Varoom Symposium: Interpretation

Earlier his year I was fortunate enough to be selected to speak at the Varoom illustration symposium in Bournemouth, UK. I wrote a proposal on the theme of Error. Here is my proposal

Errordite [sic]: seeing is not believing


“ …I’m out of step.’’

Philip K Dick


A hurriedly delivered text message, sent without due consideration for grammar/spelling and intervened by insistent predictive text often leads to bizarre conflated words and sentences…this can lead to amusement, annoyance and embarrassment. However it does not seem a world away from Breton and automatic writing where nonsense and irrationality become desired alternatives to conventional communication.

My proposed presentation seeks to examine visual communicators who deliberately set out to ‘tamper’ with our sense of the real, they purport to serve us alternative visions of our universe. The most familiar expressions are the worlds depicted on the covers of Science Fiction novels but also we can see how graphic artists such as Guy Bilout, James Marsh, Pierre le Tan and George Hardie are able to twist around reality to present a quite believable alternative proposition.

I would like to posit that audiences are prepared to suspend belief and rationality and invest in a new understanding and arrangement of what they see before them. The world of communication today has opened up possibilities for error to become an accepted norm, my paper will present the audience with a set of case studies to question how we pre judge what we see before us, it will involve some misleading examples but I will seek to convince the viewer/listener that what they are seeing is in fact intentional. I will cite Philip K Dick and Raymond Roussel who presented alternative worlds and questioned our perceptions of reality.

I hope to leave the listener wondering how we might be able to incorporate the unintended ‘error’ of what we see before us into our accepted understanding of communication and to find a fitting place for visual mistakes in everyday situations.

Varoom poster

Varoom poster


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