Vitaly Kolesnik's Personal Website

Prose Poem: The New Beginning

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Thoughts sweep through my head, but I’m waiting, looking out of my train window. A spark is about to ignite, a miracle to happen, as the forest suddenly ends and a vastness opens up—plowed fields, the white circle of the sun above the mirror of the waters, a city in a milk haze and blue mountains on the horizon.

Find, inside yourself, in your darkness, the path, so obscured from the outside. Abandon the habitable to make room for the Spirit. Become the black of plowed land, the emptiness of a spring sky, the inconstancy of a mountain river, the quietude of the roots of age-old trees.

The new comes imperceptibly, quietly, as grass grows under the melting snow. The old is no more, and the sun continues to rise above you, the sunlit air is still fresh, and the winged shadows of the clouds, your castles in the air, still float along the land despite they were being blown into tatters on yesterday’s wind. The fields are wider, the mountains higher, and cleaner is your sight washed by the spring. What was genuine in the soul did not die, it was only waiting for its hour, like a grain buried in the dirt.

A child in an azure coat is clutching a lollipop in his chubby fingers; a herd of sheep is grazing on a hillock; an old man with a dog, motionless, looks at my train passing by.

Everything hidden, unspoken, unknown inside my soul settles into the images that the road offers so generously. They form the unbreakable alloy from which time casts the dream bell with its unique note. At some point, it seems that I’m about to catch it, but suddenly the space between us opens up, filling fast with endless fields, and only the spirit, soaring up like a bird high in the sky, is able to briefly see its horizons.

To rise above the world—and stay in it, in the very thick of things, in tightness and tension, struggling for every inch on the way to the goal, where sweat and blood, pain and thirst meet. It’s our body that proves the truth.

A vast space opens up before my eyes again, with plowed fields, a city on a hill, and blue mountains behind. The meaning of all things could fit in one spot now, like the white circle of the sun caught in a pond’s mirror.

The world acquires its true dimensions—those of my childhood when I didn’t try to master it.

The eternal child in an azure coat is still blissfully clutching a lollipop in his chubby fingers, and still rampant is the despair of the mortal man who has crossed the midlife threshold.

The moment lasts forever. Generations come and go before my astonished gaze, and the first people, laughing, still stand in the city gates, meeting the spring sun.

The exiled gods return to their homes.

First published on Steemit

When Dreams Come True

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Philosophers say our desires are always already fulfilled, so we better desire wisely, asking ourselves, what is most important. Our dreams always come true, but not always as quickly as we would like. It depends on the speed of the changes inside us, because if a dream becomes a reality, it means that we begin matching this dream. This process of alignment doesn’t happen quickly, and it is also absolutely organic—we cannot buy it, as well as we cannot impose it on ourselves.

In every moment, we are best fitted to the present reality—as within, so without. It means that everything is good the way it is… and everything is going for the better, because evolution continues.

In times of change, both in the soul and in the world, growth, however radical, occurs on the roots already present. Therefore, being yourself and knowing yourself is just as important as improving yourself and changing your life. Every person has a certain set of internal axioms that does not change throughout life, and that’s good, because it can serve as a support for us. After all, we can rely only on ourselves, drawing strength from our inner well that is directly connected to the ocean of evolution.

When dreams come true, a new age comes, both in the soul and in the world, an age when expansion is replaced by maturation, the outer by the inner, when the horizontal development is raising into the vertical of spirit that recognizes the mortality and limitations of the body, but retains faith in immortality … and the sense of humor.

First published on Steemit

The Age of Abundance: DAOs are Coming

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We are already living in a situation of abundance, or more precisely—at the point of transition from non-material to material abundance. Here’s how.

The first step towards the age of abundance was the era of the soul, or an abundance in humanity’s psychic life: the world of prehistoric people was densely inhabited by gods and spirits. Ancient myths, symbols, and archetypes formed the basis of religion and culture of the first civilizations.

