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Herculaneum Book Project

Background: This project was inspired by a trip to Italy, visiting Rome, Naples and Pompeii. I also visited nearby Herculaneum, a lesser-known and more recent excavation site from the Mt. Vesuvius volcano eruption in 79AD that completely buried several cities. Herculaneum was first discovered until 1709, but because a modern town was built on top of it, it was not significantly explored until 1990. 

Herculaneum was thought to be a wealthy resort town on the Mediterranean during Roman times, and no one ever expected that the beautiful, sometimes smoking, conical-shaped mountain was a massive volcano about to explode. Pompeii completely burned during the event, destroying a lot of artifacts. However, due to the nature of the eruption and Herculaneum’s location, a river of hot mud sealed the town in a vacuum creating an “earth blanket”, and perfectly preserving the most beautiful mosaics and frescos. Herculaneum itself became an actual time capsule of the sophistication of daily life over a thousand years ago!

Role: Graphic Designer, Masters Degree Thesis Project

Concept: Develop a typographic visual language and construct the narrative of the event through key words depicting the human experience both past and present. Text was extracted from Pliny the Elder’s written accounts of the disaster as he watched from his boat out at sea.

Time Capsule – “a moment in time”, the past perfectly sealed and preserved, and now uncovered and revealed. Myth vs Reality. Humanity: man vs man, man vs nature, man vs unknown, man vs animal, man vs disease, man vs himself

Disaster vs Discovery Transition (inspired by Fall to Winter Transition from Itchiku Kubota’s Kimono exhibition):
everyday stillness
uncertain warning
confined energy
sudden release
explosion
misunderstood clouds
lightness among dark
flashes of fire
showers of ash
inky darkness
sudden fear
calm to chaos
flaming shapes
waves of panic
intense heat
no hiding place
complete submersion
last breath
total calm
air tight
preservation
earth blanket
stillness, the long sleep
sudden discovery
reawaken
unearth
return to the light of day

Audience: Museum and excavation site visitors; tourists from all over the world