Name, first nameArianna SmaronYear of birth1992UniversityFHNWField of Interest / research fieldCommunication Design / Visual CommunicationTitle of projectIn The Process of LiquefactionAbstractIn the process of liquefaction
Liquidity as a visual concept for the understanding of the society we live in.

How is it possible to understand the society we live in through metaphors and visual language?
Representing the concept of Society is a challenge which has no straight answer. Every era had a certain metaphorical representation of society which shaped the perceptions of time and culture. As Johnson and Lakoff claimed our reality is shaped by the metaphors we decide to think by.

Zygmunt Bauman, a contemporary sociologist, claims that nowadays we live in the era of uncertainty and Diasporas, in which all the certainties and solids are in a process of liquefaction and change.
He uses the metaphor of “Liquid modernity”, a simple and powerful image to give an interpretation of the mixture of feelings of the unknown, the consequences of globalization and individualization that nowadays we have to constantly face.
By referring to Marx and his famous quote “All that is solid melts into air”, Bauman questions how the development of technologies, transportations and infrastructures which flourished in the last century and altered our perception of time and space. The power hierarchies changed from solid institutions into new forms of liquid power, liquid politics, liquid relationships and liquid life.
Liquid Modernity is not to be intended literally where everything is melting, but rather as a heuristic model, a poetic use of language, which responds to the need of talking about sociology, not only for the intellectuals but to open up the field and let concepts travel.

This research wants to question the use of metaphors in the field of sociology by looking into their embodiment qualities, Blumenberg’s guide s as well as into examples of abstract processes in which liquid modernity can be found. The migration process, the diasporas, the waiting time, are some of the aspects where liquefaction can be visible and traceable. They are also analyzed by looking at different approaches such as networks, and Rhizomatic systems.

In the visual research, Bauman’s metaphor is taken as a fundamental base of exploration: the visual outcome is an investigation of the representation of society through that specific metaphor but it is not a translation of the theory into images. Through the process of experimenting the metaphor is questioned, categorized, sometimes misunderstood, re-thought and re-processed up to the development of a concept of a video installation in which the metaphor is transformed.
Three are the visual languages that emerged, interacting with time, space and the viewer. They first go from a macro view of liquefaction, by filming the surroundings in the specific area of Basel Borders, selected to give an insight of a specific area of examination; then there is the description of the abstract processes of moving, queuing, waiting, migrating by the use of graphic black and white elements.
Finally, the micro view is the revelation of the feeling of our time by the action of breaking and manipulating materials.
The project is not an answer to the visualization of a metaphor for our time but rather a guide into the topic of liquefaction. It leaves the viewer the possibility to agree, disagree and raise the awareness of certain structures, relations and perhaps understand better that it’s all a matter of language.
TutorsJinsu Ahn, Toni Hildebrandt, Paloma López GrüningerFileDownload file