Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Graphic Design

First Advisor

Hammett Nurosi

Second Advisor

Alicia Chang

Third Advisor

James Goggin

Abstract

Twenty-seven years alive. Sixty-one inches tall. One hundred forty-nine days abroad. How many more units would it take to describe me? What value is derived from this quantification? What quality of understanding does it offer? As human beings, we are constantly measuring our lives and implementing systems of standardization. Throughout history, measuring systems have served as frameworks for our comprehension and navigation of an increasingly complex world. This thesis approaches measurement as a means of revealing and processing this complexity of human experience rather than one that merely simplifies and distills. Through the lens of graphic design, my translation of units of measure from raw data to accessible forms provokes questions and ideas that simultaneously inform my practice and enrich my understanding of human nature as well as the systems and conditions with which we live.

By measuring and systematizing objects, bodies, nature, space and time, abstract concepts can be shaped and made tangible in ways that expand our comprehension of what it is to be human. In my thesis investigation, I highlight the ways we reconfigure the spaces we occupy, the time we spend and the tools we use according to these systematized metrics. Through a range of design methodologies, I approach this investigation as both actor and observer, agent and critic. Inhabiting these complementary roles, I reflect upon our relationship to standardized measurements, and I consider not only what these structures obscure but also what they reveal. By transforming quantitative data into poetic narratives, I expose the personal and emotional realities behind the data and usurp our understanding of measurement as a means of simplification and reduction; I frame it instead as a technology that—when approached critically—serves to amplify and illuminate.

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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