Keyword and Mind-Mapping

Fig. 1. A mind map drawn on 9 Oct 2013

Thank God for His blessing that I could enter my new journey. My first task in MA study is to select a keyword before developing it to a work of portfolio. My initial keyword for the first practice module was ‘contrast’. However, my tutor, Barbara Brownies, adviced me to change the keyword to ‘positive/negative’ because it would be a more focused study than ‘contrast’. Besides, I had coincidentally found a previous student’s sample which was also using the same keyword ‘contrast’. By changing the keyword to ‘positive/negative’ not only can avoid the conflict in research, but also a challenge for me to improve my research skill. Before kicking-start my research, a simple mind map (Fig. 1) might help me to see a bigger picture before narrowing down my theme.

Fig. 2. Edgar Rubin, figural-after-effect, 1915. http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Koffka/Perception/glossary.htm

From the mind map, I realized that Gestalt psychology plays an important role to explain the figure-ground phenomenon. There are a number of important researches done by gestaltist might be prominent sources for me.

I always wonder if the idea of positive/negative in western countries had ever met with eastern countries. The universal Taichitu symbol (Fig. 3) known as Taoism, represents the concept of opposite existing in a perfect harmony by unifying the yin and yang. I wish to find out more the idea behind Taichitu symbol. In addition, cosmic book artist Frank Miller has been a great master ingeniously manipulates the positive and negative space (Fig. 4 and Fig. 5). His distinctive art style stands out from those cosmic artists indulge in the color. He is also my good reference to study figure-ground relationship in modern context.

Fig. 4. Frank Miller, illustration from Sin City, 1993 (Milwaukie: Dark Horse Comics)

Fig. 5. Frank Miller, illustration from Sin City, 1993 (Milwaukie: Dark Horse Comics)

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