“The form of an object is not more important than the form of the space surrounding it. All all things exist in interaction with other things.” –Malcom Grear
As I have said before, lightness is not a mode of escape, but a way of looking at the world. I related this to the concept of figure and ground in graphic design. What you “see” is often a question of perspective: in the photograph, the sky, which we would normally think of as a background to the buildings, actually forms letters when we look more closely. This connects to the two, ultimately converging perspectives in Flight Paths: in the fourth episode, we’re not sure at first whether Yacub is flying or falling to his death. It is only after he gets up off the car that our mental perspective “adjusts” to the fact that he is not dead after all.
Our eyes do a similar thing when we look at these letters; this lightness in design challenges us to reframe our way of seeing the world. It also encourages us to be on the lookout for new perspectives, in art and in life, which both surprise us and make the work more interesting and engaging.
Soundpoems by Jörg Piringer is a great example of Calvino’s exactitude. In Soundpoems, animated letters, the smallest building blocks of language, combine in particular ways to create literature. According to Calvino, literature is the fulfillment of language. Piringer’s minimalist approach to poetry takes us to the fundamental units of language: letters and phonemes. His combination of programming and sound is exquisite: the skill required to create this type of animation is specialized and exact.
Furthermore, by breaking language down into its smallest building blocks, Piringer asks us to consider the arrangement of letters and sounds in a new way. We tend to take language for granted: our environments are saturated with written and spoken words. The combination of letters, sounds, and animation puts a whole new spin on the phrase “poetry in motion” and reminds us that language is alive, dynamic, and exact.