未知死,焉知生 Being-Towards-Death | Book Design

  • 未知死,焉知生
    Being-Towards Death


    德國哲學家海德格曾說:「人是奔向死亡的存在」,意指生死並存於「人」這個體之內,兩者息息相關,甚或密不可分。生而為人,基於生物原始本能和意識的產生,人類漸察覺自身終將不復存在的命運,難免會迴避及畏懼死亡。人死如燈滅,在意識消散之前,我們該如何自處?這裡沒有確切的答案,但望能透過設計,為你提供另一種思考面向。

    此作品有兩本書。第一本為《未知死》,旨在帶出我們不需要害怕及憂慮死亡,正如伊壁鳩魯所言,死亡未到時,我們沒受其傷害;死亡來到,我們已不再存在,亦不會體驗到傷害。所以死亡,其實與活著的我們無關,無需費煞思量。第二本是《焉知生》,透過展示關於生活細節的圖像,表達生命雖短暫,但活著就有機會去選擇賦予不同事物價值,決定它們對於自己的意義。

    我們每天朝死亡邁步,面對抵步之必然,我們無能為力。能做的,就只有選擇前進的方式。

    Death is inevitable. As the only animal that became conscious of this fact 150,000 years ago, human beings have developed different mental and behavioural defence mechanisms to manage the terror of death — denial, avoidance, or a change in perspective.

    Philosopher Martin Heidegger believes we are “being-towards-death”, which one could only live authentically by confronting and making meaning out of their own death. Thus, the concept of this work is to oppose and juxtapose the notions of life and death through the use of visuals of everyday life, implying that death is not directly people’s concerns, but life needs to be recognized as a celebration of details.

    This work does not aim to provide answers but a different perspective on the notion of death, and also, life. We are powerless in front of the inevitability of our demise. All we could do is to choose how to face it.
  • BOOK 1
    未知死

    It's natural to fear death, yet a person and death are never present at the same time. Besides, despite the effort, we humans are unable to understand the essence of death. 未知死 ‬is a tiny book aimed at illustrating “death does not concern us”.

    The idea is illustrated through the book's tiny size — a metaphor of how little death matters to us. To convey our inability to understand death, the book is aimed to be designed as an object of expression rather than a readable book. It includes a collection of images extracted from 焉知生, with effects added to make the images look unrecognizable. It would not make much sense reading it, just like glimpsing into death — you would not gain or understand anything.
  • BOOK 2
    焉知生

    焉知生 aimed at emphasising “what matters is where we choose to assign values into for our finite life”.

    Contrasting with 未知死, 焉知生 is a large book. The books' difference in sizes is a metaphor for the differences in how life and death matter to us.

    Besides, 焉知生 is a readable book that people could interact with, just as how people could interact with the world while being alive. The book contains a collection of images about everyday life: little things, mundane things, details — something that could be recognized and understood.​​​​​​​

    The number of pages is 72 — a round-up number of the average life expectancy at birth.
  • THE TWO BOOKS
    未知死,焉知生

    The two books could be read together by placing 未知死 inside the hole of 焉知生. The whole image could be reviewed by flipping the two books together.

    Audiences could choose how the two books are being read.

    Reading them together is a metaphor of acknowledging death is a part of life. Knowing we could live more authentically, or literally seeing a bigger picture, when they’ve come to terms with death.

    They could also be read separately. Reading 未知死 is like not being able to gain understanding when glimpsing into death. Reading 焉知生 would have to ignore the hole, and also ignoring 未知死, just like only emphasise on living experiences or avoiding death.

    You could choose the reading experience of this work, just as how you could choose your perception of life and death.
  • Graphic design & photography: Scarlet Ng
    Supervising tutor: Cedric van Eenoo
    Year: 2020