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Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (1993)
by Scott McCloud
Wowow, i've been hooked recently, devouring every comic book mulch has been giving me. This was one that i've had on my radar since art school, it was referenced a lot in certain foundational design courses. I'm glad to have found it again, especially now, it seems to capture perfectly what my interest in design had been in the first place, to communicate and be understood.
I like how functional everything feels in this, there is a ton of poetry to scott's understanding of how a comic 'works' but it never feels like he is grasping to produce affect that isn't (shouldn't) be there. The whole thing is also hopeful which is comforting right now.
writing, last updated 29 Aug, 2020| view all writing
First some preliminary ideas abt what the platform does/the content it contains:I like the idea of each iteration being a feature of some sort of individual or collective practice. Putting an emphasis on attempting to reveal the full scope of what informs an individuals practice, the work they make, maybe even their daily rituals.
Some projects that I think embody this idea well:https://special.fish/https://www.gofundme.com/etc. (can be expanded later)
I'm currently in conversation w/ An from CAS abt a project they are working to receive funding for. Essentially the project will provide a platform for more 'mundane' documentation of life as it has been changed due to the pandemic, increased aggression/tension between black/minority communities and the police/govt, the upcoming elections etc.
Something interesting that occurred to me through this discussion was the persistent fear that i think most minority producers have (minority can refer to ethnicity, class, any sort of disenfranchisement). There is an ability for images to easily be co-opted, misused, or simply abstracted beyond the photos actual content. The photograph seems to be a site of conflict given its integration into mass media. The news/culture industry (CNN, FOX, New York Times, Hollywood, Instagram, Facebook) has the ability and resources (bandwith) to frequently distribute photos (both static and moving) to extract attention from its viewers. Attention has been commodified to the point that the content seems secondary and as a byproduct has also obscured what i find to the most compelling part of production, the fact that it is connected to individuals. These individuals are networked entities, embodying not only their own concerns but through osmosis the values and expectations of those they depend on/are in conversation with. I want to abandon the word 'community' for the time being. It feels a bit tenuous to try and deal w/ the baggage it has accumulated.
I don't think a platform we produce should be in service of a group, but can aide a groups understanding of one of its participants through a full illumination of the manifestations of their labor. Think of it as a preservation of energy that has been spent. Capturing a moment of potential rather than kinesis.
Lastly, I had some questions:
Part 1: what are the benefits of showing work online, which of these benefits are specifically due to the current quarantine, and which of these benefits will persist after?
Part 2: do we have to frame this in terms of the type of value the platform will produce for our peers? I'm more interested in generating methods of collaboration, novel means of distribution, novel collections of content, building relationships with people. we've both found a way to practice 'commercial art', i think this is an option accessible to everyone in our immediate peer group, I have friends in very precarious financial situations that still feel capable of contributing labor w/out the expectation of compensation or a 'return'. I think it might set a bad precedent going into it to require ourselves to have a transaction entangled with the process. I think ultimately if there is some base inequity from the contributor that we are working w/. I'd rather just remedy that ourselves, a private venmo, maybe some dinners/meals provided etc.