Tag Archives: art

New Year Surprises

You know the line “I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing“?

Well, I can’t believe how little I’ve been here. I am absolutely SHOCKED that I haven’t blogged in over a MONTH! Of course, this is because I’ve been so gosh all darned busy, both at work and at home. Just briefly, what all is keeping me away is probably of interest to folk.

* Opioid Overdose Summit
* Microbes and Mood
* Design Lab & Coloring
* PaGamO (Gaming)
* Graphic Medicine
* Librarians & Artists’ Books
* Sleep Trackers


First, a couple days after the last post, I was a keynote for the November meeting of MDMLG (Metropolitan Detroit Medical Library Group). It was a wonderful experience, a great group. I really enjoyed being with them, and by all reports, they enjoyed my talk. There are rumors that I might repeat it locally, and I’ve been pondering maybe repeating it in a Hangout or something for other folk. Maybe. In any case, here are the slides!

But is an Emerging Technologies Informationist a Librarian?


Dashed away to visit family for the November holiday, dashed back, and immediately was livetweeting the UofM sponsored Opioid Overdose Summit. Another fantastic event! I’ve been working on a big beautiful Storify of the event for the last month, but the Storify platform developed a glitch and ate the whole thing. Unfortunately, the only engineer who MIGHT be able to restore the file from backup is out on vacation for another week, so for now I can offer you links to the UM Injury Center’s agenda, slides in Slideshare, their videos, and the hashtag #uminjuryctr.


The same week, I also livetweeted the seminar, “Gut Feelings: Microbes, Mood, & Metabolism” from the Depression Center’s Colloquium Series. It was a wonderful triple of presenters on how emerging and historic research is revealing connections between our microbiome (the bacteria that live in and on us) impact our own emotions. Powerful and exciting stuff.

I was making a Storify of this, too, but the same glitch (which prevent some content from being inserted and erases other content) has made it impossible for me to finish, so I’m releasing it in the raw form.


The following week I worked on various Storify stories in progress and had a bunch of meetings. One of the meetings was with the new Design Lab that lives on the main floor of the Shapiro Library, where we started planning a workshop which will sneakily use the adult coloring craze as a way to teach things like internet search skills, internet security, paper/art/book preservation concepts, some online tools and toys, etc. The workshop is happening next week, and I think it is going to be super cool. Just to whet your appetite, here is an example.

Original image:
Fleming Building at Sunset

Coloring version of the same image:
UM: Fleming


PaGamO Screenshot

I didn’t livetweet this, but I felt very lucky that I was able to attend the small presentation by Dr. Benson Yeh on PaGamO for education. The lecture was FANTASTIC and was recorded, so I am hoping for a video to be available soon. In the meantime, here are a few links.

Why one professor created the first-ever social gaming platform for a MOOC http://blogs.coursera.org/post/64423209807/why-one-professor-created-the-first-ever-social

ReImagine Education 2015 Wharton Awards: PAGAMO, The World’s First Event Multi-Student Social Gaming, National Taiwan University; Winner: 1st Place E-Learning http://www.reimagine-education.com/the-winners-individual/8/PaGamO

PaGamO: First-ever Multi-student Social Gaming Platform for General Course (SLIDES) http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/pedagogical/website/files/theme/awards/winners/slider/pag/Benson_Wharton%20Award_V2.pdf

PaGamO, the world’s first ever MOOC-based multi-student social game platform https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKAWPqRtIe0


The next day, we had the first EVER meeting of the newly formed Graphic Medicine Interest Group for the University of Medicine. I took notes and lots of pictures, but the pictures did not end up in Flickr when I tried to put them there, so I have to hope they are in my hard drive backup for the phone. In the meantime, here is a picture of some of the graphic medicine titles I keep in my office when I have consults on the topic.

Graphic Medicine & Comics

Books included in this image:

