The STEAM Wall at the Challenger Learning Center

A close-up of the center of the installation, emphasizing the letters S-T-E-A-M in a handdrawn block-lettering style. Each letter is brightly colored, shaded with hatching lines, and has a dark outline that lifts off the surface. Each is brightly colored in one solid color: cyan, green, red, yellow, or blue (respectively) with some coloring-outside-the-lines. The word STEAM is surrounded by colorful illustrations and lettering using the same palette.
In-progress discussion with Haison Hopkins, Callie High, and Sadie Montague. The team used a projector to discuss concepts with the Challenger Center’s staff.
We secured some extra funding support that let us bring extra dimension to the installation. We lasercut MDF board to fabricate the signage overlaying the vinyl print.

The Whole, an installation on mass media

I study the relationships between design and mass media. Alongside contemporary research, I also study the history of mass media in order to understand the parallels and significant differences of the newer media environments.

From my specific interest in typography, I look back on the early history of the printing press and the cultural movements and issues that rose up around it. Every time communication technology altered the media environment, social and societal change followed. It is a persistent theme, and throughout history those changes came with complex and unpredictable consequences. 

The landscape of new media is yet to be fully understood, not only for its recency but also because the forms and roles it takes in society change rapidly. However, social media puts all text, regardless of source, into the same typographic language. Digital text thus loses a major indicator of quality and trustworthiness, which means that the public needs new indicators for practicing media literacy. 

This work uses my findings to engage the public with media literacy in a participatory installation. 

Tweet Scroll

(a demonstrable present)

I invited the public to closely examine an issue exacerbated with social media, Fake News, by physically scrolling through a 72-foot roll of tweets from @Ten_GOP — a Twitter account run by Russian operatives posing as the Tennessee GOP. 

The 72-foot paper scroll featured 1106 tweets as published by the @TEN_GOP account between October 1 and November 10, 2016. The tweets were typeset with custom designed emojis. With the download of an app, visitors can use the emojis themselves.

Pamphlet Collection

(a message amalgam)

Next, with a collection of mass produced pamphlets, participants were prompted to compare texts pulled from history, all addressing the mass media issues of their eras, with the issues of today — reframed in the typographic language of the Periodic Press. 

Participants could select pamphlets they wanted to keep and bind them into books with a cover reflecting their opinion on the texts. I ask participants to consider how this gesture, selectively taking texts, reflects how we each curate a media environment and of how the messages gathered, in turn, effect our worldviews.

speaking with one person
and at one million

something else results

The printed word was a disruptive invention.
200 years to form public standards
and 200 more to get them right.

And for the digital word?
Your choice of Covers
The Pamphlets

Excerpted writing from 1642 to 2018 on media and society. Participants could select pamphlets they wished to keep and bind them into their own books.

The imprint reads: In picking and keeping some of these texts, I hope you will be reminded of how we each curate our media environment and of how the messages we gather will in turn effect our worldviews.