we can imagine, and yet, we do nothing to earn our fair share of the planet. Alone we are useless, and as long as some people can make us busy, we just move along. In the world, there are problems that are quickly solved and dissolved, and there are problems that persist and grow bigger every day. As we seem to have the same concerns, we, the people, just seem to think that we are powerless against capitalism. Someone once asked: to whom does the world owe so much money? And this is another topic. The important part here is that we all share the same problems and yet, merely nothing is being protested, and of all the things that are being protested, nothing is being ameliorated. Jo Freeman argued that masses alone do not form movements; it takes a leader, or at least a spark. Quebecers have all encountered Leo during the printemps érable, and we had developed this solidary notion of social movements towards free education. Whether this leader led us to a success is another story, but without him and his two arrogant friends, we wouldn’t have had a messy end of the world (2012).

Movements are hard to organize. This might be the reason why we don’t ruthlessly protest for our rights day after day. We all want to move along and take time to enjoy our life, as poisoned as it can be, but as fortunate as we, westerners, can be. The most infuriating part of being a westerner is that everything seems to be going good. We seem to have a healthy government, we seem to have plenty of resources and we seem to be happy, but at the core of our society, we know it isn’t the case. Because it seems to go so good, we can’t do anything about it. The appearance is slowly killing our society; we will die with it if we don’t care enough about what we have built. And we will die if no one leads us, if we keep moving along, if we wait too long for the spark.

Edit: It seems printemps érable is not dead. Grab some popcorn and a saucepan.

Activism, Hacktivism, and Cyberterrorism

Recent movements have brought to our attention that social networks or any cyber community are massively in control of the web’s public opinion. Unlike the real world, news and knowledge on the web is still mainly derivated from the masses. Whether it would be through Reddit or Twitter, our most accurate source of global information comes from the agglomeration of individual users. The information does not come from one user; it comes from all of them. Of course, this information is never reliable, but as human beings, we tend to follow and adhere to opinions when they are massively popular and when they become so favoured that we just have to accept it. As discussed in class, the Arab spring was in part detonated when the web started to realise what was going on in these countries. People followed, now it is a fact: Corruption in these countries is definitely problematic, which was not necessarily evident to grasp as tourists or foreigners. In terms of democracy, we could argue that the web and the cyber sphere possess the most voices possible in our global society. The web is the chamber where opinions are being forged and transmitted back into society. We actively and mindfully participate to this process and this is why the opinions that come out of the collective web are so valuable, because individuals forge them. In the real world, we have government models, and deputies are elected to represent the population, but nowhere do we actively participate in the process of governing, other than once every two to four years. The author of Activism, Hacktivism, and Cyberterrorism talks about this phenomenon, where all users become activists that can decide what to say, how they want to say it. We are all activists that can tell what is right and wrong, and this is how we end up making decisions and propagating ideas for our society. The web is a powerful tool, as long as it stays open and uncensored, for peace.

Our Global Political Debate

If humans are animals with tools, a builder and a destroyer, a primate with handy hands, we spend a lot of time just acting as social beings. Over our capacity to make, we first live altogether in a world where no one can indefinitely hide, except in Atlantis. In order to coexist, we usually like to define a set of rules for which we have to respect in order to maintain a certain level of general contentment. We organize ourselves in movements. As far as we can remember, Jews of the ancient Egypt literally moved out of this geographical location into another land where they could emancipate their shared knowledge and ideologies. When we talk about any movement, we usually refer to a figurative movement. Just like put-it-somewhere-else Patrick: We take an idea, and we move it to another societal status. Over the years, we have seen multiple, countless movements raise amongst different populations in the world. While some of them are closely similar, some of them only vary in inconspicuous ways. However, all of them rely on a certain public image to move towards their goals. We know how propaganda is a fundamental part to the rallying of masses, and we know how masses are important to movements. Managing collective attitude is a fundamental part of political movements and most of them have produced iconic propaganda material over the past centuries. All of which incented millions of humans to fight wars and support their collective agreements for their ideal human society.

