0.0 Abstract

train blur

Shift, in concept and method, is a view on empirically based graphic design.

Inviting constant shifts of perspective—from one place, position, direction, or person, to another—I assume the stance of observer and documentarian of the transitory. My work, which operates in the liminal space between ordinary and extraordinary places, things, and people in everyday life, is a time-lapse archive (whether in print or on screen) of localized experience. Within this role I capture the “qualitative data” of my daily commute, both as record of the everyday, and as a perspective on a culture in motion. The blurred color gradient of dawn seen through the window of a speeding train, the minute observations of a tattered ticket stub recording the travel zones in eight point Helvetica type, or the off-glances of the commuters trying to ignore the quotidian space, are the fragments that construct a document of the rituals of everyday life.

Shift is an inquiry into an empirically based graphic design methodology based on a process of observing and synthesizing amid constant flux, organized into three parts: first, intuition enables me to understand that my surroundings are the primary source for design inspiration. Second, transformation is formulated by using tools such as still photography and video to capture my intuitions. Then, I distill, edit, and reflect on the captured footage in order to uncover the essence of the original inspiration. Finally, feedback occurs when the transformed content is presented in a new context: whether it be a printed matter, a video vignette, an interactive screen project, or a physical installation. Although the process is based in science, it is anything but rigid or didactic. I do not seek predetermined outcomes so much as the awareness necessary to inspire further explorations—whether mine or that of others—in this method.

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abstract v.15

Newfound: an empirical method through the lens of graphic design investigates the “ordinary” and the “extraordinary” in everyday life. This process aims to observe our surroundings and to translate them into new narratives through the lens of graphic design. Awareness of “ordinary” objects, actions, experiences, and routines such as looking out the window of a moving train during my daily commute—from Boston to Providence—or at the ticket stub each passenger receives along the way enabling me to collect a database of inspirations for design experiments. At the same time, I am observing and questioning “extraordinary” events, places, and phenomenon: a sunset over the city of Boston as I look out my living room window, or a grand landscape across the countryside as I travel by it. Although these events are spectacular, I believe there is a threshold between the two categories: they have equal visual value and meaning if I translate them through an empirical method of graphic design.

The structure of this empirical method is to observe and contemplate all around us for inspiration; to capture through tools such as still photography and video; and finally, to distill, edit, and present the captured footage in order to uncover the essence of the original observation and transform its content into a new context: whether it be a printed matter, a video vignette, an interactive screen project, or a physical installation. This method not only frames my creative process, but also encourages a shared process for a wide audience to discover and observe our everyday.

thesis thoughts: unfound

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to best communicate my thesis. It has much to do with what I see everyday. I just came back from a trip to Kentucky and saw some beautiful horse farms on the outskirts of Lexington. There was a spot off one of the roads that said scenic viewpoint. This really made me think about my thesis. Why is this spot pointed out? While the gentle hills, iconic barns, and pristine stockade fencing were stunning, there were equally as many striking and artful images to be found in the ordinary or the “unfound,” most only existed for a moment in time.

I want to find the extraordinary in the ordinary and the beauty in the mundane and I want to share it with others. I want to stop people in their tracks, make them alter their routines for brief moments, and then shake them with the gorgeousness of the everyday. I want to be a part of sharing the beauty I find, so that others can share in this joy.

My thesis acts in a three-part process: as an operator, as a spectator and as the presenter. As an operator, I observe my surroundings and capture them through still photography and video. As a spectator, I review the captured footage, and am often bewildered by the new form it takes. I then distill and edit the footage to uncover the essence of the original observations. Finally, as the presenter, I transform the content into a new form: whether it be a printed matter, a video vignette, an interactive screen project, or a physical installation.

This thesis enters into a dialogue with the work and theory of other artists with similar concerns: the artist, Robert Rauschenberg, whose “combine” projects take objects off the street recontextualizing them into a new form of painting and sculpture; the photographer, Eadweard Muybridge, who photographs the movement of humans and animals and translates them into frame-by-frame still imagery to reflect this process; the filmmaker, Michel Gondry, whose films warp perception by using everyday objects to perform surreal experiences; and the historian, Michel de Certeau, who uncovers systems of the everyday as a process that includes all of us in it.

My work aims to be accessible to a wide audience and to represent new scenic viewpoints in our everyday. I look forward to uncovering Graphic Design in the details as well as the majestic moments of the everyday in order to transform and share my perspective with others.