1) REAL, by Takehiko Inoue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_(manga)
2) Graphic Medicine Manifesto, by by MK Czerwiec, Ian Williams, Susan Merrill Squier, Michael J. Green, Kimberly R. Myers, Scott T. Smith http://www.graphicmedicine.org/book-series/graphic-medicine-manifesto/
3) The Bad Doctor, by Ian Williams http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-06754-4.html
4) On Purpose, by Vic Strecher http://www.dungbeetle.org/
5) Neurocomic, by Hana Ros, Matteo Farinella http://www.neurocomic.org/
6) Epileptic, by David B. http://nymag.com/nymetro/arts/books/reviews/10851/
7) CancerVixen, by Marisa Acocella Marchetto http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/14/books/a-vixen-cartooning-in-the-face-of-cancer.html | http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/107478/cancer-vixen-by-marisa-acocella-marchetto/9780375714740/
8) Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/books/review/roz-chasts-cant-we-talk-about-something-more-pleasant.html
9) Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, by Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli http://boingboing.net/2014/11/30/second-avenue-caper-when-good.html | http://www.cleveland.com/books/index.ssf/2014/11/joyce_brabner_creates_a_graphi.html
10) Diary of a Teenage Girl, by Phoebe Glockner http://stamps.umich.edu/creative-work/stories/phoebe | http://www.npr.org/2015/08/13/431997207/a-diary-unlocked-a-teenage-coming-of-age-story-put-on-film
11) The Spiral Cage, by Al Davison http://the-toast.net/2014/11/03/disability-and-the-work-of-al-davison/
12) Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud http://scottmccloud.com/2-print/1-uc/
13) Oh Joy, Sex Toy, by Erika Moen http://www.graphicmedicine.org/comic-reviews/oh-joy-sex-toy-2/ | http://www.ohjoysextoy.com/
14) Chop, Sizzle, Wow, by The Silver Spoon and Adriano Rampazzo. https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/chop-sizzle-wow/ | http://www.phaidon.com/store/food-cook/chop-sizzle-wow-the-silver-spoon-comic-book-9780714868202/


A few days later, in between my frantically working on the Storifys and an article deadline, I was doublebooked to livetweet two lectures, and had to pick one. So, I picked the one that was related to the library and was being presented by friends and colleagues. It was incredible, and again I took lots of pictures that are hopefully on that other hard drive. I had been hoping to enrich the Storify with those, but that isn’t going to happen until Storify fixes their bug with inserting links into story streams. So, here is another partially completed Storify, this one on the amazing artists working in the library making phenomenal art books. Beautiful.


Pebble Pals

Last but not least, we finished and submitted our article on sleep trackers for consumers and how they may or may not be useful in healthcare. It was an exciting and rewarding project, but I don’t want to say too much until we hear if the article is accepted. It was a LOT of work, and we compared many dozens of devices and tools. Learned a lot, and I hope the article is accepted. I must confess, I found it ironic that my own sleep tracker (Pebble + Misfit) quit working over the holiday. Color me perplexed.


So you can see why I was so busy I wasn’t getting blogging done? I’ll be a little absent for a while yet, still, since I have a few presentations next week, and piles of meetings coming up. But I’ll have to tell you all about what I’m doing with comics and hashtags and coloring in a future installment. And the weird Storify glitch that is supposedly only impacting me and one other person. Hope you all had a great holiday and end-of-the-year, with expectations of a Happy (and productive and fulfilling) New Year!


Tactile Graphics, An Introduction

Book Cover, Texture, Quackery All Bricked Up and Nowhere to Go ... Nailed Texture
Texture: Drain Cover Washington, DC: Donkeys: Black & Braille Rough
Montebello: Pottery Texture Woven Sculpture #4 Univ of Mich Binding Imprint

This week I attended a webinar on tactile graphics. Most people I know would say, “Tactile graphics? What does that mean?” So let’s start with that.

In a way, we’ve always had tactile graphics, in the broad sense of pieces designed for visual impact which carry tactile interest or information. Leatherworking often has designs punched into the leather; quipu knotwork carried mathematical data; old books had logos embossed into the covers; pottery might have painted ornaments layered onto the surface which can be felt and distinguished; sculptural shapes might be designed with textures that add layers of insight to the underlying meaning of the work; fabrics can have textures woven into them.

And of course, there’s always Braille, in which embossed or raised dots carry very specific kinds of meaning — words and numbers. In the center of the opening montage is an image of a sculpture of a donkey covered with Braille letters and words. This was a political statue in Washington DC. I don’t know what it says, but I imagine someone with blindness caressing the glossy blackness and curved shapes of the statue, reading the words of the Declaration of Independence, or the statements of the Bill of Rights. Such a powerful metaphor for the idea of tactile graphics. But in another sense, this explanation is a kind of digression, for in the actual world of artists creating art to be touched, the phrase they use is not “tactile graphics” but “tactile art” or “sensational art,” meaning art for senses beyond simply vision and art explicitly designed to be touched. If you are interested in this aspect of tactile artistry and graphics, you might want to be aware of the work of Ann Cunningham, who is a leader in this space.

