PicBod- Text Formatting

After talking to Matt about my ideas around my final piece, I decided to spend time looking at the conversations I have already had with different people, and work out different possible text formats. For my final piece I want to combine the use of text and imagery, the text being the conversations I have had with strangers on online chatrooms; through my conversations I want to address the idea of whether a ‘true’ conversation can be had via chatrooms, and also look at the idea of conversations as a whole. When studying the conversations I have had, I could see that in most cases the conversation started quite simply, with simple and short questions and answers, however I found that the more time I spent talking to someone the more the conversation would develop into more detailed and personal questions and answers. This progression and development of the online conversation interested me as I felt it echoed the pattern and sound waves of that of a ‘real’ conversation.

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As I want to include text in my final presentation I needed to think about possible ways of formatting and displaying this text. I started off by thinking about the title for each separate piece of text, I wanted a simple title that gave a small amount of information about each stranger that I spoke to. When talking to all the different people I always asked where they were from as it interested me personally, as I wanted to see where they are in relation to myself. As well as interesting me, this question was an opener for other possible questions making the conversation flow a bit better. I feel that using each location of the stranger as the title is appropriate as it gives a little bit of information on them, yet not too much is given away, echoing the idea of the online chatroom as some people including myself are reserved about giving away personal details. Next I spent time working with the font size, the original size of the text was 12, however when printed, I felt that this was was not very interesting to look at visually. I decided to experiment with large and small font sizes. Using a large font made the text become more abstract on each page and the words were lost, and there was more focus on the pattern and shapes rather than the text itself.

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Looking at the text above, where the font size was such that there was 1 letter per page, zooming out so you see lots of pages making more sense, you could begin to read the conversation, whereas if you only saw one page you would get one letter. I do like how this size font makes the text more abstract with half of the writing hidden, echoing the ideas around deception and whether you truly know the person you are talking to. However I was interested in the text originally as the pattern echoes that of a sound-wave, showing the idea of the conversation in two ways, so I decided to then experiment with making the text smaller; this would allow my viewers to see the layout and progression of the conversation, as well as showing the shape that echoes that of a sound-wave.

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I first experimented with size 8, this size showed both the shape of the conversation as well as allowing the viewer to read the text if they wanted to. I also experimented with size 4, this meant that the text was a lot smaller and very hard to read, meaning there was more focus on the shape of the text rather than the actual text. With concentration on the shape of the text, I felt that there was focus on the idea of the conversation and how conversations progress; furthermore by having the text virtually unreadable each conversation is ‘hidden’ to an extent echoing my ideas of deception. I will use a smaller font rather than a really large one for my final piece as I feel this covers both the idea of hidden as well as showing the conversation progression.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 17.44.52 As well as the size of the text I wanted to look at the spacing between text, I considered whether I could show the pace of the conversation through the use of spacing. In some parts of a conversation there are often overlapping questions and quick replies to cover all the questions, however there are also other parts of the conversation that would be slower, possibly where someone is browsing another site while having the conversation. I spent time on the text below working out if there were any pauses during the conversation. Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 18.11.52

As well as looking at pauses in the text, I also played around with the spacing between each reply as I wanted to make it clear between the two people. I spaced once between each person, if one person sent two messages at once, then I would not space between these two messages; this allowed the idea of pace between the text, showing small areas where someone wrote a lot and quickly and others where the conversation was just flowing normally. I feel that using this kind of spacing works well, it shows some of the flow of the conversation with a number of quick messages from one participant, yet it does not go into a very detailed account of the conversation flow as I did not want to make up the timings and spacing as I do not remember for each conversation exactly how quickly the conversation was flowing. I will use these selected formats for all of my text to make them all link as a body of work. I will work out the exact layout and placing of the text when it comes to planning the presentation for my final exhibition piece.

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