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Future Communications. Investigating Nonlinear Methods of Digital Communication

With the technological advancements made in the past hundred years, communication over great distances has improved exponentially. Being separated by time and distance no longer means that the contact between two people ends. While face-to-face communication is socially and developmentally still crucial, mediated communication has allowed for people to stay in touch when physically unable to do so. Digital media are used to communicate and maintain relationships both on a personal and professional level.

Despite all the benefits of digital communication, there are still areas left to be explored. With the coronavirus outbreak of 2019 and the consequent global lockdowns, the use of digital devices for daily communication was unavoidable. This provides an insight into how society may be shaped in a future in which social distancing will be routine.

Currently the structures for text-based digital communication are based on a linear format which is limiting the possibilities of how we can communicate. Standard messaging applications such as WhatsApp or iMessage passively force correspondences to occur in a linear manner. However, humans do not necessarily think or speak linearly, often jumping from one thought to the next.

This thesis explores the possibilities of how digital communication can evolve and expand. ​The aim is to explore the experimental methods of digital communication, by hypothesizing how our methods of communication could be advanced or shaped in the future. ​By exploring the ways in which we communicate and identifying what tools we rely on to express ourselves, different methods of communication can be developed. Nonlinear image-based communication may promote creative thinking and allow for communication to occur on a subconscious level. ​In the process secondary questions arise regarding, How the media that we have used in the past and use today shaped and continue to shape our communication, and ultimately what traces of the media that we used to communicate we leave.
Basel, 2020

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Mischa Leiner, Invar Torre Hollaus, Ted Davis