Pentagram partner Giorgia Lupi stitches her life in data into the pages of a Moleskine notebook

The artist renowned for her data visualisation art claims that this is an account of her life “so far”.

10 November 2021

Journaling can either be a tough task, or a joy, depending on who you are. For Giorgia Lupi, though, it’s rather different altogether. Because she’s not journaling through words, but using data about herself in order to visualise her life on the pages of Moleskine notebooks, the Pentagram partner is spinning a new kind of journaling in turn. Even more fascinatingly, she stitches this data into the very pages of her journals, culminating in a compendium of stitched numbers and values which all come together to represent her life.

Giorgia provides us with a key to read the journals: one white stitch represents one day from when she was born – 24 July, 1981 – which resulted in 14,496 stitches; a green vertical stitch marks the first day of the year. On top of these days, she stitches events which have happened over the course of her life, with each type of event represented by a different colour stitch. For example, a yellow stitch marks a life achievement, a dark blue stitch represents travel, a red stitch is love and fittingly, two red stitches forming a cross is a break up, whilst a black cross symbolises a loss. Lupi disassembled three Moleskine notebooks and re-assembled their pages in an accordion layout for the project.

“Acknowledging the passing of time and the days I have lived by physically marking each one, and then weaving subjective memories on it as a way of asking myself who I am now, what has made me who I am and where have I gotten so far.

The painstaking, “laborious” as Lupi puts it, process results in a visually simple yet technically grinding, deeply textured effect, the Book of Life. The Moleskine Foundation invited Lupi to add to the non-profit organisation’s large collection of artist’s notebooks, one of the biggest in the world in fact, to enhance its mission of “Creativity for Social Change”. It holds more than 1,300 donated books by artists like William Kentridge, Patricia Urquiola and Sigur Ros, and is free to access online and at museums around the world.

Book of Life takes cues from Lupi’s previous project Dear Data, where she documented her life in hand-drawn data on weekly postcards which were sent between herself and Stefanie Posavec. For this new project, she “wanted to capture the totality of my life in paper and thread,” says Lupi, “both key events that I felt were pivotal to the trajectory of my life, and the mundane of the day-to-day.”

GalleryPentagram: Book of Life by Giorgia Lupi (Copyright © Moleskine, 2021)

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Pentagram: Book of Life by Giorgia Lupi (Copyright © Moleskine, 2021)

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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