Narrative over a specific time within a specific space

fig 1 – Whitby night time-lapse

Above is a graphic by the digital artist Richard O’Neill. It illustrates the silhouette of Whitby’s lighthouses on the pier against a night sky full of star trails. ‘Star trails are the continuous paths created by stars produced during long-exposure photographs.’ They ‘reflect the earths rotation, or spin on its axis’ which usually takes a ‘period of about 23 hours and 56 minutes’ (McClure, 2019). The graphic is a good indication to the viewer of the passage of time through the patterns created over time by the stars. 

I feel that this graphic follows a similar principle to the example in which Tufte used for his space and time theory. His example demonstrated how you can show the narrative over space and time through the movements of the dancers feet. This was shown visually through the musical notes as the patterns on the floor. On my chosen graphic, the narrative of space and time was shown through the patterns created by the stars.

fig 2 – Trans world airline travel poster

Above is a travel graphic which aligns with Tufte’s theory of space and time. It’s a vintage travel poster for the airline company ‘Trans World Airline (TWA)’. The graphic depicts a TWA airplane flying over Manhattan in New York at either sunrise or sunset.

I feel that it shows a narrative over a specific space and time, mostly by the fact that the airplane is clearly visible in the image. It infers that it has either just embarked or is just arriving, either to or from the destinations listed underneath. The trails in the river created by the various boats indicate movement and time. The sunrise/sunset is also used on the poster to indicate that a certain amount of time has lapsed – either a new day is just dawning or the day is now ending. 


(fig 1) O’Neill, R (n.d.) Whitby night time-lapse [Poster]. Available online: [Accessed 19/10/2020].

(fig 2) Trans World Airlines/Soltesz, F (c. 1950’s) Manhattan, New York – trans world airlines twa – vintage airline travel poster [Poster]. Available online: [Accessed 19/10/2020].

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