Marc Choi

Unmonumental: Looking Beyond Official Narratives

Today, an African-American family resides in the White House, gays and lesbians can serve openly in the military, and ethnic and minority demographics continue to grow and become more visible. While these significant steps towards a more inclusive experience unfold, ideological constraints continue to frame mainstream representations of what constitutes American identity. This condition is further amplified by an antagonistic movement urging citizens to "take back” their country.

I am not a neutral observer. As a citizen and designer living and working within this increasingly complex cultural context, I am sensitive to the need for an inclusive practice, one that is responsive to factual reality. Aware of the various systems of representation in which I engage and critical of institutional points of view—monolithic views that discount the changes transforming American society—I imagine what it means to break from the official view and to inscribe new narratives.

Through skepticism for prescribed contexts and authoritative forms, the work within this thesis reveals frameworks, juxtaposes points of view, and provides a shift in perspective. By looking around, through, and beyond official narratives, my work complicates the universal and activates the plural. It identifies the systems that govern our relationship to institutional points of view and investigates how those narratives can be re-framed and rendered unmonumental.