Ann not only creates artwork that carries dual meaning through combined visual and tactile designs, but is also engaged in how this can carry over to shaping information and making “sensational books.” If you have ever tried to read a plain text (ASCII) version of a heavily illustrated book, in which the images have been redacted since they are not text, you may have some insight into the challenges of reading books while blind. You can read the text, but whenever you reach a place where an image is referenced, you read whatever description was given in the text, but that is usually minimal and refers to the image itself for further insight, and the image is not there. As a sighted person, I often go the the Internet Archive and download both the ASCII version of the book (for speed and portability) and a PDF version (which includes the graphics). I’ll read the ASCII text, and when I become sufficiently frustrated, I will open the PDF online version to see what image they are talking about.

Here is an example of what I mean, a work about Vincent Van Gogh. In the first screenshot, if you are sighted, you will see the title page and opening etching, entitled “Le Semeur.” The image shows a young man in peasant garb, grasping a large bag with his left hand, and making a gesture with his open palmed right hand. Even if you don’t read French, you may be able to guess at the meaning of “Le Semeur,” which is “The Sower.” In the second screenshot, if you are sighted, you will see the same area of the book in the raw text format. Where the image should be, there is nothing but a string of cryptic meaningless computer code, followed by the words, “LE SEMEUR.” There is no indication that you are even missing an image, no clue given as to what content it is that you are missing. Later on in the book, there will be a table listing images in the text, and that may give you a clue, but until you get to that point, you are pretty much lost.

Screenshots illustrating how images "translate" to text in OCR.
Screenshots illustrating how images "translate" to text in OCR.
Van Gogh, par Théodore Duret. Full: https://archive.org/details/vangoghvincent00dureuoft Text only:

So, very broadly then, tactile graphics are graphics which carry meaning through elements that can be touched. More narrowly, the phrase “tactile graphics” has become meaningful as an explicit technique in the creation of accessible information for persons with visual impairment. This is actually closely related to the work being done by Ann Cunningham, since the technologies used function in a similar way, often creating a kind of bas-relief version of an image so that it can be perceived and interpreted by persons who are blind. It is also work that is closely related, conceptually, to Braille, in that it explicitly tries to convert information into a format that can be deciphered by persons with blindness, in this case, visual information.

This can be done with making lines on paper that will puff up so people can feel them. This can be done with special paper, special printers, or special pens. This works fine when the images are linear, but less effective when they are more complex. It can also be done through the techniques mentioned earlier, embossing, embedding, interweaving, etcetera. There are kits, special hardware, a whole variety of technologies being developed around ways to make tactile graphics. All of those approaches tend to be very time-consuming. New technologies being used to create accessible tactile graphics include 3D printing, in which image characteristics are converted to a three-dimensional form and literally converted into a kind of flattened sculptural form of the image. There are some concerns that all the hype around 3D printing will lead to people focusing on that as the ONLY kind of tactile graphic option, which is far from the case, or that people will mistake the conversion of images to 3d format for actually making the images accessible, which may or may not be the case. A particularly eloquent description of this dilemma was posted to Facebook by a teacher of young children with special needs, Yue-Ting Siu.

3D printing and Misappropriation for Tactile Graphics https://www.facebook.com/notes/yue-ting-siu/3d-printing-and-misappropriation-for-tactile-graphics/333500170166311

This was in response to a long conversation around this topic, one for which the entire conversation is well worth digging into.

That’s a very brief introduction into the concept of tactile graphics. I’ll include a few more links at the end if you want to explore more. The webinar from the Diagram Center was very interesting. The webinar, presented by Richard Ladner of the University of Washington, included a solid background in how tactile graphics for accessibility are being created now, some of the technologies, challenges, and solutions. Some of the problems are the time needed to create the tactile graphics, the low resolution of the information, the loss of complexity in the information content, and that certain types of information don’t translate well into current tactile graphic modalities. Then Dr. Ladner described the special problems associated with complex mathematical images and equations, especially those in advance mathematics, physics, and engineering texts. Without access to those images and that content, persons with blindness can be, in essence, excluded from those professions no matter what their actual talents might be. His team has been working on some new approaches to the idea of tactile graphics, creating images that can be read with a smartphone. Wow. Now, this is still fairly early in the development life cycle, but the potential for this new approach is phenomenal.

The Storify (below) includes my notes and links from livetweeting the webinar. The webinar itself, Tactile Graphics with a Voice, will soon be posted on the DIAGRAM site.

