Visual Urgency

In Spring 2009, I was the curator for an exhibition in the Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University. Visual Urgency: Visible Perspectives of Societal Crisis, originated from my research in semiotics and cognitive recall connected to issues in disaster psychology and the psychology of emergency egress. These two areas of psychology provided a context in understanding individual and group behavior during urgent and emergency events, and cognitive limitations in comprehending new and changing information. This specialization of psychology was critical in assessing the design of evacuation material. Visual Urgency continued this investigation in other visual displays of art, design and objects more inclusive to a range of disciplines. Visual Urgency explored an aesthetic resulting from a collection of projects that included multiple uses of materials. It was a categorical proposal of a visual taxonomy derived from an environmental, cultural or societal crisis. The exhibition converged a diversity of disciplines and body of work that would not otherwise have been seen together and connected commonalities in the work of designers, photographers, artists, architects, physicians and engineers.