Archive | 9:30 pm


24 Feb

The analogy I am using to represent Lightness is of free-falling on an amusement park ride such as the Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

I feel as though free-falling is comparable to the work of E-Lit that I have chosen for Lightness because they both imply or provide explicitly a sense of weightlessness and discomfort. The weightlessness in the E-Lit work, “in the white darkness” is found from the transparency of the overlay that is layered on top of the actual image. There is a white mask on top of the picture beneath, but the picture is not clearly visible because of the opacity of the white layer and the blurred effect that it creates. This white layer, although evoking a sense of haze, also evokes a sense of weightlessness because it acts as a veil and we understand aesthetically the purpose of a veil and know that it is not of great weight. Free falling also provides a sense of weightlessness because of the physics involved in such an amusement. Typically these types of rides take the rider to the top of the tower or structure at a rather fast speed, therefore pressing the rider into the seat in which they are strapped. When they reach the top, the hydraulic system is released and the vehicle is released so that the passengers are for a moment suspended in the air, weightless.

I have also mentioned that both the E-Lit work and the act of free-falling provide an experience of discomfort. There is discomfort in experiencing the E-Lit work because of the inability to clearly see what is beneath the layer of whiteness. As discussed in the Graphics section, humans’ natural inclination is to feel a sense of discomfort or anxiety when we know that something is there that we cannot see or understand. The free fall also provides discomfort or anxiety to those experiencing the sensation of weightlessness because of the adrenaline that our bodies release in response to being in an atypical situation. Not only do we experience physiological discomfort, but some people have genuine fears of heights or falling and therefore also experience a great emotional response that elicits screaming and sometimes crying to release their feelings of discomfort and anxiety.



24 Feb

The graphic element I think best represents Lightness is that of transparency. In design, transparency is used to create veils and layers of color and texture. Typically something is transparent when it has a value between 0 and 100 so that it is opaque to some degree but also reveals the layer or object beneath it.

I feel as though transparency represents Lightness best because of the sense of weight, or lack thereof, that it implies. Naturally, we understand that by the principles of physics and gravity that when one object is underneath another object it bears the weight of the latter. With transparency, the simple fact that the top layer is “see-through” implies a sense of lightness, as opposed to if it were completely opaque, no matter the texture or object. Transparency almost gives a feeling of relief to the viewer because it allows for the understanding and visibility of the multiple elements that are being observed. Because humans are curious characters, we have natural inclinations to feel anxiety from what we cannot see, or what do not know is there. The value of transparency, both literally on a scale and figuratively, is important to the understanding of what is being observed in art, just as Calvino’s quality of Lightness is pertinent to the reader’s ability to feel a sense of calm and understanding without the weight of burdensome text or meaning.