This week, I made some good progress on the readings as well as in planning my primary research.
I finished The Typographic Experiment, pausing the typography research bucket for now. I have a few more books and video series I want to go through — some with a lettering focus, and some about motion/kinetic typography specifically. I think the winter break will be a good time to go through these readings after I’ve figured out the content portion of my project.
On the NYC bucket of readings, I got through a few chapters of Branding New York and about three quarters of the way through Imaginary Apparatus, both of which cover very similar topics (media representations of New York City, with a focus on the “urban crisis” of the 60s-70s). It’s been very interesting to see their different approaches to the topic — Imaginary Apparatus is more theory-heavy, whereas Branding is a little more accessible. This is a really fascinating area to me, though; the timeline of the “urban decay” kicking in during the late 60s, and the way New York got “cleaned up” to become the city we know today.
I also finished the chapters from New York New York! that I’d selected to read from, some of which were slightly underwhelming in their (lack of) focus on the city itself. New York — Global City? was probably the most interesting and relevant to my project out of that bunch, particularly the themes of glocalization (“globalization, as has been often shown, always involves a simultaneous strengthening of regional and local attachment and peculiarities,” p. 199) and New York being a city marked by heterogeneity and contradictions. These are definitely themes I want to get across in my project, implicitly or explicitly.
For my primary research, I decided to conduct interviews with native New Yorkers, which will provide the audio content for my project. I’ve approached four different people and am in the process of scheduling the interviews with each of them, ideally in a group with some family members if possible — since I would like to capture some generational dynamics in a casual, conversational setting. While I figure out the scheduling, I’m also finalizing the set of questions I’ll be asking — focusing on themes of the experience of growing up in NYC and the New Yorker identity, before going into questions about NYCE (whether they believe they have that speech pattern, and what their impressions about it are). I’m also thinking through some more interactive exercises involving typography, which could provide some more inspiration about what typefaces have a more “New York feel.” Since the project will be more artistic and narrative-driven, I’m not too concerned about creating a highly rigorous research process; I would just like to get some compelling stories and thoughts from the participants. My plan is to wrap up interviews by the end of the semester, so that I can parse through the content over the break and start building that narrative. Hopefully this would give me enough time to work on the typography portion in the next semester, and record any additional material if needed.