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Researcher and cartoonist Nick Sousanis recently published a special thesis in the form of a graphic novel, parts of which will be on show in the meeting space De Brug at the Roeterseiland Campus. After this, the pop-up exhibition will tour a number of other UvA locations.

Pictures on Reality Sousanis IIS 2015

Sousanis's thesis in graphic form is titled Unflattening (Harvard University Press, 2015), and is an interdisciplinary study on how we gather knowledge and the consequences this has for our perspective on reality.

Flattened masses, liberated horizons

Partly inspired by Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Flatland, Sousanis starts his dissertation by describing and illustrating the extent to which we will have to adopt far-reaching standardisation in order to function in modern-day society. In addition to offering a brief explanation on the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge, Sousanis critically assesses the way in which we are shaped by our environment and education. Masses of people are depicted as mummies, stripped of all individuality. ‘Unflattening’ seeks to explore the ways and places in which this loss of perspective occurs, and help us rediscover our capacity to perceive greater depth.

Unflatten your perspective

Sousanis suggests that an interdisciplinary approach to the issues can help us ‘unflatten’ our knowledge of and approach to reality. This ‘unflattening’ will shed new light on the things we stand to lose as a result of analysis and standardisation. It is a beautiful and extraordinary plea for the ‘liberation of your horizon’. 


Come to the exhibition to let Sousanis' images inspire you and gain new perspectives on reality. The pop-up exibition can be seen at the following locations:

  • University Library: 2 February - 18 February
  • Science Park: 22 February - 9 March

This pop-up exhibition is presented by the University of Amsterdam's Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies and was curated by Vasso Belia, MA, in collaboration with Utrecht University's School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.