Monday, August 31, 2009

matrix of afinidad

Frutiger it is.

After narrowing down my font adoration to frutiger, serifa and news gothic, I have decided frutiger is the one.

About the font:
Frutiger (1976/2001) When old Orly airport became too small to cope with the air traffic in Paris, a plan for a new airport—the Charles-deGaulle in Roissy was beginning to unfold under the guidance of an architect called Paul Andreu. Adrian Frutiger was invited to work out the entire information and navigational system exclusively based on lettering as pictograms were excluded from the information system at the architect’s expressed wish. (“He was convincing me that the word BAR is equally understandable as a wineglass drawing,” Frutiger recalls after these years. The most distinct “pictogram” of the whole system, in the end, was a cleverly constructed arrow. Oldřich Hlavsa summarises the whole solution with these words: “A robust, simple and factual Sans Serif font appeared whose distinctive advantage was that it was easy to distinguish. Bearing in mind the functionally selected tones of the fl oors, ceilings, brickwork, even the furnishings and other interior features, the font author designed dark yellow signs with a black font for the French and white for the English text. Information texts are the most simple and are complemented by direction arrows. (…) The font has perfect individual width proportions, which became a standard mark of the author’s work.”

The font was originally named Roissy, then renamed to Frutiger. The whole alphabet was structured using a system derived from the Univers font in fi ve stroke widths. Although Frutiger admits his font has certain weaknesses today (being too bright and closed), it justifi ed its function so much, that it not only guides passengers at the Paris airport, but also motorists on the roads of France and Switzerland or the eye of the reader in book titles. (With similar simplicity and elegance, Frutiger modernised the Paris Metro system at that time: again, using a dominant arrow and a minimum of pictograms. In the Metro alphabet (1973), an unusual, open and wider construction of the “M” character is worth attention—typographically simple and, simultaneously, an immensely spectacular reference as to the sense of the whole alphabet, and to its name.) Even Frutiger lived to see its “remake” in the form of the Frutiger Next font. (In the Page magazine, 11/2001, Helmut Kraus dedicated a witty essay to it, built on the opposition of the successful retrodesign—Frutiger and Frutiger Next—and the unsuccessful one—the VW Mini automobile of 1959 and BMW Mini of 2001. Although in German, it is worth reading!) Frutiger reshaped the font much more distinctively than he once did Univers. He enhanced its legibility by considerably enlarging it, weakened the strict logic of each category in favour of the aesthetical impact, re-divided the stroke widths, reduced the absolute height of the characters, generally narrowed and modernised them, added another category (Medium). The font is now well legible and usable for larger texts particularly in its smaller sizes. The original Frutiger did not have true Italics: the characters had a 12–grade slant. Frutiger Next Italics was all drawn, and the beautiful sharp “s”, “euro”, “et” and “at”–sign characters draw their own inspiration from the shapes of the written script. As if Frutiger Next, presented to the world in June 2001, would act like a ring enclosing the author’s progression from enthusiasm for manuscript through strictly rational and logical constructions, back to the beauty and uniqueness of the strokes of a well legible script. “Frutiger Next represents a well-equipped kit for modern communication,“ adds Helmut Kraus.

About the man:
Adrian Frutiger was born in 1928 in Interlaken, Switzerland, and by the age of 16 was working as a printer’s apprentice near his home town. Following this he moved to Zurich where he studied at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts, under Professor Walter Kach.

After his education in Zurich, Frutiger moved to Paris where he started to work at the Deberny & Peignot typefoundry. Here he helped the foundry move classic typefaces used with traditional printing methods to newer phototypesetting technologies. Presently Frutiger lives in Bern, Switzerland and is working with woodcuts.

A word from Adrian Frutiger:
I first experienced the power of type to make the whole intellectual world readable with the same letters in the days of metal. This awakened in me the urge to develop the best possible legibility. The time soon came when texts were no longer set in metal types but by means of a beam of light. The task of adapting the typefaces of the old masters from relief type to flat film was my best school. When we came to the “Grotesk” style of sanserif, however, I had my own ideas which led to the Univers® family. Technological progress was rapid. Electronic transfer of images brought the stepping, followed by my feelings for form. But today, with curve programs and laser exposure, it seems to me that the way through the desert has been completed.
From all these experiences the most important thing I have learned is that legibility and beauty stand close together and that type design, in its restraint, should be only felt but not perceived by the reader. In the course of my professional life I have aquired knowledge and manual skill. To pass on what I had learned and achieved to the next generation became a necessity.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

mind mapping afinidad

The following are mind maps of Afinidad as well as individual mind maps of the two key figures for the Folly performance: Edward Simon and Gretchen Parlato. My hope was to discover new and overlapping signs and ideas.

