Visuelle Kommunikation

Jessica Lang

Graphics in Space — Anamorphosis as a tool affecting the perception of an intermediate space

There are countless intermediate spaces between two places when moving from one to another. Neither do we consciously perceive them nor are we aware of their existence. We constantly spend a lot of time in transitional spaces such as hallways, elevators, staircases, and pedestrian underpasses without paying much attention to them. We pass through these non-places as fast as possible to reach our destination.

Marc Augé, a French ethnologist, claims that “The space of the non-place creates no special identity or relation but loneliness and resemblance.”

According to Augé, those places do not possess any of the usual qualities of a place. They are characterized by anonymity and a lack of historical reference and social relations. In general, we can speak of transit areas or traffic routes in which people only stay for a certain period of time due to their reduction to pure functionality.

The task of architects, interior architects, and designers is to identify such non-places in order to create well-working places instead. Places with character, places with identity, places with high atmospheric qualities. Places that move people to an emotion and that leave a pleasant emphatic impression.

How can graphics contribute towards improving the quality of an intermediate space? And how can graphics influence the perception and the atmosphere of a space?

Architecture and graphic design are still largely regarded as two separate disciplines. My research is a reaction to already existing architecture, focussing on corridors. It is a frequently occurring spatial form, especially in public institutions such as schools and municipal administrations, but also in apartment buildings, hospitals, and medical practices. Corridors appear to be a cross-cultural phenomenon and can be found all over the world. However, many people associate negative connotations with corridors such as darkness, endlessness, monotony, disorientation, and discomfort.

My visual investigations deal with abstract visual graphics, the space itself and how they come together and interact. A distinction can be made between three functions of graphics in space: decorative, informative, and deceptive. In my research, I put emphasis on the last-mentioned function and, therefore, on the technique of anamorphosis. Through the use of distortion, the anamorphic image comes to life from a certain point of view. The image lies on top of the space like a surface. We are used to perceive objects and spaces in a correct perspective view. The anamorphosis works against this principle and enables images to emerge and become visible as we walk through the space. They do not hide on the wall, but automatically appear in this specific space, wanting to be seen and perceived. The graphics literally conquer the space.

The aim of this research is to raise our awareness of intermediate spaces. To realize how we can change and even manipulate a space with the use of graphics and which impact it has on the user.