This cultural foundation gave birth to philosophy which then became the mother of all sciences. So came the second step—the era of the mind, or abundance in the sphere of thinking and rational knowledge crowned with the emergence of modern science.

The rise of science made possible the advent of the third era—the era of machines. Science-based technology has in turn made the processing of matter cheap and affordable. And now we are on the threshold of the fourth era—the era of material abundance.

Many material problems today have already been solved for a large number of people and, perhaps, they would have been solved for everyone, if not for the still prevailing nineteenth-century-world mentality based on the outdated axiom of the scarcity of world resources, as well as greed, miserliness and the habit of the Powers that Be to solve all problems using violence.

Until almost two hundred countries are fighting fiercely for a place at the helm of the Spaceship Earth, world poverty won’t disappear, because the resources that could be directed at its elimination are spent on the struggle of governments against each other and the arms race.

Blockchain technology made possible for the first time in history the emergence of self-governing, self-funding, autonomous communities that can act globally without a central direction. It means that problems that can’t be solved at the level of centralised entities like states or multinational corporations, including the problem of poverty, can be solved by direct interaction of people organised in decentralised autonomous communities.

And while really big projects in this sphere are yet to emerge, the first experiments are already here, with Manna, Steem, Golos blockchains among them, plus some ambitious EOS-based projects like ONO coming in the second half of the year. A lot of niche community projects like for example Steem Basic Income or WhaleShares are well underway. My bet is that this year will show us an impressive growth with many opportunities coming. And this is only beginning.

First published on Steemit

Visual Literacy Part 3: Space in Design

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Space is the first and most important element of design language. Space in design is more important than any objects flying in it. It’s an endless abyss encompassing all design elements and existing before object/subject separation.

In traditional visual art, the most important element is the main object depicted, while the less important is the background. In industrial art, the object has no importance as such — it’s abstract. There is no top and bottom, left and right in this space, only in and out. And this space does not equal a background.

This concept of space in visual arts was first introduced by the suprematist movement — instead of being positioned relatively to the ground, objects are floating in the air. The position of an object relatively to other objects, as well as its other parameters like form, size, or color, is defined exclusively by its role and meaning.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Supremus_55_(Malevich,_1916).jpg

Space is not empty, it’s charged with energy. Every object placed into this space activates this energy and creates force vectors by interacting with the frame and other objects.

Forces

We can say that the use of this kind of space is an important characteristic of good design.

Our perception needs free space to balance the information overload we meet — that’s why they say «Less is more» in good design: less content with more space and stronger visual emphasis works better than the other way round.

That’s why a good book layout uses space generously for margins and line spacing.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aristoteles_opera_aldus_1495.jpg

That’s why a good website layout uses space generously for sections, columns, buttons, distances between elements.

lewismalpas.co.uk, 2013

It should be noted that design elements can be organised in space differently depending on whether a designer uses a constructivist or an expressionist approach, but the role of space is equally important in both cases. We will talk about this in more detail in one of my next posts.

First published on Steemit

Free Verse Poem: Your Time is Now

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Your time is now,
pink cherries blossom.
You are the truth,
are you still true to it?

My train runs faster,
raindrops slide down the window glass,
and the thick rain stirs a pond,
my soul, as I pass along.

A boundless sea splashed once
where horses are plucking grass,
and wet tiled roofs.
on hillslopes bathe in clouds.

In childhood, tears flowed without shame,
and laughter was a sincere joy.
The rain poured down, you waltzed with her
and were just friends.

And now you write poems,
not crossing out anything,
free as a bird
and waltzing with your soul.

Raindrops slide down and blur the spring
where horses are plucking grass,
where hillslopes bathe in clouds,
where your path disappears.

The smallest hills are ancient mountains.
The tiniest pond connects to the sea.
The most faithful way is hidden in clouds.
You are the truth; your time is now.

