Royal Academy of Art, Den Haag
Graphic Design 2024 Bachelor Thesis

(★)= Image. Click on image to go back to text


This essay delves into the concept of Visual Events. Seemingly insignificant details like muddy shoeprints on the pavement, moss-filled crevices and weeds reclaiming a forgotten corner, a crumbling wall with graffiti and ivy, and the efforts to remove them both. Shadows casted by urban structures and the leaves of the tree. Broken windows and a puddle reflecting the landscape in a distorted mirrored dimension—The visual proof of change, that is the real life of our designed objects. This exploration unfolds in the twilight zone where human creations meet nature's determined regeneration, highlighting the tension between the capitalist-commercial aesthetic and the organic forces that persist. Through analysing and deconstructing the Visual Event’s perceivable appearance, this essay aims to find the sublime in the unnoticed visual details. With this perspective, advocating for a design philosophy that actively collaborates with the events, embracing their transformative nature and recognizing their life force. (★)

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Bench, 22.06.2023 20:03, Nova Lie

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Decay Decor sticker on Bench, 12.02.2024, 18:12, Nova Lie

Introduction to Visual Events

Shadows dance across the sidewalk orchestrated by the ever-shifting choreography of clouds and sunlight. (★) Particles of sand settles in intricate patterns on the pavement, (★) and the vibrant graffiti on the train evolves into a performance with the surrounding landscape (★) . A discarded piece of paper gracefully surrenders to decay (★) and the worn-out road markings bear witness of our tracks (★) . —These perceptual phenomena illustrate the dynamic life of Visual Events where everything we create serve as living canvases for the ongoing narratives of nature.

Inspired by James Dyer and Nick Deakin's concept of Graphic Events in their book "Graphic Events: A Realist Account of Graphic Design" (2022), I propose the broader term—Visual Events. This encompasses not only the lived experiences of graphic elements, but any visual phenomenon that emerges from the landscape, contrasting with intentional human design. These events are not flaws, but whispers of time, glimpses into the past, revealed by the shapes of puddles clinging to the pavement (★) , ivy climbing up a building (★) , faded handprints on a sunlit window (★) and the scars of stains and scratches on a cracking concrete flooring (★) . In this essay I will examine the perceivable landscape that surrounds us where Visual Events acts as a counterpoint to our constructed environment, revealing the unregulated visual culture that unfolds around us.

Dyer and Deakin advocate for distinguishing design from its lived reality, arguing against treating graphics as static, they challenge the dismissal of "its vitality" and advocate for a process philosophy that acknowledges the constant motion of things. James Williams, in conversation with them, emphasizes the importance of respecting change: “There are two reasons. The first is that by dismissing or denying change you are committing a violent act; you are not only denying the thing that is changing you are also denying all the values and lives around it.”1 They refer to Alfred North Whitehead who describes the Event as “wherever or whenever something is going on.”, suggesting that everything from a moving atom at a metaphysical level, to a seemingly static light pole in the city is in a constant state of flux as they constantly interact with their environment as a dynamic entity, enduring its existence.2

Similarly, Jane Bennett’s "Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things" (2010) empowers the material agency of objects and acknowledges their ability to contain power (Thing-power)3—their ability to influence and shape the world—And in the sense of this essay, the perceivable visual culture of what I define as a Visual Event. Bennett cites Bruno Latour on his idea of ‘an actant’; “…a source of action that can be either human or non-human; it is that which has efficacy, can do things, has sufficient coherence to make a difference, produce effects, alter the course of events.4 The effects of the events can be extensively varied in intensity. James Williams calls the diagrams of the different and varying effects the substratum.5

Considering the widely ranging substratum and effects, interpretations, meanings, and emotions that may be connected to a Visual Event, it can be hard to comprehend the varying faces of what they may look like and where one begins and another one ends. The term embraces subjectivity, acknowledging that Visual Events are inherently subjective and can only be perceived and observed through the eyes of an observer at a specific moment in time as the event may change rapidly (★) . This inherent subjectivity underscores the uniqueness of each event, highlighting the complex and dynamic nature of each event and the importance of empirical documentation.

