Future in an Uncanny Valley

giovanni.christian.di.iorio

What in the science of aesthetics tends to be called "Uncanny Valley" is a phenomenon linked to the inner discomfort felt by man in the face of things that seem to have some human semblance, but which in reality are only vaguely close to resembling it.

Reasoning through a less circumscribed imaginary version of this phenomenon and the feeling of despondency generated by it, the book in question chooses to group and present a dose of general existential pessimism, reasoning on a human, global, social, and non-human scale. All of this, told through a variegated Cyberpunk aesthetic, which adapts well to the climate of human discomfort that is intended to be encapsulated through the digital manuscript in question.

HUMAN?

FUTURE

IS AN

UNCANNY

VALLEY

Designed by

Giovanni Christian Di Iorio


WARNING

Hi,

I hope this message finds you well.

If you’re reading this, it means I somehow managed to channel

all the negative emotions and thought I’ve collected in these

stressful days and finally made them into a proper semester

project artifact.

I’m sorry for the screensaver cover. I know it may feel misleading,

but the cover was just there in order to gather some interest

around the artifact, not to reflect the actual content beyond

an aesthetics phylosophy thing.

Aside from that, system is currently being restarted, and you’ll

OS Version: 24.6.1 – Copyright: GCD Ltd.

be soon brought back to the initial menu.

Check the available files. Some of those readings might be of

your enjoyment.

Ciao for now.

Giovanni Christian Di Iorio


SYSTEM MESSAGE

SCROLL DOWN TO READ


CP_05_MAN/MAN

CP_06_COMFORT ZONE

CP_07_POP CULTURE

OS Version: 24.6.1 – Copyright: GCD Ltd.


CP_08_PERSONAL NOTES

TECHNICAL NOTES_CREDITS

_NETWORK CURRENTY UNAVAILABLE


INTROD

CHAPT


UCTION

ER 01


8

Don’t worry, you may likely experience

some sort of emotional

unease while looking at the following

pictures.

It’s perfectly normal, and it is

intentionally made so.


9

CONTEXT _

WHAT’S THE

UNCANNY VALLEY?


10

To quote the good old Wikipedia:

in aesthetics, the Uncanny

Valley is a hypothesized relationship

between the degree of an

object’s resemblance to a human

being and the emotional response

to such an object.

不 気 味

The concept suggests that

humanoid objects which imperfectly

resemble actual human

beings provoke uncanny or

strangely familiar feelings of eeriness

and revulsion in observers.

“Valley” denotes a dip in the

human observer’s affinity for

the replica, a relation that otherwise

increases with the replica’s

human likeness.

の 谷 現


11

Examples can be found in robotics,

3D computer animations and

lifelike dolls.

With the increasing prevalance

of virtual reality, augmented reality,

and photorealistic computer

animation, the “valley” has been

cited in reaction to the verisimilitude

of the creation as it

approaches indistinguishability

from reality.

The uncanny valley hypothesis

predicts that an entity appearing

almost human will risk eliciting

cold, eerie feelings in viewers.

The concept was first identified

by the Japanese robotics professor

Masahiro Mori as “bukimi no

tani genshō” in 1970.

The term was then first translated

as “Uncanny Valley” in the

1978 sci-fi book Robots: Fact,

Fiction, and Prediction, written

by Jasia Reichardt.


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13

50

25

0

-25

-50

-75

-100 -75 -50 -25 0

25 50 75 100

Mechano-humanness score (-100 to 100)


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The reason that lead me to

discuss and express some of my

thoughts through such a strange

concept are tied into my personal

interpretation of human behaviors

when facing important situations,

and sometimes issues.

Sometimes, I think we’re already

living an uncanny valley. Often I

think we’re already in deep shit,

but hopefully there’s still hope

for us all, or some.


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16


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ARE WE

ALREADY

LIVING

OUR OWN

UNCANNY

VALLEY,

BY ANY

CHANCE?


