Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2015

Gabriel Berrios
Oasis from Representation
Gabriel Berrios
Oasis from Representation

Oasis from Representation is an experimental website which envelops the user in the distortion causing mechanisms of online representation. Whether it be a government ID, a Facebook profile picture, or even an image of your vacation on Instagram, representation today is equal to being read and analyzed by machines. How do the mediums we interact with online demand that we be the head of our own marketing department? How do the cycles of posting, re-blogging, sharing, and liking make us into content producers and aggregators? In this total ecosystem of online networks, do we have a choice of withdrawal or are the protocols of representation inseparable from daily life? The site—using the room and the labyrinth as a metaphor for total encapsulation—involves the viewer in the stages of user development. The site is experienced in three sections: (1) examines the languages and symbols of logging in, (2) examines how the user aspires for an aesthetic aggregate of themselves by managing blogs and personal photography, and (3) examines how our submission dissolves into pure data. Interspersed along this aggressive aesthetic barrage are Oases from Representation—quiet spaces of contemplation that offer a selection of texts and insights on our status as users. These texts not only situate and contextualize the user within the debate of networked representation; they are direct influences to the production of the site-space. The project explores excessive image and spatial manipulation as a way to question our progression into these hyperactive yet nuanced forms of self-representation. In other words, it is a projection into how far these networks will fragment the users representation.

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