Interchanges are massive, intertwining roads that converge and allow vehicles to change in multiple directions. A common piece of infrastructure, these roadways allow humans to efficiently and easily navigate the world. They also enable the continuous flow of commerce and people in the workforce, supporting the local economy. In short, interchanges are a modern marvel. However, the continuous expansion of these massive roadways further encourages our overreliance on cars and, in turn, fossil fuels, which causes us to disrupt local ecosystems and add to the accumulating toxic emissions in the air. And yet, despite appearing huge at eye-level, in satellite images, these massive interchanges look delicate. In fact, from a bird’s eye point of view, they look like fingerprints. Carbon Fingerprint’s symbols style forty five of the world’s most structurally complicated highways into human fingerprints to reinforce that roads are physical marks, or “evidence,” left on the Earth by humanity.
To create the project’s visuals, satellite images of the highways’ lines were used as the base for each symbol. Then, to ensure the image’s texture resembles actual fingerprints, real fingerprints were inked and pressed. Aspects of the resulting imprints were combined with digital pictures of fingerprints to inform the final images. Carbon Fingerprint’s forty-five symbols were then named by the highway they represent’s coordinates to inspire audience participation in the project, as each interchange coordinate can be Googled and explored online. This is an aspect of Carbon Fingerprint that further works towards the project’s intention to bring attention to how interchanges are materialized proof that, for the past century, we as a civilization have been expanding industrially and technologically faster than ever before—faster than the global ecosystem can handle.
Vianey Diaz is a Houston-based graphic designer that specializes in print and motion design. Her work is influenced by minimalistic Swiss design and the grunge aesthetics of the new wave and punk era. She aspires to create unconventional, highly experimental designs in the same realm as designers like Wolfgang Weingart and David Carson.