Liam Young describes this session of the Fear & Wonder symposium as an exploration of worlds beyond our own, offering both a route of escape, and a point from which to look back and reflect.
Rick Carter (at 1:20) discusses his work as production designer for Star Wars: the Force Awakens (2015). He stresses intuition and collaboration, the kind of interactive methodology with results bigger than the sum of its parts, which, in the Star Wars films, is called “The Force”. He describes the value of working without major aspects of the story being completely thought out beforehand. He views the previous Star Wars movies as foundations that need to be attended to, rather than precedents to be followed.
Angela Washko (at 28:31) discusses her interventions in the World of Warcraft online role-playing game through her Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness (2012-6), exploring why this fantasy space reinforced many of the worst aspects of reality. Washko re-enacts a 2013 performance within WoW in which her character avatar asked others for their personal definitions of “feminism”.
At 52:50, comic artist Mike Mignola and Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG (http://www.bldgblog.com/ ) discuss tone and atmosphere in Mignola’s Hellboy series. Mignola stresses how the comic format permitted him to develop Hellboy’s world over twenty-five years, discovering the world as it progressed. No longer working for a client, no longer collaborating he could focus on what he liked to do: drawing monsters and old buildings. He notes that his current projects are taking the form of non-narrative explorations of buildings and what’s inside them.
David Delgado (at 1:14:43), Visual strategist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, discusses the work of The Studio at JPL, implementing projects that communicate complex concepts into meaningful stories. He discusses Orbit Pavilion (2016) that acoustically represents the passage of satellites, a model comet Metamorphosis (2014). Delgado describes how the Visions of the Future series (2016) of retro travel posters for off-world sites began as a modest project for exoplanet scientist Sara Seager. As scientists were identifying exoplanets, The Studio asked, What would it be like to go to these places? A planet with no star? With two suns? A red sun? A massive super-Earth? Seager herself proposed they visualize the Trappist-1 red star with seven small planets. The challenge of visualizing these worlds prompted challenging questions for the scientists. Delgado reminds the audience that no PhD is needed to ask questions.
Liam Young concludes by thanking the panelists for sharing their work, characterizing it as thrilling and scary, but also necessary and urgent.