Storify: Tactile Graphics With a Voice: https://storify.com/pfanderson/tactile-graphics-with-a-voice


Tactile Graphics: http://www.tactilegraphics.org/
– Producing Tactile Graphics: http://www.tactilegraphics.org/computerassistedtactiles.html

3D Tactile Graphics: http://3dtactilegraphics.com/

American Foundation for the Blind:
– Basic Principles for Preparing Tactile Graphics http://www.afb.org/info/programs-and-services/professional-development/teachers/tactile-graphics/1235
– Braille Writing Tools and Tools for Tactile Graphics http://www.afb.org/info/living-with-vision-loss/using-technology/reading-and-writing/braille-writing-tools-and-tools-for-tactile-graphics/1235
– Deciding Whether to Create a Tactile Graphic http://www.afb.org/info/programs-and-services/professional-development/solutions-forum/electronic-files-and-research-work-group/deciding-whether-to-create-a-tactile-graphic/12345
– Resources for Preparing Quality Tactile Graphics http://www.afb.org/info/resources-for-preparing-quality-tactile-graphics/5
– Tactile Graphics Course: http://www.afb.org/info/programs-and-services/professional-development/solutions-forum/interested-in-becoming-a-braille-transcriber/tactile-graphics-3016/12345
– Types and Producers of Tactile Graphics http://www.afb.org/info/programs-and-services/professional-development/solutions-forum/training-and-other-needs-work-group/types-and-producers-of-tactile-graphics/12345

American Printing House for the Blind:
– Tactile Graphics Image Library: http://www.aph.org/tgil/
– Tactile Graphics & Manipulatives Available from APH (Missouri School for the Blind: Outreach Services) http://msb.dese.mo.gov/outreach-services/documents/Tactile-Graphics-Products.pdf


The DIAGRAM Center: http://diagramcenter.org/
– The Accessible Image Sample Book: http://diagramcenter.org/standards-and-practices/accessible-image-sample-book.html
– Poet Image Description Tool: http://diagramcenter.org/development/poet.html
– Research Reports from DIAGRAM: http://diagramcenter.org/research.html
– Tools from DIAGRAM: http://diagramcenter.org/development.html
– Webinars: http://diagramcenter.org/webinars.html

Candy Chang! Candy Chang! “Liveblogged”

Candy Chang

Last night I went to see Candy Chang’s presentation at the Michigan Theater. I wanted to tweet & Storify, but the network connection was hideous, so instead I took notes. It’s too much work to rewrite them (remember? bum arm?), so instead I’m just pasting them in here as if I’d liveblogged.

Penny Stamps Lecture
Winter 2014

Candy Chang
Transforming our Cities
UM alum

February 18 is close of newest Stamps Exhibits

Candy’s new book in lobby
free stickers

Candy Chang


Dylan Box
Wedge Detroit
world’s longest hopscotch course
Nature of social conversation
shallow vs “safety of our neighborhood”
what inspires rich conversations?
easy to be apathetic
how to create meaningful interactions?
Part Streek art
before I die murals
senior TED fellow
art, conversation, design brought to the masses

Candy Chang


got arrested for graffiti in ann Arbor

“please disturb”
before I died
looking for love again
a confession

“I am a shy introvert, actually”
the voice of the community turns out to be the loudest person
how to include the shy and excluded

Joseph Campbell
the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are

jealous of people who felt certain of their path
“i liked a lot of different things, afraid I’d be mediocre at them all”

reading Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
story of bigger things, where good ideas come from

man named Joseph Paxton in England
giant water lily
special structure, cross ridged
lilypad holds five kids
made crystal palace for 1851
Joseph the gardner became Joseph the architect

Waterlily with Child, by PaxtonCrystal.Palace.Paxton.Plan

make our own disciplines out of the bits and pieces we are interested in
child artwork of book covers
as a child, I wanted to be an artist
“doesn’t scream stability”

started out as premed, with a D+ (encouraging a change of plan)
architecture as a creative compromise
doubled with graphic design
then later added urban planning

living in NYC near major street art nexus formed my feeling of how to engage in streetart

Sidewalk Psychiatry


sidewalk psychiatry “do you think that went well?”
Kierkegaard “above all do not lose your desire to walk”
temporary spray chalk
“does she know how you feel?”

NYTimes, Robert Moses
Jane Jacobs
“if this highway happened” lost Soho, Chinatown, etc.

Vendor Power!
street vendor guide PDF
ctr for urban pedagogy
Charles & Ray Eames

10K street vendors in NYC
vendors fined thousands for minor bioloations
design barriers to understanding (literacy)
Candy’s design solution

Downtown Vancouver, drug addicts

chalkboards in Johannesburg
diepsloot community news
“the value of being scrappy”
working with what you have

lampposts as unofficial billboards for community news

document fliers around new york
compare to online forums

“internet as public space” information commons

post-it-notes for neighbors
“I’ve lived”

Nokia in Helsinki Finland

translate needs & behaviors into services & resources (?)

