• Towards an uncausal practice of visual communication

Lengersdorf, Charlotte, 2023, Thesis, Towards an uncausal practice of visual communication PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This practice-based PhD introduces the concept of uncausality as both method and methodology to uncover potentialities for action and thought beyond habitual patterns of causality and experience.

The concept derives from an investigation of asemic writing’s paradoxical dynamic, also referred to as ‘asemic effect’. Asemic writing’s formal and gestural resemblance to conventional writing evokes expectations of legibility and semantic meaning. At the same time, any effort to retrieve meaning remains unsuccessful.

The asemic effect is detached from its immediate context and explored to offer a dynamic that is divergent from the ‘causal pleasure’ of human-computer interaction. The direct and predictable causality between human action and computer reaction not only appeals to, but also consolidates the human being in their position as the all-knowing agent in the face of an increasingly complex world. This thesis critiques the emphasis on pleasure, power and control that confines human thought and action to the comfortable, protected realm of the already known, hindering any venture into the unknown.

The concept of uncausality taps into the potential of an encounter with the unknown, the nonsensical and the dissonant. The contemporary condition that asks humans to revaluate their habitual ways of being underlines the urgency for such an exploration.

While this research originates from a practice of visual communication with a focus on interactive type design, it follows a transdisciplinary methodology, after Guattari, to weave a heterogeneous net of connections across disciplines and modes of research. It draws on the philosophical explorations of Deleuze and Guattari, their own sources and thinkers who followed them.

This research engages in a practice and process of programming visually abstract real-time human-computer interfaces to explore, test and expand on the concept of uncausality. The iterative nature of the process of programming becomes an entry point to create, and encounter, a continuous mutation of the relation between cause and effect, action and reaction. The practice, conscious of the symbiotic relationship between culture and technology, explores an approach to interactivity that maintains human action and thought in a state of physical and intellectual tension.

Introducing the concept of uncausality, this research hopes to invigorate practices that keep the human mind elastic in a confrontation with a changing world.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W210 Graphic Design > W213 Visual Communication
School or Centre: School of Communication
Funders: The German Academic Scholarship Foundation
Uncontrolled Keywords: Asemic Writing; Uncausality; Pleasure; Human-Computer Interaction; Visual Communication
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2023 10:38
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2023 10:38
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5518
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