The Visual Archive

Critical Thinking and Making — Spring  2022

May 3, 2022
by Pascal
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WEEK 15 | Final Presentation

→ Final Deliverable
Your final archive must include:

Please upload your introduction to our shared google drive “week 14 — Introduction” as a google doc so I can add comments.

1 — At least 100 records (images, visuals);
2 — Each record needs to have a caption;
3 — Your introduction needs to be integrated.

→ Final Presentation
Prepare the following deck/slides. Presentations should not be longer than 5 minutes to allow short peer feedback.

Your Name, Your N-number, Title of your Archive.
1-2 images of a class experiment that were most inspirational to you. This could also come out of peer instructions.
1-2 images of a second class experiment that was inspirational to you. This could also come out of peer instructions.
A short abstract that introduces your archive. Up to 3 sentences.
Who is your audience and what insights will they gain?
Process Images
—8-14 —
A series of slides showing your final implementation. Make sure to have a variety of close ups and wide shots.
—15— Conclusion/Reflection: What did you learn? What is the question you take away from this?

April 25, 2022
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 13/14 | Introduction ⇄ Research & Making Week

WEEK 13/14 | Introduction ⇄ Research & Making Week

→ Prepare for 4/28

(1) Write an introduction to your archive. You will find guiding questions in the document “Archive Introduction” in the folder “week 12” on google drive. Your introduction should be less than a page at this point (it can be as long as you want it to be in its final version) and bring two printed copies to class.

(2) Update your prototype: prepare a mock-up of your final archive. Will you circulate your archive as a book, a website, or an exhibition? Bring sketches, digital collages, and everything that helps explain your plan. As a reminder, your final archive needs to have 100 records with captions (we will discuss how that translates to your project), and it needs to include the introduction.

→ Week 5/5

Next week will be a Research & Making Week—use it to finalize your project. Yet I am asking everyone to get in touch once during the week to update me on the progress. There are three options:
(1) Come to class as usual, and we will organize a smaller casual group critique session;
(2) Send me an email to request a zoom call; or
(3) Send me an email with questions and/or progress.

April 14, 2022
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 12 | Archive⇄Pitch

WEEK 12 | Archive⇄Pitch

I will meet you individually (zoom) on April 21. Upload a documentation of your Form/ Paper/ Archive project to the folder “week 11” and use the sheet to sign up for a slot. Prepare this:

Pitch Your Final Archive
Prepare a concise deck with these slides that you can present in 3 minutes and upload it to google drive folder week 11:

  1. Your Name, Archive Title
  2. Statement:
    I am archiving _______ because I want to _______ in order to ________
  3. Methods:
    What do you collect? (pictures of …, pieces of …, scans of …) How do you collect? (every morning I take a picture of …, I use social media to …)
  4. Visuals:
    3 sample records (images, …) of your archive with captions
  5. Metadata:
    List 10 data items you could collect for each record ranging from basic (date, size, name) to creative/speculative (news headlines, poem, emotions)
  6. Precedents:
    1-2 projects that inspire you
  7. Audience:
    Who will learn from your archive? What will they learn.
  8. Prototype:
    The most up-to-date prototype of your archive. How you will circulate your archive: what medium, early design application.

Optional Readings
Skim and decide if these chapters are helpful for your research/process:

  1. Sven Spieker, THE BIG ARCHIVE, Art from bureaucracy, Chapter 7: Archive, Database, Photography (google drive)
  2. Carolyn Steedman, DUST, The Archive and Cultural History, Chapter 4: The space of memory: in an archive. (google drive)

Updates to the Syllabus
4/21 – Archive Pitch (Individual/ Zoom)
4/28 – Archive Prototype Critique Session (Class/ in person)
5/5 – Studio Week (Groups/ in person or Zoom)
5/12 – Final Presentation

Replace this:
Found Artifacts: 5%
Designing Programs I & II: 15%
Form/ Paper/ Archive: 20%

