Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Jessica Lee Graphic Design

Venn: The Intersectional Self

Book Design
Editorial Design
Education Design
Personal History
Publication Design
Social Advocacy
Stop Asian Hate
Type Design

In my investigations into ethnicity and nationality, I focused with particular interest, into this idea of intersectionality, particularly on the intersection of overlapping identities battling one another, suppressing one another in hopeless pandemonium, a battle that would end, when I did. From the perspective of an individual whose ethnicity and nationality are not synonymous to one another, I investigated the meaning that fundamental narratives take on in building a culture, an identity, and an understanding of the world. I found value in the idea of origin points and foundations, explorations of what lies at the core of culture, and I strived to investigate the circumstances at which a culture and its individuals, develop and one-day become compromised, when dealing with the loss and gain of cultural knowledge and philosophy. These overlapping themes of dilution of identity, the colonization of origins, and cultural transfiguration of fundamental narratives, culminated towards a key concept and question that I am prepared to focus on for my thesis.

“What happens when the origins of our identity become diluted? As our cultures are co-opted by the mainstream, do we ourselves give into this erasure of our own identities?”

As the mainstream Western-centric world battles issues of cultural appropriation and gentrification, it is obvious that these inner-mechanisms of our society are the results of centuries of colonization and the ramification of biased systems functioning to benefit the those who fit the rigid criteria of white, hetero, and male. In the lens of intersectionality, and with regards to traversing new territories of identity, their preservation, their reinterpretation, their origins, and their futures: In a society that indoctrinates intersectional individuals with default Western ideologies and pedagogy, what parts are we playing that give into the erasure of our own cultures, identities? What is the line between assimilation, preservation, and transformation?