Interpreting Ulysses

Graphic Design, 2020


Graphic Design

Type in Space


This project is a physical prototype that expresses the meaning of the famous first 64 lines from the book Ulysses, Sirens chapter, written by James Joyce, known for his experimental use of language.

The 64 lines are fragments of speech that represent different voices, all happening simultaneously, composing a boisterous bar scene.

This prototype captures that simultaneity as well as the uniqueness of every voice. The viewers take a peek through this layer box like an outsider looking through a window. As they move their gaze from top to bottom, and left to right, the layered typography create a dynamic and spacial relationship, implying the quality and location of each voice.

Original Texts

The magic in these 64 lines in the Sirens chapter is that James Joyce crafted these poetic phrases like a musical piece that foreshadows the story by taking one element from each plot line and compiling them into one rhythmic composition.

Sketch to Production

In interpreting the texts, I came up with a few ways to typographically represent the 3-dimensionality. From the sketches, I eventually built out smaller prototypes before moving on the the final output, an 18in by 18in box with seven film layers.

Layer box with white backlight, front view

Layer box with white backlight, side view

Front view close up

Adding a crimson backlight to create a more sinister and grim look, more appropriate for the context of the chapter

Physical to Digital

As an alternative to the physical prototype, I turned this project into a digital interactive presentation with embedded audio, which curates the movement of viewers' gaze more intentionally.

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