Change is omnipresent, whether the flow of water(★) , or the sun moves across the sky (★) . Our designed materials undergo constant change, developing a life on their own. “This is how it is with objects. They are mostly mute about their journeys, though most of them have traveled much farther than any of us6 (★) External forces and internal mechanisms inevitably lead to decay, guiding the matter through its life cycle. Visual Events serve as a visual testament to the resilience of nature, showcasing the universal truth that all entities adhere to the same cosmic laws. This perspective unlocks a vast array of unique motifs, where the events become nature's visual response to our designs and inventions. They serve as silent witnesses to the constant motion of our anthropocentric world.7

Despite our attempts to dominate our surroundings through altered cityscapes and control environments as some sort of masters of the cosmos, nature’s design persists. Either in powerful forces like extreme weather (★), natural disasters (★), pandemics (★), and warzones (★). Or in subtle ways, camouflaged as the weathered (★), the unkempt (★), and the signs of the past such as fingerprints (★), graffiti (★), and scratches (★), as well as nature’s design of pile of leaves on the pavement (★), or a casted shadow (★). Everything is undergoing its own cycle of life and death to pave the way for new beginnings. This fundamental truth, rooted in the natural order, persists in the face of human inventions and interventions. This essay advocates for a design philosophy that collaborates and harmonizes with these natural events, rejecting thoughtlessness and demonstrating respect for the valuable insights they provide about us and our environment. Ultimately revealing the faces of the unregulated Visual Events that is our non-designed visual culture.

As citizens in the Age of the Mechanical Reproduction we can mass-produce items with perfectly smooth and consistent surfaces. 8 Vectorized and photoshopped visuals are dominant in both our physical surroundings but also in our hyper engineered digital landscape. A standardized visual language has taken over both the web and the world. As we start to speak the same vocal language, we also begin to speak the same visual language. The sans-serif flat logo trend is popular because it prioritizes functionality and accessibility, the result is an aesthetic monoculture. The refreshing presence of Visual Events becomes a contrast to this notion, as something new and unique.

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Sunset Scheveningen, Den Haag 28.10.2022 18:37, by Nova Lie

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Sand at Scheveningen, Den Haag 20.05.2023. 20:12, by Nova Lie

Image 3

SVIN Crew, Åsted Norge, 2017, Oslo, by SVIN crew

Image 4

Biblestudy, Den Haag, Unknown (flew to my feet)

Image 5

Crosswalk Maintainance, 18.07.2023, Majorstuen, Oslo, Nova Lie

Image 6

Puddles, 25.02.2024, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Image 7

Vines,, Miso Dem

Image 8

Fingerprints, 13.06.2023, Nova Lie

Image 9

Broken tile, 12.02.2024, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Image 10

Raindrops, Oslo, 2022, Kristian Lie

Image 11

Wall, 14.03.2023, Nova Lie

Image 12

Crazy Cloud, 07.02.2023, Den Haag Centraal, Nova Lie

Image 13

Plastiglomerate, Patricia Corcoran and Kelly Jazvac, Photo: Kelly Wood.

Image 14

Ice Palace, Hoover Beach, New York, 03.03.2020, Jeffrey T. Barnes, AP

Image 15

Earthquake, 11.03.2011, Miyako, Japan, Unknown

Image 16

Covid Aftermath, 2022, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Image 17

Destruction from an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Palestine, 09.02.2024, Fatima Shbair, AP

Image 18

Dirty Van, 11.02.2024, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Image 19

Moss in the cracks, 29.11.2023, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Image 20

Bike-light Button, 17.05.2023, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Image 21

Graffiti, Oslo, 06.08.2023, Nova Lie

Image 22

Scrathed screen, 21.02.2023, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Leaves, 13.12.2023, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Shadows, 03.09.2023, Oslo, Nova Lie

