Shift: thesis abstract

Intuition. Transformation. Feedback.

Shift, in concept and method, is a view on empirically based graphic design. Inviting constant shifts of perspective — from one place, position, direction, or person, to another — I assume the stance of observer and documentarian of the transitory. My work, which operates in the liminal space between ordinary and extraordinary places, things, and people in everyday life, is a time-lapse archive (whether in print or on screen) of localized experience. Within this role I capture the “qualitative data” of my daily commute, both as record of the everyday, and as a perspective on a culture in motion. The blurred color gradient of dawn seen through the window of a speeding train, the minute observations of a tattered ticket stub recording the travel zones in eight point Helvetica type, or the off-glances of the commuters trying to ignore the quotidian space, are the fragments that construct a document of the rituals of everyday life.

Shift is an inquiry into an empirically based graphic design methodology based on a process of observing and synthesizing amid constant flux, organized into three parts: first, intuition enables me to understand that my surroundings are the primary source for design inspiration. Second, transformation is formulated by using tools such as still photography and video to capture my intuitions. Then, I distill, edit, and reflect on the captured footage in order to uncover the essence of the original inspiration. Finally, feedback occurs when the transformed content is presented in a new context: whether it be a printed matter, a video vignette, an interactive screen project, or a physical installation. Although the process is based in science, it is anything but rigid or didactic. I do not seek predetermined outcomes so much as the awareness necessary to inspire further explorations — whether mine or that of others — in this method.

When developing an abstract for your thesis Professor Anne West defines: “An abstract is an original piece of writing rather than an excerpt from your thesis. A capsule summary of your completed thesis, it is a succinct and powerful stand-alone passage which serves as a sales pitch for your work, attracting potential readers. It demonstrates a clear grasp of the contents of your thesis document in abbreviated form and includes keywords that will aid researchers searching on databases.”

Please keep on the look out for more updates
Send me an email james@axl.design | jjgrady@bu.edu