The Span of Casual Vision
Posters have always existed in that tension-filled space between culture and commerce, situated somewhat precariously between the fine and applied arts. If nineteenth-century posters offered pomp and proaganda, early twentieth-century posters created a canvas in which expressive typography mixed with theatrical juxtaposition to produce new formal languages. In the interest of blog-brevity, this is a rather generalized view of the last 150 years of poster history, but throughout this time, it might be argued that a poster has always been seen as a kind of visual tonic, an antidote to chaos and something which, by sheer virtue of its scale, can knock you right over. "Some one sole unique advertisement," as James Joyce once wrote, "to cause passers to stop in wonder, a poster novelty, with all extraneous accretions excluded, reduced to its simplest and most efficient terms not exceeding the span of casual vision and congruous with the velocity of modern life."
Posters seem a somewhat antiquated form of expression, at least the paper kind...
Mind the Light, Light the Mind
I was driving in the car recently when one of my children asked me to explain Quakerism. (A propos of what, now, I can't recall, though a similarly unprovoked opening conversational gambit came several days earlier, when the same child asked me to explain capital punishment.) And so I began, primer-style, to describe the basic rudiments of the Quaker belief system: a commitment to community service, a shared sense of pacifism and religious tolerance, and a culture that supports what I, personally, have always felt to be a quintessentially democratic form of worship.
As I began to describe Meeting for Worship where one sits in silence for some period of time, in a large room with any number of other congregants, and where one stands to speak, on virtually any topic, when moved to do so I realized that this presented a compelling metaphor for blogging.
A stretch, perhaps, but bear with me. There is, of course, a "when a tree falls in the forest" feeling to all web activity...