Friday, 6 July 2007

What comes out at 3.47am (post-it note to self: drink less coffee)

It started as a rash around the bottom of my monitor. Mostly references I didn't have time to check and questions for later consideration:

As it spread to the upper edges, motivational tips began to appear:

It began to creep from screen to pin-board to wall, then not just in books but all over them, and a few even sprouted in surprising places like the back of my phone and in pockets I never used. I found them stuck to the bottom of shoes I only wear 'out' and, in the kitchen, ingredients for saffron chicken were accompanied by pithy quotes from Barthes and McLuhan. The back of the door developed a reminder of my deteriorating mental state:

I really became concerned when I woke one morning to find my bedside table alive with lurid yellow notes like a swarm of paper butterflies – noisy thoughts I'd released during the night. Yesterday, I scratched an itch at my collar and my hand returned with a note attached:
In the shower last night, I looked down to see a pulpy yellow lump bleeding inky ideas down the drain. This morning, I dreamed I had a post-it note epidermis – millions of scaly yellow reminders obscuring what used to be a pink fleshy person. This is worse than the time I reached into my handbag for a pen and produced a mouse. It has to stop.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
What affect does the inclusion of the notes have? Does it contribute significantly more than if I'd typed the messages? Immediacy. Trueness to form. I went back and reduced the size of the 'keys' note, because I think it works better smaller - to discover that after reading the text before it has more impact? If I were doing this in book form, I'd put that on the following page to delay the 'reveal' - manipulation of pace and reading experience by holding out, like a dramatic pause?


Terry said...

Zoe - Nice post! No wonder you're not getting far with your dissertation. Blogging is more fun! I really had to laugh because my screen usually boasts a row of yellow post-it notes and my desk is littered with blue square notes from my "note cube", as the manufacturer calls it. Maybe our attention span has shrunk to the size of a 2 x 2 note.

digshot said...

It sounds like you've got a new, helpful form of Anarchic Hand Syndrome.

I think you're right about immediacy. And I think you're more likely to back-scan and read the images alone a second time - and maybe they lodge in your memory in more complete form than text would.

Btw, have a copy of 'The invention of Hugo Cabret' and it is truely a thing of beauty. Reading it now -haven't yet made up my mind whether it breaks new ground. Enjoying it, though...

And I've finally posted to More than words. Phew.


PS. When you've typed up your trial workshop notes, would be interested to have a looksee.

Zoe said...

Terry, I think it's less that my attention span has shrunk to a 2x2 note, more that my understanding of what I'm doing is currently limited to a 2x2 note...I've started collecting all my post-it notes and at the end (if there is one) of my research I want to put them all up on a wall and photograph them as a visual representation of a PhD...hopefully the whole will be more than the sum of the parts.

Greg, I think the 'back-scanning' point is important - one of the recurring themes in a lot of the books I've looked at is memory (loss), and using images as a tool for memory recall is a whole dissertation in itself (that I'm sure has been done but I don't need any more to read right now!)I had to refer to Wikipedia to figure out what anarchic hand syndrome was (I like that it's sometime called Dr Strangelove Syndrome) and I wish mine would develop to writing more than post-it notes!

Thanks to both of you for comments, it's always great to get some feedback.

Terry said...

Zoe - Your idea for a kind of exhibition of your post0it notes sounds great. In the 2000 Whitney Biennial, Joseph Grigely, a deaf artist, posted all the hand-written notes people had given to him as "conversation." It was fascinating. Here's a link to one of his gallery shows.

Zoe said...

That's great! It reminds me a bit of a book I have by "Louis xxx" called "to my sweetheart" - it's a little picture book of scanned in scraps of paper with love letters he's written to his girlfriend. It sounds horrendously cheesy but it's actually a lovely thing:

Terry said...

Very nice. Thank you.

adelaide said...

Hey Zoe, its Cris here, Ive been in Leeds and Bilbao and now am visiting the fam in Mexico. I figured with the spare time I had (whilst my Dad is at work) I would start that PhD blog, you suggested and figured Id have a look-see at yours! I think this post (pardon the pun) is great. My comments are that the handwritten note feel unmediated (by set type in which each letter is uniform and belong to an overall design) and because of this is much more "authentic" the flaws in the text, the spacing, the legib ility give us so much more information about the author/voice. I was thinking also that somethin about these ideas is similar to what is happening in tourism and cultural studies where there is astrong move to the idea of embodiement. I have a great article (back in the office) on this if it piques your interest. Or perhaps it will just generate more post-its. See you next week, back home.


Nicki Greenberg said...

Apart from being a wonderful designer, you write beautifully. What a blog full of treasures! As a fellow post-it note addict, I really empathised with this post. Though I wish mine were this pretty!

xx Nicki

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