Presence of Universal Elements Across Static Visual Narratives (Svns)

By Sherline Pimenta Krishna Kumar and Ravi Poovaiah.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A story can be visually expressed as Static Visual Narratives (SVNs) in a number of ways. These are done by using certain elements such as event, actor, space and time. We begin by making the assumption that SVNs are composed of certain finite elements which are persistently present across all SVNs. In this paper we aim to prove that SVNs have certain recurrent elements; based on this evidence we can then draw the conclusion that SVNs have a structure composed of the elements identified. The methodology followed is: 1) Assumptions were made with regards to the existence of a finite set of elements. 2) Following George Hanfmann’s study of Narration in Hellenistic Art, Vidya Dehejia’s study of Modes of Visual Narratives in Early Buddhist Art and Mieke Bal’s studies in Narratology; a list of a number of possible elements was drawn. 3) This list was compared against a number of SVNs that were examined to check for additional elements. The two lists were compiled into one, featuring elements that were found to recur across SVNs. 4) These were then defined and arranged in a table. 5) Around 70 SVNs were selected across media, culture, genre, history and tested for the presence of the elements identified. The results confirmed the presence of elements in SVN and also the fact that the elements identified were found to exist across SVNs irrespective of media, culture, genre and history; thus proving that the elements in an SVN are universal in nature.

Keywords: Static Visual Narrative (SVN), Visual Storytelling, Elements of SVN

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.105-124. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.021MB).

Sherline Pimenta Krishna Kumar

Research Scholar, Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Sherline explores how people make sense of the world around them using stories. Her work revolves around understanding how stories are communicated visually in time and space. Sherline is trained as an artist and has a Master’s in Visual Communication. She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies at the Industrial Design Centre (IDC), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), Mumbai, India. Her doctoral thesis explores how stories (written or oral) are communicated through static images using the stucturalist perspective. In particular she is researching what makes a Static Visual Narrative (SVN) and what are the various modes of SVNs.

Ravi Poovaiah

Professor, Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Professor Ravi Poovaiah is a member of faculty in ‘Visual Communication’ and ‘Product Design’ at the Industrial Design Centre (IDC), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. His current pedagogic as well as research and design interests are in areas related to Collaborative learning environments, Way finding systems, Interaction devices, Visual data bases, Designing for children and in Corporate strategy and Retail design. He has backgrounds in Mechanical Engineering, Product Design and Graphic Arts Education having studied respectively at Indian Institutes of Technology at Madras and Bombay (IIT Madras and IIT Bombay) and at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, USA.


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