TIME AND

CHAPTER 0

SYSTEM CLOCK

_TIME IS YOUR ANXIETY

PUT INTO NUMBERS


CHOICES

2

CET+1

_NO TIME TO HAVE WASTE TIME


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TIME, PAST AND PRESENT

FOR BURNT NORTON

“T. S. EL

OF FOUR


21

IOT”, NO.1

QUARTETS

Time present and time past

Are both perhaps present in time future,

And time future contained in time past.

If all time is eternally present

All time is unredeemable.

What might have been is an abstraction

Remaining a perpetual possibility

Only in a world of speculation.

What might have been and what has been

Point to one end, which is always present.

Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

Into the rose-garden. My words echo

Thus, in your mind.

But to what purpose

Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves

I do not know.

Other echoes

Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?

Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,

Round the corner. Through the first gate,

Into our first world, shall we follow

The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.

There they were, dignified, invisible,

Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,

In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,

And the bird called, in response to

The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,

And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses

Had the look of flowers that are looked at.

There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.

So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,

Along the empty alley, into the box circle,

To look down into the drained pool.

Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,

And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,

And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,

The surface glittered out of heart of light,

And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.

Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.

Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,


22

BUT WAIT!


THERE’S EVEN MORE OF THAT!

23


24


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Translated by DVM, from “Le

possible et le réel”, pp. 99-116 in

La pensée et le mouvant, P.U.F./

Quadrige, 6th edition, according

to which it first appeared in the

Swedish journal Nordisk Tidskrift

in 1930. The French text is online

HERE.

Translation taken from the

website Bergsonian.org

HENRI BERGSON_

THE POSSIBLE

AND THE REAL


26

I would like to come back to a subject on which

I have already spoken, the continual creation of

unpredictable novelty that seems to go on in the

universe. For my part, I believe I experience it at

every instant. My attempts to represent to myself

the details of what will befall me are in vain: how

weak, abstract, diagrammatic they are in contrast

to the event that actually happens! Actualization

brings with it the unforeseeable little nothing that

changes everything.

Say I have to attend a meeting; I know what

people I’ll find there, around which table, in which

order, for the discussion of which problem. But

once they come, sit down, and start chatting as

I expected them to, once they are saying what I

thought they would — the whole scene gives me a

new and unique impression, as if it had now been

drawn in one creative stroke by the hand of an

artist. Goodbye to the image of it I’d made myself,

that simple juxtaposition, thinkable in advance, of

things already known! This scene may not have the

artistic worth of a Rembrandt or a Velasquez; very

well, it is every bit as unexpected, and in this sense

every bit as original. Now I may be charged with

simply not having known the details of the situation,

with not having had the people, their gestures,

and their attitudes at my disposal, and therefore

with mistaking a simple overflow of details for true

novelty in the whole. But I have the same impression

of novelty in the unfolding of my inner life.

And I experience it more vividly than ever when I

exercise my will, bringing about an action of which

I am the sole master.

If I deliberate before acting, the moments of

deliberation arise in my mind like the successive

sketches, each unique, that a painter would make

for his picture; the act itself, becoming accomplished,

can realize as precisely as it likes what has been

willed and hence foreseen, it will nonetheless take

an original form.

—Fine, one might say; there may be something

original and unique in your mental state, but matter

is repetition: the external world obeys mathematical

laws; a superhuman intelligence that knew the

position and velocity of all the atoms and electrons

in the material world at a given moment could calculate

any future state of this world, as we ourselves

do for solar and lunar eclipses.

—Ultimately I’d agree with that, if it were only a

question of an inert world (and despite the controversy

that has sprung up on this question, at least

for elementary phenomena). But such a world is

only an abstraction. Concrete reality contains living,

conscious beings, that are framed all around by inorganic

matter. I say living and conscious, because I

take whatever lives to be conscious in principle; it

becomes unconscious in practice when consciousness

goes to sleep, but, down to the very regions

where consciousness slumbers, in the plant kingdom

for example, there is structured evolution,

definite progress, aging — all the external signs of

abiding that characterize consciousness.

