Speculative Design, Design Fiction, Post-Human, Sociopolitical
Graphic design is a powerful vehicle, and can be used to perpetuate status quos, propell society forward, or drag us backward in regression. As a concerned citizen, I’m often preoccupied with these questions: With the power to shape visual culture and information dissemination, why should designers be asleep at the wheel? With the advent of today’s corruption in government, looming climate disaster, and vast array of institutionalized social injustices, what role is there for graphic design? How can this discipline engage with this subject matter critically? How can it imagine and propose viable solutions?
It is my firm belief that design should contribute to solving today’s social, environmental, and political instabilities through engaging in critical analysis of the present and posing tough questions for the future. Sitting comfortably in positions of privilege, designers should use their power for good, and engage with multidisciplinary changemakers and causes. The world needs to heal from the evils of ignorance, and to do so, we must face systemic issues head on with empathy and positivity. I’m interested in moments where design critically engages viewers by challenging them to question their experiences and realities, and helps viewers access their humanity through the vehicle of empathy. My ultimate goal is to generate positivity and empowerment in light of the human struggle.
My work has often bridged the personal and the political. To extend this further, I want to envision a new future based on this agenda. For my thesis, I will play the role of design futurist. Instead of envisioning future products or technologies, I will focus on the future of social structures. Through the use of speculative design, I will situate myself in a post-apocalyptic future 300 years from now where a survivalist colony is thriving in this future state. This new society takes the opportunity to reinvent humanity through a code of conduct based on empathy and scientific reason. Through this exercise, I hope to provoke viewers to contemplate their own role and impact in society, and how we might begin to shift paradigms and structures in order to build a more just and sustainable future.
My thesis book, “Humanity 2.0: Post-Apocalyptic Hope,” is an examination of the visual and creative writing process from start to finish of my thesis work. I chose to utilize repurposed materials to emphasize the recontextualization of materials in the future. Materials include: cut up yellow rain jacket, vinyl, used printmaking studio newsprint, and plastic sleeve. Packet includes zines, post cards, stickers, H2.0 stencil, and municipal language tokens.
Edition of 3 handmade books, 10x15".
To help situate my audience in the time and place for my narrative, I created a pictoral timeline from present day to 300 years in the future. The images show the consequences of humanity's current trajectory and the storytelling of survivalists who manage to come together to rebuild and redefine what it means to be human.
Vinyl cut imagery on reused plastic banner. 1x6'
The Manifesto of Humanity 2.0, is the first document written by my survivalist colony to outline the code of conduct and belief system for all surviving humans after the climate apocalypse.
Canvass, spray paint, vinyl. 9x12'
What kind of information would an office of communications disseminate in a survivalist colony in 2319? I imagined that the tenents from the Manifesto of Humanity 2.0 would be visually promoted throughout the colony. To do so, I created a municipal visual system inspired by highway and street signs in the United States. Some letterforms have been skewed slighly with the evolution of written language, while color and pictoral elements evoke the tension between danger, urgency, and excitement.
Signs made from scrap metal and wood, spray paint, vinyl.
Tokens laser cut from acrylic.
The Office of Communications would also be in charge of rapid information sharing. As a takeaway for my installation, I created a handbook to welcome newcomers to Cradle of Rebirth, and to introduce the new code of conduct for humanity and new municipal iconography for the community. Edition of 160.