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Worlds and words: interrogating type and map as systems of power and embodied meaning-making

Queensland University of Technology, Creative Industries Faculty, School of Design



La interpretación de nuestra realidad con esquemas ajenos sólo contribuye a hacernos cada vez más desconocidos, cada vez menos libres, cada vez más solitaries. (Márquez, 1982, para. 7)

This paper responds to the call to move away from the centre and to design from many centres. We need to address cultural colonisation and systemisation; to counter misdirection and deceit in order to reveal – not merely the ‘centre’ but the ‘systems of the underside’: structures and systems that arise in the past and which continue to “cloud our eyes” in graphic design communication. Inspired by the works of Walter Mignolo, Arturo Escobar and Boaventura de Souza Santos, which expose the ‘systems of the underside’ and the notion of ‘ecologies of knowledge’ in order to disentangle (and free) or unlink these epistemologies that get lost in western-modes of representation; and by the calls from commentators such as Tony Fry and Donna Haraway who observe that the idea of universality remains blinkered by its own artifice and only serve to create others as its subjects, this paper interrogates cartography and typography as graphic representations of cultural systems and their consequent impacts in the construction of an epistemology for the new, colonised world. This study also brings an outlook into the future we are creating and the impacts of new technology in re-mapping and re-storying our worlds.

Designs for the pluriverse; systems; cartography; type

About the Author(s)

Dr. Jane Turner is a game and interaction design educator and researcher. Her research focuses on the material and cultural aspects of designing worlds and the ways that design and designing are mimetic ‘story-ing’ practices.

Dr. Manuela Taboada is a designer, researcher and lecturer working across environmental sciences and design. Her background in complex emergency, design activism and decolonial design defines the way she critically engages transdisciplinary and multi-cultural teams to design change and systems transitions.

Co-presented by:

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