Dissective Nostalgia

This blogspace will allow for an ongoing discussion on topics of global and local significance, specifically as they relate to our discussion on 21 October.

It is my understanding that, to date, you have come to understand certain contemporary processes of globalization through the lenses of more invisible structures such as class struggle, nationhood and professional propriety.

Today, I'd like to begin by leaving global behind for a moment, and thinking purely local. I'm going to discuss design in the context of writing and history, and share with you one particular project that has become a catalyst and a conduit for some of my own ongoing questions about visual thinking, cultural disparity and the paradoxical relationship between memory and memorabilia.

By way of disclaimer, let me just say that my comments are unquestionably biased toward my own interests, perspectives and proclivities. I am a designer, a writer, an educator, a mother, a collector and a critic.

To begin, rather than assigning readings, I'd like to direct our conversation to the images here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Mrs. Mayberry

A mysterious "Mrs. Mayberry" appears to be at the helm of this little photographic odyssey, which Jason found at a flea market not long ago. Like so many scrapbooks, this series reminds us that the scrapbook maker, while hardly a design specialist, is the album's photographer, designer, author and not infrequently, its inevitable protagonist.


Blogger Jessica Helfand said...

A colleague just emailed and asked me why this qualifies as a scrapbook? I think Jason was fascinated by the random jottings on the backs of the photos: this narrative, such as it is, becomes a kind of captioning system (was Mrs. Mayberry the subject or the photographer? Or both?)

But it raises an interesting question about point of view. Does the narrator determine the point of view? And if not, is the authenticity of a scrapbook jeopardized — or skewed in some way?

With regard to the local/global, the American poet and MacArthur recipient Susan Stewart had this to say: "In a world where access to speed is access to transcendance, point of view is a particularly narrative gesture."

To the extent that in design, point of view has a great deal to do with the relationship between author and audience, such questions seem highly relevant.

11:44 AM  

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