WIP – almost getting there

This is the video of a bit more than half of the final presentation! Hopefully that is. Worked on the sound the last two days with the helpful Messrs Davies and Kirsop.

Please watch and give feedback and comments. What do you think?
(If you have an iPad please also watch it and let me know what you think!!)

(There are known issues with pauses and timing – I need to tighten this up in the next week.)

(There are also other known issues with my hands. Mein ganglion is rather anti social at the moment. )


visual identity for the project

I usually find it quite hard to begin with a cohesive visual identity for a project and not feel tied to a brand or identity that might no longer suit the project. Previous thoughts on title pages or brand are in this post.

More iterations on an identity for the book, thinking about a symbol that might work and a font selection that could be cohesive across the entire book.

Experimenting with hexagons and suggestions of the infinite through repetition.



I think this is my current favourite: suggestive hexagons with Didot font.

Thinking about how it might look in color, and in a more Faber & Faber style:

(too James Bond?)

Thoughts? Which is the strongest? What is working and failing miserably?

Borges’ Labyrinths + Doctor Who – Part 2

Continuing my collection of the labyrinthine imagery contained in the new Doctor Who series…

Murillo suggested  that “each of Borges’ stories contains one or several variations of the labyrinth theme… the plan of a city, the sands of the desert, a spider web, a flaming pyre, and the dream state…” (‘The Labyrinths of Jorge Luis Borges’, 1959)

The opening of series six begins with a flaming pyre, beginning a confusing sequence of events in space and time. 

The dream state made an appearance early on in series five, in ‘Amy’s Choice’ (Nye, S., 2010, 5:7) where the character of the mysterious Dream Lord who conjures two false realities to force Amy to make a choice. Interestingly, the TARDIS also features a lot of hexagonal design this season. Coincidence?

My mother suggested to me that I had missed the main point – the TARDIS itself is a labyrinth. 

This is actually explored a bit more in The Doctor’s Wife episode (2011, Moffat S., 6:4) in which the two companion characters, Rory and Amy, run through a maze-like arrangement of the TARDIS’ corridors, pursued and taunted by the omnipresent voice of the creator of this particular labyrinth.More hexagons (references to Borges’ ‘Babel’?), fear, a beast that appears to destroy them, apparent death, and finally salvation by the actual owner of the TARDIS, the Doctor, who alone can unravel the maze.


Interestingly enough, the Minotaur has made an appearance before in Doctor Who (1972, Bernard P., season 9)…

and will appear again in the second half of series six, as indicated in the trailer for part two.

Have I missed any? What other labyrinth metaphors or allusions are there in Moffat’s new Doctor Who?


Murillo, L.A. 1959, ‘The Labyrinths of Jorge Luis Borges: An introductory to the stories of The Aleph’, Modern Language Quarterly, 20:3 , pp.259-266.

All images from the television series Doctor Who, episodes indicated.
New seasons’ screen caps from http://doctorwho.sonicbiro.co.uk/.







Borgian labyrinth imagery in Doctor Who – Part 1

An article by L..A. Murillo (1959) discusses the idea of the labyrinth presented in the work of Jorge Luis Borges, and in reading this article, I noticed a lot of parallels with recent plots and settings in the remake of Doctor Who. This is a cumulating collection of Doctor Who labyrinth imagery and/or metaphors as described by Murillo, referring to the works of Borges.

Murillo suggests that  “each of Borges’ stories contains one or several variations of the labyrinth theme. In The Aleph it is not overly difficult to make out the nucleus of images that Borges uses for the labyrinth: the plan of a city, the sands of the desert, a spider web, a flaming pyre, and the dream state…”
(‘The Labyrinths of Jorge Luis Borges’, 1959)

Russel T Davies and Gareth Roberts use the metaphor of the sands of the desert when creating a planet that is entirely sand dunes (2009, ‘Planet of the Dead’, 4:15)

Interestingly, they also work in the labyrinthine city image – the planet used to be a thriving metropolis-planet in the past: 

The most relevant example for this project is ‘The Silence in the Library’ story arc (2008, Steven Moffat) which imagined a planet entirely composed of books – called ‘The Library‘. The darkness lurking there and recalls Murillo’s associations of the labyrinth with the fear of death and the helplessness of man (p.266, 1959). The plot recalls the original labyrinth myth in the terrifying beast/destroyer lurking in the library and the apparent inability to escape, but for the maker of the labyrinth – the character whose family created The Library is the one who possesses the knowledge to let them escape.

In another interesting layer, it also recalls Borges’ Babel in the sidelined role of humans within the library, and the search to find out what is at the heart of the library and discover its purpose to decipher it. Characters are ‘saved’ or ‘consumed’ (depending on your viewpoint and understanding of labyrinth stories) by both the character at the centre of the library (Cal) and also the ‘beast’ (the Vashta Nerada). 

More to come!

Reference List:

Murillo, L.A. 1959, ‘The Labyrinths of Jorge Luis Borges: An introductory to the stories of The Aleph’, Modern Language Quarterly, 20:3 , pp.259-266.

All images from the television series Doctor Who, episodes indicated.
Screen caps from http://doctorwho.sonicbiro.co.uk/.

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?”

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, dezeen.com

– Jorges Luis Borges – The Library of Babel