The Assignment


Julie Chen
Berkeley, CA
Flying Fish Press

Title: Personal Topology

Number of Copies in Edition: One-of-a-Kind
Size: 5.25" x 8" .5" closed, 8" x 36" when opened
Number of Pages: 12

Medium: Pochoir and digital type on paper. Book structure is based on a Hedi Kyle design.

Price: $1000

To purchase, please contact Laura at 23 Sandy Gallery.

The Assignment

Personal Timeline Project: Using Pochoir techniques and the paper provided, create a visual timeline that depicts some part of your personal history.  You can use any time frame for this piece as well as any time units. For instance, your timeline could portray the events of a single day (yesterday or a day from the distant past) and be broken down into units of minutes or hours, or it could portray your whole life up to this point and be broken down into units of years or even decades.  All events included on the timeline should be represented by abstract shapes and patterns that are cut into mylar and stenciled onto the paper. Consider varying the size and color of your abstract images to represent the relationship of events that are being depicted. Feel free to use repetition of images and/or overlapping images when appropriate. There are several guidelines that you should follow when designing your timeline:

1. The timeline should include at least one line (to represent time) that runs relatively horizontally across the length of the paper. The line(s) do not have to run down the middle of the paper, nor do they have to be straight: they should express your experience of time during the period that you are depicting over the course of the timeline. The line can be drawn with a pen or pencil, or it can be stenciled.

2.  Events should be depicted in chronological order although they do not have to be evenly spaced. You do not have to clearly denote units of time on the timeline—this does not have to be clear to anyone but you. The units of time that you are using might change (from days to weeks, for example) over the course of the timeline if necessary

3. You can depict any specific events that you choose and any number of events, but at least one image should denote a traumatic event (not necessarily a major trauma—it could be a minor childhood event that seemed traumatic to you at the time) and one image should denote a joyful occasion.  Look for any visual patterns that may develop and consider how to best organize the data into an overall visual composition that is balanced and clear.

4. Use as much of the paper as possible for your timeline.  Your timeline does not have to be extremely full, but do not leave big margins at the edges of the paper. Instead, consider having some of your images go to the edge or even partially off the edge of the paper.

5. Do not use any representational imagery in your timeline. It is not necessary that anyone but you be able to decipher the specifics events or time period that is portrayed in your timeline. It should, however, have an inner logic to it, and show the relative importance of the events portrayed through the use of size, shape, color, and placement on the paper.

The Text Featured in Personal Topology

There was evidence in the pattern of our days
that everything we thought we knew would turn out to be untrue.
The great circle.
The straight line.
What was the cost of not taking
the shortest path?
We did not want to believe
that therules of geometry applied to us
and that parallel lines, no matter how close,
would never meet.


All images and text copyright the artists and authors. All rights reserved.