The Visual Archive

Critical Thinking and Making

WEEK 4 | Urban Street Collages

Urban Lab Project 1: Type Street Collages

→ Step 1—Prepare 

Based on your research inquiry, decide for a location in one of the 5 boroughs that you would like to visit. Select 7 feelings that are related to your research inquiry/research topic. These can be your feelings or those of a relevant community. You can use the provided list (Feelings Inventory) or come up with your own ideas. 

→ 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

Read “Understanding Comics”, chapter 5, pp 118-137.
Use your images to create 7 collages that express the feelings you defined before you went on your trip:
1. 7×7 inches, black on white only.
2. Apply the demonstrated method combining: Image>Adjustment>Threshold and “Multiply” layers.
3. Work with the concepts of balance, rhythm, pattern, emphasis, contrast, unity and movement.
4. Take into consideration how your seven collages become a series and represent the same thing in different ways. 

→ Step 4—Share

1. Print your collages (black only) on a white paper and crop them. Size: 7×7 inches.
2. Upload a PDF of all seven collages to the folder week 4 > Upload UrbanTypeCollages

→ Document your MiniZines
(see microhabitats.org for examples) and upload 5 images to the folder week 3 > Documentation MiniZine


Printed Matter’s 2019 NY Art Book Fair (NYABF) takes place on September 20–22, 2019 at MOMA PS1. It can get quite irritating because of the absurd number of visitors but it is free and definitely worth a visit and a great inspiration for class. They also sell lots of interesting zines. If you go and buy anything, please bring it to class next week.

Also, don’t miss this:  Book as System: The Artists’ Books of Sol LeWitt, organized by curator and editor Emanuele De Donno, with the collaboration of the LeWitt Estate.

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