My research interests can be categorized into three areas of interest and the overlaps they share:
- Visual narratology and narrative studies
- Semiotics and the materiality of meaning
- Mediation and embodiment as intermediate agents of consciousness, especially within and related to augmented and virtual environments
As an artist/designer, writer, poet, and educator, I believe stories communicate compelling ideas vis-a-vis visual means as narratives. I would argue that the practice of design, as the formation and refinement of visual artifacts of communication, is the continual process of relating the world to itself as an ever-evolving process of metaphorical conjunction. As such, media as formatted forms of communication and their interaction within and through the body on consciousness comprises the area of my enquiry.
I believe that narratives activate a paradigm of place/space and time. It’s my position that narratives require volumetric geometries provided and established by mediated formats, coupled with their interaction on the body and mind produce memetic agents of transfer for language, identity, and culture. It is this phenomenological analysis of the physicality of narrative that brings me to the conclusion that visual narratives are holographic, in nature, and as they continually expand and contract within the paradigm of place/space and time they are a part of as metaphorical equations. I am particularly fascinated by this implication with regard to media construction, delivery, and its interaction within the body and mind.
Extending from, and as a natural outgrowth to my narrative investigation, I am deeply connected to language and its structural impact when applied to story making as the act of narrative creation and enactment. As such, I am keenly aware of the semiotic nature of narrative and its application to design thinking. Indeed, the employment of semiotic theory and semantic application localizes my enquiry in how meaning is made manifest through visual means of materiality as part of narrative communication.
Key words & Concepts
agency, archetype, asemic writing, augmented reality, autopoiesis, auxiliary reality, consciousness, embodiment, field theory (psychology), gestalt psychology, heterotopia, holograph, hypermediacy, linguistic determinism, meme, metaphor, metonym, morphogenic fields, mythology, narrative, cognitive narratology, ontology, phenomenology, post-structuralism, quantum physics, semiotics, space-time, temporality, utterance, virtual reality
Sources & Inspirations
Espen Aarseth, Mikhail Bakhtin, Roland Barthes, Jorge Luis Borges, Joseph Campbell, Joseph Cornell, Gilles DeLeuze, Jacque Derrida, Umberto Eco, Neil Gaiman, Algirdas Julian Greimas, Oliver Grau, Katherine Hayles, Martin Heidegger, David Herman, Hermann Hesse, Edmond Husserl, C G Jung, George Lakoff, Lev Manovich, Marshall McLuhan, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Brian Massumi, Mary-Laure Ryan, Paul Ricoeur, Rupert Sheldrake, Nathaniel Sterns, Robert Anton Wilson
* apologies to Hermann Hesse
Papers, Presentations & Publications
Alsobrook, Law. (2016). Between Mind & Body: A survey of narratology, embodiment, and the virtual. Paper presentation: 2015 Consciousness Reframed: art and consciousness in the post-biological era & The 18th International Research Conference in the Planetary Collegium’s Series. 18–27 November. DeTao Masters Academy, Shanghai, China.
Alsobrook, Law. (2016). The Spaces of Narrative Consciousness: Or, what is your event? Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, ed. Jane Grant. Volume 13, Issue 3 (Bristol: Intellect Journals): pps.239–244. ISSN 1477-965X, Online ISSN: 17589533.
Alsobrook, Law. (2015). Variable There II: Reconfiguring narrative through urban data. Art Present: Mapping Space That Could Return To Earth Again, hosted by Fabrica de Arte Cubano and El Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Havana, Cuba, 2–6 June. Workshop with Diane Derr.
Alsobrook, Law. (2015). The Spaces of Narrative Consciousness: Or, what is your event? Paper presentation: STORY7, The Storytelling Project: 7th Global Meeting. 02–05 May.
Alsobrook, Law. (2015). ARC2 (Auxiliary Reality Cabinet of Curiosity). Poster presentation: nextNature: Bonjour Monsieur Corbet–International Poster Exhibition. Kefalonia, Greece 23 April–08 May and Athens, Greece, 04–07 June.
Alsobrook, Law. (2015). Are we our fictions? The narrative boundaries of self. Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, ed. Tegan Bristow. Volume 12, Issue 2-3 (Bristol: Intellect Journals): pps. 337–346. ISSN: 1477-965X, Online ISSN: 17589533.
Alsobrook, Law. (2014). Are we our fictions? The narrative boundaries of self. Paper presentation: Fak ‘ugesi – Digital Africa Conference on the Post-Digital Organic. University of the Witswatersrand, Johannesberg, South Africa, 04–06 December.
Alsobrook, Law. (2014). Project 1 : 100 Things or Teaching Design Vocabulary as a Second Language. Semiotics & Visual Communications: Concepts & Practices, ed. Evripides Zantides (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing): pps. 164–175.
Alsobrook, Law. (2012). The Transnational Classroom : the global dynamics of graphic design education. Paper presentation with Diane Mikhael: AIGA Design Educators Conference: GEOGRAPHICS: Design, Education, and the Transnational Terrain. Hawai’i, USA, 13–15 December.
Alsobrook, Law. (2012). Motivation + Curiosity in Parallel Learning. Presentation with Diane Mikhael: Qatar TESOL Conference: Student Motivation, Involvement & Autonomy. College of the North Atlantic, Qatar, 23 April.
Alsobrook, Law. (2012). Towards Practice: The Art of Bookbinding Used to Instill Craft in Graphic Design. Vol. 8,: pps. 81–83. Appeared in The Bonefolder: an e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist.
Alsobrook, Law. (2011) Project 1 : 100 Things or Teaching Design Vocabulary as a Second Language. Paper presentation: 1st International Conference on Semiotics and Visual Communication (ICSVC). Lemesos, Cyprus, 25–27 November.
Alsobrook, Law. (2010) Al Nafizah, on the topic of Arabic calligraphy & typography. University of Waikato, Hamilton, NZ, 11 July. Public lecture with Diane Mikhael.
Alsobrook, Law. Al Nafizah, on the topic of Arabic calligraphy & typography. COCA Visual Communication Lecture, Massey University. Wellington, NZ, 22 July. Public lecture with Diane Mikhael. 2010.