Monday, 12 May 2014

A Smile I need: I shall name Strength, Spinach

When you are under life's worse enemy, pressure. The more you have the need to strive for a smile. A smile generated by a forceful spirit to get things done. A smile generated by sources of lack of energy, struggling to sneak out and procrastinate away.

I am a second year bachelor student of Communication design from Australia. I chose this subject and topic as a challenge to myself. It is to prove to myself that I have not reached my potential of capabilities just yet. With this project I wish to explore my true worth.

I am currently working on a project. A class of User and Social Innovation, a Master class in an Italian City.

A project known to be SiBi Play. A project bound by limiting rules:

You have to shoot a photo in Black and White
It has to be shot in an open space and measure 20 by 25cm

Your work has to be about Names and about Strength

The Title of the work has to feature simple present Verbs

Concepts, my friend is my current best friend. 

"I shall name strength, Spinach."  

By naming the project a representation of Strength, I am naming the project strength. This photo shows my representation of consuming Popeye's Spinach. As a result I am consuming his source of Strength. 

Inspiration: "Ways of Seeing by John Berger"

Seeing comes before words. It is us that explains the world with words, but the relation between what we see and what we know can never equally justify one another. 

Since the way we see things is affected by what we know and/or what we believe. Each individual has a different perspective of everything and ultimately not a single will see exactly the same. Thus everyone sees differently. 

As we only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice. As a result of this act, what we see is brought within our reach. 

To touch something is to situate oneself in relation to it. It is to situate ones assumptions in relation to it. Thus we are never looking at just one thing; we are constantly reflecting at the relation between things and ourselves. 

Initial Idea

The initial idea gained an "insight" phase, as I was inspired by stored memory. 

An image consisting of a female portrait, bare from the shoulders. The left side of the face consists of a graphite featuring typography in a hierarchy format. Decorated as though looking at inscriptions of words of weaknesses and strengths. 

The right side of the face consist of the action of peeling the graphite layer off - like peeling skin; with underneath a glossy new face, with a fierce facial expression- suggesting a new fierce chapter.  A new beginning. 

This initial idea was mainly based on technique, and forcefully relating the limitations with the technique. This caused the image to produce a duality of meanings which did not reflect a relation between names and strengths. 

With an initial review of the project, the problem was established and further questions were developed to analyse the problem. Questions including:

How can a name be strength?
How can strength be represented by names?
Is there a connection between strength and names? 
The photo has to be shot in an open space, is there a connection for space between, names and strength? 
The photo has to measure 20 by 25cm, can we use this information as an interesting point of our project? 

What does it mean to have a strong project? 
What does it mean to be strong? 
Does my title (name) have anything to do with the project?

Advice: Try to look at every rule, topic or word from a different perspective. A lateral perspective. 

Group Reflection: 
This idea was supported by two other Turkish girls, as a group of three. However, with the lack of communication between the three, we were unable to generate further ideas to improve this project. And with an additional lack of contribution from the girls, the group was separated. 

Cultural barriers: 
Due to a lack of communication, thus a lack of knowledge of each member, cultural barriers may have been of the least concerns. However, as the two members were of Turkish origins, there may have been some communicational misunderstandings, thus increased the chance of separation. Since the group has separated, this has increased the competition between I and the two girls. Even so, this increases the drive for motivation to achieve more successful results from the girls. 

Secondary Idea:

The generation of the second idea, sprung from attempts of relating strengths with personal experiences. Where do I get strength from? 

A reflection of strength was related to a metaphoric notion of gaining strength. Gaining strength from a smile. 

The notion: "in everything, even the bad, you will always find good." 

Suggests that even in a situation you dislike, if you bring upon a positive thought, i.e. a smile, you will be able to change the situation to a situation of benefit. This is a personal principle. As I relate this to the rules, I find myself unable to express, the link between names and strengths. Thus this project a problematic beginning:  a lack of connection between concept and notion. 


Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. 

Constraint is a limitation. Constraints is too the question itself. 

With just creativity, we are unable to define what we are aiming towards. Creativity can be anything, solutions and non solutions. Constraints on the other hand defines the problem and provides a clear challenge to overcome, as well as provide possible direction for inspiration and relative imagination. However, to spur inspiration and imagination, we must be able to connect with the constraints. Without  this relationship, it is impossible to generate a solution, thus this becoming a limitation to establishing an answer. 

Every inspiration, notion that is related to oneself and developed would have been built on a previous one, due to our idea of seeing and phases of insight; thus we would be continuously building upon and readapting the previous ideas to associate with the constraints to creating a new idea. 