Seher Anand
(Visual Archive, Fall 20)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is A5_1000.jpg
Volume-No-3 by kristine Kawakubo (make sure to look at the other projects too)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is b42a7c18545011.56e6ad88676b8.jpg
Noelia Felip
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is B-Sides2011-StudioFeixen-20and121.png
Studio Feixen
B-Sides Festival 2011
“Archiving a building”
concept by Sion Riley

April 1, 2022
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 9/10/11 | Archive⇄Form 2

WEEK 9/10/11 | Archive⇄Form 2

Prototyping your Paper/Form Archive:

Until Wednesday, April 6, 6pm:
Create one PDF to introduce your idea for the Archive⇄Form assignment with the following pages:
      (p1) Introduction: what is this archive about? What is your methodology to create the visuals? What is the system to develop the captions?
      (p2-4) Records: Introduce 3 sample records (visuals) with a caption on an individual page.
      (p5) Prototype: How will you compile the records? Use a mockup to show if you will create a magazine, a stack of index cards, a series of posters…
      (p6) 3 Questions you have moving forward.
Upload to folder “week 10” in our shared google drive.

Until Friday, April 8, 6pm:
Provide feedback to two peers via email. Respond to the PDF with general thoughts and answer the three questions at the end. Please cc me on both emails.

Chloe A: Katie & Dayton
Katie: Miao & Truman
Joshua: Carlo & Paige
Carlo: Chloe A & Lara
Lara: Joshua & Bela
Ralston: Chloe K & River
Chloe K: Ralston & Maxwell
River: Truman & Maxwell
Maxwell: Chloe A & Paige
Bela: Miao & Katie
Paige: Carlo & Dayton
Truman: Joshua & Bela
Dayton: Lara & Ralston
Miao: River & Chloe K

April 7: Field School Chelsea

Meeting point:
12.45pm @510 W 25th St
In front of Pace Gallery
(Richard Misrach exhibition)

Emmet Gowin, Large Circle Complex near the Columbia River, Lincoln County, Washington, 1991 © Emmet Gowin
Current exhibition at Pace Gallery

→ Bring a camera/phone and make sure you document the day, including the work inside the galleries and things you come across on your way. Take 100 pictures.
→ Focus on the methodologies of the artists. What relates to your research topic? What are interesting shapes/formal aspects of the work you see? How does the work relate to archives as practice?
→ At home, look at all images again and select the ones that speak to your research inquiry (directly or indirectly) and arrange them on a letter size document.
→ Add a short paragraph to describe in which way these are meaningful to your research process.
→ Export and upload to google drive week 10, “Field School Observations.”

March 24, 2022
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 8 | Archive⇄Form

WEEK 8 | Archive⇄Form

For our next experiment, we will explore the relationship of archives, form, and paper: “Printing has always been political. The act of transferring material to paper carries with it a charge, a potential transfer of state—from private to public, from speech to text, from one copy to many.”
Urgent Archives, Paul Soulellis

→ Read & Watch
Paul Soulellis: Urgent Archives
Karel Martens: Practice & Process

→ Browse
Bernd and Hilla Becher
Video @SFMoMA
The Photographic Comportment of Bernd and Hilla Becher @Tate

Karel Martens @It’s nice That
Paying attention to the things we don’t see

Herman Rahman @A.I.Gallery
We Travelled in Moonlight

Marco Cadioli: Earth Satellite Works
Square with Concentric Circles
Necessary Lines

→ Experiment 5 — Form & Paper
Create an archive of at least 16 records (all with captions) printed on multiple pages/cards. The focus is on form through the lens of your research inquiry. Number of pages and format are up to you. Consider this an opportunity to explore directions for your final archive (which does not have to be on paper).

→ For next week
Prepare 3 directions (mockups) for our individual meeting/mid-terms next week. One of them should include found imagery and your idea to add a new layer. (→ Karel Martens).

→ Schedule
3/31: Individuals
4/7: Field Trip (Chelsea)
4/14: Paper & Form Presentation

Karel Martens, Untitled, 2018
Letterpress monoprint on found card, 127 x 200 mm, unique, (KM2018-05)

“I like to print on things that already have a past.” (Karel Martens) In other words: combining a visual response to your research inquiry with found imagery creates a dialog with the past (and the future?).

Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher, Pitheads (1974), Tate
© Estate of Bernd Becher & Hilla Becher
Penelope Umbrico, Signals Still / Ink (Book) /, 2011
Each 8.5in x 11in
Scanned overprinted, unbound, pages from the production of Ink (Book)
Archival ink-­jet print on Hahnemuhle paper

March 8, 2022
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 7 | Archive ⇄ Color

WEEK 7 | Archive ⇄ Color

So far, we explored how the order of visual elements shapes a narrative, how simple compositions create meaningful communication, and how materiality can impact visual responses. This week, we will focus on color in the context of artistic & scientific practices. 
     Your work for this class will continue in two ways: weekly experiments to explore methods to create visual responses. There is no right or wrong way to conduct these experiments. Observe yourself and identify methodologies that resonate with you. At the same time start thinking about your final archive

→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

→ Study all links in the right column to learn more about color in the context of artistic/scientific practices.
→ Read: Rudolf Arnheim: Art and Visual Perception—Color, pp 330-337.
→ Skim: Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours (1814).
→ OPTIONAL: If you are interested in a more general introduction to color, take a look at the tutorial “Color for Design and Art” by Jim Krause. Use your newschool account via TNS library to login.

→ Prepare

Experiment 4: Archive ⇄ Color
→ Identify a natural or cultural object, an environment, or a situation that represents your research topic or parts of it.
→ Deconstruct it and identify 12 related colors/shades. All analog and digital processes are allowed.
→ Give a name to each individual color. Everything BUT the name of the color is allowed.
→ Arrange the 12 colors and their names/caption as a “micro-archive” on a letter size canvas/document. Don’t add your name or your research topic to it.
→ Export as PDF and upload to our google drive, week 7.

from earth: [everywhere]. herman de vries.

from earth: everywhere“. Herman de Vries
→ Read this interview with Herman de Vries on designboom — watch the video to learn more about the process (@min6).

Horace Benedict de Saussure: Cyanometer 1760. Wikimedia.

→ Short introduction on Colossal.
→ Learn more at the Royal Society of Chemistry
→ New Cyanometer, 2009. Institute of General Theory

The artist Spencer Finch, 51, at his studio in Brooklyn. Image credit: Michael Kirby Smith for The New York Times

“Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning”. Spencer Finch
→ Article @ New York Times by Michael Kirby Smith

Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours (1814) — Arts & Sciences

February 24, 2022
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 5/6 | Archive ⇄ Time
Experiment 3: One Hour—One Page

WEEK 5/6 | Archive ⇄ Time
Experiment 3: One Hour—One Page

From space to time: how can an archive capture a moment?

→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

→ Sven Spieker: The Big Archive. Introduction pages 1-5 (continue if you are interested!)
→ Interview with Penelope Umbrico

Experiment 3 — One Hour
Document one hour in a micro-archive. This specific hour can be any time from March 3rd, noon, to March 9th, noon. The archive needs to have a minimum of 9 records with captions (yes, it could also be 100); its title will be the date and hour. Dissemination requirements: all records needs to be visible at the same time.

Prepare for our individual meeting next week:
→ Your manifesto: five intentions (things you want to achieve with your research/archive)
→ Concept for the One Hour assignment:
Which specific hour will you archive and why?
What are the recording instruments you will be using?
What is the visual language you are planning to use (bring examples)?
What will be the captions?
How will you share the archive? (Printed on paper, on screen, format, …)

Archiving a historic moment:
Julie Héneault: The Wereld, 2013 “Zwarte Strepen” Interview @GRAFIK
Archiving a second:
#oneSecond by Philipp Adrian. Visualizing 5522 Tweets within the same Second.
Archiving an asynchronous moment:
Penelope Umbrico: 541,795 Suns from Sunsets from Flickr (Partial) 1/23/06, 2006
Detail of 2000 machine c-prints, each 4 x 6 in
Archiving 2 years (a life)
Objects of the everyday. Belgian photographer Barbara Iweins classifies and archives her personal belongings in KATALOG

February 16, 2022
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 4 | Archive ⇄ Space
Experiment 2: Urban Collage

WEEK 4 | Archive ⇄ Space
Experiment 2: Urban Collage

While you are defining your individual research inquiry we will explore experimental ways of visual form-making. These methodologies can inspire the visual direction of your final archive project.
     This week’s experiment takes you out in the streets (if that is safe for you) for field studies and footage gathering.

