Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Graphic Design

First Advisor

Steven Hoskins

Second Advisor

Sandra Wheeler

Third Advisor

Camden Whitehead

Fourth Advisor

Paul Mazzuca


We are immersed in an era of supermodernity, an age defined by excesses: of information—the acceleration of historical time—spatial overabundance—the nullification of distance by electronic media and transportation—and an excess of self-reflexive individuality. In this context, the idea of place is giving way to non-places: designed spaces in which social relations are tangential and the boundary between the individual and the group is increasingly mediated. Media plays an important role in the creation of non-places, by favoring a removed form of communication made pervasive and extensive through mobile devices. The blurring of the line between media and actuality extends its definition to encompass not only traditional modes such as radio and television but to a web of systems that regulate and determine relationships between people and collective entities.

As a visual communicator, I seek to understand the evolving relationship between individuals and society by focusing on the spatial-social codes and gestures that permeate and define our interactions. In my thesis project, I explore the boundary between personal, subjective space and social space in their physical manifestations. I perceive the latent tension that exists between what is expressed and what is kept to ourselves in a highly codified environment. I depict the inadequacies of media narratives to portray human drama and the strength of these codified visual systems to represent the drama of living inside their constraints. I look for ways of representing the duality of our shared vulnerability in the alienation of contemporary living perpetuated through media, and our acceptance of its imbalances.


© Francisco Besa

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission