"In both cases there is a picture in the foreground, but the sense lies far in the background."
— Ludwig Wittgenstein via April Greiman
In the mid 1980’s computers had yet to be adopted as a tool by graphic designers. But the time was ripe for experimentation and a number of digital pioneers set out to see what the computer had to offer. In 1986, Los Angeles based designer April Greiman was invited to feature her work in issue #133 of Design Quarterly, a highly regarded magazine in the design community. Greiman readily agreed, and subsequently used the magazine as a vehicle to offer up a life size fold-out digital self portrait titled, “Does it Make Sense?“.
Reading Wittgenstein, Greiman identified with his remark: “It makes sense if you give it sense.” She says, “I love this notion which exists in physics as well — that the observer is the observed, and the observed is the observer...”
The assignment: Students were tasked with this project as an opportunity to take their graphic design software practice somewhere new.
Using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, students crafted life-sized digital self portraits to be installed in the room we would have had class had the pandemic not mandated we maintain social distance.
"Technology is not neutral. We’re inside of what we make, and it’s inside of us. We’re living in a world of connections - and it matters which ones get made and unmade."
— Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto“
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data-driven technologies are ubiquitous these days. From search algorithms that seem to know us better than we know ourselves, to driver’s assist and auto-pilot in cars, to automated journalism, manufacturing, science, healthcare, policing, and stock trading, measuring and governing the ethical and societal implications of AI and data-driven technology is a concern, not for the future, but for now.
The goal of this project is two-fold:
1. To engage in a collaborative, group based design project where process is as important as the end product.
2. To explore questions of AI literacy and engage conceptually around a topic that will surely come up again and again through our lives and careers.