Art and Visual Culture

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Food Pirates: An exploration of food, technology and the future through sequential art

2017-01-01 , Alsbury, Bridgette , Brent Holland , Art and Visual Culture

This document serves as accompaniment and commentary for the exhibition, “Food Pirates. Food, Technology, Pirates and the Future” which was shown March 29th through April 9th, 2017 at Design on Main in Ames, Iowa. The work comprised of the first issue of the comic book series, Food Pirates. This document serves as a supplement to the exhibit, examining background material used to build the world the comic is set in, current and historical practices in the comics industry, influences, and processes used to create the finished work.

This body of work is an exploration of what happens when I attempt to blend my need to build systems and organize chaos, with my love of technology, and the satisfaction I find in working with both words and images. It starts with a bunch of questions about food, the future, and pirates.

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Designing for Comprehension: A Comparison of Interactive and Non-Interactive Textbooks

2016-01-01 , Brown, Kayla , Paul Bruski , Art and Visual Culture , Graphic Design

The Common Core Standards have started requiring that technology be incorporated into the classroom and standard lessons. It is important for students to be able to be fluent in not just reading but also in technology and multimodal elements, like videos and audio for example. At the same time, e-textbooks are becoming more mainstream, but often vary in how many multimodal elements they include. Some are no different than a printed document while others have interactive, multimodal elements included throughout the text.

This study was conducted to determine if interactive activities or non-interactive activities in an e-textbook had a greater improvement on user comprehension. Participants were divided into two groups; Group A had an interactive version of an e-textbook and Group B had the non-interactive version of the same e-textbook. Both groups read the text and completed the activities within the text before taking a post test. The post test results did not show a clear indication of one version being more effective over the other, but the participants responses indicated that they preferred the interactive version to the

non-interactive version.

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Culture and my art

2017-01-01 , Chen, Xin , CHRISTOPHER J. MARTIN , Art and Visual Culture

This thesis is an account of my development as an artist. It is partly a cultural study, and partly a reflection of what has inspired my journey. It explores the cultural impact and intersections between Chinese and Western cultures that affect my work, and offers insights into my artistic experiences. I pull from a variety of sources for the purpose of explaining how my immersion in two cultures has changed the way I see and produce art. Here I try to offer a deeper understanding of the cultural meanings and social issues that are evident in my work and are important to me and others. My thesis is divided in four sections. In part one, I reflect on my personal experiences growing up in China, my immersion in Chinese culture, and my later pursuit of higher education in the United States. In part two, I offer a cultural study of Chinese and Western Cultures, and how I have been affected by Western culture. In part three, I reflect on my artistic production as I describe and explain eleven pieces I produced during my MFA study. I conclude my thesis by discussing my plans to move from studio furniture to mass-produced furniture.

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Developing Interactive Learning for Environmental Issues

2016-01-01 , Elliott, Meriesa , Alex Braidwood , Art and Visual Culture , Graphic Design

The environment is being negatively affected by the behavior of human beings. Climate change, while a natural occurrence, is happening at an unnatural pace, sped up by human actions. Even with these things in mind, it seems an impossible task to get people to move toward positive environmental impacts. While many people are aware of environmental issues, they don’t fully understand what actions are contributing to the problems, what alternative options they have, or how they can help alleviate the problem. With that in mind, I examine how effective interactive design can be at creating a learning environment by utilizing fun and interaction to generate interest which creates an effective, positive learning environment. When it is fun and interactive, people seek information naturally and they associate that new information with positive emotions.

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Transitions in the Design Process

2017-01-01 , Amman, Monica , Steven Herrnstadt , Art and Visual Culture

The proposed research uses empirical methods to investigate designers’ use of research

throughout the design process with an emphasis on research and idea generation. The goal is to explore the factors which impact the various phases of the design process. The early phase of the design process is often referred to as the “fuzzy front end” where many variables are still in play and the design direction is not completely agreed upon. This is also when the designer is conducting user research. The connection between the user research and the design solutions that designers move forward is critical. This connection creates a space in which the designer can ensure they are approaching this process as a user-centered process.

This research explores these topics through observation of junior level industrial design students at one Midwestern university in a project-based design studio and takes place for the duration of one project. A total of four students were observed. The structure was set up that they were a team for early research, then splitting into three separate projects where two students worked together and two worked individually.

The researcher’s observations for each designer are then followed up by a reflection interview in which the designer was asked to reflect on their own design process and to investigate their thought processes in choosing which research information they felt applied to their solutions and how this implementation might impact the outcome. This method is used to observe actions and behaviors during the design process allowing for observation of designers in their natural setting.

Therefor the question of what happens to research throughout the design process is explored. Building on new research in cognitive and decision sciences, along with studies of design students, the goal is to study the role of research throughout the design process. Possible application of this research would be in developing a framework that demonstrates implementation techniques of this knowledge for new teaching methods, among others.

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The power of belief: Implementing self-efficacy in the studio and the classroom

2018-01-01 , Carlson, Taylor , Charles Richards , Art and Visual Culture

The concept of self-efficacy is critical to success. Self-efficacy has two facets: a person’s ability to technically execute a task, and the person’s belief that they can do it. This thesis details the study and execution of self-efficacy my classroom and my studio—primarily in my graphic novel Knocking on the Sky.

Knocking on the Sky is a graphic novel I’ve been working on for four years with my collaborator, Stefanie Dao. It’s is a story about the things we care about: the importance of found family, the daily brush of the divine against the ridiculous, and the joys of companionship. Siobhan, the main character of Knocking on the Sky, is a magnification of my own faults and virtues. The thing I treasure about Siobhan is her unshakeable contrariness: tell her that something’s forbidden, and she’ll do it twice. Siobhan is the embodiment of self-efficacy. I hope that she inspires others to seize their own self-efficacy to make their goals attainable.

