week 13 reflections

After a really stressful and bleak last week, this one ended up being still pretty damn stressful — but also almost daring to hope?

I did not get the summaries I wanted to get done before the lit review; I’m now planning to dive straight into the review tomorrow and Sunday. Instead of summaries, I ended up reading two more books on typography (Tipografia Vernacular, which I requested through an Inter-Library Loan that took forever to arrive; and Transforming Type: New Directions in Kinetic Typography, which I don’t even remember how I found anymore.

Tipografia Vernacular offers some categorizations for and visual examples of Brazilian vernacular typography — beyond the visual inspiration, what stood out to me from this reading was its ideological reverence for the non-standard, which paralleled the concept of covert prestige (especially when compared to one of the final quotes from You Talkin’ to Me?: “[NYCE’s] preservation helps to maintain, for its speakers, a period set of an older city, a tiny island of indifference to a standardizing world.” [208]). 

Transforming Type was another categorization book, this time obviously focused on kineticism. This reading was everything I wanted from the one I did last week (Typography and Motion Graphics: The ‘Reading-Image’): helpful distinctions, visual examples, simple and comprehensible wording. 

Turning to the actual project now — my crisis continued once I wrapped up my interviews and considered how I’d be using the material. I felt like I had too much and it was a bit all over the place (maybe my questions were too open-ended); it would take forever to sift through the 5-ish hours of recordings I got and weave a narrative out of it. I reflected on my options, and came down to two of them, which Elizabeth helped me think through in a (fairly last-minute) meeting):

1: Instead of reinventing the wheel, I could take scenes from If These Knishes Could Talk as a backdrop; make a supercut of the best bits in order to get it into a manageable time limit, and then focus on motion typography that visualizes the sounds and content of the documentary. I love the idea, but there might be copyright issues. *

2: Create a very tight script and re-record with my interviewees (whichever are willing; I do not want to impose). It’d probably be a manifesto or love letter of sorts, where I can write what I think, and then ask them to read it. This has less of a magic to it since it’s not spontaneous; to try to get some of it back, I could also ask them to give me their own take on it once they’re finished reading. I could splice up the audio to have different people interjecting in a way that gives that impression of cooperative overlap, without actually being in a group. I think these re-recordings will have to be solo affairs (pun intended) so I can control the audio quality better. There probably would still be an opportunity to add some content from the original interviews, but I’d have to make sure the voices don’t sound too different if they’re recorded in different rooms, times of day, etc. 

* Elizabeth reached out to Luke about the copyright question for me. After reading his response (basically, “it depends”), I decided to go ahead and contact the director of the documentary about it. She surprisingly replied back within just a few hours and seemed excited about the idea, so hopefully we’ll be able to meet over Zoom this week. I won’t lie, I was a little overwhelmed that I got a response at all (let alone a nice one) and pretty stressed out, so I did shed a few tears of relief. 

Even if it ends up not working out with option #1, I’m feeling more focused now and think I might just be able to pull something good off.


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