Carolyn M Bloomer, Ph.D.

My Works


"Cultural Modes of Information Perception: China and Japan"
Eurowestern designers often assume that certain design principles are universal. However, typical examples from the design field clearly show how such tacit assumptions may actually limit or even doom design success when transplanted to a different culture. Surprisingly complex ramifications are demonstrated in dimensions such as directionality in reading visual information, phonetic vs. logographic writing, kinesthetic empathy, unmarked space, pictorial perspective, facial expressions and gestures.

An alternative model for conceptualizing the communication process is presented, and new strategies are suggested for encoding information for Asian audiences.

Invited key-note address at
International Institute of Information Design Conference:
The Republic of Information: Designing for Global Communication
Carnegie Mellon University, 1998

CHINA THROUGH FILM: A Guide for American Viewers
This book, which relates Chinese films to Chinese cultural history, will be of great interest to fans of Chinese films as well as to students of film studies and Asian culture and movie reviewers. The manuscript is expected to be finished by January 2007.

If you are interested in being a critical reader for this manuscript as it nears completion, please contact the author.

THE NEW CHINESE WOMAN: CALENDAR POSTERS IN 1930s SHANGHAI
In Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s, wildly popular calendar posters and advertisements, magazines and movies, promoted a glamorous vision of the modern Chinese woman. This confident and materialistic new creature wore fashionable westernized clothing and hair styles; she used brand-name soaps, cosmetics, medicines, and mosquito repellants, she smoked British and American cigarettes, and her (sometimes scantily clothed) image was used to promote flashlights, sugar, sewing thread, textiles, and other products made by both Chinese and foreign manufacturers (including Palmolive, Standard Oil, J.P. Coates, and the British American Tobacco Company).

The male artists who produced these posters were themselves influenced in various ways by western illustration styles in magazines such as Ladies Home Journal and Illustrated London News, and by publicity photographs of popular western film actresses, elements of which they integrated with traditional Chinese compositions and symbols. Interestingly, later in the 50s and 60s -- these illustration styles would be used by the Communist Party in posters promoting a new socialist China.

Now a highly collectible genre, these posters present a fascinating historical study.

Ringling School Library Association, Sarasota FL
2005-06 Art Lecture Series
DVD + DVD w/PowerPoint Slide Show / Videotape, 2006. 60 min.

FROM BEIJING TO SHANGHAI BY TRAIN, Summer 2000 铁路风景:从北京到上海 2000 年下
Footage shot from window during 17-hour overnight train trip; soundtrack uses music by George Gao, award-winning erhu player, who fuses traditional Chinese melodies with jazz.

Studio Ray Videotape 2002, 25 min.


Behind China's Great Wall
In December 2003, a delegation from Sarasota FL(including Mayor Richard Martin, Dr. Carolyn Bloomer, and four other official City/County representatives from education, arts, and business) accompanied patrons and actors from Players Theatre on a cultural exchange visit to Guizhou Province, China. Dr. Bloomer's commentary is prominently featured.

Videographer: Kenneth Strawn
PBS/WEDU DVD, 2004. 55 min.

CHINESE NEW YEAR'S PICTURES AND THE EMERGING MARKET ECONOMY
Changes in the centuries-old popular art of Chinese New Year's pictures express changes in cultural values as traditional symbols come to be replaced by consumer-oriented imagery influenced by modernization campaigns and transnational corporate marketing.

Museum of Asian Art, Sarasota FL
"Perspectives on Asia" lecture series, 2001.
Studio Ray Videotape, 2001. 60 min.

"Skin Color, Ethnicity, and Graphic Infrastructure in Mass-media Images"
A five-level analysis of "visual facts" in the composition of journalistic and advertising images clearly exposes ways in which racist attitudes toward people of color, Asians, and Latinos are subliminally reinforced.

Based on papers and presentations given at Columbia College (Chicago, 2001), Ringling College of Art and Design (Sarasota FL 2001), Southeastern College Art Conference (Louisville, 2000), and various other sites.


"Peace, Ghosts, and Innocence"
Human responses to color are more cultural than biological -- and understanding cultural meanings is essential for designers.

ADOBE MAGAZINE, March/April 2000:88

"The Multicultural Designer"
Importance of cultural awareness and literacy for graphic designers.

CRITIQUE: THE MAGAZINE OF GRAPHIC DESIGN THINKING. Spring 1997.

"Tweaking the Envelope"
Ways in which graphic designers may reconsider the dynamic interface between design and audience.

CRITIQUE: THE MAGAZINE OF GRAPHIC DESIGN THINKING, Summer 1996.

"What Makes Us Look?"
The importance of basic principles of visual perception for graphic designers.

CRITIQUE: THE MAGAZINE OF GRAPHIC DESIGN THINKING, Summer 1996.

Selected Works

Visual Perception
PRINCIPLES OF VISUAL PERCEPTION, 2nd revised edition
Relates everyday visual experience to psychology, culture, and art.
"What Makes Us Look?"
Basic principles of visual perception for graphic designers.
Information Design
"Cultural Modes of Information Perception: China and Japan"
Ways in which viewers read design elements and text are not universal, but involve crucial cultural differences in perception and cognition.
Chinese Film
CHINA THROUGH FILM: A Guide for American Viewers
While Chinese movies reflect specific cultural histories, their meanings are variously constructed by different audiences. Book mss in progress.
1930s Shanghai
THE NEW CHINESE WOMAN: CALENDAR POSTERS IN 1930s SHANGHAI
Behind this highly collectible genre lies a fascinating historical study.
Music Video
FROM BEIJING TO SHANGHAI BY TRAIN, Summer 2000 铁路风景:从北京到上海 2000 年下
Footage shot from train window accompanied by Chinese-jazz fusion erhu music.
U.S.-China Cultural Exchange
Behind China's Great Wall
PBS/WEDU documentary of American cultural exchange delegation to Guizhou Province, China.
Chinese Economy
CHINESE NEW YEAR'S PICTURES AND THE EMERGING MARKET ECONOMY
Consumer-oriented values gradually replace traditional symbols in popular art.
Subliminal Racism
"Skin Color, Ethnicity, and Graphic Infrastructure in Mass-media Images"
How attitudes toward people of color are reinforced in journalistic and advertising images.
Color and Culture
"Peace, Ghosts, and Innocence"
How color symbolism varies across cultures.
Graphic Design
"The Multicultural Designer"
Developing literacy for designing across cultures.
Visual Communication
"Tweaking the Envelope"
A new look at models of communication for graphic designers.

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