Beiruo He

One day

My thesis project — a time- and screen-based narrative — centers around the present moment, one shaped by what I call “information bombing” because we are bombarded by a vast array of information every day.

From the moment our alarm clock wakes us we receive a variety of information. We check the temperature on our phone before we get dressed. We confirm the train’s/bus’s arrival time while waiting on the platform/at the bus stop. We scan the menu before buying a drink in a café. We check the price tag of goods before we pay for them. We check the news on the computer as we start to work. We receive text messages, phone calls, email and app notifications throughout the day. It is not until we close our book or turn off the TV, computer, or phone when getting ready for bed that we stop receiving information at the close of a day.

There is no denying that because of the popularity of social media, we no longer just passively accept information; instead, we have become the main source of information dissemination with our tweets and posts. However, in my project, I’ve focused my attention on what and how we receive during this process.

In this project, I use text only to distill a virtual world and a real world from small moments in our daily life. The movement of the text creates a discomfiting sense of dimension and space; a representation of the two and a half dimensions that I explored earlier in my studies. By intertwining these two worlds — the virtual and the real — I hope to provide a means to allow others to reexamine the information environment in which they live. Since we are surrounded by information chaos, I hope this project prompts others to question the choices they make in this information age, through the lens of graphic design.

I believe that the compilation of small details can reflect one’s experience in life. We can each find our own shadow in my work. There is a saying in Chinese: “See the world in a drop of water, half leaf glimpse into life.” In “Auguries of Innocence,” English poet William Blake similarly writes: “To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wildflower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.” Small things can reflect the nature of life, acontaining rich and profound significance. By using graphic design as a magnifying lens to look at one’s surroundings, an ordinary item becomes a microcosm of society.

In my thesis book, I revisited the idea of shadow and two and a half dimensions. The book consists of three parts: my thesis paper, my notes from my final semester, and my thesis-related work. Two colors, two texts, and two layers incorporate the duality of shadow. I chose onion skin paper to convey dimensionality, so that my thesis paper and my notes can be read at the same time, even though they are not on the same page.