icons: Afinidad, Ed Simon, Gretchen Parlato
indexes: piano, black & white keys, sax, saxophone keys, upright bass, scroll, f-hole, guitar, pick, string, flashing lights, clef, ear, mouth, microphone, tongue, lips, spotlight, hands, beat spectrum, sincere eyes
symbols: free spirit, bird, wings, cloud, fast train, star, curvy road, polish, knife tip, spice, jalapeño or pepper, thermometer, arrows, broken chain, ribbon, eye, weapon, skyline, taxi, smoke, glass (i.e. martini), lace, come hither finger, blooming flower, seedling, brooklyn bridge, roots, tree, big apple

Saturday, August 29, 2009

a goddess of rhetoric

Rhetorical tropes employed by Barbara Kruger's, We don't need another hero:

- a stereotype of masculinity is portrayed by a boy flexing his muscle. Additionally a stereotype of femininity is communicating that all women are impressed by male strength and in dire need of being protected.

- the text contradicts the message of the wholesome 1950's Rockwell painting. Kruger's design was made into a billboard during the late 80's when Reagan was president and militarism was a focus; the myth that fighting in a war increases masculinity, is being challenged.

parody- this is possibly a imitation of U.S. propaganda posters.
image source:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

turn on the music (storyboards & renderings)

Yesterday morning my folder's crystals and I decided, dancing in my living room would be an excellent event to illustrate. The original activity would have to be, listening to music.

My eyes are the camera view in this one (first person point of view):

This is third person point of view (I photographed myself to assist the creation of my drawings):

The moment the music enters into the scene is significant to my story:

the agony and glory of scribing

Those poor scribes with their tired eyes full of sleepless nights and their stiff shoulders and backs aching severely from sitting in the same contorted position for who knows how long. The OCD sufferer would be a perfect candidate for this position. (Sign me up). Then again, I remember how my hand used to ache after writing ten page papers by hand in middle school.

It’s almost humorous to think about all the energy scribes put in to a vocation that would soon be replaced by new technology, but isn’t that what’s happening all the time in our glorious society. On the other hand, a hand written version of the Holy Bible would be an incredible document to possess and cherish.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Motion Capture

my list would have to include: 
1. going to the spanish icecream place on the boulevard/eating a (homemade) popsicle in the heat
2. spending time with my dog/walking my dog
3. spending time with my dog/taking him to the dog park
4. exercising/rollerblading badly or skateboarding badly or trying to have my dog pull me on either with narrow death escapes. (true stories)

a word on Jazz

When Louis Armstrong was asked what Jazz was, he replied, “If you’ve got to ask, you’ll never know.”

According to the author of Jazz 101, “Jazz was postmodern before we knew what that was, shamelessly borrowing [from] anything not fastened down, ignoring origins and cultural status; mocking hierarchies . . . and relishing contradiction and absurdity.” The author also described Jazz as “not simply musical” but also “physical, visual, social and emotional.”

A few terms significant to Jazz:
Improvisation is fundamental to Jazz and contributes to distinguishing it from classical music.
Dirty tone or deliberately playing notes out of tune is considered expressive within Jazz. Some musicians try to imitate the inflections of the human voice while playing. Dirty tone is a natural occurrence. (The contrast is anodyne or pure tone, which is what classical instruments strive for.)
Polyrhythm- layering contrasting rhyme patterns to create rich and complex textures
Cross Rhythms- rhythmic dislocations conflicting with the basic meter
Syncopation- a weak beat is made strong by accentuation
Portamento- sliding one note into another
Swung Rhythm- alternating notes of long and short time values and accenting slightly in advance of the main beats

Cooke, Mervyn. 1998. Jazz. New York: Thames and Hudson, Inc.
Szwed, John F. 2000. Jazz 101, A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz. New York: Hyperion.

Jazz research, Edward Simon

Edward Simon’s, Afinidad, with special guest Gretchen Parlato, will be performing at the Folly Theater in Kansas City, Missouri on October 31, 2009.

About Edward Simon:
Edward Simon was born in Venezuela. His family appreciated and practiced the jubilant rhythms of Latin and Caribbean music. Eventually, he was sent to study in the U.S. to pursue his musical potential; the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the Manhattan School of Music both offered him scholarships in classical piano and Jazz.

In 1989 Simon moved to New York and began performing with many Jazz masters. Studying and understanding Jazz tradition became increasingly important to him. Additionally, the music of Simon’s native country once again, began to inspire him.

In 1994, Simon officially became a bandleader and formed the Edward Simon trio; this trio has given him the opportunity to experiment with compositions and to continue to develop his style, which is occasionally laced with his Venezuelan roots.

