Archive for October, 2007

My Little Body

In the poetic workshop with Redell Olsen at the Wellcome Collection, I mainly found three apparently very different objects in the exhibition “Medicine Man” that I felt could be related. I chose the 1) the Doctor’s signboard hung with human teeth (Chinese, acquired before 1936); 2) Lock of hair, said to be King George III’s (1760- 1820); 3) the tattoos on human skin (French, 1850-1900). They are implicitly related because all of them are the removable part of the human body.

Then, I wrote continuously for three minutes in response to each of them after looking at them carefully. I set to myself that I have to feel the exhibited items and write it continuously without thinking for three minutes and I have to group them into some kind of text format I think that would be suitable for each of them.

After that, I have to consider the words and phrases that I have collected as objects for my own gallery on the page. Actually, I have to make an arrangement of groups of words or phrases on a page. It is a bit like the typographic exercise or something like concrete poetry. In the end of the first little workshop, I have designed a page of visual texts.

Furthermore, the second little workshop started with choosing an object from the “Medicine Man” exhibition that suggests a potential book form to me. We were told to consider the book as a container of information: boxes, bottles, hinged objects, receptacles, jars, etc… At the same time, we had to produce a text that could be stored in this book form. That could be the text I wrote in the first workshop or found the existed materials/ texts from the exhibition, which might include titles, lists, names, vocabulary and descriptions. The further work is deciding how I will develop my text further in relation to the possible making of a book form that might be related or grow out of my interest in the original object.

In this second workshop, I chose the Acupuncture figure Papier-mâché (Japanese, acquired before 1963) to be the ideal book form as this is a human body that contains all the texts on the surface of the body. I want to make a book of a body. According to Taoist philosophy, the life force “chi” flows around the body. It is similar that the body texts flow around the body of book as well.

The above is the inspiration or starting point of making this “My Little Body”. I think that the human body is fragile and easily to be broken, so I would like to express the fragility of the human body in this book.

I can explain the concept of this book from “inside” to “outside”. Firstly, I have found the meaning and definition of different parts of the body first which as the content of the book. Then, I designed the layout with the consideration of the layering effects, visual expression of the text and the sequence of papers. The feeling of layering effect and accumulation of different rhythm of dancing typography in pages should be shown in this book.

In choosing the paper, I used the most fragile paper—the tissue paper to be the main part of the book body. That can both express the feeling of fragility and layering effect of the layout design.

After printing different parts of the body out on different sheet of papers, I tried to sew all these papers (body parts) together. I am like a doctor doing cosmetic surgery to sew/ combine different parts of the body together to form the human body. It is a real process to make the body of the book. These red threads could be treated as the blood vessels that circulate throughout the body. They can also be the hair of the book when you combine them together. I also made the pocket to contain this little fragile book, which is made of flock paper. This paper texture is a little bit similar to the human skin.

All the materials chosen and the layouts designed create the whole feeling of the inside and outside of the human body. It is also a little bit related to my main project of “2 sides”. I tried to test how to make a book of “oriental” or “Asian” style. The paper chosen, the binding ways, the Chinese titles, the feminine feeling… all of these show some kind of “Asian”.


Hei Shing

書就是… A Book is…


A piece of paper reflects not only time but also space. Books are formed by binding papers together to become containers of words that serve as a reservoir as well as a spring of wisdom.

October 2007

  • 156,349