As a ‘visual storyteller’, artist and information designer, I am fascinated by the idea that we are endlessly tied to the world through the objects that we consume. Small, seemingly inconsequential objects populate our every-day, and yet the intricate life-stories of these objects are hidden from the eyes of their present consumer.
‘Background Stories’ envisions a world where consumers can easily access detailed information about the social and environmental sustainability of their daily actions an easy-to-understand, visual way.
A ‘background story’ is a visual narrative; an info-graphic-like system that engages a wide range of audiences — sharing in a visceral way the usually unseen back stories about the products and services, and systems we use. Communicating a topic or process related to sustainability by describing the context of its background can become a learning tool; increasing the understanding of a system in a playful, approachable way.
. . . Communicating Sustainability . . .
Some of the concepts within social and ecological sustainability are of such a large scale – and incredibly complex- that one can easily get tangled in trying to describe these situations in words. (Not to mention trying to sort through that tangle when on the receiving end.) I’ve found the combination of visuals to give context, plus words/data to give detail the key to communicating these complex issues.
Individuals have an amazing ability to grasp extremely complex situations: when the information is presented to them in a way that is personally relevant to them, as an individual. Because visuals tend to be more abstract representations (as opposed to the precise descriptions that words tend toward), this is a more ideal medium when trying to help connect people to the context of sustainability so that they can understand their own role in making change. Imagine if you could instantly understand how the cup of coffee in your hand connects you to the ‘whole’ (the whole world, whole population, whole ecosystem).
. . . Background History . . .
Background Stories began as a thesis project at Design Academy Eindhoven. The project is ever-evolving and part of my personal research. See more info on this prototype website.
Academic Thesis Documentation: