I am having a design-related issue with my project that overlaps with a lot of what we were discussing yesterday during class, so I thought I would try blogging about it. My problem has to do with how to present a set of images in a way that dynamically shows the differing relations between the representations in those images. While my design concerns largely have to do with information architecture and how I am going to stage my analyses of the images for viewers, crafting the aesthetic experience of my gallery is also important for how I want users to engage with it.
What I am running up against is how to convey abstract concepts through design. (Ashley, I really appreciated your post directing our attention to Maria Ebner’s use of “images as metaphors” because of how it speaks to this issue). My project brings Victorian illustrations and advertisements depicting female bodies together in varying visual configurations as a way of demonstrating how the shifting contours of these representations interact to form ideological spectrums. The abstract concept I am trying to figure out how to render through design is a spectrum. This concept is helpful to me because along a spectrum, the elements shift in prominence and blend in relation to each other, which is how I see different forms of female embodiment operating across the Victorian period. In my project brief, I proposed using a sliding image reel (see the image gallery of this website for what I have in mind) to render the concept of an ideological spectrum because “the sliding action across items in the reel mimics the blending that occurs within a spectrum and registers the changing prominence of forms across the period of a spectrum.” However, on the level of information architecture, I’m not sure whether a sliding image reel is really the clearest/most engaging way to relay my idea.
I can’t think of how else to convey a spectrum using images, but I worry that I am stuck on this because it is an aesthetic template I am already familiar with from web design. Along the lines of what Ben was suggesting in class, it is possible that that design aesthetic is affecting my thinking in a way that prevents me from conceiving another (perhaps more effective) approach.