learning with stefanie posavec: day 2

thumb_IMG_8649_1024Today we learn how to visualise data. Some basic techniques are introduced, as well as some general rules of thumb as a guideline.thumb_IMG_8652_1024  thumb_IMG_8651_1024

Using statistical knowledge to work with design. Looking for an overarching conclusion may help make your work more meaningful. Patterns and rhythms in data can be translated visually – using various methods like analog, coding, etc.

Have a spreadsheet! Use Google sheets. It helps you to identify patterns.

Take notes on what you find: rate of change, hierarchal relationships, and so on. Get to know your data.

Select your focus. Form your message, find the highlight.

Assign visual variables to data (shape, tonal values, texture, orientation of a line, etc)

IMG_8662  IMG_8660 IMG_8659

Stefanie highlights the elements that makes for a strong data visualisation:

  • Good architecture + arrangement
  • Annotate appropriately: labels, legend, titles, axis, units, sources, attributes.
  • Don’ts: improper scaling, truncated axes, differences in perspectives (particularly in 3D visuals)
  • 3 to 8 groups or categories is good enough to communicate


This form of visualisation is the basis for her style of visualisation: the node link tree diagram. It’s good to research on data visualisation styles to give you a headstart.



Do a sketch first: how it works, then add graphical elements, and then annotations.

IMG_8665 IMG_8664 IMG_8663

Critiquing bad data visualisations: it should not be too confusing.

Lastly: some methods to organise data:

  • grouping information according to location (geo-spatial data)
  • alphabetical order
  • time
  • category (comparing categorical values)
  • hierarchy (relationship between entities)

Jacques Bertin’s visual variables

Gestalt laws of grouping.

That’s all for today! We are to work on an individual project for this program as well. I won’t be using my FYP for this due to the time constraint of the program. I’ll share more as I go along.


World of Lumpy Space

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 8.02.32 pm Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 8.02.35 pm Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 7.57.04 pm Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 7.57.35 pm Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 7.58.34 pm Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 7.59.21 pm Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 8.00.02 pm  Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 7.54.39 pm Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 7.54.43 pm Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 7.56.53 pm


Particularly find this episode of Adventure Time really beautiful. Slowly compiling these screen grabs to use as reference when it comes to compositions and colour palettes, especially the rendering of background.

Video Double — virtual nostalgia

My video double is a work in progress of an alter ago. This lady is pretty much my ideal self, I think, as an artist, as a personality. She’s got some fun tattoos and beautiful hair. The illustration style is largely inspired by the aesthetics of Palace Doll avatars (from Palace Chat, briefly discussed in Media & performance class last semester), as well as Microsoft Paint. These are some things that influence my early artworks made on the computer, so I wanted to capture a bit of what I remembered and loved, like going crazy with the colour wheel and adding all the colours on my digital palette. Palace Doll avatars were really some stellar pixel artwork. And Microsoft Paint was my virtual art studio before I ever got to play with Photoshop.

Risograph references


I bought some of these beautiful zines printed with risograph over the summer as well. I have been quite interested in this printing technique for some time, although I have not personally tried printing my own work with it. Over the last year I have been trying to collect some good examples of risograph works and learning more about the process.  My aim for this semester is to print a section of my work with risograph.

Why am I interested in this technique? Last semester I made some glitch art. They didn’t look very good when they are printed with the laser printer. I’m trying to find out ways that I can bring the “virtual to print”, and I think overprinting with risograph using such bright and neon colours, could help achieve this effect.

Below are some examples of overprinting with risograph.

From the work Aqua Solo by Double D‘s.

Photo 16-8-15 2 05 42 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 05 49 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 05 54 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 05 57 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 06 08 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 06 15 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 06 23 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 06 34 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 06 47 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 06 55 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 07 06 pm

Unmatter by Dominic KestertonPhoto 16-8-15 2 07 44 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 07 49 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 07 58 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 08 05 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 08 10 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 08 14 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 08 18 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 08 32 pm


What is a Grid?


Photo 16-8-15 2 08 52 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 09 00 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 09 03 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 09 15 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 09 19 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 09 22 pm

Experimental print

Today I am sharing two publications: a zine with no name that I bought from Ti Pi Tin, and an alternative music magazine called Ray Gun.

Both are inspirational to me in terms of their experimental methods.

Here’s the zine with no name:Photo 16-8-15 2 10 04 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 10 08 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 10 13 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 10 20 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 10 26 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 10 34 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 10 39 pm

It is very simply made, staple bound, printed with a photocopier on generic coloured paper. I like it a lot because I thought it looks quite polished and cool for a zine that is made with a photocopier. It makes me think about how it is possible to use such low-cost methods to produce a print work that does not discount on quality. The images used in the zines have a good range of tonal values, and the black produced by the printer is rich and saturated.

