Have you noticed how so many apps and websites have little illustrations of flat people greeting you and showing you around its interface? At first glance they seem cute and innocent, but corporations have been using these colourful graphics as a way of masking their unethical practices, becoming the contemporary face of neoliberalism.
Flat Brain is an investigation into the humans of the flat, which have taken over the modern corporate identities of the past decade. The project examines the design and the social mechanisms behind the current visual aesthetics of our screens, which have taken over the modern corporate identities of the past decade.
Mickey Mouse, one of the most known pop icons of the recent centuries, is usually referred to as a symbol of innocence, joyfulness. A character so disseminated within our modern culture that we hardly even question it’s origin or even message, at this point. In this thesis I investigate how the portrayal of Mickey Mouse has shifted throughout history, and how there have always been intentions behind these metamorphosis. From starting out as mere entertainment purpose, to representing the US army as a propaganda boy, to being an ideological tool in the spread of the capitalist ideal, how is it that Disney have maintained the image of the innocent Mickey throughout the decades? Such is the power of the icon in maintaining myths.
Starting off from looking into how my personal relation with such an icon originated, going into a historical analysis into the evolution Mickey under the guide of Walt Disney, into breaking apart the inner workings of the iconography itself, this text is an attempt to understand the relations between the parts that compose the icon of Mickey Mouse. It encompasses theories of mass communication, linguistic and pictorial patterns we recognize and relate to, as well as the societal relations that surge from a character having a near god-like omnipresence across the globe.
This is not only a statement on the dualities an, at first inoffensive, icon can have, but also a speculation on the origins and consequences of the state of society and it’s relation to icons in a capitalist mindset.
"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing—that it was all started by a mouse." —Walt Disney