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With our eyes half-wide shut, and the remaining daydreaming of our cozy beds, our Saturday morning on a seemingly hectic November was shaken and transformed in an abrupt manner.

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MyraArianiLydia, and myself were the four – with later assistance by Farid – who became part of a grueling yet enlightening workshop prepared by our Swiss-based artist/designer/visual practitioner, Sébastien Théraulaz.

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A fellow school friend of Melissa Sunjaya in the Art Center College of Design (Europe), Sébastien has always carried a creative streak in him, having worked in TV productions and various advertising agencies before deciding to establish Sub Communications in 1999 and Subtitude Foundry in 2004, that focuses heavily on typography. Having traveled to Jakarta for the first time, he made sure he fully equipped us with the proper knowledge necessary in his tight schedule.

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Before day one, we were prepared with a few easy tasks: to write our names on a piece of paper, bring a photocopy of our photograph, and select one of our favorite images, all of which were assigned with a purpose.

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Our written names and photograph became an analysis of our character and a visual projection of ourselves, what we consciously or unconsciously portray, whereas the favorite imagery was a study of dissecting the layers and intention behind the image producer.

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He helped us to understand how a simple projection can determine so many messages. What followed was an intense week of breaking down what Tulisan meant to us through word association and visual representations. Our days from then on were divided into morning art and design discussions and afternoons of refining our technical design skills.

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The process was new, often frustrating and accompanied by numerous cups of coffee (and snacks!), but it gave us a simple fulfillment to see and do things through varying perspectives not be limited to our familiar routine. As a writer, this became a refreshing exercise to break down my linear and literal thought-process and experiment with ideas through color palettes and visual imagery in tactile or digital mediums.

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My utmost gratitude to both Melissa and Sébastien for the opportunity to explore our creative endeavors and by having it compiled into a physical copy we all were surprised to have.

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We are proud to announce our exploration in a book we call The Map of Imaginary Instructions. Why imaginary? Because this book became a guide to break down the imaginary head voices often stopping us from trying.

– Athina Ibrahim