Chris Somerville: Thesis Paper Outline

Thesis Paper Outline

Project Description:

Design goals

  • To demonstrate this social-media psychological pit-fall in the installation piece I will expose the individual viewer to two live physical interactions; user driven graphics via their silhouette will create unique graphic imagery and live twitter posts that will further support my thesis claim through visual metaphor.

Visual metaphors – The Journey

  • The study of visual metaphors used throughout history by various western cultures has created a library of images and language that has evolved into a common collection of meaning that is continued to be used today in various forms of visual communication.

  • Carl Jung was particularly fascinated by man’s use of symbols and notes in his watershed book, Man and His Symbols, that the continued social and psychological development of man throughout his life time had often been graphically and linguistically symbolized in art by the metaphor of, ‘the journey.’

  • The journey metaphor was also initiated by the writings of the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. He notes that the mental and physical progression of man throughout their life could be symbolized as a journey or personal growth.

  • “When Aristotle presented his answer to the problematic nature of physis in Greek culture, he used the natural metaphor of growth as his way of explaining why and how change occurs (see Figure 4). The material cause is where growth begins, and the final cause (telos) is where it ends. In the transition from the beginning to the end is the alteration of forms, the formal cause. But change has to be connected for a purpose and underlying reason.”[1]

  • Our maturation and continued life experiences are often thought of today as a journey - The journey of birth, life, and death.

  • Session 1 of the interactive piece, which as stated, will represent the real social identity of the user, thus will visually demonstrate the journey metaphor.

  • It should be noted here, that traditionally the journey in art and literature contains three main narrative sections. One, you are given a task and the journey begins. Two, your path towards your goal is wrought with obstacles. Three, you reach your goal, or the end of your journey.


Aristotelian parallels of growth and rhetoric[2]


The Enfoldment

The Growth Stages

Rhetorical Stages


Prime Matter


This is the beginning of the process of growth.


This is the introduction to the essay where the thesis state- ment is given.


The Form (Morphology of Growth)


The various forms which growth undergoes.


The body of the essay where the ideas grow, expand, take on different forms, and are discussed.


The Final State of Growth


The telos, conclusion of the growth process.


The conclusion of the essay, a summation of the thesis statement.


Motor Cause or Thematic Connection


The common thread, the unifying fact, the underlying plan.


The thesis, the theme, the rationale for the essay.

[1] Robert N. St. Clair, “Visual Metaphor, Cultural Knowledge, and the New Rhetoric,”93

[2] Robert N. St. Clair, “Visual Metaphor, Cultural Knowledge, and the New Rhetoric,”93


  • The initial visual metaphor will be happy face emoticons of Buddha, projected on the screen.
  • The installation will consist of initially one large horizontal projection area, approximately 12 feet by 24 feet. This will represent our social mental state.
  • Audience motion and silhouette drive interaction to projected graphics
  • The projected image will appear to cover an entire wall. The scale should overwhelm the viewer.
  • Hundreds maybe thousands of small emoticons will fill the wall in a ever evolving happy feeling, bright colored, glowing experience.
  • Motion and silhouette detectors of audience members will trigger a color change in the emoticons enveloped by the silhouette, creating a digital shadow of the viewer.
  • Shortly after the digital silhouette appears a random tweet will appear.
  • tweet will be drawn from a twitter subject word search and a locale parameter.
  • The tweet will appear randomly on the screen but outside of the silhouette.
  • The longer the audience member lingers the more tweets appear.
  • Tweets can fill the screen, but will have a kill function to maintain a manageable processor limit.
  • If more than one person appears in front of screen, then a corresponding silhouette will appear. The manageable number of viewers will be predetermined. It just may not work with more than two to four, but the Kinect camera works by proximity. So the nearest viewers will be interactive.
  • The emoticons within the silhouette shape will change or evolve the longer the viewers remains or the more tweets generated.
  • The viewer's shadow will be filled with darker and foreboding imagery.
  • The viewer may be shocked to see their shadow filled with death masks