First published on Steemit

Visual Literacy Part 2: How Graphic Design Has Been Born

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Graphic design in its modern version is a phenomenon not known until 20th century. By this time all the elements of graphic design language have matured. Beautiful book layouts which existed since time immemorial are good examples of book layout, but not of graphic design. They appeal to the perception of a pre-industrial man (who is still certainly alive in all of us, that’s why we’re still capable of enjoying classic art). On the other hand, graphic design isn’t an art in a classic sense, or let’s say it’s an art by engineers, for users.

The birth of graphic design has been very rapid in terms of historic time. The whole transition started with the impressionist movement in the second half of 19th century and ended with the Black Square by Kazimir Malevich and abstract compositions of Piet Mondrian in early 20th century.

The language of graphic design has evolved in four stages departing from objective art which reflected the outside world to subjective art reflecting our inner world.

1. Color

Before the Impressionists, the art was closely tied to observed reality (while never identical with it of course). On the other hand, graphic design is abstract in its nature.

The emancipation of art which led to the birth of graphic design started with color:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Claude_Monet_-_The_Houses_of_Parliament,_Sunset.jpg

Color freed from the need to correspond to an object became pure emotion and established itself as one of the primary elements of graphic design.

Here’s an example of poster design using color (and form):

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Julius_Klinger_-Hermanns%26_Froitzheim_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

2. Space

The next step was space emancipation. Moving away from the laws of perspective and distance, space turned out to be an encompassing abyss, sky, cosmos, the basis of the new expressive language.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gandalfsgallery/4811188791

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vassily_Kandinsky,1923-_Composition_8,_huile_sur_toile,_140_cm_x_201_cm,_Mus%C3%A9e_Guggenheim,_New_York.jpg

submethod.com

3. Form

The departure of form from object became the next step of evolution leading to modern graphic design.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fresnaye_conquest_of_air.jpg

4. Object

At the fourth and final step, object has disappeared altogether, ceasing to be the focus of artist’s attention and giving space to a free expression of ideas, thoughts, messages. Graphic design has been born.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kazimir_Malevich,_1915,_Black_Suprematic_Square,_oil_on_linen_canvas,_79.5_x_79.5_cm,_Tretyakov_Gallery,_Moscow.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Composition-with-red-yellow-and-blue.jpg

tumblr.weandthecolor.com, 2013

Summary

The four key stages of development of the graphic design language radically transformed the most important of its basic elements, namely color, space, and form, and laid out the foundations of modern visual design.

First published on Steemit

Poem: Your New Spring

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Beyond the threshold of the known,
in misty fields where herds graze,
in wet forests where snowdrops whiten,
your new spring is born.

Everything is familiar and everything is different.
In every drop of the dew, life is pulsing.
You don’t yet know your might.

There’s no story like your story,
there’s no power like the one you’ve been given,
there’s no way like your way.

Neither straight nor crooked,
neither by foot nor on horseback,
neither by land nor air.

No man, the messenger of peace,
has set foot here for thousands of years,
but children play here every day.

For thousands of years, dark mountains have risen
where the hills were once covered with blossoming cherries
and horses lazily pastured on green grass,
where a boundless sea splashed before
and the Spirit of God moved upon the waters.

The first spring of the world,
your new spring.

Birds soar into the sky,
wheat roots grow into the ground,
fields burst with colors.

First published on Steemit

Prose Poem: The Spring of Life

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The fields are sown, and green sprouts stretch towards sunlight.
Crosses mark trees to be cut down this year.
A gentle-gray overtone of warmth pervades the sky.
A few more twilight chords, and the May song of love and roses will begin.

I bow before the mystery of life
filled with light and shadow, like a sunny forest,
like a sparkling pond where nothing happens,
with the overturned sky shivering in it, and a merman smoking his pipe.

Things are good the way they are.
The gods live here, in the ordinary world,
and the stories our grandchildren will retell are rooted here.
The fields are sown, and the invisible work progresses underground.

