Boom! The Sound of a Perfect Idea Landing

Alex Walker

The Medium IS the Message.

The S,M,L,XL is the message.

This phrase was coined by Marshall McLuhan back in the mid-60’s. Marshall was an influential writer and thinker who also gave us the term ‘global village‘.

He argued that the effects of a newly-invented media on society – i.e. books or television or movies – were much more important than any individual piece of content created for that media.

McLuhan passed away in 1980, but his ideas came back into vogue in a big way with the rise and rise of the internet. He’s a poster-boy for the BoingBoing generation.

Today I just wanted to feature a piece of design that may be the most breathtaking blends of a message with the perfect medium that I’ve ever seen.

Solidarités International, an international humanitarian organisation, was looking to mark World Water Day with an awareness campaign that highlighted the scourge of undrinkable water.

Animation: A droplet of ink follows the water paths, creating the image of a child's face

In this amazing video spot, Clément Beauvais starts by creating invisible water paintings on greaseproof paper. The water beads and sits on top of the paper in clear rivulets.

But now comes the magic!

Animation: Skull image is created with a droplet of ink.

With an eyedropper, Clément adds a single droplet of ink to the water and instantly darkness surges through the watery shape. It’s amazing to watch the images loom out of seemingly nowhere.

There’s also something weirdly psychically uncomfortable about watching the clear water get ‘corrupted’ by ink.

It’s as much a performance as an artwork, as Clément has to time his drips perfectly to create the right tonal balance.

Message in a Bottle (of Ink)

Animation: The image of two crows materializes before our eyes

The main purpose of this Clement’s work was to engage the help of journalists to focus public attention on the issue of water contamination.

And of course, the core message is?

‘Your ink can help make an invisible problem visible’

To me this is almost the perfect case of: Message + Medium = Masterwork.

Watch the complete video here.

Originally published in the SitePoint Design Newsletter.