Scrabble is perhaps the world’s best known language based game. The puzzling out of word options within limited possibilities forces us to think hard and squeeze out the longest and highest scoring configurations. In essence the same could be said for a small language and image assignment that I was experimenting with last week.
The idea ordinates from a piece of street art by the British artist known as Banksy.
The image doesn’t need a great deal of explanation. An altered text, an image is added and a social point is made……in this case, our city parks are being concreted over to provide city car parking. Simple and to the point, something that my pupils have no problem in ‘getting’. But coming up with an idea of their own is a whole different kettle of fish. Could my third year pupils (aged 14-15) face up to the challenge?
I was asked to provide a 90 minute language orientated workshop for a group, an ideal opportunity to try the idea out and see if they could.
Technically we were able to simultaneously use the project for a little digital orientation using iPads to do the necessary image manipulation (we used Brushes Redux for those interested) however in principle a desktop or just pencil and paper could be used.
I asked the pupils to go looking for warning signs, road and traffic direction boards, text on the roads, walls or anywhere else where text could be found. Like the Banksy example the challenge was then to remove letters to change the direction of the meaning of the text in a humourous, ironic, serious or simply crazy and unexpected way.
Like my Scrabble example the pupil is left trying to manipulate and construct within the limited options available. Also like the Banksy example a little extra imagery could also be added or the context behind the text altered.
An hour and a half later I am left with a series of examples. Some pupils have picked the idea up and developed some interesting angles. In truth we were perhaps a little short of time. Surprising, inspired ideas don’t always come so quickly. With a little more time I would also like to push the images that have been added a bit further, but there is certainly potential here to develop the idea into something a little more expansive.