I just recently finished a project for one of my design classes where we had to create a set of 3 photos to convey the message of an article entitled “The Politics of Desire and Looting” by Adrian Shaughnessy. It’s a really interesting article, and if you have time I would highly recommend looking through it, but it basically presents the UK Riots of 2011 as a word of caution to designers about the impact advertising and design can have on people—that designers need to be responsible and keep in mind the consequences of their actions.
For my photo set, I spent a long time thinking about the core themes and mood of the article. I decided that I wanted to pick three symbols that were not only iconic of the UK, but also referenced design, government, and communication. The three symbols I chose were: The Crown from the “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters, the United Kingdom Flag, and the Red Telephone Booths. I wanted to recreate these symbols with photos depicting the riots and the aftermath of the riots. Luckily, I found a really amazing free photo collage software called “AndreaMosaic“. This little program is amazing, you give it the reference image (the image you want to recreate), then you give it a file of photos, then you choose options like dimensions, tile size, color editing, arrangement, etc. I was so fortunate to find this software because trying to do this by hand would have taken forever and not have been as precise.
In the end, my concept was that these iconic symbols of the UK, design, government, and communication, were giving a false impression, which resulted in destruction and chaos. These riots were very complicated, it’s hard to place the blame on anyone because there were so many factors that led to them—the government, education, history, class separation, recession, and yes, even design, all had a part to play in it. I wanted to show that these symbols were made from many parts, and that while the whole looks complete from a distance, when you get closer, you realize how really fractured and ambiguous it really is.
Please click the image thumbnails to view them at a larger scale where you can distinguish the individual pictures.