This was an introductory session where we met Simon for the first time. All of us presented a brief summary of our research projects and the dilemmas of analysis and presentation we were experiencing.
Simon also presented a brief history of the comic strip and discussed some of its features and affordances (workshop notes here) (workshop notes here). He made one thing clear: comics do not belong in our disciplines (geography, education, literary studies, social anthropology) and it is up to us to justify why we are using them? Do we want to employ them as an argument (as Schultz has done in Peanuts strips), as a proposition (Nick Sousanis in Unflattening), a demonstration, an experiment, or a proposal (Craig Thompson’s Habibi)? Simon also showed us some of his own work and his amazing ability to approximate both the visual and narrative style of others, culminating in his brilliant Dispossession, an adaptation of Antony Trollop’s John Caldigate.
Some possible uses of the comics register we discussed were:
- Transcription – to ‘recover’ and present phenomena; to map relationships; represent degrees of accuracy and document ‘truth’.
- Analytical aid – affordances of the comics register facilitate the framing of specific questions; can act as metaphor.
- Rhythm – a way to divide actions, to sequence, and to play with simultaneity.
- Making the body – specific iterations imply/create specific types of embodied reader/viewer.
- Iterating the invisible – to depict the imagination, emotion, psychologies
- Practice/Haptics – producing/undergoing the wisdom of practice; to show self-reflection
- Self-writing – locating/describing/depicting a subject; life writing/drawing; producing a narrator.
- Routes travelled – mapping and events.