units of reflection

today is new year’s eve and it’s a rather obvious opportunity to look backwards at the previous year and see what happened; what went well, what went not so well, where we went, who we met, etc., etc., etc. but, how is it possible to reflect on the entirety of what happened in a year, how can we wrap our heads around a passage of time in which so much or so little has happened?

well, it comes down to a matter of the units of reflection that we invoke, and what vehicle we use to stir up the memories.

if we look at a day, it can hold so many events, a wide variety of thoughts and emotions, discoveries and losses. writing about a day as it comes to an end lets us capture all the sublet nuances as they change from minute to minute, and hour to hour. sometimes, maybe too many nuances.

stepping back, a week beings to bring us some perspective and inconsequential happenings start to recede, become fragments of our memories, and the important moments start to shine through the kerfuffle. alas, there are 52 weeks in a year and finding 52 summaries is a daunting task when you’re due to a friend’s place in just two hours. so as a matter of practicality, we can’t do that.

which brings us to the month. that medium sized unit of measurement that we use to plan our lives (unless you live in sweden, where they have invoked weeks as a standard unit of planning. still makes me feel all ‘wtf?!!’). not too big, not too small. not so grandiose that we lose track of the details, and not so small as to get us side tracked into a land of tangential rambling. those things that take forever to pass when we’re anxiously waiting and fly by in an instant when we’re absorbed in living life. a month seems kind of perfect. you know, it forces you to cut the crap but not so much crap that you can’t see the forest because there are no trees.

now how do we locate the moments that resonate, that are worthy of telling the story of an entire month? maybe with photos. with imagery. with moments that have been captured on film or in pixels and that bring with them recorded light and memories of the people, places, and circumstances on those very days. let’s do that. twelve photos, twelve months. 365 days. one year: 2012.


january 2012 / traveling from gothenburg to san francisco. started the month in berlin, ended in san francisco. in between: helsinki + gothenburg.


february 2012 / ming at the sink. officially moved and settled into cabbage patch, ming’s apartment. explored san francisco a lot, worked on degree project (ass savers), started a major freelance project.


march 2012 / staffan at ass savers gbg hq. changed degree project, made first of four trips to sweden for school, visited helsinki for the second time this year and took a day trip to estonia, got entrenched with tons of work, finally returned to san francisco.


april 2012 / late night work on degree project. had a cat try to adopt ming and i at cabbage patch, finally finished freelance work, put pedal to the metal on degree project, took second trip to sweden.


may 2012 / solar eclipse through leaves on dearborn street. made final degree project presentation in sweden, returned to san francisco after forming ass savers as a swedish company. started to do fun things: watched super moon from marin headlands, met yoda with ming, drank hot chocolate in half moon bay, had business lunches with sophy. finalized degree project, went to sweden for the last time for exhibition.


june 2012 / eva, head of hdk talks at graduation exhibition opening. had degree project exhibition at hdk, made public presentation of project, decided to join group exhibition during october in tokyo, ming came to sweden, geocached in gothenburg and helsinki, saw satu and tony for third time this year in finland, made final trip back to san francisco from europe, started work at adobe.


july 2012 / office at adobe. went to korea for summer shutdown (seoul + jeju), settled in san francisco as a working person, started taking frequent trips to nature to technology detox on weekends, continued work on ass savers, seoulist, and preparation for tokyo exhibition.


august 2012 / rocks and ocean near stinson beach. started getting coffee at papa november, continued escapes to nature on weekends, became more busy with work at the office and other projects.


september 2012 / view from adobe times square office, new york. went camping with friends and given the nickname ‘lonelyman14’, saw a double rainbow in the city, went to friend’s wedding in philadelphia, visited home in maryland, took business trip to new york, began extreme preparation for tokyo exhibition.


october 2012 / ming on the rainy streets of horie in osaka. took trip to asia with ming: visited friends in seoul, saw formula one in yeongam (korea), spent a week in busan while working, took an overnight cruise to osaka (japan), stayed in osaka for a week while working and visited naoshima, kyoto, and nara, went to tokyo for group exhibition and showed ass savers.


november 2012 / ‘three gems’ skyspace by james turrell at de young museum in san francisco. returned from trip to japan, many life changes and realizations, stopped drinking coffee, effectively quit side projects (seoulist, ass savers, china exhibition planning), restarted daily meditation, spent time with friends, had thanksgiving with extended east bay family.


december 2012 / my feet in my apartment. hung out with sean a lot, started going to nature again on weekends to enjoy life, regained appreciation for all things, visited home in maryland, saw space shuttle discovery at dulles, took business trip to new york, started drinking decaf coffee, returned to drinking real coffee, moved into new apartment, had many christmas activities with extended east bay family (christmas party in lafayette, christmas day in napa), went camping at steep ravine, spent much time with kim and sophy, started cooking at home, found new perspective.