The Visual Archive

Critical Thinking and Making — Fall  2021

October 21, 2021
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 8/9 | Designing Programs & Field School

WEEK 8/9 | Designing Programs & Field School

Field School
→ On OCT 28, we will visit galleries in Chelsea. Until Friday, Oct 22, 5pm:
For our visit to Chelsea on October 28, select two exhibitions that relate to your research interest and post a link to the gallery into this document. Add one sentence how this is relevant to the class or your research. The schedule for Oct 28 will be shared on this website. Use these links to identify exhibitions:
See Saw Gallery Guide — APP
NY Art Beat — Website
ChelseaGalleryMap — Website
GalleriesNow — Website

Designing Programs
→ Karl Gerstner states that designers should not create solutions for problems but programs for solutions. For our last experiment, you will deconstruct a creative practice of your choice and appreciate the challenges of crafting language that instructs somebody else.

→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

Karl Gerstner
→ Designing Programs, excerpt, google drive & Canvas. Skim!
Monograph Review @eye magazine
Think program: catalog of the exhibition “designing programs/programming designs” @MoMA

Yoko Ono
Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions and Drawings (1964). Follow the link in the article to see an excerpt.

Sol Lewitt
Sol Lewitt devised guidelines and diagrams that allowed for artworks, such as his wall drawings, to be executed by his assistants.
→ Wall Drawing 104 Executed by Eric Doeringer
→ TATE: Studio Visit

→ Prepare
1. Experiment 6: Designing Programs
Develop a program—a set of instructions—that guides a peer to visually respond to their research inquiry & develop new records for their archive. Use this form to submit your set of instructions on or before Oct 27, 6pm.
→ The process can be inspired by the methodology of a specific artist, designer or a general creative practice. Here is an example from Fashion Design.
→ Step 1 needs to address ways to connect to a research topic (“identify an object”, “Visit an environment”, “Find a photograph”, …)
→ The set of instructions needs to include a way to document a “visual response”.
→ Enact your own instructions to test them.

Communication Design Lecture Series: Friday, Oct 22, 2pm EST.
Find the link in the CD APP

Designing Programmes by Karl Gerstner: More images on Page-Spread

October 14, 2021
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 7 | Found Imagery

WEEK 7 | Found Imagery

“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?).

→ Asynchronous
Read, Watch, Write

Karel Martens:
1. His Monograph / some of his work
2. A video about his process
3. Karel Martens on paying attention to the things we don’t see It’s nice That

Other examples:
Occupied Mono
jekyll & hyde

→ Prepare
Experiment 4 — Found Imagery
Use a printing technology of your choice—ranging from potato to risograph—to print visuals and/or words on found printed matter.
     Watch this video introducing Karel Martens work & process.
→ (1) Think about found imagery that relates to your research topic. You can use things you find in the streets, the supermarket, receipts, pages of books, flyers, packaging (…).
→ (2) Develop simple visuals (shapes) or words/sentences that represent your research topic.
→ (3) “Print” them on top of the found imagery. Create at least 3 versions/combinations—a mini series.
→ (4) Take pictures of your work and upload them to google drive week 8.

Archive Prototype
Use this week’s peer feedback to update your archive prototype. Arrange your updated 5 visuals and captions on a letter size landscape document, export as PDF and upload to google drive folder week 8.

(1) Karel Martens, Untitled, 2018
Letterpress monoprint on found card, 127 x 200 mm, unique, (KM2018-05)
(2) Karel Martens, Untitled, 2018
Letterpress monoprint on found card, 127 x 200 mm, unique, (KM2018-04)
Occupied Mono, Luke Robertson and Aaron Gillett. Concept & Process on
jekyll & hyde,
greetings card with augmented reality

October 7, 2021
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 6 | Archive ⇄ Color

WEEK 6 | 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, we will start prototyping your archive to test its concept and strategy.     

→ 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.

Archive Prototype
→ Use the feedback from this week’s class to identify 5 records that could be part of your final archive—each should have a caption. Bring to class printed or on screen.

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

September 30, 2021
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 5 | Material Culture & Time

WEEK 5 | Material Culture & Time

Last week, we explored visual means to study physical environments: photography & collaging.
     This (and next) week, we will be looking into materiality and reading surfaces to create a visual response to the physical world.
     Material culture is the aspect of social reality grounded in the objects and architecture that surround people. It includes the usage, consumption, creation, and trade of objects as well as the behaviors, norms, and rituals that the objects create or take part in.
      Here is an introduction: What is Material Culture? by Sophie Woodward on YouTube — it is OPTIONAL, watch it if you have time and specific interest.

Experiment 3 — Material Culture: Rubbings
Before you do anything, make sure to study all links in the right column.
→ Step 1 — Observe 
Use pencil and paper to create rubbings of surfaces or things related to your research inquiry. Document your process.
→ Step 2 — Animate
Use these rubbings to create an animated gif in Photoshop.
Frames: at least 10
Color: black and white
Dimensions: free, stay below 1000px
Tutorial: How-To-Make-An-Animated-Gif
→ Step 3 — Share 
Upload your animated surface investigation (the gif) & 5 images that documents your process to the folder “week 6” on google drive.

Next week (10/7): Individual Meetings VIA ZOOM
Bring to our meeting:
→ Experiment 2 (collages) & 3 (gif)
→ Based on the manifestos we explored in class last week, develop your own mini-manifesto with 5 declarations, intentions, or views to contextualize your research topic.

Atlas of Looking at Water
How to start a research inquiry with a simple everyday object: a glass of water.

Luca Grondin, 2019
Oskar Fischinger, Studie Nr. 8

Reading a surface: Rubbings
→ Rock Drawings by Richard Long
→ Texture Rubbing Collection Sheet by OLIVIA SUH
→ City Rubbings by Alexis Williams
→ Rubbings from Rose City by Christopher Gossett

Time & Visuals
→ Oskar Fischinger: Kreise (excerpt) 
→ Realized with GasparColorStudie Nr 8. 
→ Fischinger on CenterFor VisualMusic
→ Viking Eggeling: Symphonie Diagonale. Paper cut-outs and tin foil figures were photographed a frame at a time.
→ Eggeling on Monoskop

Animated Gifs
→ Examples: 1 2 3 4 5
→ Tutorial: How-To-Make-An-Animated-Gif

September 18, 2021
by Pascal
Comments Off on SP 21 WEEK 4 | Urban Collages

SP 21 WEEK 4 | Urban Collages

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)

→ 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”.

→ Martin Venezky’s work in the letterform archive.
→ AIGA: Martin Venezky lecture poster.
→ Appetite Engineers: Bordertown

September 12, 2021
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 3 | Experiment 1: Bilderatlas

WEEK 3 | 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 might help with your homework for next week:
Koren, Leonard: Arranging Things, pp. 41-47

2. This might help 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

September 9, 2021
by Pascal
Comments Off on WEEK 2 | 12 Images — One Visual Narrative.

WEEK 2 | 12 Images — One Visual Narrative.

“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).

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


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. Add to the google doc in our shared google drive WEEK 2. Submit by 9/8 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