Aesthetic Monoculture

Urban existence in the twenty-first century reflects the underlying values of our industrial consumerist world. The human-engineered habitat—an intricate tapestry woven from threads of manufactured and curated natural elements, dominate our view. The construction of the city and all our efforts to control and tidy up nature’s responses (★), are reinforcing human beliefs that we lie outside of, and above nature as some sort of sovereigns—immune from the uncertainty that is the unexpected wild.9 The disconnection between human and nature manifests in various ways, from our consumption habits (★), to our attitudes towards other life forms. Where indigenous cultures once co-existed harmoniously with nature, the industrial revolution propelled us into a struggle with the consequences of human imperialistic thinking. As we try to protect ourselves against the dangers, and instability of the natural world we are left with is a false sense of security that manifests in the mechanical or technological models based on standardization, simplicity, linearity, predictability, efficiency, and production.10 The modern urban body seems confined to a predetermined linear plot in urban planning, leaving little room for disorder, error, or deviations from the intended paths through the cityscape (★)11 —for all life forms (★).

Only gardens and parks are deemed acceptable faces of nature that are allowed to exist without disrupting the city's relentless capitalist pace.(★)12 In Ben Wilsons book, “Urban Jungle” (2021) he reflects on the opportunistic lives of nature in the corners of the city. Plants in places where they grow unsolicited are considered as weeds. (★) They are not taken as seriously as other type of nature and are associated with areas of high crime rate, poverty, and uncleanliness.13 Simply because they are defying human control. ”Spontaneous plants were hated because they were immigrants and opportunists that exploited gaps and crevices like a gang of hobos or outlaws. “, he writes. This hierarchical discrimination against plants mirrors broader societal biases, drawing on ideas of hostility and preconceived notions of what's "unacceptable." The prejudice extends beyond flora to various elements deemed undesirable in urban environments; graffiti (★), weathered facades (★), trash (★), dust (★), dirt (★), and decaying materials (★). Society tolerates these "undesirables" until they disrupt our constructed notions of beauty, cleanliness, and order or have no purpose for us anymore (★).

While some interventions, like fire (★), war (★), or natural disasters (★), are understandably imperative for human survival, the dominant pursuit of control extends beyond necessity. We use the same materials, color palettes, and typefaces, prioritizing cost-effectiveness over detail and individuality. Our approach to décor and detail is discarded, exemplified in contemporary architecture and our modes of production.14 This pursuit results in a two-dimensional visual environment, where any deviation—the presence of the uncontrollable and protesting 'other,' is met with hostility.“Where a maximalist approach to décor might camouflage a stain or a speck of dirt, a minimalist, hyper-clean home emphasizes it.”15 This is how I feel living in The Netherlands where the streets are swept every morning, and the trash is blown out of sight from the wind. There are not many protesting visuals as the infrastructure of the municipal maintenance workers in The Hague are working day and night (★). In societies with different visual landscapes, such as cities with different repair approaches or vastly diverse climates, politics, and cultures, the dynamics of Visual Events may unfold in vastly different ways. (★)(★)(★)(★)(★)(★)(★)(★) (★)

As much as we are drawn to the comfort of a ‘secure space’, we are equally drawn to the matters that are beyond our control. In some cases, we exhibit a peculiar fascination with elements that tell a story in their vulnerability and beauty with its ‘imperfections’. This fascination is evident in the fetishization of errors and deviations, considering them rare and more valuable. For instance, in coins that have production errors or designs that deviates from the original. This phenomenon extends to other design realms, where mistakes are not merely tolerated but even appreciated and valued. Errors, misspelling, misprints, and recalled products due to production errors become collectors' items. However, these rarities are mere exceptions in the vast, uniform aesthetic of our urban environments, which often feel all too familiar.

Movements from deep ecology16 to ecofeminism, 17 remind us that human nature is not separate from the web of life, but an integral part of it. Modern phenomena like an oil spill (★), a 'black mirror’ (★) or the environmental consequences of livestock farming (★) are not deviations from nature but interwoven elements within its complex system. As human creations interact with the Earth's elements, they give rise to new forms of alchemy—The fusion of human-made and natural elements brings forth entities like plastiglomerate, where materials like plastic meld with natural elements through the simple act of a beach bonfire, symbolizing our inextricable link with nature, forming a new soil.18 (★) Visual Events, in their essence, reveal this deep connection by displaying the tangible interweaving of human existence with the natural world, illustrating how we, alongside our inventions, contribute to the formation of a new visual culture. This realization challenges the notion that our constructed environments can exist as isolated, sterile entities. Instead, it underscores how we, and everything we create, serve as living canvases for the ongoing narrative of nature. This narrative is not just a backdrop but a dynamic, interactive scene that calls for an urgent re-engagement with our ecological origins.

