Alex Liebergesell, Principal of QNA, is Associate Professor at Pratt Institute's Graduate Communications and Packaging Design Department. Current design and academic research centers on issues of technology's impact on cultural identities and personal narrative, the formation of favored representations in history and their impact on perception of current events, and morphologies of design practices and concepts.
SubductJapan traces the development and direction of modern Japan from the early 1960s and into the near future, using the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics and the upcoming Games in 2020 as historical benchmarks. Equal parts artistic exploration, social critique and personal remembrance, the research and design response draws on Arto Laitinen and Paul Ricoeur's concepts of narrative and identity formation, and Hiroki Azuma's post-modern analysis of Otaku culture. SubductJapan seeks to excavate the hidden fault lines and tensions in contemporary Japanese society that are often overlooked. The visual response invites audiences to ponder social and cultural dialectics through a unique, insider/outsider perspective.
Diegesis-X — Favored Representations of Systems of Coercion and Control
Worldlager investigates the converging factors which allow particular locations and artifacts to become emblems for cataclysmic historical events, and the role that language, physical embodiment and narrative have on the reification of historical facts. Worldlager, through a multi-dimensional analysis of wartime prison camps, examines the ideological, social and economic forces that influence our understanding of history, and how they impact our perceptions and responses to contemporary events. As systems of coercion, control and punishment become more progressively hidden, language, symbols and gestures that favor mono-causal, one-dimensional explanations continue to limit our awareness and complicity.
Design Morph — Study and Application
Design Morph is an initiative to integrate taxonomical and typological classification concepts as part of a systematic design research and development methodology. The spatial-temporal distortion of our information era challenges the fundamental terms of design’s value, our notions of hierarchy and our relationships to knowledge and artifacts. Experimentations with classification schema — and the new representations that they can engender — help us construct new orders which reflect and communicate the values and ideologies of modern society. Through reimagined clusetrs, sequences, structures, stories and symbols, we can pose questions such as: what kinds of things exist and can exist in a future world? What relationships can those things have with each other? Classifications can aid us in assigning values, recovering points of differentiation, and organizing both functional and virtual spaces.