Wot is a book?
Yiyao Su, Best guess for the content of this book: nine cats in my lens and their
nine lives according to Google Image search, 2018
The title of my book is Best guess for the content of this book: nine cats in my lens and their
nine lives according to Google Image search. It’s a paperback that’s 11 cm wide and 18 cm
high. It consists of my own photographs of cats and visually similar images from Google. Making
this book allows me to see how my own works relate and interact with the works of the world,
how similar and different they are from each other. The post-digital experience of this book is
reversed image search, where you upload a image and Google tells you what it probably is and
shows you visually similar images.
A lot of my design practice focus on the relationship between image and text, curating them in an
aesthetically pleasing way and drawing inspiration from culture. Photography is also something I
enjoy a lot. This project gave me a chance to showcase my own photos and curate (mostly)
images in a certain hierarchy, also working with balancing positive and negative space. I have
changed the theme or format of this project many times along the way, but all of them were based
on the relationship of image and text in their own way, thus making this project something I
enjoyed despite the uncertainty.
Two artists that I admire are Barbara Kruger and Jon Rafman. Kruger’s works all draw inspiration
from culture, and they focus heavily on the relationship between image and text. Her resources
are mostly not her own but the way she combines them makes them uniquely hers. Rafman, or
more specifically his blog 9 Eyes is a large curation of findings on the internet, it doesn’t need
much else, the images deliver his point perfectly. Both artists are curators in a way and their
works are simple yet powerful, which is something I strive to achieve in my own practice.
I guess the keyword of my book may include piratical, self, accumulation and found-object. The
process of making it is very simple. I gather all my cat photos, choose the best nine, upload them
to Google Image and see what it comes back with. Photos, the Internet and InDesign was all I
needed. The previous themes included novels/stories, poetry, lyrics and other photographs of
mine and basically they were all based on the same three elements: the Internet, my input, and
The simplicity of this project is quite unusual to how I usually design things, and it was scary in a
way. However, one needs all kinds of practices to enrich their experiences with design and this
served that purpose well. Hopefully people can flip through it and have a laugh, and even start to
think about this strange phenomenon of how everybody’s works can interact nowadays through
the internet, without people even knowing it. This has been a fun experience for me, and who
knows, I might make sequels to it with themes other than cats in the future.