My favorite chestnut oak in Den Haag got cut down , Nova Lie

Erika with the overflowing trash can, 08.04.2023, Amsterdam, Nova Lie

Signs, 24.06.2023, Den Haag,, Nova Lie

Pesticide "Perfect" Lawn, Unknown

Path, 17.05.2023, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Weeds, 14.01.2024, Nova Lie

Pedestrian sign, 23.07.2024, Oslo, Nova Lie

Broken Facade, 01.09.2023, Oslo, Nova Lie

Flower warehouse, Leiden, 17.12.2023 , Nova Lie

Miss Dior Ad, 17.12.2022, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Dirt, 17.02.2023, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Decaying gips wall, 24.01.2024, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Alida's iphone, 17.08.2023,, Nova Lie

California Wildfire, 17.04.2019, Josh Edelson, GQ

Destruction from an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Palestine, 09.02.2024, Fatima Shbair, AP

Volcanic Explotion, 18.12.2023, Grindavik, Iceland , Marco Di Marco, AP

Night Fix, Amsterdam, Friday, 09.06.2023 at 03:31 , Andre Kahveciyan

Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela, 14.07.2022, Asira Zaí

Fishing, 15.06.2023, Alida Sørli Hagerup

Garbage patch, New Dehli, Unknown

New York Street Workers 21.02 2024, 17:50, Andre Kahveciyan

Elviria, Marbella, 2023, Nova Lie

Gentle Snowfall, Oslo, Nova Lie

Posterwall, Beirut, 31.03.2023, Elisar Louise Kamøy Aoude

Bathroom in Venice, 24.07.2022, Nova Lie

Oil Spill, 09.12.2010, Daniel Beltrá

Black Mirror/Reflection, 10.01.2024, Nova Lie

Grass growing out of this sheep from walking under a gravity fed grain feeder right before it rained, @2022dirt

Plastiglomerate, Patricia Corcoran and Kelly Jazvac, Photo: Kelly Wood.

Sublime Decay

Visual Events can possess a sublime aesthetic beauty that is worth taking notice of. The cyclical weathered phenomena can serve as inspiration for its protesting and persistent qualities. To truly appreciate their visual language, an exploration into the transformative processes that bring them to life is crucial, which I refer to as "Decay" — a term denoting metamorphosis rather than mere deterioration. Decay is the patient artist, crafting with the tool of time to reveal hidden narratives beneath the surface. Every mark, from the rust of a nail (★) to the lichen creeping on a corner (★), becomes a brushstroke on nature's ever-evolving canvas. In George Simmel’s “The Ruin” (1911) a crumbling ruin from what was once a human-made structure can be seen as nature transforming materials once used for artwork into materials for her own artistic expression (★).

“…The balance between nature and spirit, which the building manifested, shifts in favor of nature. This shift becomes a cosmic tragedy which, so we feel, makes every ruin an object infused with our nostalgia; for now the decay appears as nature's revenge for the spirit's having violated it by making a form in its own image… Nature has transformed the work of art into material for her own expression, as she had previously served as material for art. According to its cosmic order, the hierarchy of nature and spirit usually shows nature as the substructure, so to speak, the raw material, or semifinished product; the spirit, as the definitely formative and crowning element. The ruin reverses this order: what was raised by the spirit becomes the object of the same forces which form the contour of the mountain and the bank of the river.”

(George Simmel, “The Ruin” 1911)

Nature responds quietly, persistently, in a visual language, not fighting but conversing. David Suzuki's taxonomy of decay, categorized into Mechanical, Chemical, and Biological, offers a lens to understand the various ways in which visual events come into being.19

  • Mechanical decay, arising from external factors or impacts, unfolds in the aftermath of energy, leaving visible imprints like scratches (★), graffiti (★), or footprints (★). These events can be instant or leave gradual trails, like desire-paths (★) formed by repeated footsteps. The mechanical decay can also be seen as outer mechanism interfering as exo-decay through for example weather (★), or simply the addition of another object. 20

  • Chemical decay, alters the chemical structure of an object, exemplified by the acidic spot at platform 9 at The Hague central station (★).21 This is the domain of endo-decay, where internal transformations affect the appearance.22 Seen in corrosion (★), rusting (★), and material degradation due to exposure to certain chemicals or substances (★).

