A graphic design process directly inspired by the issue it aims to communicate: the relationship between control and anxiety. This has involved an exploration of type and image combinations using analogue techniques that lack aspects of control for the creator. The results have “exposed” the potential in an ambiguous design process. They have also influenced the curation of a similar experience emulating the process and, thus, communicating the presence of anxiety within a post-modern world to the viewer.
Intro [Beginning Stages]
A part of my graduating year at OCADU included a self-guided project allowing students to explore desired ideas, themes, and mediums through an overall research question. I had on the issue of mental health and anxiety, specifically the issue of influences and its misunderstanding/stigma. The initial intent was to question how the feeling of anxiety could be communicated visually, and therefore understood in a different context. After research and further exploration, I started to focus in on the dual role that culture may have in defining the stigma and conditions for one’s experience with anxiety.
Further research and revisions led to a final direction involving a relationship between the “post-modern condition”, creative/design process, and experience of anxiety. By comparing these three, I have started to design an interactive piece regarding how the experience of anxiety may stem from the desire for control (a growing illusion) in a post-modern world of ambiguity.
This is a process book for my first semester of research and exploration. I treated this as a metaphor, in which the viewer is presented a patient document explaining their experience with “process 1” – it includes a journal (my reflections), explorations (the projects I completed), samples of “experiments” (small explorations), and 4 diagrams. These last elements use medical imagery as a metaphor for the matching information, and they also reflect on my tendency to constantly look at the bigger picture.
Shutter Type [Process Experiment]
A part of my final direction with this thesis (regarding anxiety in a post-modern world) includes a personal series of work, in which I have been using techniques that I lack control over - creative exposure therapy. A part of editorial design includes considering the relationship between type and image on a page or spread. I came up with a technique, in which content on a piece of acetate is placed between the shutter and film of an analogue camera. Knowing how light enters a camera, I anticipated the content to block out some of the image data coming into the camera, and therefore appear as a non-exposed area on the negative. The intent was to compose an image without knowing exactly what part of the image the type would block out, and therefore appear. The following images are the first phase of the series – more to come!
Final Outcomes [Exposure]
After experimenting with the shutter type technique, I discovered that it was not just a matter of shadow projection that transferred the content onto the negative – colour was also possible. Without knowing how the coloured acetate would look against the subject matter (shot in full colour), another layer of control was stripped from the process.
One of the major tasks of this thesis was to showcase it to the public in a similar manner. Rather than displaying the series of experiments, I questioned how someone could be invited into “exposure” through an interactive experience.
The public display of “exposure” may be seen as a social experiment. The main content is comprised of the following content using the shutter type technique:
- This is about you.
- This is about the desire and illusion for control.
- This is about anxiety in a post-modern world.
After some digital editing, the pieces were ink-jet printed on a thin watercolour paper. This method made my request to drop liquid (hydrogen peroxide) into plexi-glass boxes (made by me), an onto the prints produce an immediate, visible, and unexpected chemical reaction. The phrase, “just go for it” is the only direction a viewer is given, creating a level of uncertainty and willingness to participate – a process, of a process.