A paradise garden where songs, games, and dances fill the time.
A boundless womb of ​​the possible,
where whales and dragons, mermaids and monsters
are performing their eternal play.

When stories are born into the world, they flare with glory,
and one small deed becomes a miracle bigger than all things possible.
And yet the everyday life is still the Mother of all
I bow before.

First published on Steemit

Visual Literacy Part 1: The Language of Visual Design

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With this post I begin a series of posts dedicated to the language of visual design. I believe it could prove helpful to visual designers of all kinds.

The series will combine my 20+ years experience as a graphic designer, later web designer and now frontend developer, my design school studies, my own learning and my experience as a teacher of Design Director online course.

In this first post, we will start our design journey by talking about what design is not. My point here is that good visual design couldn’t be reduced to any single aspect of it, be it illustrative art, decoration, composition, or anything else.

Design ≠ Layout

A mere organisation of information isn’t yet visual design in a modern sense as it lacks emotional impact. Nevertheless, the art of giving the information a correct structure is the basis of good design (while not the substitute of it). The information structured correctly and using other elements of the language of visual design, like space and typography, becomes a masterpiece even without using imagery. Klassegrafik website is a brilliant example of it:

http://klassegrafik.de/

Design ≠ Illustration

This one is harder to accept but still easy enough. A quality illustration adds a lot to a good design but again isn’t the substitute of it… Even if it’s a pretty girl 🙂

http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/8199966989

Design ≠ Decoration

This is the trap many unexperienced designers fall victim of most often. Randomly adding decorative elements to a design doesn’t make it any better, quite the contrary.

http://thegraphicsfairy.com/free-victorian-clip-art-advertising-with-pretty-girl/

Summary

Quality visual design in modern sense of the word is a play of many single design elements. I selected seven elements of the language of visual design for this post series: space, form, color, type, imagery, composition, and logic.

In the next post you will learn about how they were introduced to the graphic design scene and what impact they have on a good design. Stay tuned!

First published on Steemit

Facebook, Steemit and Social Media’s Decentralized Future

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A thoughtful article mentioning Steemit has recently appeared at CoinDesk. The author reflects on how social media can be transformed for good from their current state which he describes very vividly with the words I can only agree with:

The platform he [Zuckerberg] oversaw has killed inquisitiveness and open-mindedness, promoted form over substance, undermined the journalistic pursuit of facts and damaged our democracy — all in the interest of gathering and organizing our data so that we could be sold off as packages to platform advertisers.

Blockchain can be part of the solution by fixing the problems of centralised online media, such as the unashamed exploitation of user content and personal data with zero reward.

In my modest opinion, sometimes things are even better than the author supposes. He says:

Any truly decentralized blockchain won’t have the on-chain capacity to handle the masses of data and billions of posts that any large-scale system would run.

EOS claims it has this capacity. In fact, it’s being built with Facebook-size apps in mind. In its recent release, Dawn 3.0, they have moved from a Steem-like 3 second block interval to a 0.5 second interval, and announced that «Dawn 3.0 only implements a fraction of the potential optimizations that will allow EOSIO to scale.» So, in my view, scaling is only a short-term problem.

Another point I don’t fully agree with is related to Steemit’s «Trending» tab:

One limitation can be seen with the upvoting model in Steemit, which rewards top voted stories with steem tokens and which invariably results in posts about Steemit itself rising to the top of the trending ranks.

My point of view is that Steemit (as well as Facebook by the way) isn’t a «best content first» platform at all, unlike Medium for instance. Steemit’s «Trending» tab shows the balance of powers inside the community, as well as our Facebook feed shows the «balance of powers» in our friend list (which also includes Facebook itself). Don’t forget that one of Steemit’s core ideas had once been one of a Mutual Aid Society. With the coming of paid voting bots things have changed, but not towards displaying best content anyway. But that’s another story.

I deeply recommend to read the article to discover many important questions with no evident answers that need our thinking.

First published on Steemit