Form Factor

Episode One Hundred Twenty Three: Form Factor.
In which Guy gets the Goose.

1 comment:

  1. Happy with this one - it was unplanned.

    The second and fourth frames are images from a children's book that my kids and I discovered in an abandoned building the day I drew the strip ("Pleasant Lands", Gates and Ayer, 1932. Was the title intentionally ironic?). The second frame is a snapshot of the end of a story about a sentient merry go round, and my p hone uploaded it portrait-orientation. It seemed to match the aspect of the frame... The Fourth frame is a detail of an image of a small Rumpelstiltskin-looking man handing a bean to a genteel woman. I'm unsure what the story is about, but that illustration had several ducks or geese scattered throughout. That one bird in the lower right corner was stealing the scene.

    The first frame is a reproduction of a Rudy Burckhardt photograph called "Legs of Woman in Circle Pattern Dress Walking Past Sidewalk Skylights, New York City" (1939), a candid, incidental repetition of shapes, which can be seen online at the site for the NYC Met Museum of Art. This is overlaid with a quote from the Wikipedia page for Edwin Denby (Burkhardt's friend, likely lover, collaborator). I had been reading Denby that week, and had been thinking of his play against the Sonnet form.

    The third frame a screenshot from YouTube video "How David Bowie Uses Modes" (2019) by David Bennett. In this case, the song being discussed is "Golden Years" (1976). So this frame is a screenshot of the music bar illustration, and of the narration text.

    If I understand Bennett's meaning, the Mixolydian mode is used in this song, at least, to provide a subtle disorientation. Because the leading 7th note, the note that precedes into the chord's resolution when ascending the scale, is flattened when compared to the (more familiar and expected) Major (Ionian mode?) scale, the Mixolydian scale evokes a slight anticipation before the resolution of the scale. Bennett describes this as a more open, loosened feeling, and I'd argue that using a close-but-still-unfamiliar scale introduces an air of mystery and unease.

    So how does this all relate? There's a sense of data points or chaos - footsteps, repeated patterns, mess (those footprints in the second frame are begging to to swept as far as I am concerned), and so we fall into the third frame where we have familiar order: a music bar, clef, notes. We've found order. Only, as soon as we've found the order, we discover that it's not a familiar order. Something's off. I guess the duck is kind of an angry mocker, ridiculing me for my hubris.

    Also unintended but up for speculation: the action is all from the waist down as if the subject of the cartoon is not cerebral, but rather something deeper, or grounded.

    So, again, not premeditated and yet something popped out that worked satisfyingly. Happy Coincidence.



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