[un]seen is a community-centered project and installation that consists of a collection of portraits and statements from underrepresented members of the LGBTQ+ community. Each subject submits their own action item that depends on their identity and response to the question, “what do you wish people understood about the experience of being [your identity]?”
This project was initially born out of research into the commodification of LGBTQ+ identities, and the realization that corporations tend to market to members of the LGBTQ+ community who they believe have the most spending power: white, cisgender, able-bodied, upper class, gay men, and therefore most often feature LGBTQ+ people who conform to this demographic in advertisements and media. [un]seen seeks to create a more accurate and diverse picture of the LGBTQ+ community than mainstream media portrays by addressing the research question, “how can graphic design be used to de-homogenize representation of the LGBTQ+ community while bypassing commercialization and commodification?”
In the physical installation, seven portraits and statements were layered over each other via a custom-built hinged frame. The statements sit overtop of the portraits, prompting viewers to lift the outer frames in order to view the photo underneath. The rest of the portraits are displayed in a virtual gallery via the Instagram account @unseen_installation and a looping video that played on a monitor in the gallery. A collection of additional resources was available in the gallery as small booklets that viewers can take with them. While just a few resources were printed in the booklet itself, a broader collection are accessible via a QR code on the back of the printed booklet.
School of Art
Art – BFA in Graphic Design
First Advisor Department
School of Art
Second Advisor Department
Benbow, Al, "[un]seen" (2022). Honors Projects. 751.