debbie millman

Monday, February 25, 2008

e.e. cummings visualized


The Sweet Old Etcetera is an interactive web project created by Alison Clifford that sets the poetry of e. e. cummings against an imaginary landscape. Initially, the landscape is bare but through gradual interaction, poetry grows from the landscape’s soil and individual letters become protagonists of each story/poem.

The poetry of e. e. cummings is highly visual, playful and experimental. In his collection “Chansons Innocentes” the imagery is of children at play and throughout his other work he plays with language the way a child might break apart a toy and play with the resulting pieces. His breaking of syntactic structures makes some works appear more like computer code rather than conventional poetry and the rhythms he follows are those of speech and phonetics rather than metricality. Perhaps as a direct result of the fact that he was also a painter, his poetry must be read on a visual level with regard to both form and content.

It is this spirit of inventiveness and experimentation combined with a highly visual content that lends itself to interactive web-art.

Flash offers the possibility of making graphic, text and sound objects react to user’s mouse movements, creating a dynamic multimedia experience. Treatment of the poetry of cummings in this way would remove it from the confines of the static printed page, offering a further level of engagement to the reader.

The project is a personal response to the poet’s work, aiming to capture the poems’ playful spirit in an interactive, experimental and highly visual way.

The Sweet Old Etcetera site can be found here.

Via Design Observer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps another interesting link to uses of ee cummings online:’m-a-pilot-flying-for-west-jet/

3/02/2008 05:08:00 PM  

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Debbie Millman has worked in the design business for over 25 years. She is President of the design division at Sterling Brands. She has been there for nearly 15 years and in that time she has worked on the redesign of global brands for Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Campbell’s, Colgate, Nestle and Hasbro. Prior to Sterling, she was a Senior Vice President at Interbrand and a Marketing Director at Frankfurt Balkind. Debbie is President of the AIGA, the largest professional association for design. She is a contributing editor at Print Magazine, a design writer at and Brand New and Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2005, she began hosting the first weekly radio talk show about design on the Internet. The show is titled “Design Matters with Debbie Millman” and it is now featured on In addition to “Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design,” (HOW Books, 2009, she is the author of "How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer" (Allworth Press, 2007) and “The Essential Principles of Graphic Design” (Rotovision, 2008).

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