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Who in their right mind would bury four years worth of hard earned school work in a time capsule? That would be me, or at least the topic I chose to explore during my senior portfolio class led me to do so. Here it is, my final work at the School of Visual Arts. A journey through my chosen thesis topic: “collecting & reflecting”, guided me to explore how it could be applied to graphic design assignments, human nature, and oh yea, my portfolio. I then led myself to believe that by burying my work in a time capsule, my topic would be, for the time being, satisfied. I then designed a documentary book (shown above), to explain my investigation. Below you’ll find a detailed explanation, found in the preface to the School of Visual Arts Senior Library 2004 book, where this project was featured, based on an interview held at Pentagram in New York City.

/Documentation Selected Book Spreads

Selected Book Spreads



View of video instalation of time capsule footage with added sound & elements. Polaroid snapshots taken during the burial ceremony by my fellow classmate Dona Yim.


Close-up of wall from the first room, from list of thesis topics applied to wall.

View of a wall in first room where specimens of time capsule book were placed.

View of video instalation of time capsule footage with added sound & elements.

Close-up of TV from second room showing footage of thesis topic performances.

View of time capsule book next to a replica capsule, seen in a display case.

Close-up of my work specimens that are unavailable, marked by a “buried” sign.

An exhibition took place at the School of Visual Arts Gallery, located in the lower westside of Manhattan. Entitled “portfolio*”, the exhibit was named after a 3-year retrospective of Paul Sahre’s portfolio class at SVA, on display from March 11th to March 27th, 2005. The 2,600 square foot gallery space featured student thesis based graphic design work. “Time Capsule: A Graphic Design Portfolio” was one of many portfolios exhibited. Above are photos taken of the exhibition.


Spreads from my thesis book were turned into a dedicated book volume in SVA’s annual graphic design publication called The 2004 SVA Senior Library, designed by Carin Goldberg. It has won awards for educational book design by The One Club & Print Magazine.


SVA Senior Library 2004 Book 5, “collecting & reflecting” PREFACE Long before he ever got to the School of Visual Arts, Edmund Zaloga had figured out a collection is complete only once it’s been retired. Zaloga grew up in a family that moved constantly: “Every couple of years we went someplace else, so I was always collecting stuff – baseball cards, soda bottles, sea glass, stuff like that.” As a child, he had always imagined burying his collections before moving on to the next place, but it was not until he was a senior portfolio student of Paul Sahre in the Graphic Design Department at SVA that he actually found occasion to do so. Zaloga explains that as taught by Sahre, the lesson in creating a portfolio was “not so much about creating work to get work; rather, it was I the logic and power of graphic design.” To that end, students were asked to establish a thesis topic which would then work as a filter for subsequent assignments. Zaloga’s topic– I found that in our lives we collect things, which upon reflection, give us a greater understandingof the time in which we live – reflects his conviction that we live through our objects; and that graphic designers especially look to these reservoirs of personal imagery for the ideas and symbols that are distilled through their work. Collecting. Reflecting. Understanding. The process lead Zaloga to the idea of assembling his four years of graphic design work and packing it in a time capsule. “By burying it, I am able to move on,” he explains. Time capsules traditionally mark a historic site, a moment in time, often both. This capsule, a generic 22.5 inch stainless steel tube, was a more personal marker, an archive containing everything from posters, concept identity, flyers, menus, matchboxes, to logos and business cards. Zaloga designed labels to inventory each piece, documenting its title, instructor, date, description. He packed his student ID cards as well. He packed silica packets to keep the paper dry. He sealed the capsule with epoxy. And he included a note to whomever might find the capsule, explaining its contents and purpose and asked that it be returned to SVA. And then on April 13, 2004 he buried the capsule in small plot of grass outside his Brooklyn apartment in a ceremony accompanied by a handful of friends and Sahre. (To a curious neighbor, he simply explained that he was burying a pet.) A time capsule, of course, is about keeping things and getting rid of them at the same time, an exercise in contradiction that designers and artists in a wide variety of mediums sooner or later become familiar with. Zaloga has come to it sooner. “A lot of people depend on having their work around them,” he says. “But by putting it out of sight, out of mind, sometimes it’s beneficial for designers not to be surrounded by their own work, their own past.” Zaloga professes that his interest is in longevity. In examining the book Zaloga has assembled to document the process of creating the time capsule, the viewer is asked to don a pair of white gloves. He is clearly preoccupied with how to keep things around, and in one sense, for sure, the time capsule is about the lifetime of design. But at the same time, its burial references disposability, and it seems apparent that these are Zaloga’s twin-and inseparable themes. “Some time capsules have a specific target date,” he muses. “This one doesn’t. I might dig it up at the end of my career. Or not.” As Zaloga sees it, “The best graphic design comes from not knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow.” Written by Akiko Busch, for The 2004 SVA Senior Library Book Book 5 contains photographed spreads of selected pages from my Thesis Book.


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