→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

→ Experiment 2: Urban Type Collages. Find the password on Canvas.
→ Scott McCloud. Understanding Comics, Chapter 5, pp 118-137.
→ Principles of Visual Language. Kennedy Art Center.
→ OPTIONAL: Beautiful (Then Gone). A short documentary on the work and life of San Francisco designer, Martin Venezky. (14min)

Experiment 2 — Urban (Type) Collage
(It is ok to not include type)
Print and crop your collages for class!

→ Step 1 Identify
Based on your research inquiry, decide for a physical location near to you. A street, a building, a corner, a park, a room, (…)

→ Step 2 Observe
Take a camera (mobile phone) and and spend at least two hours at your location. As a visual journalist, study the environment from different perspectives (zoom in, zoom out) and take pictures of lines & shapes, positive and negative spaces, patterns & textures, and typography & letters. 

→ Step 3 Create
Tutorial: Using Photoshop to create the Urban Type Collages. Get the password from Canvas.
Use your images to create 7 collages that express 7 of the 9 “Principles of Visual Language” discussed in class:
1. 7×7 inches, black on white only.
2. Apply the demonstrated method combining: Image>Adjustment>Threshold and “Multiply” layers.
3. Take into consideration how your seven compositions become a series to represent the same thing in different ways. Even though it is called “Type Collage” not all compositions have to include type.
4. Upload to google drive, week 5, “Urban Collages”.
Print and crop your collages for class!

→ Martin Venezky’s work in the letterform archive.
→ Appetite Engineers Promotion

February 9, 2022
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 3 | Archive ⇄ Order
Experiment 1: Bilderatlas

WEEK 3 | Archive ⇄ Order
Experiment 1: Bilderatlas

The records (images) of your archive will tell a story. How does the order of things impact the narrative you are intending to convey?
   This week, we will explore ways to arrange visual material and playfully implement elements & principles of visual language.

→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

Experiment 1: Bilderatlas.
Find it on vimeo—link and passw on Canvas.

Lorna Simpson, Studio Visit @TATE
Batia Suter, Parallel Encyclopedia

Its Nice That, Design, Revolt, Rainbow: the pioneering work of graphic designer Willy Fleckhaus

1. This helps with your homework for next week:
Koren, Leonard: Arranging Things, pp. 41-47

2. This helps to think about your research inquiry:
Colomina & Wigley: Are We Human, chapter 1

Experiment 1 — Bilderatlas
Create 3 plates of a speculative atlas about your research topic:

  1. Use all 16 images—your 12 images (you can change these if you need to) + 4 images “stolen” from peers—on each panel.
  2. Take time to study the images and arrange them inspired by aspects of your research inquiry. You can also revisit the instructions everyone submitted this week. Only rule: you have to come up with three completely different ways of laying them out.
  3. Go back to your research inquiry (or area of interest) and give a title to each plate.
  4. Write one sentence about your process for each plate.
  5. Both title and process should not be part of the plate.
  6. You can use any software or analog process for this assignment.
  7. Submission/ bring to class:
    3 plates, each on a tabloid size paper (11 x 17 inches)
Examples of plate layout. Your plates might look completely different!
Aby Warburg, Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, Re-created for the exhibition at HKW, Berlin, 2020
Willy Fleckhaus, twen, 1962
Batia Suter talks about her process to compile “Parallel Encyclopedia #2” — the effect of combining images in unexpected ways.

