Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Wenxin Ju Graphic Design

The Persona Lab

Digital Product Design
Exhibition Design
Identity Design
Interface Design
UX Design

Living in the age of ubiquitous computing, how does algorithm change the way we perceive and represent “self” online? Who decides what self-image to put up in front of public? And who decides who decides? The thesis intend to discuss these questions through a body of work that explores the the paradox and parallel between true self and online representation of self, in hope to reevaluate human’s relationship with technology.

I’m always queried about how self-portrayal influences our relationships with others and the societal role it plays. It is becoming more evident that one-dimensional portrayal of a person or event is aggravated by society’s increasing reliance on social media and AI generated algorithm. In response, I wish to explore the aspects of “otherness” when we present ourselves online, and initiate a conversation around the loss of “personal autonomy” and how our behaviors and thinkings are hugely manipulated by the technology.

Identity and persona are becoming tradable concepts, tech companies trade user data to build the best models to predict actions for lucrative purposes, and users follow down the rabbit hole ends up performing what was calculated. What if there is a real-life vending machine that trades personas to people for an entirely algorithm-led experience through a series of digital activations simulating the online world? I want to create a “Persona Lab” where visitors participate in a fully AI-built personalized experience to understand, reflect, and critique the the influence of online persona on self-belief system and social relations.