In part one, I selected “A Land Remembered” as a piece of work that exemplified visibility. I believe this to be true because, as Calvino says, the novel starts “bringing forth forms and colors from the lines of black letters on a white page”. My selection for the learning screen was “Old School”. Before I begin to relate my selection to visibility, I must admit that I think that the imagery present in “A Land Remembered” is incomparable in quality to most fiction work but once again, this is an extreme case of visibility. “Old School” does not convey the scenery of each situation as well as the author of “A Land Remembered” but Tobias Wolff does do a good job in conveying the scenery through the thoughts of the narrator.
As I was thinking about the images to display in my visibility ‘blox’ I began to hit a blank. The quality of the novel that applies to visibility is the imagery that Wolff inserts into the narrator’s head. I looked for some images that might convey this idea but then I began to think about what Calvino says. He mentions that the letters should come off the page and turn into the image for the reader to picture. Since this is what the story did for me as a reader I decided to make in image of letters turning into the images of the story.
“…you breathed it in with the smell of floor wax and wool and boys living close together in overheated rooms.”
– narrator in “Old School”
This is one of many quotes from Tobias Wolff’s “Old School” that convey the sense of visibility that Calvino thoroughly discusses in his book, “Six Memos for the Next Millennium”. Calvino conveys his concern that our generation is losing the ability to close our eyes and imagine an original image or feeling an original feeling. He fears we will lose our ability to turn black and white letters on a page into a captivating feeling. Wolff uses the boy narrator as a venue to describe the surroundings of the stories as well as the characters. The narrator expresses his thoughts on the physical appearance of each character. He also explains his opinions on their character as people. This allows Wolff to reveal images of the surroundings without distracting the reader.
On my ‘Calvino’s Visibility’ page, I discussed “A Land Remembered” as the book that I have read in the past and thought it exemplified visibility. The story does an incredible job at revealing the unexplored lands of early Florida visually. If I were to not have selected “Old School” as my literature piece for adaptation to film, I would have selected “A Land Remembered”. This story, like “Old School”, would do great justice being put to film.
Unfortunately, I am unable to use a comic as an emblem for visibility because Calvino has already done so and the E-Lit I selected is based on comic strips. The second emblem I look to in order to convey the E-Lit’s quality for visibility is that of a sun rise. The sun rising is an emblem for visibility because, like the comics do in “Brainstrips”, the sun rise represents multiple ideas. The first thought that comes to mind when looking at the sun rising is the thought of beauty. The image conveys the thought that the earth is naturally beautiful. The second thought that comes to mind is the thought that the day has begun. The sun rising indicates that the day is beginning and we must begin our daily routines. Like the images in the comics do, the sun conveys important details in our life and without words is able to influence our thoughts.
I was overlooking the options for the graphic design elements we can use to best describe our selection of E-Lit in “Graphic Design The New Basics” by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips. I noticed the first major elements discussed is Point, Line, Plane. These three elements are considered the “building blocks of design”. I assumed I would not find an E-Lit work that these elements could be used to shows the core aesthetic value. Then I realized that they are the core elements that allow the comics in Alan Bigelow’s “Brainstrips” to convey the images that help show the author’s meaning behind the piece. The comics are a combination of points, lines and planes. They are very basic and show little dimensional quality. Calvino discusses that images are an important part of aesthetics and without the simple elements of points, lines, and planes, these images would not be able to be drawn.
While journeying through the E-Lit anthology, I was having trouble finding a piece of work that can truly conveys the qualities of visibility. Most of the E-Lit work has relatively good visual effects but the interest of the authors did not seem to be in the visual quality. Fortunately, I stumbled across the work of Alan Bigelow. Bigelow created an E-Lit piece called “Brainstrips”. It consists of multiple live action comics that discuss major issues and concerns in the world. Although the author was most liking mainly concerned with issues discussed, his piece’s true quality is in the visual aspect. He uses comic stripes and then adds small action details like the firing of a bullet. The combination really allows the reader to understand the comic and ultimately understand the message the author is looking to convey. This appeals to the second imagination process that Calvino discusses, the process of an image giving the reader the sensation of verbal expression. The author hopes that the piece of E-Lit influences the viewers to express their feelings towards the discussed issues.
“If I have included visibility in my list of values to be saved, it is to give warning of the danger we run in losing a basic human faculty: the power of bringing visions into focus with our eyes shut, of bringing forth forms and colors from the lines of black letters on a white page, and in fact of thinking in terms of images.” – Italo Calvino
The quote above is from Italo Calvino’s book, “Six Memos for the New Millennium“. This quote shows Calvino’s passion in respect to this specific quality. In his other memos, Calvino mentions the importance of using the qualities as a guideline for one’s literary works, but when discussing the quality visibility, Calvino seems to be concerned that we are losing this quality. He explains his concern about the loss of such an important aspect of aesthetics. Aside from just his concern with the loss of thinking in images, Calvino also expresses his worry for the change from people thinking of original images to people thinking of others’ images and replicating.
Calvino expresses visibility in relation to imagination. He believes that imagination has two processes: the process by which the words on a page can guide a reader to create the image being discussed and the process of an image giving a person the sensation of verbal expression. Although Calvino is and has been highly regarded for many years, not everyone agreed with his thought process of imagination. Dante the poet wrote about Dante the character in “Divine Comedy” as having his images “rain down” from the heavens into his mind. Dante didn’t even wait for the images to fully form. He discussed how they came in time and became clearer as time went on.
Calvino looks to relate visibility to en emblem. He mentions how italian comics convey the power of visibility. At the time, comics had yet to develop the word bubbles that we are accustomed to here in America. This left it all up to the image to convey the thought the author was looking to get across.
Visibility leads my mind to think about one of my favorite books of all time, Patrick D. Smith’s “A Land Remembered“. The story follows the generations of a family that looks to start off a career in cow herding in the early years of Florida’s development. Smith does an incredible job at conveying the beautiful natural scenery of old Florida. Being a life-long Floridian, I can truly appreciate the beauty he discusses that we have lost over the years. Smith is able to use “lines of black letters on a white page” in order to convey an absolutely beautiful scene that the reader can vividly see in their mind.