The inspiration for my final project is based on this image of a woman. There’s something in her expression that I’m drawn to. What is she thinking? What is she saying?
My book will be based on her first statement: I want this to be a conversation.
With whom is she having this conversation? And about what? That is irrelevant.
The next several pages will be a montage of all the different thoughts swirling in someone’s (the woman or the person she’s speaking with) head.
The last page will return to the woman. She says, “Let’s begin.”
My final project is inspired by the Tantric paintings collected by a French poet, Franck André Jamme, in Rajasthan, India. These paintings serve as an aid to meditative practice and use simple, conventional symbols to stimulate specific mental and spiritual experiences. Most of the drawings in his collection have only one or two shapes, with no ornamentation and are monochromatic. What I find so compelling beyond the purpose of the paintings (as meditative aids) is the history of each. These paintings are handmade, copied, and passed down through generations. There are imperfections in the paper, tape and pin marks, water stains, ink transfers, and tears. There is beauty in that layering. The life of the painting grows and takes on a new meaning / multiples meanings in these incidental marks / what remains on the page.
In Processing, I would like to recreate one of the images in its original state – just the shape or shapes with none of the historicity. Then slowly through user interaction illustrate (my interpretation) of the evolution of the painting. Starting with perhaps the fading around the edges, then maybe a tear, some tape parks, errant text. The raw nature of the “original” painting would be exposed as the narrative develops (its authenticity erased).
The problem is what type of user interaction? I had originally thought about creating a helmet the user would wear to view and explore the image. But that seemed clunky and more of an impediment to meditation. When I posed this question in my ICM class, I received some valuable feedback. One of the central principles of meditation is breathing so why not utilize that for the user interaction?
In my wildest dreams, I would love to create a screen that is sensitive to breath and responds to each exhalation. I’m not sure how possible that is but I know there are other ways to measure breath. I could use a microphone to pick up the sound of breathing or a chest strap with a flex sensor that would pick up the contraction of each breath.
Alternatively, I could:
- Measure heart rate and as it slows reveal more of the history of the image
- Use facial recognition to sense a user and then start sequence after they’ve inspected the image for a few seconds
- Use eye tracking to reveal different aspects of the history as the user explores the image