Saturday, July 29, 2006

Coat hangers: advanced labeling of the subject

Sixixis CityScape coat hangerSee previous post: Coat hanger: creating variations of an idea with X-versions

With this approach I use a more advanced method to label my X-version. In the previous post my labeling of the coat hanger was simple, such as:

City version
Name version
Fictional-city version

With this approach I use adjectives (and words/phrases with an adjectival function). I create a list of adjectives and, considering the coat hanger, form a prompter question in the format:

How X is it?

where the 'X' is an adjective chosen from my list.

There are two ways to respond to the prompter questions. The 'retort' method and the TAD (to a degree) method.

The Retort Method

Suppose that my random adjective is "glass". My prompter question reads:

How glass is the coat hanger?

For my "retort" I can say "It's not glass, it's wooden". Thus "wooden" becomes my "X" for my X-version:

Wooden version of coat hanger.

I can then go on to consider alternative materials for the coat hanger. Plastic coat hangers and metal coat hangers are obvious choices, but the methods discussed in the previous post can expand on these possibilities.

The TAD (to a degree) Method

With the TAD method I consider how the adjective in the prompter question is true to a degree. For example, if my random adjective is "mountainous" then my prompter question reads:

How mountainous is the coat hanger?

Usually I would consider that the hanger isn't mountainous in any way or form, but I want to consider how this is true to a small degree. Perhaps I could say:

The coat hanger is mountainous in that it has buildings of varying height, like the mountains in a mountain range.

Now I use this information to create the "X" for my X-version:

Buildings-of-various-heights version

and I can use that at the start of my search for alternatives, as discussed in the previous post. Here are some initial thoughts:
With my focus on the varying heights of the buildings I can consider the possibility of varying the heights of the buildings even more -- maybe some of the buildings could extend beyond the frame of the coat hanger? Another assumption uncovered there -- that the thing depicted by the coat hanger must be inside the frame.

More examples of the Retort and TAD methods using random adjectives

Random adjective = liquid. Prompter question = How liquid is the coat hanger? Retort = It's not liquid, it's solid. TAD = It's liquid in that some human sweat will be on the hanger.
Solid version:
Alternatives possible: half solid/half liquid version. Idea: perhaps a hanger made of clear plastic with a 'snowstorm' kind of effect inside?
Human-sweat-on-hanger version:
Alternatives possible: versions totally covered in sweat. Thought: the sweat would have a cooling effect; what about coat hangers that warm clothes? (A slight tangent there.)

Random adjective (actually, a random word forced to function as an adjective) = book. Prompter question = How book is the coat hanger? Retort = It's not a book, it's a coat hanger. TAD = It's a book in that you would probably read the name of the manufacturer on the hanger.
Coat hanger version:
Thoughts: why not consider other types of coat hangers and clothes racks? Idea: A coat stand with a city depicted in some way? A Nelson's Column coat stand perhaps?
Features-the-name-of-the-manufacturer version:
Alternatives: a coat hanger that features the name of the owner? Idea: caricature versions sent as a gift?

Random adjective: lively. Prompter = How lively is the coat hanger? Retort = It's not lively it's static. TAD = It's lively in that it moves about when you remove your clothes from it.
Static version:
Thoughts (cheating a little by considering a homonym): static electricity could give the hanger a charge. Idea: dab the buildings on the hanger with fluorescent paint so that they glow at night as though light is coming from the windows.
Moves-about-when-you-remove-your-clothes-from-it version:
Idea (an interesting tangent): some means to prevent coat hangers falling off the rail when you remove clothes.

Random adjective: free. Prompter = How free is the coat hanger? Retort = It's not free you have to pay for it. TAD = It's free in that wood comes from trees, which grow freely from the ground.
Have-to-pay-for-it version:
Thoughts: an alternative way to pay for a coat hanger? "Buy X, get a coat hanger free?" What if: the lower bar of wire on cheap wire coat hangers from dry cleaners was twisted to form the name of the dry cleaners?
Wood-from-trees version:
Thoughts: finding another source for the wood? What if you could have a coat hanger made from old junk furniture? Also, what other ways could old furniture (or any household waste, in fact) be used constructively?

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