A year of shifting spaces

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Seriously random shit

I often find it trite and a wee bit cringeable when people do a retrospective on “the year that was” or do a countdown of “the top” whatever for the year. Yet here I am at the beginning of 2017, struck down with food poisoning, bored out of my head without anything much to do except reflect on the year that was. But whether this bout of sentimentality is caused by salmonella or not, I think it was a year worth writing about anyway.

2016 was totally manic, hence this blog’s radio silence. It was the year where I found using the phrase “for the first time in my life” quite a lot. Whether it was as momentous as leaving my full-time job of 8 years to become a lecturer at design school or as small as discovering the joys of using the audio guide to explore the national gallery, the year that passed was a time of shifting places, spaces, experiences and perspectives. As each change came along, I took them on with the reckless bravado of Han Solo and the forward planning skills of a headless chicken. I pretended to know exactly what I was doing.

So how does one cope when an overwhelming amount of things happen in a seemingly short amount of time? By doing a visualisation, of course! Each section in this info graphic represents a shift in:

01: Physical space
02: Head space
03: Familiar people (occupying a different space in my life)
04: Familiar spaces (looking at them differently)
05: The body
06: Responsibilities

The biggest irony of it all is that despite all this change, I never left Victoria in 2016. Staying put has never been my forte and the husband summarised my lack of travel aptly as “Tragic.”

So as I feel my stomach churn and feel vomit number 498 come on, I purge the last bits of mania out of my system and say, “Let’s do this, 2017… let’s have a really boring year!”

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Typeset in Circular by Lineto

shiftingspaces

Books people read at the retreat in Greece

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Asana/meditation / Design / Friends / Travel/commuting

So this is my super delayed new year’s day post.

2015 was nightmare-ish in many  ways and one of the catastrophic low-lights was missing David Pearson‘s workshop in August. When I heard that one of my all-time design heroes was coming to Melbourne the same time I would be away in Paros on a yoga retreat, I was livid. I know, I know, I can’t have cake (or in this case, baklava) and eat it too, but I’d been working on a long, drawn-out, creatively un-satisfying project for the past 8 months and was in desperate need of inspiration.

I had four choices. I could either:

  1. Change my flight;
  2. seethe silently and let the anger fester away into mental illness;
  3. have the awareness to watch myself being angry; or
  4. channel the anger into something productive.

Options 1 and 2 were too expensive (I hear Prozac is quite pricey these days), option 3 still remains just a lofty ideal, and while my meditation teacher would argue that option 4 is a form of deflection, I went with it.

So in a David Pearson-esque manner, I decided to design a cover series of books read by people who were at the retreat. But rather than re-designing the covers based on what the stories were about, I based them on the reader’s relationship with the book. I casually asked each person what they were reading and without asking anything else, designed a cover depicting the information they were willing to share.

The results were a fascinating mix  — some went so far as to exuberantly recite passages from the books, some gave me a mere, “It’s good”, while others babbled on as to why they chose the book without actually telling me whether they liked it or not or what the story was even about.

Penguin’s Great Books this is not, but it was a social experiment that kept me engrossed and entertained for three weeks. I also got to know 18 wonderfully crazy people better through the books they read and the stories they shared.

2015 may not have been so bad after all.

Books_in_Greece_2015