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Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens Illustration by Obvious State

"The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again." - Charles Dickens

From his novel Nicholas Nickleby. 

I’ve thought about this quotation often over the past few months as we collectively endure isolation and grieve gatherings. In his own time, Dickens (and his characters) also contended with a "dread disease," consumption, and the past year has been an acute reminder of how precious time spent with loved ones is. And I don’t know about you, but I also can’t wait to just sit in a crowded, noisy space among strangers again.

One of the most disorienting aspects of 2020 was the way in which physical isolation distorted the sense of time, compressing it and expanding it in unfamiliar ways. 

This illustration uses a Nicolosi projection of the globe, shown as two adjoining circles connected at the equator (originally developed by Al-Biruni, a Persian polymath of the Islamic Golden Age ca. 1000 AD). The Nicolosi projection does to space what 2020 did to time: compressing and expanding it to create a new, unfamiliar territory. Turned on its side it also resembles an hourglass, bringing space and time together into one image. Elements of overlapping roads mark a long journey that had to be taken. But once fully traveled, the road will bring parted people full circle, and back together.

This design is dedicated to all of you who have patiently waited to be reunited with family and loved ones.

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