However due to my inability to see and to relate to the word 'Strength', this constraint became my limitation for creativity. And thus I was lost. Lost defines to the inability to define a direction. Since I was unable to relate to the word 'strength' I was unable to generate ideas. 


With the help of a second review, a new idea was developed. Since I was unable to generate a relationship with the word strength- decided to become careless of 'strength'. 

With this idea, I was able to represent 'strength' by replacing and relating it with other words, including power, dominance and energy. 

The previous questions from the initial idea: 

How can a name be strength? 
As seeing comes before words, we are the ones to establish words for what we see. Thus, the word 'strength' is a representation. Thus it can be a name too. 

How can strength be represented by names? 
In other words, how can strength be renamed? 

Is there a connection between strength and names? 
If I were to name strength, then the connection between the two would be married, for one is an action of another. Thus the connection between the two would be the names of strength.



Mental Strength

Role of Serendipity:

My act of carelessness as to casually eating and conveniently relating my eating to the project. 

As I was staring into the computer screen blankly, I was also munching on a bowl of spinach. With the use of social media, I gained knowledge that Spinach is a source of Iron. 

Connecting the dots:
Spinach = Iron = Energy = Strength

Again with the help of social media, I was able to gain insight of 'Popeye'.

'Popeye' a cartoon character known physically by his inhumanly huge forearms, and best known for his fondness of a certain green leafy vegetable, Popeye has been known to increase in strength, agility, speed and nearly every other positive physical attribute as a result of his eating of Spinach.

Thus the connection of strength: Spinach = Popeye's Strength

Connecting the dots:
Spinach - mental - belief
Popeye - physical - see

Thus I choose to represent Spinach as Popeye's Spinach. 


"It is not about doing what you can do in all the time in the world. It is rather about doing the best you can in the time you have."

"It is not about quantity but about quality."

With the advice given, I was able to decide and settle down with this final idea: Popeye's Spinach. 

 I shall name strength, Spinach. 
Title: Popeye's Spinach 


How can a name be strength? 
If strength is a representation, it will be represented by Spinach. Popeye's Spinach, a cartoon character's favourite source of energy. 

How can strength be represented by names? 
I renamed strength as spinach. 

Is there a connection between strength and names? 
The connection between strength and names, is that I married the two to represent one another. Popeye's spinach, is a name yet it is a representation of Strength. Popeye's Spinach otherwise known as Strength in a can of spinach. 

The photo has to be shot in an open space, is there a connection for space between, names and strength?
Space could be a representation, named strength. For example, the open space, could give off an aura of power- in other words strength. 

The photo a coincidence of serendipity shows a stance of dominance - as I am leaning over the bowl to take a photo. The use of spacing, creates the feel of dominance however the photo of an empty ball of spinach suggests an absorbance of iron, a source of energy. As dominance and energy, are both a representation(names) of strength. I choose to present that I have absorbed Popeye's Spinach to gain strength.

What does it mean to have a strong project?
My interpretation of strong, involves success. What does it mean to have a successful project? I believe I am able to communicate across to the audience of my idea and concept, and that they understand. Then perhaps the project is a step closer to success. 

However, I cannot say that the photo represents Popeye's Spinach, rather I can suggests that I am absorbing the spinach to gain strength from the likes of Popeye's Spinach. 

What does it mean to be strong?
Strong is success. Perhaps strong means meaning. An important meaning. An important message. 

The message I represent in the photo is that even in my carelessness I have need to subconsciously relate my actions with my project. The official message the photo suggests is that in stance of dominance, we can pick up an opportunity of creativity by connecting random dots, or we can cloud our minds with previous ideas that have no solutions. 

I believe this message is an important message for others who are trying to be creative, to not constrain their minds to the limited solutions of their previous ideas. Rather open their mind and allow random dots to be connected spontaneously. 

Does the title have anything to do with the project?
Since naming strength is the aim; I will need to be able to name my action. Thus the title has to represent my actions of the project. By titling the project an action, this action should automatically relate to the audience and allowing them to recognise this action, as "naming strength, Spinach" which is presented by Popeye's Spinach.

In conclusion, as seeing comes before words, in the photo I see a stance of dominance leaning over an empty bowl of spinach. As I associate words with my seeing, the title suggests that the consumption of Spinach is a consumption of strength.

The action between labelling the project, Popeye's Spinach, and representing the project as a consumption of strength is complimented by the use of contrast of the black and white limitation; suggesting that there is only this one definition and no other. 


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