And why should we talk of inert matter into which

consciousness can only be inserted, like a picture

within a frame? By what right does the inert come

first? The ancients imagined a World Soul that would

ensure the continued existence of the material

universe. Pruning this concept of its mythical aspects,

I would say that the inorganic world is a series of

repetitions, or of infinitely fast quasi-repetitions,

which sum to visible and predictable changes. I’d

compare them to the oscillations of a clock pendulum;

the one ticks off the progress of a spring’s


27

progress as it unwinds, the other sets the tempo of

life for conscious beings and measures their abiding.

This is how living beings abide essentially —

they abide precisely because they are constantly

developing something new, and because nothing

can be developed without research, which always

begins by slowly feeling one’s way forward.

TIME IS THIS VERY HESITATION,

OR IT IS NOTHING AT ALL.


28

If you take away consciousness and life (and you

can only do this through artificial abstraction, since

the material world, once again, may necessarily

imply the presence of consciousness and life), you

will indeed get a universe whose successive states

are theoretically calculable in advance, like juxtaposed

images on a film reel before it unwinds.

But in that case, what good is the unwinding?

Why does reality deploy itself this way? Why

couldn’t it decline to be deployed? What good is

time? (I’m talking about real, concrete time, and

not this abstract time that is only a fourth dimension

of space.)

Such was the long-ago starting point for my

reflections. Some fifty years ago, I was very keen

on Spencer’s philosophy. One fine day I realized

that time had no purpose, that it did nothing. Now,

whatever does nothing is nothing. And yet, I said

to myself, time is something. Therefore it does

something. But just what can it do? Basic common

sense answers: Time is what prevents everything

from being given all at once. It holds back, or rather,

it is identical to holding back. It must therefore be

development. Wouldn’t it then be the vehicle of

creation and choice? Would time’s existence not

prove that things are undetermined? Would time

not be this very indeterminacy?

If this opinion is not shared by most philosophers,

it’s because human intelligence is made precisely

to take things the other way round. I say intelligence,

not thought, not mind. For besides intelligence,

each of us has the immediate perception our

own activity and of the conditions under which we

exercise it. Call it however you like; it is the feeling

we have of being creators of our intentions, of our

decisions, of our acts, and thereby of our habits,

of our character, of ourselves.


29


30


31

AS CRAFTSMEN OF OUR OWN

LIFE, AND EVEN AS ARTISTS

WHEN WE SO DESIRE,

WE CONTINUALLY WORK AT

KNEADING THE MATTER

GIVEN US BY THE PAST AND

PRESENT, BY HEREDITY AND

CIRCUMSTANCES, INTO A

UNIQUE FORM, ORIGINAL,

UNFORESEEABLE AS THE FORM

A SCULPTOR GIVES TO CLAY.


32

We are doubtless aware of this work and its uniqueness

while it goes on, but the essential thing is that

we do it. We don’t need to delve into it deeply; we

need not even be fully mindful of it, any more than

the artist need analyze his own creative power.

On the other hand, the sculptor must know the

technique of his art and everything that can be

learned about it. This technique concerns above

all that which his work will have in common with

others’; his materials’ requirements dictate it, to

him and to all artists. It concerns that part of art

that is repetition or manufacture, and not creativity

proper. On this the artist focuses his attention, or

what I would call his intellectuality. Likewise in the

creation of our character we know precious little

about our own creative power; to learn more would

require us to turn back to ourselves, to philosophize,

to swim against the current of nature — for

nature wants action, and has hardly ever thought

of speculation.

As soon as we go beyond simply feeling our inner

élan and thereby assuring ourselves that we can

act, as soon as we bend thought back on itself so

that it might grasp this power and capture this

élan, our difficulty becomes great, as if we had to

reverse the normal direction of consciousness.

On the contrary, we have the greatest interest

in familiarizing ourselves with the technique of

our action, that is to say in extracting, from the

conditions in which it operates, everything that

might furnish us general rules and recipes to base

our conduct on. Our acts will have newness only

thanks to whatever repetitive sameness we have

succeeded in finding in things. Our normal faculty

of knowledge is therefore essentially a power to

extract whatever is stable and regular in the flow

of reality.

IS THIS A M

PERCEPTIO


33

ATTER OF

N?


