Description: This project aims to refine notions of ethical design within the commercial communications industry and investigate the potential for actionable support to ethical practice. It intends to provide a unique aggregation and distillation of ethical design wisdom in the format of a comprehensive, foundational guide to assist practitioners in exploring their ethical potential and encourage the sustainable, dynamic development of a more socially and environmentally responsible practice. Though the “responsible design movement” continues to flourish, predominant perceptions of the marketing, advertising, and design industries remain largely negative (Heller & Vienne, 2018, p.103). A profit-above-all focus has resulted in public notions of an unethical industry complicit in perpetuating gratuitous consumerism, reflexive media consumption (Harris, 2016) and gross racial and gender inequality (3% Movement, 2018). Industry discourse indicates a heightened awareness about the perils of commercial work (Schwab, 2018) and employees are increasingly primed (Deloitte Millennial Survey, 2018) to participate in efforts to address today’s most pressing issues, in and outside of the design industry, like diversity, ethics, gender equity, climate action and socially responsible consumption and production (AIGA Design Census, 2017, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, 2018). Arguably, however, design literature has had little to offer in terms of actionable support for the employee’s desire for purposeful work (Garrotem, 2017). Ethics discourse in communication design has largely centred on the dissemination of idealistic manifestos (100 Years of Design Manifestos, 2014, Monteiro, 2017), organizations denouncing the unethical aspects of industry (Ico-D stands against crowd-sourced competition for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 logo, 2016, Schwab, 2018, Time’s Up®/ Advertising, 2018), and publications celebrating aesthetics in visual case studies for public-sector clients (Resnick, 2016, Simmons, 2016). This project explores a history of ethical design discourse, popular publishing in the area of ethical design, and expert interviews and surveys with over 130 practicing professionals. The research reveals an industry that has long focused on problematizing design’s complicity in capitalist endeavour. It has been said that for designers to effectively address the world’s problems, design must first free itself from its position as a tool of advertising (Garland, 1964, Papanek 1971) and separate itself from the hegemonic market economy (Fry, 2009, p. 80, Walker, 2013, p. 446). While there is probable partial truth to this suggestion, it is often impractical and, at times, impossible for a practitioner to leave the industry altogether. Given the multi-billion dollar size of the Canadian communications industry (Fuller, 2016), it is in our best interest to develop a means to effectively support the thousands of industry- employed practitioners (Graphic Designers - Canada Market Research Report, 2018) to realize an ethical practice within their existing work-life structures. Research findings have supported the development of ten ethical design archetypes under which over 130 actions toward ethical practice are organized. The book-as-thesis has been designed with an intention toward accessibility, inclusivity, and clarity in order to provide practitioners of many ilks with the practical knowledge to realize a more ethical practice.
Description: [Expanded Everyday] Is a framework for augmentation of place that uses appropriation and digital interventions of unnoticed everyday objects, events, and memories collected through physical and conceptual explorations of urban space. My practice-based research departs with observations and explorations throughout urban space searching for an interventionist opportunity of unnoticed, unimportant, and forgotten everyday urban assets that belong to an everyday public dimension of the city. An always-present network of assets emerged from the visual language spoken by the city. These found assets are dismantled and re-purposed through visual experiments, and transmuted into parodistic digital appropriations, where their tangible nature blends into the digital realm through processes of hijacking and reconfiguration of their original function and purpose. I explore the confrontation of my work and the observers, the instant when they recognize the quotidian object in the artwork, and the one when later, makes them recognize the artwork in their quotidian experience. It is during that aftermemory where the political possibilities of my work are triggered in the observer's inner narrative. An interest in the city, a concern with its inhabitants, and an awareness of its potential as a site of transformative change began in 1999 as I fostered my artistic practice through experimentation in graphic design while developing an investigation about visual representation of popular culture in Bogotan society. I am setting a navigation point in the period where graphic design, art, digital media, the city, and the objects that live in its public space began to interact in a system of relations that have been evolving as important influences in my artistic practice since then and that are now formally developed in the context of this Master’s thesis project. The second chapter will revise the idea of the everyday as a subject of investigation, guided by the theoretical discussions developed in France during the fifties and sixties by authors such as Henri Lefebvre, Michel De Certeau, Guy Debord, and Georges Perec. I will revise the Situationist strategy of Derive and explore how the interruptions created in my work can open a political space for critical thinking and production of new meaning in contemporary urban life. The revision of the studio components of this thesis will begin with a brief analysis of two digital works inspired by the activist project Little Mountain Project (2012). In this analysis, I will review how a design commission for the project encouraged the production of a generative art piece inspired by the concept of disappearance, while at the same time opened a space for revising the tensions and crossings of the relation of art and design in my work, as well as the separation that I have imposed in my practice from graphic activism. Subsequently, this theoretical and historical material will be revised through the main body of work of my thesis project: Pedestrians Obey Your Signals, which operates alongside my definition of the everyday, and my understanding of the artwork as an interrupter in the quotidian perception of urban space. I will set in place the theories and ideas above exposed and revise in detail four animated works that compose this series.
