Visual forms of communication are essential to an artists toolbox in a a way that other forms of communication can sometimes have difficulty contending with. Sometimes I think the difference between these forms can be the expectation placed on them, for example visual information seems more subject to inference than written communication which can often be taken on a more literal stance. Though this creates a disconnect between the two there are ways of addressing this issue; in particular poetry. Poetry often can rely on the reader to read past the visual words of the poem and examine other ascepts in a way that can be very similar to sight reading a painting. Poetry is often used as a way to extrapolate on the baser human emotions like lust or fear or hate or love and the nuances of how these emotions can turn or curb our behavior one way or another.
A poem that I find encompasses these abilities quite well the ‘Anyone lived in a pretty how town’ by E.E. Cummings.
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did
Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.
Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
Aside from the poem seeming to relate to domesticity which usually plays a prominent role on my work, the ways that the poem can be interpreted plays a role in pushing me to examine my work on different levels and how the relationship between me and my work may be different from the relationship of my work with the audience or viewers or users.
For example :
The poem could be about two characters who dare to be different and the indifference of their fellow characters.
Or, the poem could expand to include all of society and focus primarily on the lack of creativity, love, and basically individualism as a result of conformity.
But, the poem could also be taken as an examination of ones capacity to connect with life and the idea that most dream but never live, while some live but ultimately die. This could be generalized to explain the idea that life is a horrifying experience and conformity and structure numbs the affects.
Lastly, this poem could be about the fading of passion and love and as we grow older.
And in much the same way my work could be about functionality but also utilizing the narrative in imagery or non-functional without narrative imagery allowing the form itself to become a narrative