presentation for task 1 // my brief

Record keeping, but also for interest:

Brief for Major Project


expected feedback // lessons for presentations

Presenting our brief for the first time on Wednesday was slightly more nerve racking than I anticipated. I think the size of the assignment really hit a few people who also admitted they were nervous.

I presented my concept for the project, which was considered an excellent concept. I did not, however, have very many visuals to support the direction I was going in or what the final work would look like. I knew this from the beginning of my presentation and actually anticipated that feedback to be the bulk of what was said. I know that’s where I need to base my work for the next few weeks.

possible directions - geometric

Other feedback that I wasn’t expecting was to not be so intent on taking the project to development. Gerhard pointed out that students in the past have developed interactive works with tonnes of functionality that they never get to show in their final presentation. “It’s no use having 100 functional pages if they aren’t good – better to have 3 very excellent ones“. I think it will be hard to break from my innate desire to make sure it works, to treating this more like a pitch for the full development of the app/book.

A few lessons to take away:

  • work on the design of the presentation early enough so that the iterations are out of the way.
  • design applies to timelines and tables too
  • make sure that  the presentation is suitable for large screen visuals, not for single-viewer-onscreen presentation. Some people smashed this and it was really excellent. I was not one of those people.
  • I have 2 presentations left in my entire university studies. I’d better make them count.


the challenging question:

“Is it necessary that the text be readable and accessible?”

(that moment that comes after, while reading difficult articles and critiques, when you realise that one text has more credibility than the other, in academic circles)


to which I say:

“Is it necessary that the text be highbrow, critically acclaimed and/or difficult in order to be valuable and challenging?”

research into Labyrinths (Borges)



  • watch Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
  • find a minotaur
  • recall traumatic childhood maze experiences
  • list and explore imagery in The Library of Babel (TLOB)
  • make cut-up poems from TLOB
  • find a spider-web related episode of Dr Who.
  • compare Borgian labyrinth imagery with frames/themes from new series Dr Who. PART 1 /// PART 2
  • deconstruct Spanish obsession with labyrinths –> irrelevant
    • find relevant critical journals
  • watch ‘Labyrinth’ with David Bowie (1986) (blog post to come)
  • read critical analysis of Borges’ work

conflicting opinions

On wednesday, I made a decision, or so I thought. In my head, I thought, I have to decide which text I’m doing. I think I’ll just go with The Book Thief and that will be it. I’ll just choose. I will conquer the fear, make it possible to work on the brief for next week, and just choose a text of the two I’m considering (Borges being the alternate).

Problem goes, when I reached the point of explaining my decision to my supervisor, he spotted the Borges anthology on the desk, and seized upon it!

‘Is The Book Thief rigorous enough? Is it important that it be a readable text? I think it would be perfectly adequate for your project, but the Borges stories have ‘the power of stories’ as a greater metanarrative, rather than just a plot device…’ or some other words in a similar pattern and meaning.

Being tired due to previous bad choices, the suggestion was to sleep on it (from more than one person, too).

So I have.

Yesterday I read almost half of The Book Thief (not for the first time) – And now I’m considering the literary merits and possibilities of the Borges’ pieces. (How? Research. About to hit up some journal articles on both authors).

More to come. This decision decides the focus/motivation for the project more clearly – to communicate the difficult but important or… ?

elegy – Borges & experimentation

Draft experiments, working with the text of Elegy (Borges, J.L. 1964, translated by D.A.Y.)

(all images by me)

Not sure if this is heading in a final direction //
or if its just a dry run for The Book Thief (Zusak).

I like the incredible concepts in Labyrinths by Borges, and the turn of phrase is interesting, but not as lyrically compelling as The Book Thief. In some ways, this almost means there’s more reason to express it visually; to intrigue people to read it; to promote an author who is slightly less accessible.

On the other hand, is it worth it? And are the concepts along the line with my thoughts on reading and the richness and power of stories? I need to search for some excerpts/the vibe of the Book Thief. Then we’ll know a bit more about where things are heading.


Had a look at ‘the Brief’ requirements for next week. Have some bare bones thoughts, but they seem surprisingly inadequate and empty compared to how I’ve been describing it to people. Need to mine this blog, my smaller ‘thoughts’ notebook, and possibly record some conversations where I explain the project.


in multiples of: ONE

Alice in Wonderland for the iPad

(I need to get this)

Image by Edward Sumner

“I imagined a place encircled by a single bookshelf in the form of a spiral. The domain encased within the infinite spiral itself is the library. Infinite forest of books is created from layering of 9m high walls punctuated by large apertures.”Amy Frearson,

– Jorges Luis Borges – The Library of Babel

i messed up:

i agreed/offered to work the 6 days between one wednesday class and the next. this is a small failure of priorities and I need to remember it and remedy it.

Things i have Done since Wednesday:

  • i bought 2 artline pens. they cost a motza, and they helped me draw better today. i think.
  • i bought some post-it notes. a pack of 100. now I’m gonna write thoughts about books and stick them on said books.
  • i started drawing the imaginable but impossible: a labyrinthine library, proposed by Jorge Luis Borges.
I also saw this today (reccomended by Dan McClintock, a thinking man):
Which is mostly about being your own client as a design studio, but also talks about facing your fear of taking risks, and also:
At the moment, I’m anxious. I’m setting goals that I don’t really get or don’t feel are good enough. I’m scared of not being able to deliver on this project. What I really need to do is get busy with design.

project definitions

or: what am I trying to do in Major Project?

It changes everytime I tell people.

When I tell too many people in a short space of time, I forget and think I’ve already told them everything.

I am working with digital storytelling in an e-book/app or interactive format, using typography, photography and other typo/graphic devices to express a short story/excerpt/poem that emphasises the power of ‘the story’ or ‘the book’, irrespective of genre. The aim is to explore the potential of the digital story, as compared to that which already exists in experimental books/printed stories; showcase my skills and extend them; express the power of ‘the book’ to remind, inspire and intrigue existing or new readerships (digital natives, literature readers).

Potential texts I’m thinking of using as a basis or excerpt for my interactive story are:

  • The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Book thief – Markus Zusak
  • Leaving Home – Garrison Keillor (or other excerpts)
  • The Library of Babel – Jorge Luis Borges
  • Prufrock – TS Eliot
  • Another short story I have not yet found – currently reading ‘Stories’ edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio

Background reading of books and short stories has/will include The Collected Works of T.S. Spivet (Reif Larson), People of the Book (Geraldine Brooks), The Eyre Affair (Jasper Fforde), The Best Australian Short Stories 2003 (ed. Peter Craven).

Activities this week have included:

I’m promising: a better visual representation for next week; a decided upon text with background research, and visual ideas; some visually represented thoughts about technical/interactive possibilities; 2 more interesting blog posts about the books I’ve read; an interesting and relevant link to a TED talk; things that are more visually poetic, including a custom header image for the blog.