Description: The art-based thesis project, Word Finding, is currently being produced through dialogue and conversation. Beginning with a community process and finally being realized in an art context, Word Finding asks larger questions about authorship and public discourse. This work and others described here challenge the reliance on fixed authorship in the way Foucault imagined a future marked by distributed authorship. In Word Finding authorship is continually distributed amongst the work’s participants and audience. This project builds on my earlier art practice where I investigated the way words spoken within a social context produced instability of meaning –how they were interpreted, retold and translated between people. To contextualize this project and my practice in general, I present case studies that provide a variety of models for dialogical art strategies. Linda Duvall and Kutluğ Ataman have produced artworks in which the respatialization of unscripted talking in aesthetic contexts enables a level of audience engagement. Methodologies surrounding dialogical and participatory art forms are discussed here with respect to key texts by Mikhail Bakhtin, Grant Kester, Claire Bishop and others. As an art project, Word Finding investigates the integration of communitybased dialogue and aesthetic use of dialogue within art contexts.
Description: This paper is in support of my artist-based thesis research entitled Aurora. My practice is interdisciplinary with a focus on installation and sculpture, consistently engaged in questions surrounding culturally inherited power structures and resulting modes of representation. This thesis research critically investigates what is understood as “traditional” in North American domestic ornamentation through considerations of complicated and intertwined histories, commerce, personal memory and taste. This paper provides an art historical and contemporary art context for this line of artistic investigation. Focusing on contemporary artists, this paper seeks to highlight the current discourse around culturally inherited materials, in particular of those from hybridized cultural identities. Drawing from theorists engaged in Marxism, post- structuralism, post-modernism; a nuanced understanding of ornament as a commodity and social signifier is highlighted. An account for the breadth of my material research is outlined in this document, focusing on three major works that were exhibited in defense of this thesis, Aurora, Secret Garden and Like Countless Men on Horseback. A focus is emphasized around sets of gestural responses to materials; these are drawing, casting, tracing, folding, cutting, and staging. These gestures invite viewers to think through their own understanding of domestic ornamentation and inherited social structures, as they focus on perceptions of appropriation, nostalgia, monumentality and memory. This paper concludes with implications of this research. That networks of associations to the self, class and history resound through the maintenance of domestic ornamentation. These networks are not static and fluctuate through trend, social norms and ideas surrounding domesticity. Thus it is paramount that in the creation of works invested in this dialogue that ambiguity is facilitated to gain entry into layered, and possibly contradictory associations to the ornamentation of the home. The accumulation of my cultural identity, lived experience, influences and biases will continue to be investigated and articulated through my practice vis-à-vis symbolic socially constructed materials and beliefs.
Description: The scope of my graduate thesis identifies and explores design strategies to consider how the manipulation of textiles can stimulate engagements between humans and the materials they engage within the built environment. The experimental installations of the research seek to encourage interactions between people and textile-based artifacts to contribute to the consideration and formation of dynamic spaces. This research investigates how to provoke gestures of makers and non-makers through interactive designed artifacts that occupy a determined space. The adaptability of the artifacts are created within the installations, simultaneously dynamic in both time and space, which elicit corporeal actions. Through time spent with the materials in a determined space, participants access and align the forms they create with their own narratives and musings. The majority of the material experiments within this research focussed on design within a textile architecture. Structural forms with spatial implications emerged from the experiments. More specifically, the concept of spatial vitality was explored through responsive textile forms and artifacts with lighting. A Material Reflective Research approach was developed in the early stages of the design process, which later shifted from an emphasis on practice-based research to practice-led research. The research described started with a dominant lean towards an internally focussed material exploration of the designer and evolved to an approach that sought to create interactive experiences for people. Throughout this process, a wide range of materials and techniques were explored as means for spatial vitality to occur between the maker and the material. The outcomes of this process took the form of a lighting installation for people to experience a transformation of their imagination within the space of the design. This study not only addressed the significant contemporary design issue of the complex relationship between people and objects, but also aimed to gain a deeper and more meaningful understanding of materiality through design and action in a poetic space of performative interaction. Through the design of a multi-sensorial lighting installation people were invited to engage and to respond through various actions, gestures, and movements, expanding the experience beyond vision. This interrelationship between participants and artifacts intends to enhance an awareness and appreciation of life, both of theirs and artifacts. Animating Material connects people with designed artifacts, such that a passive observer could become an active participant in a dynamic and symbiotic reciprocity, a conversation with performative textiles.
Description: This thesis is made up of a 35mm film, reinsertion, and a praxis paper that investigated my film processes and research, concerning the missing and murdered women of Vancouver. The catalyst was my experience living in a city in shock during the Pickton Trial. In 2007 Robert Pickton was charged with 26 counts of First Degree Murder. He was tried and found guilty for six out of a possible 26 murders that took place on his pig farm in Coquitlam. My goal was to create a film that positions the responsibility of the murders on the City of Vancouver, its police, City Hall and residents. My research focused on my personal experiences in the community and feminist discourse. Through the creation of an experimental film about the murders, I explored ideas such as authorship, experiential art and absence as representation. Simultaneously, the film subliminally communicates the trauma of the aforementioned women. This thesis pursues several key questions: Can a city be a sexual predator? Who has the right to tell a story? Can film emote without narrative? It concludes that a society, by inaction, can condone atrocities, that the stories we tell are inherently our own and that trauma can be communicated through subtle movements, gestures or objects.