I personally feel that in my experience of learning design and making publications, it is constantly implied that in order for work to achieve a polished look, it is necessary to invest (i.e spend a lot of money) in materials and printing. What does looking polished even means? I also hear a lot of my peers complaining about shops that don’t do good printing. I don’t completely disagree, but I find that as creatives we must be resourceful and work around what is perceived as weaknesses and turn them into something worthwhile. Given the right resources, most of us are able to make outstanding publications. But I also think it will be quite fun and challenging  if we were to make publications using low-fi methods such as collaging, stamping, scanning, or experimenting with the photocopier. Does good design = expensive paper + printing + hours of working on InDesign + referencing Behance portfolios to death?

Anyway I don’t really believe in that and I would want to try something like this for my FYP.

The second publication I’m sharing is called Ray Gun, which is an alternative music magazine which had since ceased its run. The magazine’s editorial designer was David Carson. There is something very distinctively 90’s about the design work. I remember seeing these magazines in my cousins’ room when I was much younger. Both of them are trained in graphic design, and their own works have a bit of David Carson in them. I managed to salvage just one magazine many years ago from their home when they moved out and it has remained one of my go-to publications for design inspiration for a long time.

The type in this magazine is absolutely awesome. Text in a single article can have varying kerning and line height, which makes for an exciting visual experience.

Everytime I have to make some boring work that requires me to put some text and images side by side, I always ask myself, how do I make this thing look cool? I always reach out for this magazine and I feel inspired.Photo 16-8-15 2 18 50 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 18 58 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 19 12 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 19 20 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 19 29 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 19 34 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 19 40 pm Photo 16-8-15 2 19 55 pm

w r now[here]: Cyberformance critique

Having a chance to participate in this cyberformance is definitely one of the highlights of Media and Performance class. By being the key performers of this segment in the symposium, we can better understand some of the concepts illustrated in class regarding performance art and the third space.

w r now[here] allows us to work with a real cyber performance artist, Helen Varley Jamieson. Rehearsals and preparations were connected through Adobe Connect, in true virtual fashion. For two weeks, we went through rehearsals using our mobile phones, testing webcams and our connection settings. Even though the performance takes place online, it is also crucial to take into account real-life circumstances. One of the most important points to take note during our performance was not to show our faces or to show each other. Taking that into consideration, my classmates and I had to make sure that our starting point, the “nowhere” are relatively far away from each other. There were a few of us situated at every level and corner of the school. Eventually, we have to meet in the lobby to slowly make our way to the theatre. This part of the performance was rather tricky as we were already gathered in a group. Yet, we took care to remain out of each other’s viewfinders. It is quite fun and required some improvisation: some of us pointed our cameras to the ceilings, some focused on other people in that area, and then some of us kept our cameras focused on one object. I think we succeeded in this area, after looking at our performance on Vimeo.

Another key point to note is definitely the technical difficulties faced. The university network was down just minutes before the performance was to go live, and we had a little collective moment of panic. Thankfully, the technical situation was fixed quickly. During our rehearsals and our mobile cam exercises that led up to the performance, we also encountered various technical failures such as unable to log in to Adobe Connect. Fortunately, all of us performers were located in the same space during the day of the performance and we made use of the same connection during the actual performance, so we didn’t have these issues.

One important takeaway from this performance was my understanding of some of the artworks discussed in class. For weeks, we discussed about cyborgs, the body as an instrument, the telematic embrace and the third space. One of the works I critiqued in this class was Robert Whitman’s American Moon. After the performance, I felt I could understand Whitman’s work better. Here’s a description of the work from the syllabus page:

“Whitman created a multi-dimensional theater environment that gave viewers differing perspectives on action taking place in a central theatrical area.”

I would liken the sectioning of the audience in Whitman’s work to our webcams during the performance, especially during the moment when we gathered together at last in the theater space, our cameras pointing at the audience.cyberformance1


The audience became part of the work, forming an interesting multidimensional collage. I felt that all the concepts covered during the first half of the semester culminated in this moment during the performance, and I thought it was an absolutely amazing to see how it all came together to form such an interesting piece of networked performance.

Project Hyperessay 2: Concept & Teaser


The title of my final OSS project will be entitled glitches.remixes.edits.filters.

As an artist, my work revolves around picking up the trash and debris that is feelings, and rework them into something that’s worthwhile. A presentable melancholy, an accessible darkness. Melancholia and it’s friends are like glitches. Remixes, edits and filters rework these glitches and help assimilate them into normality, and giving them new life. It is a way to re-represent old information.

As a large part of my work derives from my participation in the virtual, digital space, I’m also looking at glitch art, and digital manipulation as ways of presenting my content. A glitch is defined as a “a short-lived fault in a system and often used to describe a transient fault that corrects itself, and is therefore difficult to troubleshoot.”. I’m treating this definition in a metaphorical manner in relation to the process of blogging and writing in journals. These accounts are my way of dealing with negativity and issues, and eventually they exist as evidence that indeed, “this too shall past”.

Hence, I’d like to think of the issues I’ve blogged about as glitches, as transcient matters.



