This is it
Stamp out reality.
“Utopia is that which, by the abolition of the blade and disappearance of the handle, gives the knife its power to strike.”*
We are living in a mixed reality. Every experience is already virtual to a certain degree, and mediated through image. Our imagination is the only arena where free speech still exist, along with the ability to form new meanings that are not bound by language and power structures.
Design is a democratic tool that should be used to strengthen our democracies. By using design in a transparent way that does not mask its own processes, design can create understanding. Not only an understanding of the content therein, but of the systems that shape our communication. The meme allowed people to create uniquely personal meanings using the existing ‘memes of production’, without adding anything new. And so by breaking down the coded messages that we see and read, we can create the critique that critiques itself.
In a future where humanity will communicate through pictures and video (some of which is already approaching lifelike fidelity) we require new ways to work with fonts and images. When what is ‘real’ is no longer apparent, everything must to refer back to its own context. If a design, much like piece of research, cannot be recreated any time and anywhere, it will no longer be credible. When personality has become a selling point, people start acting like corporations – and corporations act as if they were people with feelings that could be hurt.
“Google, tell me where it hurts?”
Design will not fill a purpose as something we can use to sell ideas anymore. Because everything will be a service that is paid for. Rather, design will be used for the greater good, because it will be the only tool left to us. In the new (visual) language, we will still be able to create new meanings that no one yet owns. Meanings that organisations can gather around, images that can be shared faster than any algorithm can stop them. They will be hidden in so-many-layers of meta.
We must understand design – understand code – to see the true message behind the facade of so-called digital media. After all, we are only being shown what we “want to see”. We see our own lifestyle reflected back at us, always pushing us to ‘do better’. But who wants us to see what we want to see? And ‘better’ by whose standards? By breaking things apart, we can learn to communicate again. Language must be broken down to its very letterforms. We need new alphabets, impossible shapes and fluid designs that can change over time.
Everything flows. Ink bleeds, tears roll, the ice melts. The clock is ticking.
If you want to know more about why language is becoming visual you can read an excerpt of a recent article I wrote.