Puppets? Explained

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These two images create a vintage visual effect as they look like cutouts from old magazines. This relates to my desired vintage design that I discussed earlier as something that can ‘elicit a sense of history, of stability, of reliability, and of value’ (Yoder et al., 2016).  When combined in a website, this concept evokes a level of trust from the users towards the website.

These figures mainly remind me of the paper dolls that we used to have back in the day when I was a child. These paper dolls as well as their clothing had to be cut out separately and could be combined and changed. I think these figures create an interesting visual effect because they look like actual identities yet they simultaneously give off a puppet-like effect which gives the user a perception of immateriality. This immateriality of the figures masks the fact that the user is actually being asked to give away personal data and instead seem harmless, thus, simulating a level of trust that the users have with their computers which I explored previously. Additionally, I think the puppets also serve as a representation of the concepts of persuasion that is imposed on our identities that I have explored earlier. The fact that they have a puppet-like identity could serve as a depiction of the fact that we ourselves are puppets of the society as we are controlled by the advertising companies and internet platform owners.

The fact that the faces of the figures are covered directly relates to the concepts that I have been exploring earlier in relation to the blurring the face as representation of the fact that our real identity is irrelevant online and that we are simply just an ‘IP address’ used in order to be persuaded into purchasing something online. The blurring of the face then is visual representation of how identity of the users on the Internet is being manipulated. Moreover, the fact that both faces have the same exact square covering their face relates to the concepts of standardization of the Internet.

Additionally, the actual images of the figures are of a man and a woman. However, by covering their faces, I was able to make their gender seem ambiguous which I think is successful in relation to my project as I think it will make sure that the audience can identify with either one of the genders and they have the ability to impose their own perception onto these figures. This directly relates to the feedback that I have received during the pitch week. On my homepage back then, I had an image of a man which was commented as a flaw because this image itself created a negative effect on some users because they could not identify with the man in the picture. Therefore, half of my target audience was lost. Thus, including an ambiguous gender guarantees that I don’t lose my audience in relation to that factor.

Food (1992) by Jan Svankmajer

The visual aesthetic of the use of these figures could be linked to the film by Jan Svankmajer that uses seemingly life-like actors who are actually puppets. This could connect to the concept that people are like puppets because we are and our identity is constantly manipulated by advertising companies and marketing companies as well as companies that gather our data on a daily basis. They dictate what we should like and who we are, thus manipulating our identities. I think looking at this short film made me more aware of how the concept of puppets has been approached in another medium. This is important as I can compare and see how they approach this theme and what elements they used to articulate the concept of puppets. I think I could apply this into the creation of my animation as I now understand how their persona of being a puppet is portrayed through very stiff and abrupt movements. I think I could use that when I start animating my website.

Bibliography:

Yoder, W., Baker, C., S., A. and R., T. (2016). Vintage Designs For the Modern World – Logoworks Blog. [online] Logoworks Blog. Available at: http://www.logoworks.com/blog/vintage-designs-modern-world/ [Accessed 3 Nov. 2016].

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