VISUAL COMMUNICATION II
Task 1A: Exploratory Research – Exploring the What, Why, Who, and How
What are some of the current issues confronting our world today? Amongst them, what is of interest and a cause of concern to you?
- Food security
Food is a key aspect in a human’s survival and food security plays a big part in ensuring that there is food available and accessible to individuals. While the issues of poverty, accessibility and climate change has always been a few of the factors affecting food security, as time passes, we start to face more issues such as the issues with food exports and the issues caused with worsening and more unpredictable climate changes.
- Climate change
Climate change has always been a concern to the world and even though efforts are being made to slow down the pending destruction that the Earth is heading towards, such efforts are not being translated into effective results and issues with rising temperatures, rising sea levels and the increase in natural disasters has been on a rise. While global warming may not directly affect on generation, our future generations will have to face dire consequences if we do not take action now.
- Invisible disabilities / Mental health
Mental health is an issue that many individuals have been grappling with, but yet the world still does not pay much attention to the importance of mental health, causing the undermining of how mental health can affect an individual. Although the awareness towards mental health has been increasing, many still shun the issues revolving around mental health and there are also many stereotypes that exist due to our lack of understanding towards these invisible disabilities.
- Social media and its’ repercussions
Social media usage is currently a large and vital part of many individual’s daily lives, especially the youths. While social media has its advantages, there are also many repercussions that came with the increasing usage of social media. Such repercussions have in turn caused many deeper issues such as mental health issues and self esteem issues.
Out of the above 4 issues, I am most concerned about climate change / global warming as it is one of the most pressing issues in the world now, with sustainability and concern for the future generations also in the picture. Hence, I would like to explore deeper into climate change.
Why is the issue important? Who does it affect and how?
The issue I would like to focus on is Climate Change.
With the recent Australian bushfires wiping out many wildlife habitats and posing a danger to humans and infrastructure, the concern for climate change and global warming are now on a rise again, and issues regarding the environment are now in the spotlight of concern once again. Global warming has caused glaciers to shrink, ice on rivers and lakes breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges shifting and trees flowering sooner. Such changes against nature proof to be a threat to the environment as sea levels rise and temperatures rise.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, forecasts a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. It is predicted that by 2100, sea levels will rise 1 – 4 feet. This not only will cause natural habitats to shift, cities that lie nearer to the sea level may also face beng submerged as time passes. Not only that, issues such as food security and sustainability may also start posing as an issue that may endanger life on Earth.
These changes to nature may ultimately threaten the human kind’s survival on Earth and with Earth being the only planet that can sustain life, the topic of extinction of life may just be possible in the near future.
Who do you need to communicate to, and why?
As climate change is an issue that affects everyone, everyone has a part to play in the efforts to ensure sustainability and to protect our only homeland. However, global warming is a long term problem and poses as a long-term threat, possibly endangering the lives of our future generations. Hence, I would like to choose youths (generally around ages 15 – 30) as a target audience as youths are one of the groups with the highest consumption (and hence the groups with the highest waste disposal) and are also the most probable to experience the negative effects first hand.
Another important group of people I also would like to address are consumers. Consumerism produces waste to be disposed and encourages wastage and does not contribute to efforts in slowing down the rate of climate change.
I aim to raise awareness and also help youths and consumers alike recognise the threats we are now facing as well as threats we will face in the near future, and also help consumers to more effectively dispose of trash by recycling or reusing. By raising awareness, I hope consumers and youths are more inclined to play a bigger part for the Earth.
How has visual communication contributed to address the cause?
Mel Chin’s Unmoored
Name of designer: Mel Chin
Choice of Media: Digital app (for a mixed reality experience)
Unmoored explores a potential future of melting ice caps and rising oceans filling Times Square. Developed in collaboration with Microsoft, Unmoored allows guests to explore a submerged Times Square in mixed reality, to use their mobile phones to access an augmented reality experience.
I think this was an effective way of raising awareness of climate change as users get to experience a mixed reality experience and is engaged in the entire experience as he/ she walks down the streets of Times Square. The eye-catching visuals in the application was also appropriate for users to experience our future if action is not taken now.
Marina Zurkow, Una Chaudhuri, Oliver Kellhammer, Frits Ertl and Sarah Rothberg’s Dear Climate
Name of designers: Marina Zurkow, Una Chaudhuri, Oliver Kellhammer, Frits Ertl and Sarah Rothberg
Choice of Media: Posters, guided meditations, installations, workshops
Year: Founded in 2012
Dear Climate is an art project that was conceived as “a new way to talk about the weather.” The project is a collection of posters and sound collages that take on climate change with a more personal and conversational tone. As these tones target more personal emotions within humans, it allows us to more deeply connect with ourselves and relate better to the issue that was being brought up. The posters were only in black and white, and its’ colour choice reflected the occasion. The message brought across by the campaign/ works are also very precise and clear, allowing viewers to understand what the artists were trying to convey across.
World Wildlife’s Foundation’s Price on toilet paper for the planet
Name of organisation: World Wildlife Foundation (wwf)
Choice of Media: Installations
This campaign was viral when it was ongoing and it gained a lot of attention due to the special qualities of it. Whenever a user pulls out a piece of (green) tissue, the tissue level in the tissue box falls, revealing an empty outline of a country. The more tissues the user takes, the faster the country on the tissue box turns from green to black.
I think this is a very effective way of increasing awareness and also very effective in conveying the message across with fun, hands-on elements. The user sees the effect of his/ her actions (the action of pulling out the tissue paper), directly resulting in a consequence (in this case, a green country slowly turning to black because the level of green tissues keep falling as longs you take tissue from it. It was also very engaging for the users because the users are able to be involved in the installation and first hand “cause” the destruction of nature.