Parsons / The New School

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2016–17

Roisin McNulty
Promoting Seeing: A Contemporary Situationist

Travel plays a large role in our everyday lives. Many of us commute back and forth to the same spaces, confining our visual stimuli to regular paths. While this habitualness gives us stability it can also lead to a narrow involvement in the city. This limitation can then forfeit new experiences and relationships with people and places, ultimately hindering us from seeing more. The Situationists believed a way to avoid this was to deliberately pursue and construct authentic experiences and adventures. One way is to dérive. To drop everything you’re doing, have no motive to travel, just drift, see, and be directed entirely by the feelings evoked in you by your surroundings.

Many of us might find this very romantic notion of being free within the city difficult to achieve. I have therefore designed a protocol to help enrich our experience in the city while implementing the theory of dérive. Simply choose a color and follow it around the city changing from color to color while following people and entering buildings to manipulate the outcomes of the experience. As a designer I then use mobile technology to create alternative mappings of cities both ambiguous yet legible. The maps and documentation made by a range of individuals are then collected and superimposed, allowing for a transformation that can be interpreted rather than simply read. This recognizes the vitality of Situationist drawing methods while simultaneously bringing it into our technological epoch, and thus making participants and myself contemporary Situationists.


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Ornament is Crime
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Parsons / The New School

BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2016–17