Mapping a Journey to Past Lives

California College of the Arts

close-up details.

Presented in the form of a book, < Mapping a Journey to Past Lives> archived a speculative journey based on a fiction notion where people could visit their past lives that have been lived many times by the clone of themselves.

The book illustrated one symbolic example: Marilyn Monroe. Starting from the story of her first natural life, followed by one extended and many cloned lifetimes, the book presented an archive for the future "Marilyn Monroe" to refer to. The book included three imagined lives for this "Marilyn Monroe", and placed her in different times and situations. The book suggests various possibilities for one being and the shifting identity with the context, and leads us to think about the future of the technology and people's life. The speculative mapping of past lives is a fictional journey that raises questions towards identity, authorship and authenticity.

The fiction notion that the book based on was created from the re-examination of my personal real-life journey to the mapping of a fictional journey: an atlas of words was created from closely self-observing my daily routine: imperfect, impermanent, incomplete, indefinable and nature. Using these words as my conceptual constraints, I created a fictional journey where a woman involved in life extension program visits her past various lives. While the fictional should stay true to general facts, I want it to fully expand the meaning of these words. Marilyn Monroe was then chosen as a symbolic figure to further talk about this speculative journey in a political way. Documents, graphic artifacts included in this book was collected or created by myself to serve this archival map. 

Yangyifan Dong