We should consider how movements emerge from a stable social order towards a changing social order. It is the disruptive and adaptive model. Author and anthropologist Ralph Nicholas, in an essay about social and political movements, proposes an ambitious parallel between the actual human body and human society. As where we usually perceive, in our Euro-American cultures that there exists a head of politics, followed by a body and members that make it move in different spaces. Nicholas cites three key components attached to “movement”. The first states that a social movement is a “deliberate collective endeavor to promote change in any direction and by any means, not excluding violence, illegality, revolution or withdrawal into ‘utopian’ community”. Nothing comes down to randomness, everything happens for a reason, and the reason is powerful enough to propel any kind of immeasurable action. The second component asserts the organizational aspects of social movements, as all of them inherently need some kind of marginal idea of where they are headed. The last component is related to the relative consciousness and activeness of the movement participants, at all scales. All in all, a social movement is very conceptually linked to the physical notion of movement, and it is easy to understand how a particular movement is constructed, through its intention, actions and consciousness.

Political movements have evolved and developed through time. Nowadays, we can look back, and look to the present to classify and extrapolate different ideologies that shaped our global and local societies. We are used to look at politics on one axis, from left to right or from liberalism to communism. However, there are other ideologies that can influence and further polarize the spectrum of politics, on which every political movement do not coherently coexist on a single axis spectrum. Anarchism and totalitarianism both do not care about liberal or communist ideals. However they do need to be separated by a far distance. Nonetheless, every political movement needs a special differentiation as they rose from different ideals and philosophies.

The dissemination of these ideals can be seen as propaganda. As the term might suggest, propaganda simply implies that something is propagated through a certain mean of communication. Author Harold Lasswell defines the term education as a process of inculcations for techniques, and then adds, “We are free to apply the term propaganda to the creation of [valuable] dispositions or attitudes”. He later states that in cultural terms, “we may say that [propaganda] involves the presentation of an object in a culture in such a manner that certain cultural attitudes will be organized toward it”. This is important. Propaganda is directly focused towards the inculcation of a notion, regardless of its trueness or intrinsic objective values. As we said before, a social movement needs both action and intentions.

Propaganda as we know it in the graphic design scene is mainly attributable to the disorganization that followed technological advent. Lasswell concludes that propaganda replaced the personal loyalty that we had towards our leaders. Transport revolutions, printing, photography and sound, amongst many others, are technological vehicles that further segregated us from the act of living and communicating as humans. Before I go too far, lets just note how many graphic posters shaped the way we see and imagine propaganda, such as Rodchenko’s famous posters, Miller’s “We Can Do It” or Leete’s “Lord Kitchener Wants You”. This would serve as a graphic inspiration for my website.

Now with all these movements, where do we stand? What do we choose? This is a difficult question, and to truly answer it, it seems it has taken, and it will still take wars upon wars of political social debate. Cynically, this completely looks like an IRL version of Super Smash Bros. Who are you? Mario or Kirby? In the end, we can’t always decide whom or what is best, but we can still fight over it, endlessly.

For my project I will build a very simple two-dimensional combat style game using Enchant.js, a very simple game building platform. Political movements will be the characters and they will each have their forces and weaknesses. The game will be a local multiplier game using wasd keys and arrow keys. Graphically, the game will take on the grunge trash collage style, while remaining relatively good looking. The idea behind this style is to underline the cynical aspect of bringing this endless fight to the screen just for the sake of winning and smashing an opponent. We know that there will be no winner between political movements, as no one can universally agree on anything.

Mockup

Inspiration Websites

Spartans vs Hipsters

Digit Duel

Ondo

The Wes Anderson Collection

The Flutenizer

References

Lasswell, Harold D. "The Theory of Political Propaganda." American Political Science Review 21.03 (1927): 627-31. Print.

Nicholas, Ralph W. "Social and Political Movements." Annual Review of Anthropology 2 (1973): 63-84. Print.