skip to Main Content
MFA Design

Mirai Nemoto Nilsson

An Inquiry Into the Act of Collaging
– Collaging the Immaterial: COVID-19 Pandemic Experience


Collage is an act of deeply and fully immersing yourself into the making, doing and process of collaging—in essence it is an analytical play and reading of how we experience the world. Collage is a visual language where it is about composing and revealing an unspoken dialogue that gives form to the incoherent, illogical and nonsensical. The power of collage lies not in whether it is fully understood, but when the reader is moved or touched by a fragment and can recognise its entirety in the incompleteness of it.

An Inquiry into the Act of Collaging is an artistic research project which explores an expanded notion of collage as an act of reconfiguration and investigates the embedded micro-processes of collaging (Elements, Cutting, Composing). This inquiry-driven project is a response to the fear of the unknown and emotional uncertainty in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic through the lens of collage. Rhythm of the Unknown is a performative collage and film which explores automatic drawing and performance as methods to visualise the emotional landscape of fears and anxieties experienced by young people during the coronavirus pandemic. Using data collected from a conducted online survey, the text responses of people’s fears and anxiety triggers were compiled and fed into an AI machine-learning program which generated an output script. The script was then converted to an audio file which was played on loop during the performance. Like a pair of scissors or a knife used to cut out images in an analogue collaging process, the performance uses the pen as a tool to cut through the noise and sounds of the unknown. The wider aim of this project is to propose collage as a critical design practice that promotes finding interconnectedness in the broken social fabrics of complex phenomenons, situations and experiences.