Abjad Orientations: Mohammad Nassem

This thesis investigates verbal and visual language through a lens of translation‭, ‬queerness‭, ‬and diaspora‭. ‬Looking at graphic design as a reconciliatory space‭, ‬I make use of its formal and typographic systems as devices to tell stories‭, ‬examine cultures‭, ‬and‭ ‬negotiate conflicting principles‭.‬

Abjad Orientations‭ ‬is a process of shifting the focal view­point to reorient myself and/or my audience and allow for a closer probe of our cultural‭ ‬reality‭. ‬My eclectic identity as a Queer‭, ‬Muslim‭, ‬multilingual Arab living in the United States drives the form and content of‭ ‬my design inquiries‭ ‬to reconcile one or more aspects of‮ ‬my‮ ‬selfhood‭.‬

In‭ ‬Abjad Orientations‭, ‬I utilize sub­version‭, ‬translation‭, ‬com­memoration‭, ‬and reorientation/disorientation‭. ‬These methods serve to analyze the dynamics of our complex world and question aspects of it that have always troubled me‭. ‬In the midst of our political and humanitarian crises‭, ‬I find myself asking‭: ‬Can graphic design create better—albeit sometimes ephemeral—realities‭? ‬Can it promote dia­logue rather than commodities‭? ‬By‭ ‬inter­rupting discourse‭ ‬and re-contextualizing conven­tions‭, ‬this body of work attempts to undermine normative systems of thought and making‭. ‬It celebrates hybridity‭, ‬liminality‭, ‬and‭ ‬sometimes illegibility‭, ‬with‮ ‬nuanced‭, ‬poetic gestures‭.‬

RISD MFA Graphic Design 2019