Dr Massimiliano Fusari | A Research Statement


The 1991 Gulf War set – among many socio-political changes - a communicative milestone, one that arguably reached us in declinations as diverse and unexpected as today’s ‘alternative facts.’ Media were promoted as the imperative requisite for politics.

Over these 25 years, as an academic scholar and a multimedia journalist, I have been exploring how communication strategically leverages politics. I approached the topic from a variety of research perspectives, and by producing different media formats, to eventually appreciate the centrality of the visual form.


HH Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, Sheikh of the Emirate of Sharjah.

Opening of my exhibition Behind An Hawza - In Front An Image.

Durham (UK), April 2012.


The Image As Storytelling

The Image As Storytelling is my way of making sense of the semiotic shift that analogue media first, and digital ones have then instituted in communication.

Arguably, design and aesthetics are what define each and every stage in digital media production: this embraces everything, from pre- to post-production, from montage to media distribution policies. However, design and aesthetics are also at the centre of the highly contentious relationship that juxtapose the recorded real and its designed representation/s.

In today’s digital world, maps are often perceived as more relevant than the territory they picture, and this represents a further layer of complexities in the above complex relationship. Pragmatically, I explore ways to engage design and aesthetics not as ‘that which re-signifies the real,’ but as ideologically neutral tools to assess how media forms (i.e. the digital photograph) recombine communicative formats (i.e. storytelling).

In 2008 Peter Greenaway reminded us that ‘just because you have eyes does not mean to say that you can see.’ I agree that, in spite of its complexities, visual communication still remains profoundly overlooked and trivialised. For instance, camera settings inscribe the recording of the real before it being not only shot, but even ‘seen,’ and that is indeed designed visual communication.

Hence whether we take or make a photograph is indeed not a small issue of semantics, but the way we make sense of visual media and today’s socio-political communication.

The Meta-Image

The Meta-Image is a digital format I devised to manage the widening space between visual communication and its interpretations. The Meta-Image works as a single image nesting on its top vertical layers of interactive stacked information.


A work-in-progress template for the Meta-Image.

Source: Fusari, Massimiliano: Aesthetics as Storytelling.


The upper part of the nested layers are engaged by the audience when they choose to discover more about the image.

The lower part of the nested layers are the layers building up the semantics of the image via aesthetics. Rollover the below image to experience the extent to which design and aesthetics 're-make' the image.


An example of aesthetics as storytelling.


Through its digital and interactive qualities, the Meta-Image tracks how visual production and knowledge communication evolve, and contextualises all interventions from different parties, with the final aim not of stating the truth, but presenting audiences with an informed piece of communication.

In other words, the Meta-Image is a tool to respond to the highly contentious and increasingly multifaceted communication of today’s personal identities and cultural communities.

Continue here to a wide variety of PDF documents, including my biography, CV, portraits and logo, consulting activities, exhibitions, for public usage.