Ever since the exhibit "The Making of Images" at the Museum Quai Branly curated by Philippe Descola, who currently holds the Chair of Anthropology of Nature at the Collège de France (which institution has been filming and putting online lectures, seminars and conferences of its professors for some years now, you can view them all on the site), I have been thinking about how to evolve the way we think about nature and ourselves.
In a climate of focus on climate, with the COP21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change to be held in December in Paris, I've been focusing on understanding Professor Descola's seminal work on the four ontologies extent on the planet today and reconnecting concerns about spaceship Earth with my current art practice.
The current Western view, naturalism, sees human beings as gifted with interiority, a soul, so to speak, while the rest of nature is simply reduced to physicality, with top-down controlling relationship between us and everything else in the world. The Garden of Eden model.
Then there's animism, where, on the contrary, everything has a soul, an interiority, both human beings and everything in nature. This one certainly appeals to me.
Then there's totemism, where humans and other life forms share qualities that create relationships and correspondences.
Finally there's analogism, where everything is different in all respects, and only analogy and metaphor can help you understand a completely fractured reality. The Great Chain of Being is one example.
We all recognize the classic 4 part matrix here. And there are all sorts of implications in terms of social structures and collective organizations, beyond the scope of this blog.
Now this is of course totally oversimplified. There's many resources out there on the internet and a number of fascinating books if you are interested in going into more depth.
As I try to understand all this, seeking for new ways to think about the concept of nature and how we see ourselves in relation to our environment, I've been making a few visual notes (in French). Enjoy!
Drawing videos, or video scribing, or drawing animations, among many other names, have become quite popular in many venues since 2010 when RSA Animate first invented it back in 2010. It involves watching a hand drawing images that reinforce and add to the message on many levels. Their technique is highly sophisticated, with an extensive pre-production phase that involves creating an engaging storyboard in two colors following a talk by an eminent speaker, then filming the drawing process in real time on whiteboard, and of course a post-production phase to ensure perfect timing between drawing and voice.
While there's not much serious research out there yet on drawing videos, one psychologist, Richard Wiseman tested recall comparing a video of himself talking and another using a drawing video approach with the same voice, and found 15% greater recall among his subjects (admittedly a limited sampling...). My own pet theory is that mirror neurons may be responsible for a greater level of involvement in the images -- I'm wondering if watching a hand drawing words and images in addition to the voice similar to taking visual notes, doodling, or otherwise engaging hand, eye and mind in an attempt to better understand and assimilate information?
Certainly many companies and organizations are becoming convinced these little videos are well worth the effort. Recently the HELP programme at the Council of Europe asked me to do a short explanatory video of their offering to legal professionals. We didn't film me drawing, however; I used another technique, a kind of "screen capture" on the iPad, which can be exported and then edited with voice and music for a similar effect, even without the hand... In this instance, few words were used as the film will subtitled in 9 languages.
Click on the video to enlarge and see the whole screen.
J'ai récemment eu le grand plaisir de faire un Ted Talk au TedxCelsa autour de la facilitation visuelle. C'est là on je me suis rendu compte que réaliser un Ted Talk est un exercice difficile, mais très enrichissant. Au fait, c'est du théâtre - un concentré d'éléments à la fois visuels, sonores, et kinésiques qui appellent les émotions, la réflexion, mais aussi l'action. On peut faire passer des messages par le langage du corps, le mouvement, l'utilisation des slides, et dans mon cas, une mise en scène autour de la métaphore de base de tout le talk - la construction de ponts. Ce grand visuel m'a permis de communiquer certains messages en complément aux paroles. Lesquels? Je vous laisse deviner... à vos crayons!
Click on the video to enlarge and see the whole screen.
Yet another approach to making a video using drawing - this is a classic example of animation using After Effects and of course an editing program... I did the drawings of the people but had no input on anything else. It was an interesting project because I had to work from verbal descriptions such as "Annick's husband, skeptical and cautious." Here's the COAB blog.
Just finished a fun project along with Agence Ondine, for the Franco-German channel Arte - a promotional drawing video for their new interactive web TV series, Do Not Track, about internet tracking. Seven episodes that explain all about how everyone is keeping an eye on you... The fun part is being able to enter url's and seeing all the connections to all the different sites that are collecting your data. Terrifying?
The video was animated thanks to screen capture functions in the old Brushes drawing app on my iPad. Unfortunately, to my knowledge the new version doesn't have this function. Fortunately, other apps such as Sketchbook Pro and SketchClub also have this function. You have to remember that the film will reproduce everything you draw in the order you draw it! Quite improvisational even with a storyboard... more visual jazz.
Having recently plowed my way through Arthur C. Young's "The Reflexive Universe", his comprehensive discussion of his vision of process, following a challenging workshop at The Grove with David Sibbet, I began seeing the seven stages and four flows absolutely everywhere. Then I did a graphic recording, and realized that Young's process theory could equally apply to that complex process. Just for fun, I made a drawing of my first vision of how that could look. Of course, there are many, many ways to use Arthur Young's model to dig deeper into our graphic facilitation process -- this is just one of many.
J'avais travaillé avec la société Nexus en facilitation graphique pour créer un panorama stratégique sur la vision stratégique de la Fondation de Nant à Vevey en Suisse. Non seulement le résultat leur permets de visualiser mieux les problématiques à gérer et l'évolution futur de la structure, mais aussi à mieux communiquer avec des parties prenantes très diverses - patients, partenaires, et personnel, en intégrant la vision dans leur rapport annuel 2013.
I worked with Nexus and the Fondation de Nant in Vevey, Switzerland using graphic facilitation to visualize their strategic vision. The result not only helped participants better understand their future development and gain buy-in, the visual map was then used to communication more widely to a variety of stakeholders and especially to illustrate their Annual Report 2013 here.
I recently discovered a remarkable publisher, "Wooden Books", with small, inexpensive volumes that bring together an impressive collection of historical and modern visual wisdom from prehistoric times onwards. A few examples:
"Sacred Geometry" by Miranda Lundy -- the secret visual language underlying much architecture and art from the earliest times to the present.
"Li - Dynamic Forms in Nature" - the ancient Chinese word for the main families of natural design, special patterns with names like "Anfractuous", "Nubilous", "Filices"... food for visual metphor use!
"Earth Grids - The secret patterns of Gaia's secret sites" - this is particularly mind-blowing book talks about theories on the geometry of the distribution of sacred sites all over the world, some dating back 12,000 years.
I trust I have whetted your curiosity and encouraged you to integrate this ancient knowledge into our contemporary search for meaning and planetary harmony! Why reinvent the wheel...