Candy Chang


TED fellowship
New Orleans
criminal justice
shotgun houses so cute I want to pet them
hybrid businesses (Balcony Guest House)
underutilized spaces in our cities

what do we really want?
“I wish this was” free stickers to put on abandoned buildings
post on flickr
tag them
stickers went MIA
posted blank stickers on vacant buildings

“trying to figure out a buildings identity”

I use cheap tools because I wanted to use what I had
other benefits
reveal personality that gets lost with digital tools
better tools to come together to shape the development of our communities
prove customer base

new orleans neighborland online tool
what you want in your city

night market
petitions that change policy
gather feedback

strategic planning


“big white van”

Cosmos by Carl Sagan on Netflix
original EPCOT logo tattooed on her arm
public art
Two Guns right after route 66

“sweeping carnage of the US”
booms and busts

lots of abandoned buildings
accepted part of our landscape
“My memories of the Polaris Buildings”
“My hopes for the Polaris Building”
fresh produce
downtown development association
“I would have saved more of the budget for the aftermath”
keep people posted on the project and whats going on today
games, love, meaningful part of life

“there’s a lot more meaning we could share”

Candy Chang's "Before I Die" project


I lost someone who was like a mother to me

getting permission from
neighborhood association
city officials
“I’m not alone as I try to make sense of my life”
“people are around all the time, the block is safer now”

450 walls in over 60 countries stenciled in over 30 languages
Avant de mourir
bevor ich sterbe moche ich

open prompts
trust building
compassionate city
“death is something we don’t think about”

Carl Jung
it’s easier to go to mars than to penetrate ones own being
“the goal of life is individualtion, the process of coming to know, giving expression to, and harmonizing the various parts of the psyche. Each human being has a specific nature and calling”

Confessions-3-booths-Candy Chang


“what happens in vegas stays in vegas”
Shinto prayer walls
wooden plaque
post secret
confession bootsh

“when we feel anxiety or fear or confusion, we hide it ”
“what if we could create more safe spaces to share”
“you’re not alone”

“some of the first gathering places were graves in sacred graves. we came together to grieve together”

“our public spaces are as profound as we allow them to be”

“the world becoems more rewarding when you let yourself look beyond what you’re searching for.”
“embrace serendipity”
curious, tried things out, kept an open mind



Facebook: candychangcandychang

Cheap and Easy Ways to Make Comics or Cartoons for Digital Storytelling

Another one of last week’s Enriching Scholarship Sessions, this one in partnership with John Beals.

Cheap and Easy Ways to Make Comics or Cartoons for Digital Storytelling: https://ttc.iss.lsa.umich.edu/ttc/sessions/cheap-and-easy-ways-to-make-comics-or-cartoons-for-digital-storytelling/

Digital storytelling, also referred to in educational circles as digital media assignments, often centers around making videos, but there are many other ways to tell stories. Comics and cartoons offer an attractive alternative approach to storytelling. In addition to uses for storytelling, they can also make engaging images for slides, presentations and illustrations. With the many online tools and software packages now available for creating these, there are many options to choose from for all levels of skill and expertise. This session will provide a survey of some tools, with illustrations of educational uses.

Even though the slides say “Part 2,” I actually started off, because I had to run across campus for another session right after, and John was gracious enough to be flexible. The slides were a rush job, because I was out sick so long with bronchitis, and I actually have a lot more content than is shown here. It worked out that this was just the right amount of content for the session. Lucky me!

Cheap and Easy Ways to Make Comics or Cartoons for Digital Storytelling: http://www.slideshare.net/umhealthscienceslibraries/cheap-and-easy-ways-to-make-comics-or-cartoons-for-digital-storytelling

This is an abbreviated set of the links and tools I’ve collected for doing this. What inspired me was a webcomic idea I have and want to do, but not being the kind of artist who can draw my own comic, I have been looking for … alternatives. I started out with some of the ways in which I use comics in my work already, with examples; then highlighted just a few of the many tools available. Last but not least, I also touched on using smartphones with photo filter apps or added word bubbles to generate images to tell your stories.

The session ended with John talking about real world educational uses of comics in the classroom, tips and tricks for how to design assignments, books for more info, and similar excellent content. John is FAR more expert than I in this area, which made for a great partnership. He used no slides this time, so these are from another session he did on a closely related topic earlier in the year.

Johnathon Beals: Comics in the Classroom: http://www.slideshare.net/jbeals1/comics-in-the-classroom-20893525

You know you’ve done something right when you hear from people after the session who want to share what they’ve done with the tools you discussed! And what could be better than being one of the first to see new comics? This was such great fun to do, and had such a great response, I hope we do this again next year.