On Tuesday, May 12, 2015 around 15 people gathered outside the Maker Lab in the River Market, New Westminster, to take part in the first Innovation Series session called “Multimodal Thinking: Comics, Infographics and Essential Skills.” The session was aimed mainly at “outside-the-box” thinkers, tinkerers, doodlers, and those individuals who want to think about how to synthesize a large amount of information into a succinct form. The participants were led through a series of activities–mostly drawing stuff–by Peter Wilkins and David N. Wright of the Douglas College Digital Cultures Lab.
Peter started the session by exploring how essential skills–the ability to interpret, write, and execute commands–collides with comics. He brought up examples from Ikea instruction manuals and other signage to show how infographics tend to foreground “multimodal” forms of communication–that which includes images and text (or no text at all). The group discussed what kind of information or “cultural education” was needed to interpret these signs and act upon them. In particular, the group discussed how important and common misinterpretation was to the process.
Through a series of activities, participants drew there impressions of the River Market and of psychological states, discussing the impetus behind each–looking at the decisions they made and trying to understand why they chose to represent things the way they did. All the participants drew excellent stuff and really pushed their thinking about representation and conveying information or feelings. One of the more interesting questions we asked was: “how do you draw a feeling?”
Afterwards, participants were invited in the Maker Lab wherein they meandered around the machinery thinking about other modes of representation and the potential fun of 3D printing tactile objects. Judging from the comments collected about the event, everyone had a fun and stimulating burning through and hour and a half on a Tuesday evening.
The next session, on May 26, 2015, is about 3D Printing. We’re looking forward to it!