Project 2
A Journey Through "Interface Culture"


In the lectures we have been examining the historical and contemporary developments of the interface between humans and computers, particularly the GUI. This development has created what Steven Johnson calls "interface culture", which is where Johnson suggests we now live, work, create cultural artifacts and are evolving as a species, Interface culture is our contemporary culture that exists in the newly forming hybrid geography where real and virtual worlds intermingle. The second project will consist of creating online artistic documentation of a journey you will take through interface culture.

The main component of this project will be to create a website that consists of a hypermap, if you will, that traces your journey through the interconnected geography of real space and virtual space. The map will trace your physical and virtual steps through interface culture and will also include the cultural artifacts you collect all along the way. Your journey need not have a final destination. What is important is the creation of an online artistic documentation that serves as a record of what you encountered as you moved through interface culture. Keep in mind that in the process of making this website you will design a navigational metaphor which is of central importance to the function of a GUI (Graphical User Interface). The navigational metaphor(s) you develop must be appropriate to your journey.

Before you start: Some formal, technical and aesthetic elements to consider

--Navigational metaphors, some examples: the use of a compass and the four cardinal points: North East South West. Or, road signs, or a radar screen, or a GPS (Global Positioning System).
--It has become common in interface culture to take on a new identity, to adopt an avatar that is useful. While on the journey you may take on new personas or avatars that could be of use to you and allow you access to new territory.
--By default, your website will become part of the landscape of interface culture, specifically, the WWW. You have an opportunity to contribute artistically to it, therefore, do not hesitate to use your artistic license and work from an interdisciplinary mode.

Required elements of Project #2:

--An outline on paper of the design of your website. (This can be designed on the computer).
--You must include one gif animation that has at least 8 frames.
--You must incorporate your own photographs of real spaces you visit.
--By some means mark the time that elapses on your journey.
--Photographically or by other means, document how and where you make the transition between real and virtual spaces (this is at the core of interface culture and the central concept of Project #2).
--The map must consist of hyper linked web pages. The actual links can include existing hyperlinks to websites, symbols, images, icons, found text, scanned images and so on that you encounter in both the real and virtual spaces.
--You must incorporate the use of color symbolism. For example: blue is symbol of a link that has not been made/visited yet; purple traditionally indicates that the site has been visited. Red means stop, green means go, yellow means caution. Your journey will be loaded with color symbolism. Keep your eyes open and take notice of where you are @ and what colors mean.
--There must be a visual clue or navigational icon that connects one page to the next. Example: consider the breadcrumb device when entering a dense forest: leaving breadcrumbs to mark your path so you can find your way back.
--A minimum of 6 places must be visited and a maximum of 12. Of course, the six + places must be a combination of both virtual and real sites.
--Database: In the process of creating a website, a database is assembled. Approach the creation and storage of this database creatively. It can include among others: icons, brand names, symbols, websites, images, your photographs, physical traces of the journey, time markers calendars, clocks, sun dials, solar and lunar cycles, fossils. The database is the content of your site. See what you can reveal about interface culture with it. Feel free to invent places, brand names, icons, and websites along your journey.


Technical requirements:

Learn basics of PhotoShop layers and gif animation; advance understanding of basic HTML with intro to Dreamweaver.


Procedure and Parameters:
Photoshop Layers & Gif Animation--

--Your gif animation should not exceed 8 frames.
--You must use an image/icon/symbol found on your journey to animate using Photoshop layers for your gif animation. They can be altered by cropping, masking, using color adjustments, painting, distorting, or changing the mode or opacity from layer to layer.
--Your Photoshop File must utilize layers to create each frame for the animation. You can save individual image files for the gif animation using Save a Copy/Flatten (P-shop 5.0), or Save for Web (5.5+), and converting the images to gifs. You can use regular layers and/or adjustment layers.
--Create a gif animation of no more than 8 frames to be used at some point on your website. Keep the file size of your gif animation small by keeping the
Image size small, and limiting the number of frames and the palette of the gifs.

Website:

--The website should be a minimum of 6 main pages which represent the virtual and real spaces you visited on your journey. The main pages should contain links to secondary pages, which give further information about the particular site you visited. These secondary pages must have links back to the main pages of the journey.
--The website should include the gif animation from the image/icon/symbol you encountered on your journey. Keep in mind the file size and bandwidth issues.
--The website should use frames.
--If you know advanced HTML, or web-authoring tool, you can make your site as technically advanced as you can. Use technical expertise judiciously, so
that it supports the aesthetic and conceptual aspects of the project.
--Pay attention to the design of the GUI for the website: Does the user always know where they are and how to navigate back and forth within the site? Does the GUI design relate to your idea or is it simply a navigational device? Will you incorporate *user-illusion* in the GUI or use text or other imagery?