  • Biological decay, makes a weathered stone wall become a vibrant tapestry of lichen (★), as nature is reclaiming its space one spore at a time. Here, exo-decay partners with nature's artistry, releasing energy as new life is nurtured from death. Microorganisms extrude chemicals for useful elements and thrives wherever there are nutrients. In this realm belongs all ecological events like the movement of the sun, moon and stars, and passage of time (★).

To understand the appearance of the Events, we can look to patterns already found in nature—exploding, packing, meandering, and cracking.

  • Exploding shapes in the realm of Visual Events echo as sudden bursts of energy, crafting surfaces with nuanced intensities either additive or subtractive. The exploding-like appearance or emergence of broken glass (★), a plant (★), lichen (★), frost (★), splats (★) or droplets (★). Collisions (★) and repeated touch (★), to imprints of a sole (★) or expressive graffiti (★).

  • The packing pattern unveils accumulations, either evenly (★) or chaotically spread (★), such as trash (★), dust (★) or fog (★)—which either obscure or reveal the surfaces beneath. It could be a surface wet from rain (★), bird shit on the pavement (★), or the layering of graffiti and paint (★).

  • Meandering patterns, influenced by gravity and fluid dynamics, emerge in water leakages (★), puddles (★), and naturally spaced-out ridges (★). A wave materializes wherever liquid or stripe-like formations extends like a meandering river (★).

  • The cracking pattern in nature are openings that form in materials to relive stress. Found in various places, from elastic substances to inelastic ones. These formations arise to release tension and attain mechanical stability. They disrupt otherwise smooth surfaces or designs exemplified on aged street signs (★) (★), peeling paint on buildings (★) (★), expanded crosswalk markings on roads (★), fractured graphics on textile (★), torn paper (★), glued remains of a torn poster (★), effects from seismic activity like earthquakes (★), and the destruction of buildings in warzones (★).

A Visual Event can embody multiple elements of this taxonomy. The interplay between the different forms of decay and fundamental pattern in nature creates a complex visual language, one that illuminates the sublime beauty found within our urban landscapes.

Rust and moss at the warehouse, Leiden, 04.02.2024, Nova Lie

Corner, Den Haag, 16.01.2024, Nova Lie

Church ruins by Maridalsvannet in Oslo, Unknown,

Doorknob, Den Haag, 07.02.2023, Nova Lie

Graffiti, Oslogate, 25.07.2023, Nova Lie

Fagerborg skole, 29.10.2023, Nova Lie

Desire Path, Unknown

Glitter snow, 27.12.2024, Nova Lie

Platform 9, Den Haag Centraal, 2022, @viezevlekspoor

Water contamination, 2022, Maracaibo, Zulia, Venezuela, Asira Zaí

Alna-river (Alnaelva), Rust leaking, 14.02.2024, Hege Røyert

Something on the bus stop, 23.04.2023, Nova Lie

Weeds on the Curb, 16.07.2023 22:30, Nova Lie

Angel Cloud!! 15.01.2024, Nova Lie

Broken Window, 25.06.2024, Nova Lie

Oppurtinistic Plant, 2023, Nova Lie

Moss at 'Vår Frelsers Gravlund', Oslo, 2023, Nova Lie

Frost, 27.12.2023, Nova Lie

Splat, Den Haag, 2024, Nova Lie

Droplet on Miss Dior ad, 19.12.2022, Nova Lie

Concrete Smash, Galgeberg, Oslo, 22.12.2023,, Nova Lie

Wind turbines on the mountains on Kvaløya, Tromsø, Oppsynsmannen NRK tv, Sesong 1, Episode 1

Footsteps in snow with wind, 21.12.2023, Oslo, Nova Lie

Arboglyphs on the hanging beech in the Castle Garden, Oslo, 16.08.2023, Nova Lie

Rainfall, 18.01.2024, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Valentines confetti, 14.02.2023, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Boxes at the Warehouse, 04.02.2024, Leiden, Nova Lie

