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22 JULY 2014

The Arcades Project: a world of secret affinities

"the entire Arcades complex (without definitive title, to be sure) remained in the form of several hundred notes and reflections of varying length, which Benjamin revised and grouped in sheafs, or 'convolutes;' according to a host of topics. Additionally, from the late Twenties on, it would appear, citations were incorporated into these materials–passages drawn mainly from an array of nineteenth–century sources, but also from the works of key contemporaries (Marcel Proust, Paul Valery, Louis Aragon, Andre Breton, Georg Sinunel, Ernst Bloch, Siegfried Kracauer, Theodor Adorno). These proliferating individual passages, extracted from their original context like collectibles, were eventually set up to communicate among themselves, often in a rather subterranean manner. The organized masses of historical objects–the particular items of Benjamin's display (drafts and excerpts)–together give rise to 'a world of secret affinities;' and each separate article in the collection, each entry, was to constitute a 'magic encyclopedia' of the epoch from which it derived. An image of that epoch. In the background of this theory of the historical image, constituent of a historical 'mirror world;' stands the idea of the monad–an idea given its most comprehensive formulation in the pages on origin in the prologue to Benjamin's book on German tragic drama, Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (Origin of the German Trauerspiel)–and back of this the doctrine of the reflective medium, in its significance for the object, as expounded in Benjamin's 1919 dissertation, 'Der Begriff der Kunstkritik in der deutschen Romantik' (The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism). At bottom, a canon of (nonsensuous) similitude rules the conception of the Arcades."

(Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin, p.x)

Benjamin, Walter (2002). "Das Passagen–werk [The Arcades Project]", US: Harvard University Press. 0674008022
Fig.1 Edizioni Brogi (circa 1880). No.4608 "Ottagono della Galleria Vittorio Emanuele", Milano.



193519th century • a world in miniature • a world of secret affinities • affinityAndre Bretonarcadescitationcollectibles • convolutes • department stores • documentary synopsis • encyclopaedia • epoch • Ernst Bloch • expose • Georg Sinunel • historical image • historical objects • Institute of Social Research • Louis Aragon • magic encyclopaedia • Marcel Proustmirror worldmonad • monadology • nostalgic tributenostalgic yearningnotes • original context • Parispassages couvertsPaul Valery • reflections • sheafs • Siegfried Kracauer • similitudeThe Arcades ProjectTheodor Adorno • topics • Walter Benjamin


Simon Perkins
19 JULY 2014

Using OneNote for gathering design project requirements

"Having a laptop open in a research interview puts a barrier between you and the person you're interviewing, and the typing can be quite distracting and intimidating for the interviewee. But typed notes are searchable, making for very useful reference when you're synthesizing your notes. OneNote is a nice compromise. With a Tablet in slate mode, we remove the physical barrier of the laptop, and as long as you have the pen in a 'Create Handwriting' mode, you can later go back and search your notes as if they were typed. (The handwriting recognition is pretty amazing.)

We sometimes have interviews by phone, and in these cases we often type notes. OneNote can go back and forth pretty seamlessly between handwriting and text, so it keeps all notes in one place. Also I find the quick–keys for adding tags to notes to be very useful when typing. You can tag questions you have, comments for follow–up, and ideas you generate, all with the quick stroke of a key.

For really important meetings, we can also use the audio recording features, which gives the ability to later go back and click on a piece of handwriting to hear what was being said at the time. Unfortunately you have to be using an external microphone for this, or all you hear is the tap–tap–tapping of the stylus hitting the slate surface instead of insightful interview conversation.

And I should note that research is not where OneNote shines the most. There are a few competing tools, like the LiveScribe Echo SmartPen and even pen and paper and that are giving it a run for its money. But as long as we're outfitting our designers with the Tablet, OneNote is a fine tool to use during research."

(Chris Noessel, 7 March 2013, Cooper Journal)



audio recording • client interview • client liaisoncontent integration • content integration tool • design businessdesign objectivesdesign plandesign projectgeneral grounding document • handwriting • handwriting recognition • interaction design • Livescribe Echo Smartpen • managing design • Microsoft OneNote • multimedia toolnotebooknotesnotetakingpen and paperpersonas (UCD) • project reference • project requirements • requirements capture • requirements elicitationrequirements gatheringresearch interviewscope of practicesearchable content • slate mode • synthesising information • Tablet PCtext recognition • typed notes • user storiesvideo documentationworkflow toolworking practices


Simon Perkins
11 AUGUST 2012

Medieval manuscript illustrations were planned not doodled

"it's the word 'doodle' that really riles my pedantic dander. ... because, as I try to make clear, the images I post ... weren't scribbled into the margins by surreptitious snarkers whilst no one was looking. They were explicitly commissioned by the manuscript's patrons as part of the project from the very beginning. For the well–heeled noble, ordering a book was not just a matter of selecting the text; deciding on size, presentation, illustration, and ratio of naked dudes to non–naked dudes in the margins was all part of the process of getting a book made.

This is not to say that medieval readers and scribes didn't ever doodle. It's just easy to tell the difference between images planned as part of the manuscript's commission and those scribbled in by a creative, bored scribe or one of the later owners of the manuscript. Just as you might imagine, a reader might decide a chunk of text was particularly important and make a note in the margin ... Or, someone might just decide a page looked too blank and thus attempt to fill up some of that space [1]... See, the thing about medieval doodles is they look just like modern doodles ...

For this page [2], somebody sat down and sketched out a rough draft, showed it to somebody else, possibly even multiple somebodies. There were meetings. Consultants were brought in. The client was consulted. And at some point somebody said, 'Yes, that's very nice, the nuns smuggling that dude into their nunnery. Very topical. But I don't like that blanket. Too drab. Can we get someone to put some flowers on it? The difference is, I hope, clear. You don't doodle in gold leaf."

(Carl Pyrdum, 13 February 2012, Got Medieval)




annotationannotationsbookclientcomment systemcommentscommission • commissioned • doodledoodlingembellishmentexpository addendum • fill the space • footnotegloss (marginal notation) • gold leaf • illuminated manuscriptillustrationsinformation in contextmanuscript • manuscript illustrations • manuscriptsmargin notes • marginal illustrations • marginal notationmarginaliamarginsmedieval • medieval doodles • medieval readers • modern doodles • nakednotationnote in the marginnotesnunpage • planned images • planned not doodled • rough draft • scholia • scribbled • scribbled into the marginsvisual depiction


Simon Perkins

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