Interesting website – is it really presenting identity?Posted: February 22, 2015
I came across this website called http://www.thewakingheart.com’ which then leads to http://www.abc.net.au/tv/phillipafinch/#/HeartWorks. It is a website based on the ABC television program ‘The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch’.
What I think makes this site successful, is the way it has reflected the cartoon’s storyline through its graphics and function. Furthermore, the site design has effectively captured the sinister undertones through the seemingly heartwarming, happy graphics – a style unique to the cartoon. The graphics being used for the website are identical to the cartoon, and elements of the cartoon’s story are incorporated into the website such as the graphic of the main character flying while sitting in a tea cup is used to take us from one page to the next. The web pages themselves are interactive and have a ‘collaged’ effect.
However, what makes this website special is its function. Ultimately, it is a website that encourages individual expression and portrays identity. The site asks the user to express themselves and their emotions in order to ‘bring [Philipa Finch] to the land of the emotionally fulfilled’. While corresponding with the cartoon’s storyline, this gives the user the opportunity to graphically present their emotions, and in turn, their identity. The user would express their emotions by creating a ‘heartwork’ – an abstract visual artwork that is generated by the user’s emotions.
The heartworksthe users create online are sent to an interactive drawing machine set up in a book shop where the drawing machine forms a large collective artwork that is a ‘physical representation of the user community’s shared emotions’. The site also has a special feature where a camera is set up in front of the drawing machine, to record your emotions being physically drawn in a book shop. While portraying the identity of the main character, the wakingheart.com invites users to express themselves, ‘giving the public the opportunity to contribute to her story’.
Yet how effective are computer drawings in communicating who we are and how we are feeling? The ‘heartworks’ are created by using a template. The work is created according to an individual’s answers to 6 questions. Thus, the user’s individual expression is limited to the site design, and perhaps this may actually suppress individual expression rather than encourage it!
This website was definitely a great find as I work on my own site. My website design criticises this very quality of facebook – the idea of using a similar template which limits the individual to how they can present themselves. Are we really defined by a mere profile picture and ‘informations’ page? Or is it our username, and ‘tagged photos’ that truly presents who we are?