Amazing Taste, 28.02.2024, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Foggy Morning, Den Haag, 07.02.2023, Nova Lie

Shoppinglist journey rainfall, Oslo, Nova Lie

Bird Shit, 13.02.2023, Den Haag, Korte Voorhout, Nova Lie

Graffiti, 2023, Oslo, Nova Lie

Meandering wall, 14.03.2023, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Puddles in Laak, 14.02.2024, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Helgenses gate, 28.12.2024, Oslo, Nova Lie

Leak, 09.02.2023, Rotterdam, Nova Lie

Adblue Decay, Gas-station Oslo, 17.09.2023, Nova Lie

Sandakerveien, 24.09.2023, Oslo, Nova Lie

Decaying paint, 2023, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Decaying paint, 15.12.2023, Antwerp, Nova Lie

Juicy trackpant graphics, 04.02.2024, Den Haag, Nova Lie

Posterwall, Beirut, 31.03.2023, Elisar Louise Kamøy Aoude

Decaying posters on a pole, 2023, Oslo, Carl Berners Plass, Nova Lie

A section of the earthquake damaged D420 road in Demirkopru, Turkey, 08.02.2023, Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Aftermath of a Russian drone strike in Odessa, 02.01.2024, Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost

Growing up in Norway I learnt about nature from my parents during weekly walks in the surrounding forest of Oslo throughout my childhood. My dad’s knowledge about how to survive in nature and my mom’s ability to identify various natural phenomena inspires me endlessly. My journey into the sublime aesthetic world of Visual Events began with my father. During walks in Oslo or somewhere else, he pointed out the unique images that the city offered him—poster residue, water damage, dirt splatter, cracks, scratches, scuffs, graffiti, peeling paint, discoloration, rust stains, dents, chips and more (★) (★) (★) (★) (★) (★) (★) (★) (★). He saw beauty in these unplanned compositions, meticulously documenting them with his camera (★). While I appreciated his aesthetic, it wasn’t until recently that I grasped their deeper value. This “lens of attention,” combined with a compassionate eye for urban phenomena, resonates with the concept of the Flâneur, that I believe him to be a perfect example of. A Flâneur is one who wanders the city with no particular plan or specific end-destination. The term first came about in 1870’s, Paris, when strollers and idlers were observing the urban experience. A figure of masculine privilege and leisure, with time and no immediate responsibilities to claim his attention. My father’s wandering and escapist qualities always inspired me to pay attention to details and the visual landscape surrounding me, and after learning about the feminine version; Flâneuse, I followed the footsteps of my father, romanticizing walks, and life in the city, as I was stumbling across visuals that pops out of the landscape like they were made for only me to see.

I was always a romantic at heart, mezmerized by the tapestry of the clouds and having empahty to nature and other life forms. But it was during the time when I started to play Animal Crossing on my Nintendo Switch that I started to truly appreciate the uniqueness of everything in the real world contrasting the design in the game of a simplified and stylized world (★). Every item I found outside had its unique daily or seasonal features, everyday a special edition and all the different objects with each their special trait.

“Everything not saved will be lost.”

-Nintendo 'Quit Screen' message

However, maneuvering the cityscape as a woman can be a different affair than for a man as women have faced more obstacles in accessing urban spaces and have therefore not been able to navigate the cityscape unnoticed through history. Virginia Woolf in “Street Haunting: A London Adventure” (1930), writes about the way a woman’s experience was different from a man’s was in what level of anonymity one could gain. In Woolf’s essay, the protagonist’s anonymity is possible by taking on the role of “an enormous eye”23 She claims that to focus on being the gaze instead of being gazed at, can bring strong empowerment. Personally, this is the method I tend to use as well. The flâneuse gets to know the streets by walking on foot, she goes where she is not supposed to, and she may use the streets as a place to hide or to show off. Letting the landscape lure her in, examining something at a closer distance, taking time to stop and look.

