Thesis: WIP

I invite you to navigate a reimagined American diner that confronts and educates audience with witty commentary on social justice issues pertaining to immigrants. While in our society, immigrants are often dehumanized and unjustly treated, here all are welcome, 24/7 


The American Diner & Why I Love It

A few years ago, my family and I went on a road trip to southern Texas. We were driving through the middle of nowhere and our car broke down. We got our car towed out to this very small town called Alpine. Now there were literally four or five establishments on the street that the tow truck took us to. An auto shop, a hotel, a gas station, and a diner. I remember all of us being very relieved, because this was going to be our main source of hot meals. I wish our government and society would treat immigrants and refugees the same way, by welcoming them in instead of trying to keep them out. 

My initial research began with finding shapes, and textures
that remind me of the preexisting diner aesthetics.
I frequently go to diners as well because I like pancakes.  

All photographs were taken by Khadija Aziz

All photographs were taken by Khadija Aziz

I then explored creating simple shapes that could hint at different
immigration issues and could potentially become signage.
I thought about inequality, the idea of separation, and division. 


As the research evolved, I wanted to tell the stories of immigrants through three different stages: the decision of why they came to the states, wether it was by choice or not. The struggles they dealt with when they arrived, and how they’ve adapted to the surroundings and culture so far. 

I found it appropriate to start with mine and my family’s immigration journey, and that was actualized through a publication in which I tell my story. In the three stages of decision, struggle, and adaptation. 


So my next step was to think about how others can also
share their stories with me and the audience, and that
brings me to the jukebox.


The jukebox is an interactive piece which instead of music, plays the stories of immigrants using spoken word poetry. 

While the audience listens to the stories, A video that
uses simple and beautiful shapes to hint at the very
harsh concepts of struggle, brutality, and separation
is on a loop on the screen.

The functionality of the jukebox is that the audience
can press a combination of buttons to listen to the audio.
I’ve created two prototypes and am now constructing
the final structure, which is made of wood and polycarbonate.


I’m using signage as an aspect that can provide
some lightness or humor to the project. This
includes collateral such as open signs, dollar
bills, ICE cups, menus, news papers, etc.


This page will be updated frequently over the next
few months as I refine and complete this project.