Self-efficacy is the core of my teaching philosophy as well. Self-efficacy can only be fostered in a safe environment that expects excellence, rewards experimentation, and provides transparent and clear critique. Eventually, students will no longer be students, and their work will be judged on the skills and critical opinions that they develop and internalize. It’s important not just to give students technical criteria in which to judge their work, but the self-confidence to apply their own judgment and act on it. Self-efficacy is the key to success in the studio and the classroom.

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Traces: A farm in eastern Iowa

2018-01-01 , Deutmeyer, Rachel , Christine Carr , Art and Visual Culture

Through my project, Traces: a farm in eastern Iowa, I photograph interior and exterior spaces of Kenny and June Friederick’s retired dairy farm. The images provide record of the home and acreage throughout 2017 and early 2018, a time when farming practices are rapidly evolving. Grouped with aerial photographs and farm day books (1980 - current), the project shares a representation of the farm as it exists today and a reference to the history of the space. Through the combination of photographs and text, I present a tribute to the immeasurable contribution of a farmer to his or her land and family, a dedication that amounts to far more than the sum of daily tasks. The exhibition is meant to share a narrative, inviting viewers to share a quiet but deep experience of place.

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A study of teaching methods to enhance creativity and critical thinking in graphic design

2016-01-01 , Barbour, Samantha , Sunghyun R. Kang , Art and Visual Culture , Graphic Design

Progress and change are important to improving old processes and educational

methods are not an exception to these facts of life. Numerous studies have been conducted on different learning styles and methods individuals use to transfer what they learn to new

situations. However, most of these studies do not reflect on what this research means for

designers, specifically graphic designers. Graphic designers play many roles as problem solvers, critical thinkers, and creative strategists. Generally speaking, success in graphic design is measured by the strength of a solution’s creativity. When a solution is creative it tends to address the need in a new way. A designer works through a process to find a solution that best meets the criteria of the problem or issue—research, ideation, final design development, and communication. Graphic design has been taught at universities for a long period of time, but there have not been many research studies that look specifically at how the processes of design problem-solving are taught to students at the university level. It is important that examines these processes to determine if there is a need for improvement in design education. It has often been said that there is no one perfect way to teach subject matter, but this does not imply stagnation. In this study, two group of students were recruited to examine select teaching methods. Then the two groups were compared based on different methods of instruction. The data were then examined to determine whether the students’ abilities to think critically and creatively are based on the design process and a limited interruption. This research is important because it offers a new method to understand how instructors teach graphic design to enable students to understand the processes they are being taught and transfer that knowledge to new situations.

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A world in a flower

2017-01-01 , Chen, Xiaohan , Christine Carr , Art and Visual Culture

Since photography was invented, it was used to record the beauty of life. I made an abstract photography project using flowers as my subject to borrow colors and shapes from nature. I use cut flowers since they are separated from the whole plant and only survive a few days. I use long exposure as a transformative process to create abstract photography, and freeze the fleeting beauty.

I was inspired by Hiroshi Sugimoto and Wynn Bullock. Sugimoto’s Seascapes inspired me to incorporate basic elements of nature while Lightning Fields encouraged me to explore my process. Bullock’s works of using broken glass to create different scenes enlightened me to produce works that transform the subject matter.

‘To see a world in a flower, and a bodhi in a leaf” is one of the most important Buddhist philosophies. It explains how a world of information may be discovered through a simple object, like a flower. A flower contains a wide range of information from the earth to the sun it grew with. By moving my camera while shooting, I attached my feelings at different moments into the photos and expressed myself with the flowers. As viewers wander through my arrangement of hanging fabric prints, they react to the overall presentation with their own personal experiences and feelings. It’s an unusual way to appreciate flowers, and another new world of feelings could be triggered through the walking process. The gallery installation features large silk hanging fabric, and it allows viewers to wander through and lose themselves in it.

The series includes the blooming flowers as a way to explore ephemerality and eternity. When I look at the images I forget who I am. I experience movement, color, and form. There’s another world that can be found within one flower. The viewers are connecting to the macro world as they lose themselves a little bit.

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Casey Land rambles

2016-01-01 , Dwyer, Alexis , April Katz , Art and Visual Culture

I have found that the best way to connect with nature is to go out and experience a piece of land. This creates an experience that is relevant to the time and space that I exist within and is more rewarding than depending solely on videos and photographs. This allows my senses to come alive and opens opportunities to grow emotionally and spiritually.

This writing details my experiences with the Everett Casey Nature Center and Reserve. Through the course of a year, ideas grounded in sense of place, mindfulness of walking and ethics of land use guided me to a larger appreciation of the land and a deeper sense of belonging within the landscape. The act of walking in the land allowed for spiritual growth and an evolution of my thoughts. Considering the ethics of the land and how other creatures use it I began to have a greater understanding of my personal impact in the world.

Casey Land Rambles was created as a reflection of the spiritual and emotional growth I achieved through continual interaction with the Everett Casey Nature Center and Reserve. By utilizing mediums that created immediate results while working in the landscape to document the interactions between plant, animal and human life I began to gain a deeper understanding of the connections between these life forces. The installation work allows the viewer to enter a state of mind similar to my own when I am at the Casey Land. As the viewer becomes a participant interacting with the installations their mind slows and their senses become heightened. They begin to feel their own emotions keenly through this interaction and heightened awareness allows new opportunities to connect to a deeper sense of belonging with the natural world. This exhibition continues my exploration into how we relate and interact with the outdoors and its effect on our psyche.