Week 6: Response to Ecstasy of Influence and Molotov Man – Iyad Abdi (Chen)

In The Ecstasy of Influence, Jonathan Lethem seeks to decipher the fine line between plagiarism and inspirational iteration. He cites a quote by Thomas Jefferson that I found compelling to his argument, “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine,” likening this intellectual sharing to the passing of a flame from a candle to an unlit taper. Our civilization is built upon this collective pooling of information. As participants of an advanced society, we are license to the information that is available to us. But our effort should be to reiterate and contribute to this collective pool that we all borrow from and are benefitted by. After all, we all speak a language that others evolved; and we then create new words and terms and thereby continue the (lingual) evolution. Iteration is critical to the evolution of art and culture. I can’t help but think of the case of the song Close To You, originally sang by The Carpenters in 1970, then covered by a young Stevie Wonder in a performance through a talk box on The David Frost Show in 1972. Then over 40 years later in 2016, the song was given new life by Frank Ocean who sampled Wonder’s medley over contemporary electronic instrumentals. So I do agree with Lethem, that “artists…who fall into the trap of attacking the collagists and satirists and digital samplers of their work are attacking the next generation of creators for the crime of being influenced… By doing so they make the world smaller, betraying…the primary motivation for participating in the world of culture in the first place: to make the world larger.” 


On The Rights of Molotov Man by Joy Garnett and Susan Meiselas also deals with the complicated nature of reiterated art, but with specific regard to its legalities in the digital age. In the age of the Internet and Google Images where visual content is readily available to us for download, is the use of such sourced imagery (for noncommercial use) still subject to the same copyright legalities? Does a painting of a image infringe copyrights? What about using Google Images photos in a presentation? But in this reading, I enjoyed the part about how the Internet, rather than ceasing the use of Molotov Man’s image in the face of copyright, satirized and meme’d it. But equally important was the ending regarding reclaiming context, and that just because we have the means to reinterpret a work doesn’t mean we should and risk neglecting its original context and mis-decontextualizing it. 

Week 03: Fabrication: Additive & Subtractive Methods – Iyad Abdi (Godoy)

Documented by: Iyad Abdi

Target:Using your 3D modeling skills, create a 3D model that you can 3D print.


I wanted to 3D model and print something architectural. My motive to model my 3D object after the Empire State Building is related to my being a study away from NY. But also the Empire State Building’s design provided a challenge that was neither too easy nor complicated to render using the basic Rhino skills we learned.

Week 02: 3D Modeling with Rhino – Iyad Abdi (Godoy)

Documented by: Iyad Abdi

Target:Create a 3-dimensional model of an everyday object of your selection

Process: In creating my 3D object, I used the method we learned in class of layering 2d shapes and then using the Loft command to connect them into a single 3D form. The everyday object I designed is a lightbulb cover/lamp.

The form is intended to resemble a plume of smoke. If produced in real life, it would be fabricated using a translucent material. I think the double contours would maximize light output while giving the bulb cover an interesting and fun shape.

Week 2: CSS Website – Iyad Abdi (Chen)

SITE LINK: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~iia212/week02/iyad-site/index.html


In styling my website with CSS, I wanted to create something aesthetically minimal to achieve smooth comprehensibility. I started by conceptualizing the exact visual appearance in my head before then putting pen to paper and designing a basic sketch. When I began with the CSS styling process, I first focused on getting the background color exactly what I wanted. For this, I utilized Adobe Color CC and spent a significant amount of time experimenting with multiple shades of beige-white until I found the right balance. Next, I implemented fonts. I already had a font in mind for the header that I had found on Google Fonts: Libre Barcode 128, a font that not only looks cool, but will function to subliminally suggest to potential clients viewing my portfolio that I expect to be paid for projects and collaborative efforts. Header 2’s font was a natural move as Helvetica is just such a tasteful and standard font. The font for the body was decided to be Courier New for its simplicity and to add a natural dated look against the beige background. I found this part of the CSS process to be really enjoyable. Finally, I added tabs navigation tabs (although they are not functional…yet). But right now they serve to indicate the different potential pages accessible through the site. They, too, were assigned Courier New.


Initial sketch


Post-CSS website

CSS Exercise – Iyad Abdi (Chen)


I’ve been having a few challenges with CSS, regarding linking CSS elements to the HTML. And also with properly uploading to to the SFTP server and linking the URL to my netID. Fortunately, I was able to get guidance from our TA, Konrad, at office hours with CSS issues. Utilizing W3 schools is a cool resource for finding proper code elements, but I can’t really learn to code from static sites and slides. I need first hand experience in doing and observation. After hours experimenting I was finally able to get it as close to the objective template as I could. I struggled with trying to minimize the margin between the header and the grid content, though.