Some of his awards and accomplishments include:
Becoming a Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition finalist, receiving a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, serving as adjunct faculty at The New York School for Jazz & Contemporary Music, producing seven albums, two of which have been listed as New York Times top ten jazz records of the year, additionally, he occasionally teaches seminars and workshops at music schools around the world.

A quote about Edward Simon:
“Mr. Simon’s touch, light and warm, allows for his music to drift calmly, taking its time to get to where it has to go.”


Jazz research, Gretchen Parlato

Gretchen Parlato is a young singing talent originally LA. Initial seeds were planted for a future in music at the Los Angeles High School for the Performing Arts. She later received a Master’s degree from the prestigious, Thelonious Monk Institute’s intensive two-year jazz studies program. While at the Institute, she achieved the position of first vocalist.

She moved to New York to emerge upon the Jazz scene shortly after winning the 2004 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition with a notable award of $20,000. Receiving this award contributed to her swift visibility on the Jazz scene. Since then, she has enjoyed collaborations with many New York Jazz musicians and a weekly gig at the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village.

Additionally, since high school, Parlato has acquired an intense passion for Brazilian music, and with guidance from the undergraduate program at UCLA, has mastered singing in Portuguese.

Significant quotes about Parlato:
Jazz legend, Herbie Hancock has said, “[Gretchen Parlato] takes a lot of chances with her style, and it works.”

According to the music critic of the New York Times, “Parlato possesses a stealth device; . . . [her voice] enters the music, improvising in melody and rhythm, prying open sweet spots [for her own musical embedding].” He also commented on her brilliant ability to contribute to rhythm and dynamics within a piece.

My interpretation of Gretchen Parlato:
Her voice is deep and severely sensual; it has the clarity and some characteristics of a brass instrument.
Hopelessly and disgustingly feminine, I think of lace, ribbon, soft things
She is no tomboy.
Although love is her only theme and pink is her color of choice, I can’t hold the shallow simplicity against her; this girl is experimenting with scat, wordless vocals and loops, beboxing backdrops with some rhythm and blues' accents.

Ben Ratliff, New York Times. New York, NY: Sep 15 2004, pg. E1
Ben Ratliff, New York Times. New York, NY: Jun 8 2009, pg. C9
Andrew Gilbert, The San Diego Union Tribune. San Diego, CA: Sep 28, 2006, pg. NIGHT D

Jazz research, Afinidad

The music of Afinidad spans from classical Jazz to Swing to Avant Garde, with occasional Latin rhythm accents. Additionally, the progressive styles of pianist, Edward Simon, and fellow composer/saxophonist, David Binney add a unique quality to the group. Instruments include, piano, alto sax, bass, drums, percussion and guitar.

The songs on Afinidad are seasoned with contentment, contemplation and reflection, among the titles are, Red, Civil War, Sadness, Simplicity and Remembrance.

A few quotes that I appreciated about Edward Simon and Afinidad:
“Memorable themes seem to glide across a more complex rhythmic backdrop.”
“Simon renders softly stated chord progressions,” and is known for his “subtle harmonic developments.” He doesn’t go for the dazzle, but rather, projects intention and control.
“Soloists pursue multicolored vignettes.”
Simon’s emotionally driven nature is apparent in his music, “[his] writing mines the nexus between head and heart.”

A few synonyms of the Spanish word, Afinidad, are: relationship, kinship, affinity and synergy.

While listening to Afinidad, I came up with these words of description:
expressive, content, melancholy, dreaming, longing, happy, jubilant, uncomfortable, distressed, a sad goodbye, a memory, pleased, satisfied, somber


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

a flying machine

So, I've been drawing quite a bit lately. First leaping animals, and now flying machines. Brad Cox, the humble leader and sometimes composer, always sends me off free as a bird to design anything in the whole world I can think of. (So much trust in such fragility). So far, as far as I can tell, my style, is yet to be determined. I absolutely live for taking photographs, and so molding image is always my pursuit. I think a hand written text might be nice for this cd cover design. 

My goal is to symbolically capture the combination of sophistication, joy and ridiculousness of the untamable People's Liberation Big Band. Do I need flailing instruments to express the musical aspect? I was actually thinking a placing a kazoo in the girl's mouth. Originally my idea was to place a cigarette in her mouth and with bellowing smoke spelling out the band's name. Maybe.

By the way, during the last critique of the semester, (the graphic design pioneer) Katherine McCoy suggested that I add more drawings within my designs. (I was blushing on the inside). I have always thought of my drawing skills as being unrefined and average and am still dying to take some drawing classes. In the mean time, she gave me a new confidence. 

oh yeah, color. What could be more lovely and joyfully explosive than a Munsell color wheel triad? I suppose if I were to be more descriptive, this color arrangement consists of contrasting hue, contrasting value and contrasting chroma.