Visual Communication
Degree Show 2021

Aston Ashley
Coding Utopia


Studio Leader
Alexandra Chalmers Braithwaite
Coding Utopia is a research-through-design project that explores how creative coding practices can be used within a queer framework to communicate ideas from queer studies. The project arose in response to the increasing need for digital creative practices to supplement the role of live performance during periods of lockdown. It comprises three colourful, text-based, interactive experiences developed in the coding language p5.js. Each of these experiments invites a non-traditional, collaborative and generative reading of visual cultures scholar José Esteban Muñoz’ series of essays Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity in order to communicate a key concept from the work. By doing this, the project investigates the capacity of simple creative coding skills to communicate complicated ideas about queer identities and queerness-as-becoming.

My project is accompanied by a dissertation 'Coding Utopia: Creative coding for communicating queer ideas,' that details how queer ways of working have been drawn out of queer studies texts and incorporated into the project’s design research methodologies. It also presents key findings about creative code as a successful medium for understanding and communicating queer ideas.

UTS School of Design, Faculty of Design
Architecture and Building
UTS acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation, the Bidiagal people and the Gamaygal people, upon whose ancestral lands our university stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.