Week 2: Understanding Comics response – Iyad Abdi (Chen)

One thing I really liked about the first chapter was Scott McCloud declaring that comics are both and neither art nor literature, and his analytical attempt at defining the grey space where comics reside. I found myself giving in to his propositions that Egyptian hieroglyphs, French tapestries, and sequential woodcuts can legitimately fall under the broad umbrella of comics. Yet these forms of art tend to get more respect than what we traditional think of when we think comics. I found it compelling when he analogized comic iconography to letters, where letters can be seen as abstract icons that derive meaning when grouped in a manner that forms a word. Yet I think this analogy would ring truer for Chinese where characters are meaningful icons in themselves. Also, how too much awareness of a message’s medium (or the messenger in this comic) can detract from our true reception of the message. Scott also speaks about how our awareness and identities can inhabit inanimate objects to where they become extensions of ourselves, such as being in a vehicle or the way we dress. This is something I think about quiet a bit, especially as it relates to clothes. We, as bodies of consciousness, might be the message but our clothes are our medium. So clothes and style in that sense can I either clarify the message in expressing who we are, or alter and confuse based on what one wears. Scott talks about a balance between ambiguity and natural understanding as what facilitates fluid and efficient communication via comics. The subject of Chapter 4, regarding comic structure and visual communication, felt familiar to me since I used to read comics and even write and illustrate my own originals back in intermediate and middle school.

Week 01 Topic: 2D Design & Fabrication – iyad abdi (Godoy)

Documented by: Iyad Abdi

Professor: Marcela Godoy

Date: 9/12/2018

Target:Create a vector design using Illustrator, which can be used to create a stamp, a vinyl sticker, as well as an embroidery badge. Utilize at least two machines to fabricate physical objects.


In designing my two 2D designs on Adobe Illustrator, I wanted to play with concepts of corporate branding and dark juxtapositions of context. I started with the Nike swoosh laid atop the U.S. government’s nuclear fallout shelter symbol. The idea just kind of came to me. I wanted to create something that was a bit humorous but dark: a Nike nuclear fallout shelter. Post-rationalizing, the design might be representative of the current times (in the U.S.): an underlying sense of fear and doom masqueraded by a half-baked assurance that everything is great. This odd pairing creates an eerie juxtaposition—Nike being a symbol of victory and triumph, while the nuclear fallout symbol symbolizes annihilation and destruction. I think this design would look nice embroidered as a patch.

My second design, in keeping with the corporate branding motif, features the Shell oil company’s logo except with the “S” missing. My thinking behind this one was to use the recognizable corporate logo as the design’s basis, then make a small alteration, thereby warping the entire visual reception. I think this one would also look cool embroidered, but I’ll likely fabricate it via vinyl cutter.


iPhone sketch of 1st design


Fig. 1: ‘NIKE / NUKE’

Fig. 2: ‘(S)HELL’



Week 2: Response to Marshall McLuhan – iyad abdi (Chen)

Marshall McLuhan talks about how the technological mediums we create are amoral. Their value, for better or worse, is determined by how we utilize these mediums. So all new innovations come with positive as well as negative effects. McLuhan proposes that content and medium are one and not separate, such as in the case of the cubism movement, where a painting’s value was no longer in the content the painting displayed, but that the painting was the content. Since medium is the message, and message and content are one, McLuhan essentially declares that the way by which a message is communicated will necessarily affect its message. What I found most interesting in this piece was at the end when he quotes C. G. Jung, “Every Roman was surrounded by slaves. The slave and his psychology flooded ancient Italy, and every Roman became inwardly, and of course unwittingly, a slave. Because living constantly in the atmosphere of slaves, he became infected through the unconscious with their psychology. No one can shield himself from such an influence.” I think that line could apply to the paradox of our age of technology and the internet, where the ubiquitous access to information, news, and alerts have kind of enslaved us to the devices that were initially intended to liberate us.

Week 2: Photoshop collage assignment – iyad abdi (Chen)

In creating my photoshopped collage, I attempted to bring 3 seemingly unrelated images and decontextualize them through manipulation of scale, proportion and placement. I began with the Moon surface background, an image by from Life magazine’s archives. Next, I brought in a mid-century era image of a family home scene and manipulated the color to add to its surreality as I placed it against the Moon’s surface. Finally, I incorporated the ‘technical difficulties’ television screen and placed it in the background simply because I thought it looked cool, and also because the colors would give the collage some visual attraction.