Design : a tool for transformation


My graduate research has been focused on testing how visual communication in the form of three-dimensional polemic works can become a tool for effecting social change. The change I am interested in relates to the global energy crisis, and resolving imminent transportation and associated ecological problems by promoting the use of electric vehicles. The main focus of my work has been the use of a strategy that is best described as the transformation of old and iconic artifacts in order to communicate complex new ideas. The main project that I will use to discuss this strategy uses the form and implications of a 1950’s gas pump emblematic of the golden era of petroleum production and the heyday of the automobile as the lynchpin for a conversation with my audience. By tweaking the original meaning of the pump and by juxtaposing an image of gas guzzling vehicles with a proposal for sustainable electric powered vehicles I have created a public dialogue about the current energy crisis and a compelling argument to support the move towards alternate fuels. This 3-D design intervention in public space has proven to be an effective way to, convey a socio-political message, more effective than any poster because it is a functional element which is both warmly received because it hits home an idea in a positive, even humorous way and elicits an emotional response from the viewer. The station not only charges electric vehicles and encourages the public to test ride them, it allows people to re-envision mobility through experience, become involved and take action.



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