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One and Many

Image Manipulation, - slicing, fracturing and displacement
Lecture & Inclass [Online]
İstanbul Bilgi University, ComputationBased_BasicDesign
Distance Design Education
October-November, 2020

 *My experiment on Adobe Photoshop. One creates four by slicing and reconstructing with a certain rule.

The whole is other than the sum of the parts. The human eye and brain perceive a unified shape in a different way, to the way they perceive the individual parts of those shapes. This "global whole" is a separate entity that is not necessarily formed by the sum of its part.

The human eye follows the paths, lines, and curves of a design, and prefers to see a continuous flow of visual elements rather than separated objects. Simple shapes arranged together can create a more complex image. Objects that are near, or proximate to each other, tend to be grouped together. In an ambiguous design, there is little distinction between the ground and the figure. At any point, a single element might be both figure and ground at the same time.

I have been following the works of Serge Mendzhiyskogo,  Kenso Keoike and Eric Winkowsi for a long time. Especially, I admire the drawing series of Collage Rebus by Daniel Libenskind.  Together with it, the work of Keoike’s called “No More No Less” is inspried me to formulate “One and Many” exercise for Basic Design Studio. This basic exercise aims to to explore the technique of / concepts by deconstruction and reconstruction. Deconstruction enables us to slice through a composition, forcing us to examine every aspect of its relation and construction.  Their main medium is Adobe Photoshop and they work with parallel stripes.  They deconstruct a photograph and reconstruct it out of its parts in a series of certain rules.  Students are expected to have a systematic approach to their designs.

One and Many is a preliminary work of the assignments as “One and Many” and “Self-Organizing Patterns” respectively. With both of them, we get far away from the original content and context of the images used and step into an abstract world where we can discuss the topics such as variation, part-whole relations, figure-ground relations, proportions, repetition, hierarchy, system, growth, flow, continuity, order, edge, similarity, variation. It is a way to discover what design is, too.

*My experiment on Adobe Photoshop. I start with a black & white photograph in high contrast levels. I turned into a new whole and self-organizing pattern respectively. The photograph I chose to apply belongs to Seda Sankur.

Step 1 : One and Many

For this assignment, they should pick two of their Zoom In / Out photographs based on the studio discussions. They de-construct those photographs and re-construct their own designs out of their parts. They should follow the steps below:
  • Open the photographs in Adobe Photoshop and apply black & white and contrast & brightness adjustments. Resize your images so that one dimension is 20 cm.
  • Create 20 slices for each photograph. While setting the dimensions of the slices, pay attention to repetitive and rhythmic elements. Look for part – whole relations, hierarchy and variations.
  • Select 10 slices from each photograph and re-organize them (20 slices in total) on a new canvas to create a composition. Use each selected slice at least one time and document your operation steps for studio discussion. Do not overlap your slices. (Slice order, copy, flip, rotate etc.)

They should think about micro systems as well as organizations of elements at a larger scale. Edge conditions and the contents of their units/slices are important to create a seamless pattern. There should be no left-over space on their canvas if it does not have an organizational logic. They should try to make many explorations with the units and, go back and forth if necessary.

Maya Kalali

Sara Khaled

Step 2:  Self-Organizing Pattern

A design is a container of information to observe the geometric shapes and lines that generate continuities, contrasts, repetition, inversion etc.

For this assignment, students are expected to abstract their design and define a repetitive module within it.  They continue working on this module and drive three (or more) adaptive units within it.  Then, they create a continuous system by relating the three to each other geometrically and designing variative combinations applying rule sets to them. This whole system is called as  “self-organizing pattern”. They follow the steps below:

  • ·Use previous assignment and turn it into a black & white image in Adobe Photoshop. Change the brightness & contrast levels if needed. Without noises, it will be better to get close to the examples in the right page in terms of the levels.
  • Analyze black & white image. Observe the structural and organizational relations. While analyzing make sure that you are focusing on how they are connecting with one and other.
  • Define a module containing various pieces and drive three units within it. Your units should not be totally different from each other but should be derived from each other.
  • If you are using scaling as a method to derive these three units, you will have units with different sizes. You can use other methods to design these adaptive units. But in any case, pay attention to their proportions..
  • You should then design rule sets showing the possible connections and relationships of these units to each other. Do not forget that they should relate to each other geometrically.
  • You will organize these units on a 40 x 40 cm or 40 x 60 cm digital canvas. You should beware of the relationship of these shapes and lines to each other and the whole, and their relationship to the edges of your digital canvas. You can choose to cover all of your background with your units or some parts of the background could be left as a part of your final design. The left-over/blank area cannot exceed the 10% of the canvas.

Maya Kalali 

Sara Khaled

* Studio critics to the assignments are given together with Bahar Avanoğlu and Meral Erdoğan