Defuse 2019: Perverted by Language.

I spoke at last year’s Defuse. Defuse is an annual design event where 12 speakers have five minutes each to present on a topic. Speakers have no control over your slides which progress every 15 seconds for 5 minutes.

Talk themes

In this talk I wander around the meaning of words, my difficulty with understanding, and banged the old drum against designers love of icons over words. I’m saddened to report in 2020 that interfaces are still loaded with hieroglyphics nobody can understand.

Public speaking

I am not a good public speaker. I love a metaphor and aim to be unambiguous but I often lack clarity when it comes to delivery. This is why I prefer to write things down. I hate writing, but i think it is a necessary evil for destroying the uncertainty. With verbal communication you have to rely on everyone’s interpretation of what was said being aligned.

Clearly nervous man talking to a full Sugar club

Big thanks to the Laura Nolan for making me practice. This would have been a train wreck otherwise.

Data Lists made visual. #OldWork.

Data lists, nodes, heads, and tails. These were all foreign objects to me at the time and to be honest my grasp of them today is still a bit wooly.

The wikipedia version: A singly linked data list is a type of linked list that is unidirectional, that is, it can be traversed in only one direction from head to the last node (tail). Each element in a linked list is called a node.

This is part two in the series of old work I am posting here. You can see part one here. In effect, this is one of the first pieces of work I did after graduating from the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown. This is now part of TUDublin. So, it is fitting that one of the first paid gigs came from them.

Motion graphics.

Employed as a study aid to teach the concept of creating data lists, essentially the objective was to support students in grasping a complex unfamiliar concept. Typically this required the lecturer to conduct a white boarding session for each student before they grasped the concept.

In total ten videos made the series, which myself and Daire put together over the course of five weeks using a combination of Apple Motion, and Flash. The result, it would be fair to say, skews young. We had in our mind that they could be used to teach kids. The college runs boot camp in the summer to teach children to code.

The lecturer Arnold provides the voiceover, and had to teach us the fundamentals first. So, we got the white boarding lesson, and it did indeed take a few times to catch on. Overall, the end result isn’t bad for the five weeks given to learning, scripting, motion graphics and editing.

Visualising data: Creating a list

The videos serve as an introduction to people getting their heads around this topic. The metaphor of a train is one that Arnold uses to teach students the data lists concept, so we ran with that.

Homemade Nicolas Jaar video #OldWork.

I’ve decided to post my old work. In part for this is for reflection. It also serves to give these things a home. I figure I can post these each week for posterity if nothing else. Hopefully this doesn’t get too embarrassing. First up is this homemade Nicolas Jaar video.

Generalist Heart.

Once upon a time, I was able to edit videos. I have never been a good photographer, but editing is something I was ok at. Here is a video that I put together for a college assignment. It’s set to the music of Nicolas Jaar. My brother can be heard at the start asking what is wrong with you?

This came about as I excitedly showed him the four corners edition of Dracula I was reading. In it Van Helsings parts are in Akzidenz Grotesk. This is an antecedent to the famous Helvetica. I think it is a nice design consideration. Akzidenz Grotesk was released the year before Dracula was published. He wasn’t impressed. I think the full sentence is: What is wrong with you, it’s just text? This made me laugh, so I kept it.

The song is called don’t break my love. It was originally released as an aluminium cube called The Prism.

Putting it together.

Recorded on an ipod touch while commuting, I can place myself as working in Graphic Mint at the time due to the footage of Harcourt Street. The video has movement but little else. I am not a good photographer by any stretch. So, I relied on editing to make it interesting. Putting it in black and white worked as a stylistic thing, and also served to hide the crappy resolution better.

I cobbled this video together in a day before it was due. It is overlong, and you can almost see where I run out of ideas/footage. I think there was a length imposed for the assignment that I needed to meet, but there is no way I will go and reedit this. It exists with flaws. Like everything.

Listen to more of Nicolas Jaar. His third album of 2020 is out now. Also, there is an arty site that you can play with too: WWW.TELAS.PARTS