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Packaging human expresschön: the intersection of visual communication, art, and music




Schwartz, Tim, author
Gravdahl, John, advisor
Frazier, Jason, committee member
Bates, Haley, committee member
Sommer, Peter, committee member

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The human ability to communicate and share thoughts and ideas is fascinating and is the foundation upon which our cultures and societies have been built. I examine human expression through words, art, graphic design, and music. Verbal and written languages have developed with thought and words that communicate meanings contained within their definitions. Words can combine and express straightforward ideas and abstract thought, but words cannot and do not express everything. They are limited. Paintings, images, and visual design can communicate and express in realistic and abstract ways that are outside of words, just as music can. I investigate these ideas in my work, most recently through three specific projects. In WORDS ARE BOXES, I express and explore the idea that words themselves limit thought. I also investigate the connection between art, design, and music in two works. The first, LSWRTH, proposes that the physical packaging of music can also be a freestanding, independent piece of art through the design and construction of an Ellsworth Kelly-inspired vinyl record packaging triptych. I further develop the art, design, and music connection with a project titled MODES. MODES combines compact disc (CD) packaging as art, along with the animated model for a digital application which hears notes and visually generates corresponding colors in real time. This work models the concept that the music itself is creating art as a digital extension of human-initiated creative practice. Humans express themselves in many ways. Combining methods of expression can potentially result in a powerful multisensory experience that enhances our connections to ourselves, to others, and to our world.


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