Inspiration and Influences

When it comes to random image generation, I think a lot about both comics and films.  The idea of placing images in sequence, regardless of their meaning, conjures to mind an explanation given by Alfred Hitchcock on the purpose of editing, when discussing the making of Psycho (1960). He uses an example of a man staring straight forward with a blank expression, followed by a shot of the same man smiling. By inserting an imagine in between, you create an association between the two images of the man, giving him a reason for his smile. However, the image used creates a meaning in your mind behind the smile. The examples he uses are one of a woman playing with a child, giving the man’s smile a kindly appearance, while the second is of a topless woman sunbathing, with the man’s smile giving off a more lecherous appearance.

The sequence of images may, in reality, have no connection to each other, but by placing them in sequence, our minds create meaning. Scott McCloud draws attention to this as well while talking about comic panels. “In film, closure takes place continuously – twenty four times per second, in fact – as our minds, aided by the persistence of vision, transform a series of still pictures into a story of continuous motion. A medium requiring even more closure is television, which, in realist is just a single point of light, racing across the screen so fast that it’s described my face hundreds of times before you can even swallow that corn chip! Between such automatic electronic closure and the simpler closure of everyday life – there lies a medium of communication and expression which uses closure like no other, a medium where the audience is a willing and conscious collaborator and closure is the agent of change, time and motion.” [McCloud.1993:65] “Nothing is see between the two panels, but experience tells you something must be there! Comic panels fracture both time and space, offering a jagged staccato rhythm of unconnected moments. But closure allows us to connect these moments and mentally construct a continuous, unified reality.” [McCloud.1993:67].

  • Psycho (1960) Film. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. [Blu-ray] US: Universal Pictures.
  • The Making of Psycho. (1997) Documentary. Directed by Laurent Bouzereau. [Blu-ray] US: Universal Pictures.
  • McCloud, S. (1993) Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. Harper Collins: New York.
  • Bordwell, D. & Thompson, K. (2004) Film Art: An Introduction. McGraw Hill: New York.

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