Kristian Lie

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Pappa, Nova Lie

MVP, Playing Animal Crossing in my bed, Nova Lie


Examining Visual Events has been an eye-opening journey, revealing a universe of inspiration that expands each day. The concept invites us to shift our perspective and engage with the world around us with a more curious and appreciative eye. The act of focusing and un-focusing, shifting one's perspective, unveils the profound importance of individual experience and the subjective lens through which we perceive the world. By actively seeking out and documenting these ever-evolving phenomena, we can contribute to a broader understanding of our relationship with the built environment and the natural forces that shape it. We are, in essence, the sole witnesses to these transient phenomena, and the act of documentation becomes the sole repository of their unique stories. The potential of incorporating nature’s inherent unpredictability into design intrigues me. I envision future collaborations with individuals from diverse fields of knowledge, fostering a deeper understanding of the 'whys’ and 'hows’ behind Visual Events. Rather than seeking control and permanence, what if we actively embraced the transformative nature of Visual Events? What if we recognized the inherent life force within them, a force worthy of collaboration rather than suppression? This approach would lead to designs that are more adaptable, more resilient, and ultimately more beautiful as the layers of time and natural processes is embedded within them. It would be a design philosophy marked by humility, respect, and a willingness to cede some control to the unpredictable forces that shape our world. By embracing the sublime in the overlooked, we will create spaces that are not only visually mesmerizing but also deeply resonates with the rhythms of life, reminding us of our interconnectedness with the natural world and our impermanence within its grand design. (★)

Bench, Etterstad, Oslo, 21.12.2023 12:36, Nova Lie


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Bennett, Jane. 2010. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke University Press.

Capra, Fritjof. 1997. The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. First Anchor Books trade paperback edition. New York: Anchor Books.

Deakin, Nick, and James Dyer. n.d. “Collision. Everyday Graphic Design.”

Dietrich, Udo. 2022. “Montony of Parts of Contemporary Architecture: The Absence of Small Details and Seperations.” In , 177–88. Lisbon, Portugal.

Dyer, James, and Nick Deakin. 2022. Graphic Events: A Realist Account of Graphic Design. Onomatopee 223. Eindhoven: Onomatopee.

Elkin, Lauren. 2016. Flaneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London. First American paperback edition. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Jennings, Rebecca. 2024. “There’s Something Icky about Performative Cleanliness.” Vox, January.

Kernbauer, Fanny. 2017. “The Aesthetics of Decay: An Homage to the Beauty of Transience.” Journal of Extreme Anthropology 1 (2): 84–87.

Latour, Bruno. 1993. We Have Never Been Modern. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. 2007. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. 1. publ. in pbk. Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

Løken, Bård, Mia Svagård, and Henry David Thoreau. 2007. Naturlig rik: om norsk naturfølelse med Arne Næss og utdrag av H.D. Thoreaus livsfilosofi. Oslo: Tun Forlag.

Lorusso, Silvio. 2023. What Design Can’t Do: Essays on Design and Disillusion. First edition. Set Margins, #26. Eindhoven: Set Margins’.

Ngai, Sianne. 2015. Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting. First Harvard University Press paperback edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Robertson, Kirsty. 2016. “Plastiglomerate,” December 2016.

Simmel, Georg. 1911. “The Ruin.” Philosophische Kultur. Gesammelte Essays, no. 2.

Suzuki, David T., and Amanda McConnell. 1998. The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

Thoreau, Henry David, and Edward Hoagland. 1988. The Maine Woods. Penguin Nature Classics. New York, NY: Penguin.

Williams, James. 2016. A Process Philosophy of Signs. Edinburgh: Edinburgh university press.

Wilson, Ben. 2023. Urban Jungle: The History and Future of Nature in the City. First American edition. New York: Doubleday.

Woolf, Virginia. 1930. Street Haunting: A London Adventure. Great Britain: Read & Co. Great Essays.

Thank You

Dr. Füsun Türetken for thesis supervision.
My parents for everything.
Erika for companionship and insightful conversations.
Bart De Baets, Thomas Buxo, and François Girard-Meunier for assistance.
To Vlad, Jakob, Bartek, Balázs, and Klaudia, thank you for your coding help.

Font in use: Softcore byTekio and Jan Estrada-Osmycki