3.11.07

the underground

One evening on a tube journey home I caught sight of a poster which read: "This is a dull poster but you're still reading it" I couldn't help but smile - A commuter spends so much of his/her time mindlessly absorbing images and words advertising insurance policies or ba.com (to name but a few) - it's unavoidable. It doesn't matter how "dull" they are the fact is that when we catch a glimpse we naturally read on.

It is this idea of the speed at which an image or message can be delievered to masses of people on a daily basis which I have tried to recreate in my own work. This piece began as a poem jotted onto a scrap of paper on the tube. However, I have combined this work with a type of visual textuality using the digital processes of Photoshop. Each image forms the basis of my digital experiments which combine one line from my poem with a digitally enhanced background. The overall form of each image has been set up to resemble posters you find on the tube. Each image can be viewed singularly as the each possess there own individual style, or in relation to the others as the words of the poem unite the pages to create a complete piece:

Page 1.

Word combinations such as '4mins', 'steps on to the platform' and 'mind the gap' recall the dialogue and singage of a daily commute. These words coupled with the iconic image of the tube map instantly establish the context of my poem and the tube experience I am attempting to recreate. I have distorted the colour of the tube lines and the overall clarity of the tube map, in an attempt to draw the reader's attention more so to the text which overlays the image. The reader absorbs both image and writing with neither element ignored but seen as an accompaniment to each other - the basis of an effective poster pehaps?
Ideas for improvement: Erasing station names and in their place filling in words from my original poem.

Page 2.

This simplistic but bold couloring and style of font was employed to give this 'poster' a "retro" quality. I took inspiration from the work of Jean Roelke who in her work Hammerheads stays within the confines of a black and white text with simplistic diagrams to create an overall striking image. I too used limited colours - black, white, red - and relied on the contrast between them, which I believe, draws the reader's attention to the white lettering standing out against the black shadows.

Click below to see Jean Roelke's Hammerheads: http://www.albany.edu/~litmag/work/current/roelke_01.html

Page 3.
Here, I wished to create a cartoon element by cutting cartoon figures out of one image and combining them with the black and white photograph. The text has a glossy fininsh in keeping with this cartoon-like quality. I used this technique of layering images from multiple sources to create a finish similar to that of artist Scott Helmes, who uses digital software to combine contrasting images to create collage.
Click below to see Scott Helmes's Bones VIII:

2 comments:

alice and the cat said...

great work Karen! i love the linguistic play of words and comic/eerily surreal juxtaposing of the cartoon characters in the b/w photo.

when i saw pg 1, i thought of perhaps adding the letter 't' to change 'there's no need to sir' to 'there's no need to stir' to play also with the stillness/rigidity/silence of commuters on the tube whilst keeping the ambiguity of meaning by your initial phrase.

Karen is said...

Great idea - 'Stir' would definetly add to the unsettling nature of it all. I hope to make changes to Page 1 in particular - not entirely pleased with it's outcome. Also, don't like the typeface. Cheers for the advice.
Karen x