Critical Analysis level 2, first lesson

On October 2nd we had our first Critical Analysis lesson of the year. The final thing we will be doing in this module is writing a 2000 word essay which will be linked to the book, Program or be Programmed, by David Rushcroft. This year’s Critical Analysis has also been split up over the other modules, so with Nick and Ross we’ll be doing a visual presentation and with Wayne, a website on the subject we pick. At this stage, I am far from deciding what I will be doing these projects on.

Animated Alphabets, the brief

On 2nd October was our first seminar of the year and the start of our first module. There will be 2 briefs throughout this module.

The first brief is to create an animated alphabet, of our own design. This means that each letter will need to be filmed being created, destroyed, moved around etc. and then after the whole alphabet is done, we will use those letters to write the phrase, “Program, or be Programmed” which is the title of a book by Douglas Rushkoff.


Whilst being told about the brief I sketched down a few ideas of different things I could do. First I had the idea of a revolving cube which had different parts of
different letters on each side so depending on what angle you looked at the cube you would see a different letter. While this idea seemed really interesting, getting halves and quarters of different letters would have been extremely difficult and potentially taken more time than I actually have.

After that I thought about swinging a stencil of each letter across a wall, then when it reached the middle the stencil would carry on but the letter from inside the stencil would stay in the air.



As was sketching out that idea I had another idea involving individual lines that all start or the same and all contain every letter of the alphabet, and I already liked this idea better so I left the previous one in the sketch book. I had several ideas on what to use for the sticks, matchsticks were the most obvious, but I could have used thin wooden sticks or thin poles of metal.

I have gone through each letter of the alphabet to make sure that I can actually make them all out of the shape I’m using.

After that, I needed to decide how the sticks would be removed to show the letter. First I had ideas to just use my finger to pull away each stick individually. I realised that this would be a very long video per letter, even if I made it appear as a stop-motion, by removing frames. Speeding it up may look a bit odd too. My second idea was to glue down the ones I need for the letter and blow at the shape. Then all the ones that were not glued down would be removed, leaving the letter.

After mentioning my idea to a few people it was suggested that I could dowse the sticks needed for the letter in water and then set them all on fire. That way, the sticks would burn away and the letter would be left.

With a bit more thinking and sketches, I settled on the second idea, glueing certain sticks to the ground and blowing the rest away.