Paradigms and Politics

2011


BFA final project that explores the assumptions that make seemingly unrelated political beliefs cluster together in such a consistent way. 

 

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A Conflict of Visions

Viewers were invited to view ideas through the lenses of two competing visions—the tragic vision and utopian vision. 

Different typography was used to represent the values of the different visions. The utopian vision is represented with sans serif font representing modernism and universalism. The tragic vision is represented with a serif font representing tradition. 

 
I hung parabolic speakers from the ceiling. While looking through through each vision, viewers would hear quotes from famous people from each vision. Each quote related to what the viewer was seeing. For example, when the viewer saw imagery and messages related to human nature, viewers looking through the utopian vision would hear,  “There is no original perversity in the human heart”   by Jean Jacques Rousseau. Conversely, viewers experiencing the perspective of the tragic vision would hear,  “Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late”  by Thomas Sowell.
 

I hung parabolic speakers from the ceiling. While looking through through each vision, viewers would hear quotes from famous people from each vision. Each quote related to what the viewer was seeing. For example, when the viewer saw imagery and messages related to human nature, viewers looking through the utopian vision would hear, “There is no original perversity in the human heart”  by Jean Jacques Rousseau. Conversely, viewers experiencing the perspective of the tragic vision would hear, “Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late” by Thomas Sowell.

 
 
Because the Utopian Vision believes that humans are naturally good and peaceful, it asks,  "Why is there war?"  War begs for an explanation and those with the Utopian vision seek explanations in bad institutions that cause war. 
The Tragic Vision sees war as existing in our very nature. As Heraclitus said, "War is the father and king of us all.” War is not something that needs explaining, instead, those with the Tragic vision ask,  "Why is there peace?"  They seek to study peace and maintain imperfect institutions that make peace possible.

Because the Utopian Vision believes that humans are naturally good and peaceful, it asks, "Why is there war?" War begs for an explanation and those with the Utopian vision seek explanations in bad institutions that cause war. 

The Tragic Vision sees war as existing in our very nature. As Heraclitus said, "War is the father and king of us all.” War is not something that needs explaining, instead, those with the Tragic vision ask, "Why is there peace?" They seek to study peace and maintain imperfect institutions that make peace possible.

 
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