Webster’s dictionary defines a story as a “true or fictitious narrative, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the reader or hearer.” As designers, we are aware that every idea or design we compose tells a story in its own way. As with every story, designs contain plots, characters, settings, and themes. Each is interrelated, producing an aesthetically appealing and useful space. This week in our studio class, we were each assigned a fairytale to analyze and dissect to find the underlying themes that could potentially be used to generate a successful design. We also analyzed a Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare on a shallow level. We found several “stories within a story”, touching on the lives and tales of the lovers, fairies, actors, and royalty. Designers draw from our own stories, other’s stories, and experiences as inspiration to create and leave our own legacy.
A cycle is any complete round or series of occurrences that repeats or is repeated over a period of time. A cycle can occur in many forms – social, cultural, philosophical, environmental, etc. Fashion cycles occur over decades, different fashions coming in and out of style. Architecture takes the same form. There are shorter cycles in the world, the cycle of the sun and moon for example. The earth turns on its axis in a perfect phase that allows us to view the sun and moon during an even interval of time each day. The nautilus shell below represents a cycle translated into a story. Over time, the shell was constructed by a natural process that carefully designed this structure as a aesthetically appealing and useful shelter for its resident.
Roth, Leland M. Understanding Architecture Introduction – Architecture, the unavoidable art P. 2
Translation somewhat intertwines with Cycle in an apparent manner. Cycles translate over time, and though it remains a cycle, minor things might alter. Translation is the rendering or conversion of something into a more coherent and appropriate fashion. Translation allows us to transform our designs from simple ideas into a broad range of conceptual proposals. The image below shows a butterfly completing the transformation into a new life as a new creature. This too happens with design. It transforms and converges into something new and more ideal - a more "beautiful creation."
I consider an artifact as anything that withstands the test of time, and yet still contains a certain level of visual delight. An artifact, to me, can be a physical structure of some means, or a verbal representation of something. Stories can also be artifacts in their own way. They have been passed down orally through generations and Translated through time, but still contain their essential underlying theme. An artifact is a symbol of something with a great level of importance and symbolism or meaning to someone. Something of the past, that has a past itself – a story to accompany it.
Mutiview is a term used to describe how an object, idea, or situation has several view points or perspectives. This week, I was able to see this idea conveyed through a Midsummer Night’s Dream. The “story within a story” concept allowed this task to become a bit easier as well. Shakespeare did an excellent job writing the script so that the emotions and thoughts of each character was evenly matched to its co-stars. The Lover’s story was shown through each of their eyes, allowing the viewer to empathize with each of them. The same was done through the fairies and actors. One could transport oneself into the shoes of both Titania and Oberon effectively as well as Nick Bottom. Having a multiview means looking at something in an ambiguous way. People perceive things differently, depending on their experiences and way of thinking. As in this inkblot, someone may see a white vase, but someone else may capture the image of two human facial profiles.