34

Perception takes up the infinitely repeated perturbations

that are heat and light, and contracts them

into relatively unvarying sensations: trillions of

external oscillations crystallize in our eyes, in a

fraction of a second, into a vision of color. Is this

then a matter of mental conception? To form a

general idea is to abstract from diverse and changing

things a common aspect that does not change,

or which at least offers our activity a solid handhold.

The constancy of our attitude, the sameness

of our potential or virtual reaction to the multiplicity

and variability of represented objects — there

you have the hallmark of the generality of ideas.

Is this, finally, a matter of understanding? That

would simply be to find links, to establish stable

relations among passing facts, to draw out laws

— a task that admits of perfection, insofar as the


35

relation is precise and the law mathematical. All

these functions are constitutive of intelligence.

And intelligence, being a close friend of the stable

and the lawlike, attains truth insofar as it sticks to

whatever is stable and lawlike in reality, to materiality.

In this way it touches one side of the absolute,

just as our consciousness touches another

when it grasps within us a perpetual blooming of

newness, or when, more expansively, it sympathizes

with the boundlessly regenerative work of

nature.

The error occurs when intelligence claims to

comprehend this latter aspect as it comprehended

the first, and employs itself in a task for which it

was not made.


MAN/MACHINE

CHAPTER 03


FP_PRINTER IS RUNNING

GOING DIGITAL


38

“Ever since the first computers, there have always

been ghosts in the machine. Random segments

of code that have grouped together to form unexpected

protocols. Unanticipated, these free radicals

engender questions of free will, creativity, and even

the nature of what we might call the soul. Why is it

that when some robots are left in darkness, they will

seek out the light? Why is it that when robots are

stored in an empty space, they will group together,

rather than stand alone? How do we explain this

behavior? Random segments of code? Or is it something

more? When does a perceptual schematic

become consciousness? When does a difference

engine become the search for truth? When does

a personality simulation become the bitter mote...

of a soul?”

Dr. Alfred Lanning

(I, Robot, directed by Alex Proyas 2004)


39


40


41


42


43


44


45


46


47


48


49


50


51


SOCIAL BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS


MAN/SOCIETY

CHAPTER 04

TRACKING: ACTIVE


54

WE’VE REACHED A POINT WHE

WE LIVE IN A DATA


55

RE WE CAN EASILY SAY THAT

-DRIVEN SOCIETY


56

ELKE SCHWARZ,

AARON MCKEIL,

MITCHELL DEAN,

MARK DUFFIELD,

DATAFYING THE GLOBE: CRITICAL INSIGHTS

INTO THE GLOBAL POLITICS OF BIG DATA

GOVERNANCE

DAVID CHANDLER


57

The promise of Big Data for international relations and global governance

needs to be critically understood as containing inherent problems

and limitations. Two broad cautionary themes integrate the

insights raised in this collective discussion into the problems and

limitations of Big Data for international relations and global governance.

First, this collective discussion highlights the difficulties involved

in the notion of using Big Data for predicting future trends and for

policy guidance in the sphere of international relations and global

governance. Schwarz analyses how the promise of using Big Data for

improving the future necessarily entails the difficulties of interpreting

data from the past for future policy and practice. McKeil argues

that the promise of Big Data for international relations and global

governance implies a “datatopian” future global order of continuously

adjusting global security and development systems that is ultimately

an unobtainable global order, because every adjustment for

risks creates new risk correlations. Dean draws out how the narrative

of Big Data’s promise for improving future international relations

and global governance through algorithmic governance is shaped by

eschatological preconditions. Duffield argues that through the application

of Big Data to development and security global governance,

the global North is testing its future in the post-colonies of the global

South. Chandler suggests that the use of correlational knowledge

for international relations and global governance necessarily limits

possible futures.

Second, this collective discussion puts a clear focus upon the inherently

political nature of the application of Big Data to international

relations and global governance. Schwarz argues that the interpretation

and coding of data is an inherently political activity. McKeil

highlights that the ambition of a “datatopian” global order, even if

ultimately impractical, enables political shifts in the modern mode

of global political culture and practice. Dean spotlights that it is the

hubris of the promissory narrative of Big Data which enables a new

algorithmic governmentality. Duffield’s analysis points to the emergence

of Big Data governance as not a beginning but rather the

end-point of international retreat and a politics of remote governance.

