I’m taking a class at UTC called Visual Literacy for Graphic Design. The goal of the class is to learn how we communicate through creating and interpreting signs. For the first problem statement, I had to find at least 20 examples of line art and then find pairs of line art images  that were visually compelling and conveyed a concept/idea. The image pair could be controversial or not, but definitely had to be thought-provoking.

The two image pairs below represent my final solution for Problem Statement I:

DNA for Profit

Science has been mapping the genetic code of many species for decades. As our understanding of genetics and the role certain genes play in disease prevention and healing increases, private companies have gained patents on biological mechanisms, causing university and government researchers concern about the public’s ability to access the benefits of genetic research. From an ethical point of view, should private companies profit merely by gaining an understanding of biological mechanisms? If the knowledge was paid for with public monies and conducted by university and government researchers, wouldn’t that knowledge then belong to the public? There is a valid argument that applying the research to real-world problems has inherent costs that someone has to pay for, however, when a company receives a patent it generally sets the price for the product of that patent with an eye toward profit gain and not just covering the application costs.

I positioned the DNA strand to appear as a river. The fisherman, representing private companies, is happily trolling the river in search of the next bountiful catch.

Man and Machine

Human evolution has roots dating back over 4 million years starting with Ardipithecus ramidus and continuing to present day Homo sapiens. Technology has a similar evolution, from simple machines, i.e. lever, wheel, and wedge, discovered by early humans to computers, invented just 70 years ago. As technology has evolved it has continually decreased in size, from the ENIAC, which took up 1,000 ft², to the current iMacs, which sit on desktops and are thousands of times more powerful than the ENIAC. The rate of technological change, considered exponential, leads some researchers to predict that in the next 20 years humans and technology will merge. Nanotech will allow machines as small as blood cells to patrol the body – fighting disease and healing injuries.

With that technological merger comes a host of concerns: Will we still be considered human? Will it be possible for someone to be controlled through these machines? Will the tech be susceptible to computer viruses and would it then be possible to injure, hurt, or kill someone remotely? Will there be a multi-tiered society based on one’s ability to purchase the technology or even afford the upgrades?

I have positioned the evolving hominids so they appear to be walking into and out of the field of vision to convey that evolution is constant. The electrical diagram appears distorted on the left side and resolves as it moves to the right to show the development of technology. The electrical diagram is positioned so Homo habilis is beginning to walk into it and Homo sapiens has merged with it.