Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Graphic Design

First Advisor

Benjamin Shaykin

Second Advisor

Clement Valla

Third Advisor

Bryn Smith


Speculative Politics—Fictionalized Spectacle posits an alternate model for design practice. Borrowing from the genre of science fiction, this design approach activates consideration of possible realities and cultural forms. It raises questions and invents problems instead of solving them. By imagining technologies, policies, laws, and conditions that do not yet exist, design becomes an agent of investigation to highlight current and future social, cultural, and political conditions.

The projects within this thesis reconsider our present situations through methods of speculative documentation. The act of documentation becomes a process of manipulating notions of truth to render fictions from reality. Using subversion, instigation, satire, and a “What If” methodology, elements from traditional graphic design media are reframed as plausible and possible narratives. Some projects begin as self-reflexive investigations of a particular medium. Others propose possible futures of political organizations through fake collateral, creating documentation out of the unreal. What if the flags of America represented fragment iterations of our sub-nationalities, or if the United Nations was untied from its present, and contradictory, identity. It’s all open to questioning and up for debate.



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