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65

“TO INVENT, YOU NEED A GOOD IMAGINATION AND A PILE OF JUNK”. -THOMAS EDISON

SEED September/October 2010


66 FEATURES

THOMAS EDISON REVITALIZED ME It was with his quote that it all had clicked. I had the content sitting in front of me the entire time. I just chose not to see it. Keeping Mr. Edison in mind I marched forward, I may fail at creating a conventional magazine article but I’ll be damned If I don’t create some sort of conceptual piece. What you’re about to read is a journey without any real end. I began this project one month ago with an open mind. I knew there was a high chance of failure on my part. I’m not a strong writer, but I’ll do what I can. I was taking on something I wasn’t entirely sure about. At that time I thought the risk would be worth it. 30 days later I still think it is. However, the approach I have taken to this subject has shifted dramatically. In the beginning I wrote my initial 2,000 words freely, I wrote what ever came to mind about junk mail. At the time I thought this was a great way to just fill the page. Well, it was. But it also contained the necessary steps for myself to get to this train of thought. I began with ridiculous thoughts, these were intended to provide freedom for illustrations: “I wonder how it all works, your spam and my spam are never identical. It’s as if each inbox is personally tailored to the user. Does our browsing and memberships to sites impact the junk we receive? or is it all just random. Is there possibly a supercomputer somewhere generating random characters into email addresses hoping to score another victim? Or is it just a mindless monkey smashing his fists on the keyboard. And if the monkey succeeds he will be treated with a partially eaten banana. Or is it just Al Gore ? because he invented Internet of course, he must know how it all works.” At this time, I wanted to be “funny” in my approach. I had envisioned illustrations of monkeys and factories and all sorts of shenanigans. But in the end, it was simply that... Shenanigans. But this time around I have purpose! I had no grounds then. I was still trying to find my way in this abyss. I wanted to attempt to document this “place” as if it were tangible. But I failed at that. I eventually realized that what I was doing was simply what this project is titled. I was diving in a dumpster of junk, trying to find something of worth. Just something that I could roll with and create some sort of masterpiece with.

SEED September/October 2010

That failed, I had written something that I thought was entertaining but it contained no substance. I then hit a rough patch on this project and stooped as low as copying and pasting subject lines into paragraphs. I needed content. Anything will do I mumbled. As expected it was god awful stuff, but at least it gave me a facade of substance to my layout. I needed that, I couldn’t progress my art direction without something in the text blocks. Somewhere in between working on the layout and pondering about my written content I decided to take a sample survey of 100 emails in my junk box. I found the results disappointing. I had greatly underestimated the “Other” category. There was this glimor of hope in the back of my head, that this survey would cause some sort of chain reaction of creative ideas... It didn’t But hey, it’s scientific right? My frustration had finally gotten the best of me. I quickly ventilated into this brief paragraph that I thought summed up my journey to that point: “It’s all worthless. All of it. There isn’t anything of value in this godforsaken mailbox. It’s dark, damp and dreadful being in here. There are 467 messages locked away in here. Locked away for good reason. It’s nothing but empty promises and malicious attachments.


67

“Being lost can be an oppurtunity empowering in the fact that it can allow for a new beginning.”

NOW IS THE TIME TO PANIC I thought, a man can only pull so much out of his ass before there is nothing left to grab. That semi poetic rant of mine did have one positive effect, it cemented the fact that I was indeed lost on my journey in this project. However, I believe being lost can be empowering in the fact that it can allow for a new beginning. It’s obvious previous directions were futile. Perhaps floating off into the abyss is the best course of action. You never know what you’ll stumble into in a dark room.This is what caused me to quote search for a few hours, I find quotes to be very revitalizing. In times of distress and confusion I’ll often turn to historical figures. My typical route is nested in World War II (a very inspiring era) quotes, but I ventured outside of that zone and sought out nuggets of wisdom pertaining to invention and creation. It was on this search that I discovered this quotation from Thomas Edison. I thought it fit rather well with my situation. so well in fact, that it inspired me to just push forward regardless of the outcome. I decided that I would create a graphic representation of the experience that I have with opening my inbox. Depending upon the amount of unread mail I receive I will naturally skim the subject lines and make my own snark judgement.

I first began by replicating my inbox from the ground up. The only things that aren’t entirely accurate are the colors and of course, my personal banking information was censored. Otherwise, this image is a record of the time. I then wrote down my thoughts about each subject line and then compiled them into a graphic. Since it was I who experienced this it made complete sense to do it in this fashion. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who makes such acute judgements like these. I came here with high spirits. I thought I could find something worth writing about. I was foolish and naive. I should stopped myself at the first sign of trouble, but like a reckless captain on the stormy sea I pushed it hard, harder than I should have, and now the ship is lost...” In the end I wouldn’t change my place, this project was a challenge in every sense. A great way to just fill the page. Yet I have obtained a greater sensitivy to details and a stronger method of creating concepts. And on another note this individual piece has been the most beneficial assignment to my type setting skills, despite the less than Pulizter worthy writing of it.

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69

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MONEY!?

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IT’S A TRAP !

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ter word t e b away... a n e s o lives 1,100 miles h ily c m t fa e y u m v d o a ba e Too yh freaks m s Could the y a lw . r a a .. pe rt”? It ssage ap nd. If I wasn’t signle. te e at than “Ale m I’d is h t I see Yes, because fake wat each time ches are that popular. Who the hell buys a “Relp1ic Steam is be aWatch” from these pe tter. ople. t, s o c for half the ... computers n w o y m TV, I’ve been looking for this ff, I build help ! e o I t p u ri B h a ... t t s a e h o W d on esentation next week. pr a my brother ve n lly ha a I r k tu in c a th I u ll, e t w ven e t ’ n Great ca r . e ... a 3 n h o t i t o s 0 yea m e r e u y m q m a e r old g d g h e t n i f f r o o e r I don’t read. ame t d d a i u o Syste n’t ow Cons this is o m n I or de k sire. F I thin ail... No Comment.

Above: A graphic interpretation of initial thoughts about what I see in my inbox. Not pictured: Facebook, note: last email is a fraudulent message, and is not from Facebook.

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