Lastly, Chandler argues that the “datafication” of governance entails

an ontopolitical normalization of political problems as phases in a

modular process, rather than as aberrations of practice.

It seems unlikely that the drive towards Big Data-driven understandings

of international relations and global governance is going

to abate anytime soon. This collective discussion cautions that the

dynamic behind this appears to have less to do with Big Data’s

success in traditional problem-solving terms and more to do with an

underlying transformation of both the approach and the aspirations


58

MAN/MAN

CHAPTER 05


59


60

There’s a features that accumunates almost every

person on this planet. For some is the only drive to

push forward druing everyday life. For some others is

just a method to verify that things are being managed

in the proper way. Then for others more it’s perceived

as a natural instinct of our sentient species.

SEARCHING FOR

MORE POWER AND

RECOGNITION


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62


63


64


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NOTHING WRONG

WITH ALL THAT,

IN THEORY

Growth is sure achieved also when it’s about career

we’re talking about. Not only in terms of money, credentials

or networks and links, but also internally.

Growing makes us feel improved, keeps us engaged

into putting our best efforts in everything. However,

human beings are also rather sentimental and “versatile”

when it comes to change behavior to serve their

own needs, even if that doesn’t make any logical sense.


66

FOR ONCE THOUGH, LET’S TAKE ALL T

THIS TIME WE MAY USE A CLASSIC AS


67

HIS MODERNITY AND SET IT APART,

AN EXAMPLE OF MAN BEING MAN!


68

LUCA DE BIASE

LIKE RENZO’S

CHICKENS

“Lascio poi pensare al lettore, come dovessero

stare in viaggio quelle povere bestie, così legate e

tenute per le zampe, a capo all’in giù, nella mano

d’un uomo il quale, agitato da tante passioni, accompagnava

col gesto i pensieri che gli passavan a

tumulto per la mente. Ora stendeva il braccio per

collera, ora l’alzava per disperazione, ora lo dibatteva

in aria, come per minaccia, e, in tutti i modi,

dava loro di fiere scosse, e faceva balzare quelle

quattro teste spenzolate; le quali intanto s’ingegnavano

a beccarsi l’una con l’altra, come accade

troppo sovente tra compagni di sventura”.


69


70

Renzo goes to Azzeccagarbugli and to repay

him for the service he asks for, he brings him four

capons. These chickens are destined to end badly

all together: they are companions of misfortune

but they can’t find anything better than attacking

each other.

It wasn’t just Manzoni who thought of comparing

humans to chickens. But in some cases the metaphor

becomes tremendous evidence. In a phase of

global crisis, with climate change already beginning

to disrupt the most diverse ecosystems, with social

polarization increasingly desperately separating

those who are inside and those who are outside

the dynamics of economic value generation, with

the unequal distribution of knowledge and educational

opportunities, humans find nothing better

than to argue over an impressive amount of details,

dividing themselves into regions, nations, tribes,

bell towers, ecochamber... At this stage it seems

that dozens of heads of state, thousands of parties,

millions of social network users have understood

that if they want to conquer a piece of power they

must vehemently attack someone else, generating

consequences difficult to forget and wounds

difficult to heal.


71

Humans have always quarrelled, unfortunately.

But there are times when conflicts are functional

to modernization. There are other eras in which

an ideology or an elaborate form of thought leads

humans to war, revolution or struggle. There are

conditions so unsustainable and sudden that they

generate revolts that are less thought out but easily

interpreted because they are based on facts that

unite the many suffering and separate them from

the privileged few. But the current quarrel seems to

be a technical consequence of the communication

system: the power of social networks is such as to

allow certain forms of quarrelsome, accusatory,

behind-the-scenes, conspiracy-rigging behaviour

to obtain sufficient traffic and attention to build a

power that can be exercised in some way. The only

thought, in these cases, is not in the people who

speak but in the design of the platforms they use.

