Mobile exhibition designed to re-educate the public about body image issues facing children and young adults.
Through a mobile exhibition, I set out to deliver information that helps audiences recognize a new ideal to be healthy, and provide additional information to persuade parents and educators that health should be superior to the outdated notion of beauty.
The Body Talk is an exhibit designed to re-educate the public about body image issues, re-affirm the confidence of children who struggle with body image anxiety, and re-assess the factors that contribute to our audience’s negative views on body image. The traveling exhibition is designed to fit in the trailer of an 18-wheeler truck. Content, layout, and identity were developed together, creating a visual and textual narrative that grabs attention and keeps the audience engaged.
The content for The Body Talk was created for a wide breadth of age groups, tonally friendly for families as well as young adults who are interested in visiting a mobile exhibition. Particular focus is put on school-age children from middle school to high-school in urban areas. The layers within the exhibition’s subject matter goes beyond diagrammatic story-telling—it takes the audience through the information with the help of pacing and graphic narrative.
The Body Talk presents three main ideas in the exhibit: The ideals in body image are not eternal and singular. There are a variety of standards throughout history and across the globe. The body exists as a commercial product in the capitalist culture of the U.S. and as consumers, we must be aware of its manipulation.
The information is accessible enough for young children to be able to understand and absorb the body-positive messaging, while remaining honest and poignant to older audiences that continue to experience body image issues. A change in perceived beauty is underway. We have seen a rise of “Body positive” campaigns in marketing and social media campaigns. Physical and mental health is the new beauty ideal.
When laying out the exhibit it was important to note that the limited space only allows for a limited amount of content and people in the exhibit at a time, so creating flow through narrative pacing is especially important. The audience should not rush through the exhibit as they will not absorb the message nor should they be fatigued with content that is too condensed.
Breaking up the narrative into different sections allowed for smoother pacing and a greater sense of flow. The exhibition is divided into three main sections: Health, Media, and History. Having the different “zones” then allowed for deliberate and meaningful identity creation.
Each of the sections have distinct graphic call outs that enables the audience to be immersed in the content: a wall highlighting the main message of the exhibit, another illustrating how health goes beyond your physical body, a video about how the media affects our self-perception, and a timeline on how the body is viewed across different cultures throughout history.
Because of the limited space, way finding is relegated to call-out text in the exhibit and the floor decal. The Escher-esque patterning of legs on the exterior is a bold way to grab attention to the exhibit, and the mark for the body talk is illustrated (with cheeky detailing) using different weights of Gotham Rounded.
The visuals are bubbly, illustrative and non-intimidating, giving a sense of playfulness and lightness to a subject matter that is often awkward and sensitive to a lot of people—especially younger audiences. Any body parts are illustrated and highly stylized, decoupling the idea of “the body talk” from just the physical body and allowing even non-able-bodied children to relate to the exhibition’s message.
Special thanks to Fiona McGettigan for providing mentorship, guidance and insight during the creation of this project.
Civic & Public
Arts & Culture