Inlak'esh Alaken (Mayan for “I am you, you are me”)
Conventionally, designers have been identified as problem-solvers. This is manifested when we respond to a problem with an action. And in communication design this action usually translates as innovative visual graphics.
Intercultural interaction has increased in our globalized community, and it has become part of our everyday life. As a communications designer from another country, I believe intercultural understanding helps in the development of shared experiences and collaborative projects even when the same language, time and/or space are not shared. As designers, we have the opportunity to make a significant difference in society, and to help in the development of conscious citizens from a wide range of cultures and languages.
Inlak’esh Alaken promotes the exploration of the process of a designer becoming a researcher and a thinker who collaborates within a multicultural community. It is an extended exploration of my previous experience collaborating for Mátika Magazine with an international group of designers, visual artists and writers. The study explores the different possibilities that hybrid design brings to a stream of creative disciplines. It also investigates how this diversity can be used as a tool to expand the relation between space, culture and creativity.
The Inlak’esh Alaken project took the form of an event hosted at the same time in three different cities: Vancouver, Guadalajara and Los Angeles. It involved researching urban art, different technologies, as well as exploring new ways to communicate between different culture. By pushing further the possibilities of online network services, a live video of each event was streamed online and projected in each place. Each participant in all three cities shared the same performance with the use of two innovative interactive tools: Graffiti Wall and Laser Tag. With these tools of non-verbal communication, the participants interacted with others across time and space, while developing visual communication as an intercultural language.
With Inlak’esh Alaken, I push the boundaries of traditional communication design and share a body of knowledge that might help other communication designers in the process of becoming researchers. I also share the process of becoming a visual journalist, whereby designers can develop a method of documentation that accounts for the moods and concerns of our society, bridging different environments and translating the outcomes into seductive information graphics.