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GALLERY 2010/2011

visual communication practice

A World Without Strangers


Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

This piece is a short story in one unbroken sentence relating the life of the window cleaner for the mythic tower of babel, described in biblical terms as representing the zero point for the confusion of languages on earth. Conflict and the struggle for power in the world is, for me, deeply related to the ignorance of the other, be it by the barrier of mutually incomprehensible languages or simply by a fear of the unknown.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

This piece references both traditional and modern visual cues: the single long sentence spiraling downwards an acknowedgement of the portrayal of the tower as such in prints by Doré, et al; and the shape modeled on a more conventional western symbol of power: the tower or skyscraper (epitomizing also the height of man's arrogance in attempting to conquer nature) with a sly nod, perhaps, to the ubiquitous smirnoff ads of bygone days. The writing style is inspired by concrete poetry and the work of the OULIPO, using form, layout and font in harmony to supersede the basic verbal meaning.

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

One benefit to society would be a heightened, if perhaps subconscious, awareness of the simplicity of the true nature of conflict, which most often is rooted in a misunderstanding or a lack of willingness to understand between two parties. Whether applied on a societal or personal level, this piece proposes a more mindful outlook towards one's neighbour, one based on mutual love and respect, and on the realization that there exist more similarities than differences between ourselves and the other. A world without strangers.

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

I learned that the power of the visual elements which present a short story are often underused, but can provide as much or more meaning than the words themselves. I learned to look around more at the faces around me rather than let them blend in.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

This piece is an original story based on a known mythology presented in a way that is spare and arresting at the same time. Several layers of meaning push through the visual and the verbal to create something that is more than the sum of its parts, and presents different possibilities for personal connection with the viewer.

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

This work is a story and thus can be presented in traditional print form in an anthology or newspaper, so long as its form and scale are preserved. It is also a visual construction and can easily be replicated in leaflet, paper airplane, or medium-sized poster form and pasted or distributed in strategic places, where strangers are likely to meet and wait (like bus shelters), hopefully leading them to peer closer at the small words and smaller letters making up the shape and perhaps to reconsider the stranger next to them.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)


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Entry details


A World Without Strangers



Concept author(s)

Parker Mah

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

Writer and creator



Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

My art is multidisciplinary and multifunctional and thus is expressed in the medium and space that best represent it - generally audiovisual/multimedia or online.