ionicons-v5-h ionicons-v5-f ionicons-v5-f ionicons-v5-k ionicons-v5-a ionicons-v5-i ionicons-v5-e ionicons-v5-h ionicons-v5-l ionicons-v5-j ionicons-v5-g ionicons-v5-g ionicons-v5-i ionicons-v5-k ionicons-v5-g ionicons-v5-g

Open in new window

The poetic story of a state-of-mind. Sharing emotional states through self-illustrated graphic narratives

Graphic narratives have a deep emotional potential which makes them an efficient communication medium. Like our way of thinking and communicating, they are constructed through verbal and visual languages. Visualized simultaneously or intermittently, images and text provide an implicit third level of reading revealed to the reader by following lines on paper. This decoding game creates a feeling of closeness with the author. Perhaps, this illusory intimacy is one of the reasons why many authors use this medium as a vehicle for personal stories where instead of actions, a common emotional state leads the narrative. But how to tell ordinary and unpleasant feelings and still create interest among readers, or even identification? In this regard, illustrations’ potential is remarkable. When reading, our simulative ability to process stories calls upon our autobiographical and episodic memory, which allows us to live the story. We physically and instantaneously feel the prevailing cold in a bluish landscape, or the torments experienced when confronted with the destitute face of a character. But if it is intuitive to make sense of it, the viewer's engagement in graphic narratives relies on the subtlety of the languages used.
Rather than perpetuating Lessing's unfortunate legacy, that is, considering visual languages in opposition to textual ones, the developed graphic narrative Le verre d’eau à moitié vide focuses on texts and images interplays, and thus contributes to understanding what makes graphic novels and illustrated books ideal tools to transfer moods into poetic narratives. It depicts the result of regrets, doubts and dissatisfaction that can be referred to as the disease of the privileged. Indeed, to doubt or regret, it is necessary to have had the privilege of having several choices and subsequently consider that we did not choose the right one.

Curiously, we show complacency while travelling in our own past through melancholy and nostalgia. “If I had done so” allows through narratives, to delve into our memories with a clear tendency to embellish them. Although opening the box of “I could have” is painful, is it not equally delightful to enter the field of impossibilities? However, this vacillation between two temporalities prevents us from moving forward. Hence, the story ironizes the mood and further shows resilience. Knowing full well there is no way out in the reconstruction of the past, the character leaves this floating space and reaches the shore; the present moment.
Basel, 2021