Willy Fleckhaus
Article on It’s Nice That
Spreads on Pinterest

Aby Warburg
About the Mnemosyne Atlas (The Warburg Institute)

Lorna Simpson
Lorna Simpson Studio
Lorna Simpson @TATE
Studio Visit @TATE

Additional Introduction to the grid:
→ Ellen Lupton explains the history and usage of the grid
→ An Introduction to Grids and How-to by Andrew Maher

February 1, 2021
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 2 | Archive ⇄
Narrative (12 Images)

WEEK 2 | Archive ⇄
Narrative (12 Images)

“Seeing per se means thinking about the world and this actually takes place on different levels at the same time,” says Wolfgang Tillmans in an interview for Fondation Beyeler.
     Reflecting on his artistic approach, Arthur Jafa has said that he’s “driven by an impulse to consolidate things that were there, but were dispersed.” (Triple Canopy)
     This week we will expand from one object to 12 images that tell a story. How important are order, sequence, and arrangement?

→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

1. Charles and Ray Eames:
Powers of Ten
2. Wolfgang Tillmans:
Interview Fondation Beyeler
3. Arthur Jafa:
APEX @MoMA (graphic content)

1. Research for people who think they rather create, Vis Dirk, pp 25-31.
2. Read all peer responses to the archive screening (you will find them in the week 2 folder).


1. After reading all peer responses, reach out to at least one of your peer students in an email. You can share a thought, inspiration, ask a question, (…). The content of the message will NOT be shared in class but please cc me (ONLY) on your first email so I can see you initiated a conversation.

2. Select one object from your PECHA KUCHA and find 11 related images. These can be found images, your own, or a mix. Print these 12 images. 4×6 inch (landscape or portrait). We will use them in class for a workshop—don’t select images you feel uncomfortable sharing.

3. After watching/reading this week’s articles, look at your images and come up with ten ways to give them an order. This can be based on content, form, or speculation. Write down each way of organizing as a one-line instruction and add them to the shared document “Visual Narrative” in the week 3 folder of our google drive.

August 28, 2019
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 1 | Archive ⇄ Research

WEEK 1 | Archive ⇄ Research

This class explores the relationship between form and content: How is meaning constructed and communicated through visual language?
    Through observing, collecting, analyzing, writing, and form making, students apply design processes involving visual research, concept generation, and craft skills.
     Driven by research interest, you will use digital and analog means to build visual archives. These collections are approached as a resource of critical inquiry and to respond to current socio-political issues.
    So, what is your research interest?

Read, Watch, Write

  1. Archive as Method. Screening. (password on Canvas). As a response, summarize your interest in archives in 200 words. Use at least one example from the screening and add a definition of what an archive is at the very end. Work in the google doc in our shared google drive WEEK 2. Submit by Wednesday, 2/2 6pm ECT
  2. John Berger: Ways of Seeing, pages 7-10 (min)
  3. Hillary Collins: What makes a good research topic?

A Pecha Kucha presentation

  1. Take pictures of 5 objects that represent your research interest.
  2. All 5 objects can represent the same topic or diverse areas of interest.
  3. Create a PDF with 5 pages, each page has one object.
  4. Upload the PDF to the shared google drive into the folder week 2: PECHA KUCHA
  5. Be able to talk about each image for 20 sec.
  6. Make a test at home!
Aby Warburg, Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, panel C (recovered, detail) | Photo: Wootton / fluid; Courtesy The Warburg Institute

→ In the 1920s, the historian of art and culture Aby Warburg (1866-1929) created his Bilderatlas Mnemosyne tracing recurring visual themes and patterns across time. Last fall, an exhibition at HKW Berlin restored the last documented version of this atlas.


→ Archive as inquiry: objects of the everyday. Belgian photographer Barbara Iweins classifies and archives her personal belongings in KATALOG

Bernd and Hilla Becher @TATE
→ Hans-Peter Feldmann, Portrait, 1994
→ Herman de Vries, from earth: everywhere @designboom | Journal de Maroc | Branches of trees
→ Aby Warburg, Bilderatlas Mnemosyne: Warburg Institute | Exhibition in Berlin this fall @HKW
→ Mario Klingman, X Degrees of Separation
→ Kelly Walters, With a Cast of Colored Stars
→ Mishka Henner, Astronomical
→ Observational Practices Lab: Atlas of Everyday Objects — In the Age of Global Social Isolation