Description: My research has consisted of a series of artworks that are aimed at identifying effective methods of generating an immersive experience that gives pause for reflection. Art for me is a transformative process that increases awareness of self. Art transcends many boundaries making it a unique form of communication with an audience where words can often fall short. Building on my history of work with the medium of stone, my artistic investigations have led me to examine how process, scale, material, craft and form can be effectively employed to create an immersive experience with the art object. My artistic creations have taken the form of sculpture and painting. Relevant to my practice are the artists Mark Rothko, Isamu Noguchi and Rachel Whiteread and theorists Clement Greenberg and Martin Heidegger. My research explores the effects of an immediate experience with the art object as a technique to absorb the viewer. Precision of craft is employed as a method to elevate the significance of materials and form. Materials are understood in terms of their density, weight and psychological impact. Perspective distortions and defying the expectations of the viewer can serve to destabilize and lead them to re‐establish their ground. Different processes are explored as a way to give living qualities to a static object.
Description: This thesis outlines the various approaches, processes, and works that I used throughout an ongoing negotiation between my professional routine as an employee with the Government of British Columbia and my work as an artist. The process of negotiation is actualized within what scholar Michel de Certeau has termed ‘grids of control’ and makes use of tactics (as opposed to strategies) that are negotiated through a practiced based on walking, interactive installations, and text that aim to collate, destabilize and amplify everyday repetition and patterns. Within an artistic discourse where the context ―social, political or otherwise― is of primary concern, my practice neighbours that of artists including as Francis Alÿs, Barbara Kruger, Cathy Busby, and Jenny Holzer, who each deploy a variety of methods and tactics that disrupt social spaces and text- based rhetoric. Detailed in a series of chapters, the works Thread (2013), Walking & Writing (2014), Doppelgänger (2013-14), Stalemate (2014), and You Just Never Quite Know (2015) are outlined as important exploratory steps towards the use of various tactics to create an idealized opposition, and a way to subvert control from the ‘disciplinary powers’ embedded in the patterns of everyday routine, and Speech from the Throne (2014) and (2015) as the cumulative works of this process and my graduate research.
Description: The following essay includes information that surrounds my investigations into the human desire to invest in objects. This writing accompanies questions concerning systems built for, by, and with things, as well as the possibilities of breaching those boundaries. Explorations around what becomes available in this stuff when significance becomes both flexible and untethered are considered from separate, sometimes overlapping vantages within my practice. Using complicate, devotion, dualism, evidence, fraternize, gap, interpretation, naiveté, riddle, and unsettle as anchor points, I contemplate the real and sensual, the emotional and physical, experiences that objects provoke in all types of possible relationships.
Description: The benefits and necessity of play for children have been well researched and documented. This project looks into unstructured and spontaneous play—activities that could encourage confidence and creativity—in the context of contemporary outdoor playgrounds and adventure playgrounds, and how playground instructions (both overt and covert) and the general design characteristics of these playgrounds affect the way children play around them. The proposal developed within this project suggests possible ways of merging the best characteristics of adventure and contemporary playgrounds into solutions that offer increased opportunities for spontaneous and unstructured play for children from a speculative design standpoint. It also touches on additional considerations that could situate the proposal into more plausible solutions: for example, reconfiguring an existing site’s components to enhance it, or utilizing an otherwise unused parcel of land, amongst others.
Description: As concerns in public healthcare come forward as priorities in British Columbia through observation of data, literature reviews, critical incident or political will (A.KING, PERSONAL COMMUNICATION, FEBRUARY 2015) a designer/design researcher is rarely involved at the forefront of a proposal phase, or early stages of strategy. Instead, design interventions take place when the findings have concluded, and results in visual form need to be communicated to stakeholders (reports, brochures, posters, websites, etc.). This Master of Design Thesis, the Social Health Project (SHP), challenges the traditional health-industry/design relationship, and explores the potential of design-oriented research methods to aid in the development of healthcare services and initiatives. The SHP Draws on research that pinpoints design innovation to be in the centre of three realms: feasibility, viability and desirability (STANFORD D. SCHOOL). Through consultation with healthcare professionals, literature reviews and ethnographic research (feasibility), interviews with caregivers, health professionals and co-creative activities (desirability), the Social Health Project describes a model for designers to use when working within multidisciplinary teams in the field of healthcare. This multidisciplinary approach is vital to the project's goal of a socially innovative system. In prototyping for this project, successful design interventions in healthcare are explained and illustrated, and a framework has been developed for designers to adopt when working in health-service design. A health network that aims to meet the needs of unpaid family caregivers, The Caregiver Access Network (CAN), has been developed using the framework described. A working prototype of the CAN system has been demonstrated with significant detail so it can be easily adopted and adapted by a health authority or other governing body (viability).