Design of the Self; A memoir

Auto-ethnography, Gender studies, Book design

Design of the Self is an auto-ethnographic memoir examining gender through the lens of my personal experiences. Consisting of five essays, three written and two visual, it depicts my journey: “Gender” reflects on my past and deconstructs my gendered social conditioning; “Seeing” presents a journey of self-discovery through self-portraits; “Mirror” unearths the implicit biases in our daily interactions with reflections; “Self” is a two-year diary of my conscious effort to challenge and transform the ingrained conditioning; and “Monstera” extends the conversation beyond gender, touching on the intricacies of body, mind, and spirituality. 

Research abstract
The social issue of gender discrimination is assumed to take place in the world outside rather than inside of us. This assumption prevents us from realising that we perform gender each day of our lives and the negotiations of it must also start through us. I believe an individual self is a space where patriarchy materialises, acting as an instrument through which it operates. While the same self holds an opportunity to oppose, to re-define, and to re-construct realities. Through an art-based auto-ethnography that uses principles of critical self-reflection and praxis, I deconstruct my gendered social conditioning. Using Action as Research, I try to challenge and overcome that very conditioning. This research is articulated through a memoir, two self-portrait series, and a set of critical design artefacts.

Book design
The memoir is composed of five essays all of which sequentially depict a certain progress in life from time in the past to the present. Hence, all of these essays have been given a different quality (colour and texture) to metaphorically link the idea of the essay. 

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