Digital manipulation had been a constant method of my art-making. In these series of collages, I’m combining real collages scanned from my physical journals, and reworking them digitally to create more layers of symbols and meanings. The addition of  the planets, for example, is an allusion to early Internet art, part lo-fi, part ephemera, a reference to my own participation in the virtual space. In the last image, I’ve included some palace chat avatars, “dollz”, which were really popular ten years ago. It goes back to my hyperessay #1 in which I talk about the timeline of social media and popular websites. These dollz and other “relics” – the now defunct MSN messenger, MS Paint – constitutes this sense of nostalgia in the third space.

I’ve also distorted certain parts of the images and increased the colour information drastically, creating highly saturated areas of colours. This produces a “glitched” effect and is also symbolic of the intensity and saturated nature of my journals and blog.

In the first micro-project where we made one minute videos, I’ve briefly talked about the idea of the “double”. I want to go back to this theme as it is quite apparent in my practice.

The ‘double’ refers to writing and illustrating, two halves that make up my main practice as an artist. Writing and illustrating have always existed as separate processes for me and not processes that complement each other. The outcome for this final OSS project will include both writing and visual arts.

dictionary mindmap



Here’s all my keywords arranged in the main ideas that I want to explore in my dictionary project and my FYP. I’ve given a title to summarise this whole mind-map and concept which I call “The Double”.

the double

The ‘double’ refers to writing and illustrating, two halves that make up my main practice as an artist. Writing and illustrating have always existed as separate processes for me and not processes that complement each other. I would like to combine both processes in my body of work for FYP and the dictionary project as I’ve never done it before.

This idea of the double also refers to duality and opposites, which is the sub-concept in my project. The process of writing and illustrating yields different ideas. In the mindmap above, I’ve categorised the keywords that come to mind when describing my illustrations and my writing. As you can see, they are very different. My illustrations are all part of a world that I create, often fantastical in nature. They are colourful and elaborate and I would like my illustrations to be appreciated for their aesthetics and techniques.

As an illustrator, I’m keen on exploring femininity. Most of my works are female-centric, they focus on the female figure and the emotional aspect of what it is like being a girl. There is a lot to explore about the female figure. She is an embodiment of a concept, a persona, and she is a form to be studied and admired. They are also colourful, full of patterns, and they are generally more fun.

I like to think that my words exist in black and white: topics and issues that I talk about in my writing come through more literally. I write constantly, and about the things that I think about and my responses to situations around me. Hence, these things aren’t made up, they are all real and much unlike my drawings. My writing is all part of an endless personal narrative that documents my experiences and an examination to how all of these contributes to my being, both as a person and as an artist.


‘Outcome’ is the list of keywords I would associate with the final outcome of my work, be it for the dictionary project or the FYP. It encompass all that is between “everything” and “nothing”. In my earlier entries on this OSS site, I’ve referenced a quote Paul Arden quite a few times:

The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually you’ll become stale. If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. To replenish, to give away, the more you give away, the more comes back to you.”

Most, if not all, of the content that makes up this body of work is from my personal archive of words and pictures, from when I was a child, through my adolescent years, and finally now. The outputs from this archive is a form of purging for me. To challenge myself to let go of old ideals, and recreate again.

The keywords in this column are the expected goals I want to achieve with the outcomes of this entire project.


This column is a pairing of keywords which are not necessarily opposite in nature, but describes my own alternative responses to some of the issues that are apparent in my work.

absence > presence
resolve > repress
longing > certainty
excess > reduction
resentment > reconcile
belief > non-belief
embrace > eradicate

macro > micro

The events listed in the micro column would make up the events listed in the macro column, and in turn will form the ideas listed in the methods column.

reading: what is contemporary art

notes from e-flux journal: what is contemporary art

critique of presence by Jacques Derrida
the present is originally corrupted by past and future, there’s always absence at the heart of presence.

‘comrades of time’ by boris groys
when we began to question our projects, to doubt or reformulate them, the present becomes important. it’s because the contemporary present is constituted by doubt, hesitation, uncertainty, indecision, by the need for prolonged reflection.

the past is also permanently rewritten, names and events appear/disappear, reappear/disappear.

comrades of time: contemporary in German means comrade. to be contemporary is to collaborate with time, helping time when it has problems/difficulties.

now and elsewhere by raqs media collective
time girds the earth tight. day after day, astride minutes and seconds, the hours ride as they must, relentless. in the struggle to keep pace with the clocks, we are now always in a state of jet lag.

how do we orient ourselves in relation to a cluster of occasionally cascading, sometimes overlapping, partly concentric and often conflictual temporal parameters?

on forgetting
as time passes and we grow more into the contemporary, the reasons for remembering other times grow, while the ability to recall them weakens. memory straddles this paradox. we could say the ethics of memory have something to do with the urgent negotiation betwene having to remember (which sometimes include the obligation mourn) and the requirement to move on (which sometimes include the need to forget). both are necessary and each is nontionally contingent on the abdication of the other, but life is not led by the easy rhythm of regularly alternating episodes of memory and forgetting, cancelling each other out in a neat equation that resolves itself and attains equillibrium.

haunt a record
what does it mean to haunt a record? when does a presence or a trace become so deeply etched into a surface that it merits a claim to durability simply for being so difficult to repress, resolve, deal with and put away?