On the net one can still build a sort of collective

intelligence of humans capable of addressing important

issues, from climate to social and economic

inclusion. But to build it, it is necessary to rethink

the platforms so that they encourage behaviors

oriented to quality information, methodologically

correct deliberation, participatory decision making.

All these are unifying objectives. Such as to create

conditions for collaboration: in the community, in

communication, in commons...

Se non si fa nulla, i polli continueranno a beccarsi,

fino a che non finiranno nella pentola di qualche

azzeccagarbugli.


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COMFORT ZONE

CHAPTER 06


73

73


74

FAR FROM HOME,

FAR FROM FREEDOM


75

When I started thinking about how to set up this

project, I already knew that I also wanted to dedicate

a small part of it to my personal experience.

In particular, considering the curious circumstances

that characterized the second semester of university,

I found it cathartic and useful to have these

few lines of spontaneous creative freedom.

I’m not even sure anybody is actually reading this.

Partially because this is an editorial project for a

graphic design task, so it’s unlikely than anyone

would ever care to anything except font pairings,

layout, compositions or something that is either

readable in few seconds or stunning enough to

deserve some less superficial attention form the

reader. Also, some more pages and content may be

well-accepted in order to give a bolder appearance

to a book which isn’t even supposed to be printed

in any traditional wauy.

Let’s just say that part of this chapter is deeply

personal, and part of it is assignment-driven.

Anyway, the point is: as many others in Italy,

and in other parts of the world, I had to endure a 2

months long lockdown in order to arginate further

spreading of the Covid-19. I was luckier than others,

since I’ve spent my quarantine days in my student

residence, so we weren’t really alone by ourselves,

but that doesn’t mean everything was easy.


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77


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My lockdown period wasn’t just about social

distancing, online college classes, remote working,

video calls with family and friends.

What came out of it was first and foremost a

confrontation with myself.


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ME AND MY


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ONLINE LECTURES

ASSIGNMENTS

MORNING COFFEE

HOMEMADE PIZZA

CHEESECAKE

WORKOUT SCHEDULE

WHATSAPP TEXTS

FACEBOOK MESSAGES

INSTAGRAM STORIES

TEAMS/ZOOM CALLS

DOOM ETERNAL PLTHR.

MUSIC PLAYLISTS

ANXIETY

LAZYNESS

SELF-ESTEEM

CONFIDENCE

MASKS

FEAR

CONVERSATIONS

MEDITATION


POP C

CHA

82


83

ULTURE

PTER 07

>>


84

ARE YOU

IN SEARCH OF

ENTERTAINMENT?


85

If yes, I’ve got you covered. Understandably, after all the

though stuff we’ve briefly discussed – well, that I or others

have – you may just want to sit and relax a bit. Maybe you

want to read some good and cheerful books. Or sitting in fron

of a console or computer and play colorful and fun videogames.

Or maybe you’re one of those “sofa, wine and movie”

people and a good old movie it’s just your thing to regenerate

after minutes spent working hard for your future.


C

C

C

86

OUR PRIVATE COLLECTION

INTERESTING STUFF TO C

C

C


87

IS FULL OF

ONSUME!

ONSUME!

ONSUME!

ONSUME!

ONSUME!

ONSUME!


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Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

Faculty of Design and Art

Bachelor in Design and Art – Major in Design

Course: Project Visual Communication

Course title: Order & Eccentricity

Summer Semester 2020

Design by:

Giovanni Christian Di Iorio

Book | Future is an Uncanny Valley

Supervision:

Project leader: Prof. Antonino Benincasa

Graphic Design: Prof. a.c. Emilio Grazzi

Theories and languages of visual communication:

Prof. Emanuela De Cecco

Format:

4:3 spread aspect ration

Fonts | Font Sizes & Leading:

Body Text

Saira Regular

24/36 pt

Caption Text

--

--

Subtitle Text

--

--

Layout Grid:

6 Column Grid

Module Proportion

--:1

CPL | Character per line - Body Text:

Title Text

--

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