Date of Award

Spring 6-2-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Graphic Design

First Advisor

Bethany Johns

Second Advisor

Cem Eskinazi

Third Advisor

Tim Maly

Abstract

Field Guide is a collection of studies that explore how symbiosis relates to graphic design. These studies investigate how visual language constructs — and is constructed by — ideas about nature.

As a manipulator of language and imagery, I borrow the ecologist’s methods in order to make sense of our relationship with the natural world. My techniques include observation, collection, mutation, framing and recombination. I use these methods not to celebrate them, but to expose their subjective nature.

I approach visual language, technology, and our ecological home as an entangled set of ideas rather than estranged categories. My work investigates how power is linked to optics and perception, how evolution is a common creative language, and how the divide between ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ is increasingly blurred. Overall, these studies are based in a desire to reveal symbiotic interactions.

The products of my inquiry embrace murkiness, blurriness, and interconnectedness. They highlight ecosystems rather than isolated details. They complicate the categories in which we place matter. I do not intend to rationalize information or provide answers. I strive to to raise questions about the relationship between what we make and who we are.

A guide can act as a document for identifying things that already exist, or as an assemblage of methods and tools to direct further creation. For my practice, this field guide acts as both.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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