Week 11 Blog Post:

Hello class,

I never considered the vast implications of symbols until reading this article. Symbols, indexes, and icons have been part of humanity’s method of communication since the beginning. Specifically focusing on Peirce’s idea, that for each sign there is an object it represents.

”Of Peirce’s many ways of distinguishing signs, the symbol/index/icon triad focuses on the relations of signs to their objects: symbols have a convention-based relationships with their objects…” (Huening, paragraph 2).

Splitting signs into these three categories, or as Perice coined it, the triad, it becomes easier to identify their uses in various forms of media.

I wish to discuss the work The Ordeal of Scentless and its usage of the triad, but more specifically index. There are a handful of scenes where blurred images of shapes are shown, such as the hearts and clubs of cards. To myself, this indicated a reference to poker or blackjack, typical card games you would find in a casino-like environment. Low and behold, the story at that moment shows our narrator in Las Vegas, describing their lack of emotion and feeling of numbness. On top of those shapes, foggy and opaque spheres appear alongside these moments of numbness that are either still or moving very subtly. For presentation purposes, these symbols add to the narrator’s feeling of numbness by appearing to clog up her sense of smell, acting as a sort of scent trail flowing past the screen. This leads to the next sign which this work utilizes very well.

The usage of index in the form of scent trails/tracks is where this work really shines. Colorful spheres appear in key moments of the story where the narrator is experiencing a scent that truly engages them, and they move at a greater pace seemingly coming from a source. Peirce explains this representation:

“Simply put, indices indicate. Indices always point, reference, or suggest something else… Tracks often have a physical, cause & effect relationship, but are not simultaneous with their object. Paw prints left by an animal are tracks; the lingering scent of perfume is a track.” (Huening, paragraph 5).

The title of the work speaks for itself, but the idea that these indices of spheres are representing a track of scent is genius, sparking curiosity for the reader as they wonder what’s creating that scent. I relate this concept to The Witcher novels by Andrzej Sapkowski where the character of Geralt, a character believing he has no emotion, reacting just as intensely to the scent of Yennefer. The narrator follows this thread of curiosity by explaining their feelings when they encounter these scents, giving a deeper meaning for the reader as to why the spheres move in such ways, or why the sphere colors change rapidly in one scene compared to the other. In a sense, this index symbolizes the narrator’s emotions that could not otherwise be expressed in the story. A very interesting train of thought, nonetheless.

Thank you,


Week 5 Blog Post: Understanding Comics

Hello class,

Never did I imagine that there was so much creative ingenuity and artistic expression composed in comics. Nor did I think to incorporate those elements into other forms of literature. However, after reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, I believe I’ll be equipped with some useful tools that’ll help tailor my stories in unique ways.

“…I’m using the world ‘icon’ to represent a person, place, thing or idea” (Comics, pg. 27).

One of the biggest takeaways I gathered from this book was McCloud’s definition of “icon”. This one word defines an endless amount of content that creators and authors convey their messages through. These icons can be manipulated to the creators will in a way that could either directly show their meaning, such as a picture with a thought bubble, or an abstract image that must sit in the readers mind for a moment before the meaning becomes clear. In my own work, I can use McCloud’s idea of the Pictorial Vocabulary in my designs to determine the style of my digital storytelling.

“The phenomenon of observing the parts but perceiving the whole has a name. It’s called closure.” (Comics, pg. 63)

I found this piece of information regarding closure very interesting as McCloud explains how we experience closure through so many forms of media. The concept that our mind takes two or more separate images and connects them based upon their context. Furthermore, McCloud takes closure and explains 6 different types of transitions that allow for closure to flourish. He explains the differences between eastern and western comic culture and their usage of specific transition types. With this information, I can utilize one or more of these transitions in my own work to create an opportunity for the reader to create closure. Especially based on what type of story I want to tell, these transition types could be further simplified, especially for our upcoming slides story, to depict mere shapes and words.

“The durations of that time and the dimensions of that space are defined more by the contents of the panel than by the panel itself.” (Comics, pg. 99).

McCloud follows up his work on closure and gutters with a deep dive in time perception in comics. The perfect example appeared on page 95 of the book where McCloud takes a long, still frame and breaks it up into sections to depict time passing. Yet, the image itself was one whole, how could time be passing through a single image? McCloud explains how other aspects of the story aid in the readers mind to perceive time, such as the use of sounds and the order of words being spoken by the characters. Something that I noted, it’s as if McCloud is providing a correlation between the reader’s time spent on the specific frame with the time allegedly passing in that specific frame. That might be putting too many words on a simple thought, but I did my best to create my own understandings of McCloud’s work so that I may utilize his thoughts in my work more efficiently. Regardless, this section of the book gave me ideas on how I can use imagery to depict time, such as specific spacing, blank space, and words.

I love this book so far, I’m eager to read and discuss the thoughts you’ve all come up with.