Questions concerning Technology -final year project 2017




This project won a Areen Award for Excellence in Graphic Design, an award given to the best three final projects of the year. 

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This project is the visual interpretation of Questions Concerning Technology, the philosophical essay written by German philosopher Martin Heidegger in 1954.

The first thing to do was understand this heavy text, which influenced generations of people on their thoughts on the role of science, humans and technology in the world. It is important to note that Heidegger saw technology differently than we do today: he essentially spoke of it as an abstract notion, almost like a force - the same way other philosophers would talk about God or nature. 

He wrote about mankind's multifaceted relationship with technology, driven on the one hand by admiration and obsession, and on the other, by anxiety brought on by the fear of machine domination. This omnipresent tension between master and object is one I wanted to explore.  

But where to start?

Discarded initial Sketches

Above are some sketches from the initial trials. They didn't work because of their referential and illustrative style as opposed to the text, which adopted a very abstract theoretical approach. It didn't match. So early on in the sketching process, the figurative style was abandoned in favor of a non-figurative, non-representational treatment.

I decided to start over. In order to deconstruct such a complex text, I shortlisted the most important ideas of the essay into fourteen words that can be thought of as the index. Each of these words has several visualizations across the book. 


Opening - Questioning - Definition - Calculable - Exclusion - Causality - Misinterpretation -

Ordering - Storing - Revealing - Enframing - Control - Solution - Absence

As seen in the examples below, the visual treatment of these words relied on page-to-page interactions of tracing paper and cutouts, which helped in developing an abstract approach. The color yellow is a symbolic intervention on the main claim of the text: that technology reveals truth. It is a clin d’oeil to the metaphor many philosophers draw between the truth and the sun, figure of enlightenment and revelation. 


Other interactions: 


Finally, the original text can be found and read at the end in the little yellow booklet below.