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PR Your attention is a hard-won commodity. Images are painstakingly crafted to capture our attention which, as described in Barbara Stafford’s “Seizing Attention: Devices and Desires,” is an interplay of voluntary and involuntary awareness.[1] This project explores the meticulous architectural methods of Chris Ware’s Building Stories (2012) in which script, imagery and graphics overlap and compete for attention. In this video, scrolling text competes with moving images. The text scrolls along the bottom of the screen at a moderately fast pace which is comfortable to read if your attention is devoted to the task but, when other elements catch your involuntary attention, the text leaves the screen faster than you can take in all of the elements.

AA Barbara Stafford argues in “Seizing Attention: Devices and Desires” that attention is a hot commodity in our consumer driven economy because only ten percent of our awareness is conscious. Advertisers and marketers are expert at devising the most efficient ways to gain the most valuable kinds of attention. The proliferation of shocking, stunning and abnormal things that are constantly striking us makes involuntary attention harder and harder to engage. In this project attention is focused on the common and basic-looking script that scrolls along the bottom of the video. But meaningfully distracting methods are also used to draw the viewer’s attention away from the script toward images taken from Chris Ware’s Building Stories (2012). The aim is to develop a counter-project to the overstimulating imaging practices of architecture today.

[1] Barbara Maria Stafford, “Seizing Attention: Devices and Desires,” Art History 39:2 (April 2016): 423-7.

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