I didn’t decide on a name until quite late in the process of this project. For a while, it had the name ‘Mauerfall’, the German word given to ‘the fall of the wall’. I thought it was interesting that a word had been given to this event, and thought it could represent the physical and metaphoric falling of walls. However, upon contemplation and discussion with tutors about the focus of the project, I decided I needed a name much more focused on Bowie. It could have some sort of Berlin reference, but ultimately, the anniversary is the song by Bowie. I have decided on ‘Helden’; ‘Heroes’ in German. Bowie released the song in both languages and this felt like a more appropriate, centred name.
Like any other project, it is important to think about who my audience is. Thought it contains factual and educational elements, this project is ultimate and expression of appreciation for a song and artist who has meant so much. The audience I have had in mind is my dad – I am making it from one huge fan to another. I realise that the people marking it from ISTD may not be fans, they may not even like Bowie, but I hope they can appreciate the sentiment of my project.
I wanted to visualise the Wall in my work using paper and typography. I experiemented with the idea of having a single page separating a full spread to act as a wall. This page would be the chapter page and would be a portion of the song, introducing the next ‘verse’ of the book. This page would have a perforated line so that it could, in theory, be torn out as the wall is torn down.
I am still playing around with using different page sizes to represent the wall, too. In my tutorials, it has been brought up a few times that I should consider having more of a strong separation and differentiation between the Bowie parts and the Berlin parts. I have thought about using french folding, so only parts of the Berlin section can be seen, but selfishly I have rejected this idea so far in favour of an idea which displays both sections of the book. I am looking more into using different sized paper for the Berlin sections, so that they are smaller than the Bowie pages. This would create a visual wall as there would be a border surrounding the pages. For now, I am continuing with pages of the same size, as they will potentially need to be redesigned slightly if I choose smaller page sizes to accommodate the fact portions of the pages will be seen. (If that makes sense!!)
Recently, we had a visit from Tom Temple and Callum Richards, successful entrants for last years ISTD competitions. It was great to meet them and discuss our work with them – having as many opinions and points of view on our work as possible is great for collecting opinions and ideas.
Both Tom and Callum seemed to like my idea and the link between Bowie and the Berlin wall for a political undertone. We discussed the typefaces I had chosen; a decision I had been doubting and had put much consideration in to. Callum encouraged me to make use of the different weights within the same typeface to express tone and volume, something which may come in particuarly useful as I attempt to recreate the song ‘Heroes’ using typography. In terms of imagery, both talked about how they had very little, and the ones they did use had been edited to essentially become their own. No images should be used without being edited in some way.
It was unfortunate to see only half the group turned up for the session which to me, seemed like an opportunity not to be missed. Having said that, it was their loss and gave us more time to spend with Tom and Callum, only giving our work a boost and an advantage that they won’t have had.
At times throughout the project, I found myself losing the essence of what the project was about. It was important to keep reminding myself that my project was called ‘anniversaries’, and just what my anniversary actually was. It was easy to get lost in the abyss of information about the Berlin Wall, and to treat the song as the undertone, when it was the complete opposite. I feel that this was because the song is so familiar to me, while all of the Berlin information was brand new.
It was important to me to use the actually song lyrics throughout. Instead of chapters, I decided to have three verses, like a song, and so in the place of page numbers, there would be lines of the song. For the pages about Bowie, the lyrics would be in English. For the pages about the Wall, the lyrics would be in German. For now, the colours of the chapters will alternate – the first being blue, the second yellow and the third blue again.
I have developed these ‘verse’ pages with the intention of the typography reading as it is sung in the song, using different weights of and styles of my chosen typefaces to express tone, volume and strength of voice.
I had the idea to use photos of smoke within my spreads as a sort of theme throughout. I had seen smoke bombs used at festivals and in music videos and I thought the vibrancy of colour would look amazing in my book. The video for ‘Heroes’ seemingly features just Bowie and smoke machine, a common tool within music videos and stage shows of the time. I also just thought it would look really cool…
I took photos and a video but it was evident quite quickly that my idea was not going to work. The wind blew the smoke towards the camera and so I didn’t get the defined photos I had hoped for. The camera struggled to focus on the moving smoke when taking multiple photos in quick succession. I imagined I would have had detailed photos of the smoke as it clouded, but this didn’t work as I had intended. It was fun to do and I am glad I tried to out, but I have decided not to use it in my project.
These are some of the images I am looking at using in the book, edited to use the colour I have chosen. I have a mixture of photos of Bowie in the ‘Heroes’ period and photos from the Berlin wall era that I think are powerful and emotive.
Upon first reading my dissertation feedback I felt disappointed – I have been worried about how my diss is going because I feel like it is so important and heavily weighted but I am so unsure of my progress. I have felt/known for a long time that it will most likely be my dissertation which pulls down my overall mark at the end of this year and I still feel that this is the case, which does frustrate me. I think, without sounding too overconfident, as someone who always generally does well and puts in maximum effort it is incredibly frustrating when my best efforts do not equal excellent grades. While discussing dissertation progress with a subject tutor recently, they asked if I was giving it my best efforts, I said yes. They said that that is all that can be asked of me then. I have always believed that if you put everything you have into something, you cannot possibly be disappointed with the outcome, because you tried your best. But I don’t feel that here. Despite my best efforts, I know I will be disappointed with my dissertation score, because I completely doubt it will be high.
Ashley’s feedback was full of helpful advice on where to take my writing next and what to change. I need to more consistently enforce my views to constantly remind whoever is reading my dissertation of my point of view and my question. I have begun looking into all of the people and theories Ashley has suggested and so far they have been incredibly helpful in supporting my argument. I have also changed my topic from a question to a statement as I need to avoid a yes or no answer. After initial disappointment, I came back to my feedback. Everything Ashley wrote I actually fully agree with, and receiving this feedback with some solutions to my problems will be a great help in really pushing my work forwards.