artiekuhn.com

Networked Literature

Overview

The culmination of my undergraduate studies. It's an exploration how literature could be visualized in three-dimensional space instead of just text on a screen.

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Problem » Strategy

The last two quarters of my undergraduate work was spent on this project. Almost entirely self-directed, this “capstone” project was the culmination of my 5 years of undergraduate work. I was extremely interested in how design principles could be used to help make the world a better place. In particular, I thought design could be used to improve learning. So, I tried to find a better way to present text on the screen. I felt the flat “ebook as microfiche” approach didn’t make use of the digital medium.

Process

Ten weeks were spent writing a massive research paper investigating the problem and proposing a solution. A second ten weeks were spent teaching myself LINGO in Director so I could build a proof-of-concept of the solution.

Results

It’s basically a massive 3D world where different kinds of text exist on different planes in the space. I chose an ancient piece of literature (a few passages from the Bible) so that I could have one type of plane be the text itself, another be commentary about the text and another with definitions of different words or phrases and another a space for what I called “user graffiti” (this was created before comments on blogs were commonplace). The entire project was built in Director.

The project ended up earning an honorable mention in the 2003 ID Magazine student awards and has since been published in Type in Motion 2.