Lots of news to start the new year!

First up – Unflattening is now available in Chinese, via Gingko Books! They did a wonderful job – this and the Korean edition are the only two translations thus far to have a different cover made from repurposed interior art. While I’m partial to the cover as I intended it, I quite like what they did here. Stay tuned for a few interviews I’ve done with Chinese publications. This comes hot on the heels of the Italian edition from Lavieri Edizioni. While I haven’t seen a copy of the Italian yet – it has been reviewed in a few Italian publications including Los Pazio Bianco, Stay Nerd, translator Alessandro Manna was interviewed on Italian radio (podcast recording here), and featured in Rolling Stone Italy!

Meanwhile, my comic “Frames of Thought” that was originally published in PMLA Journal last year (and behind a paywall) – was just republished by Duke’s Franklin Humanities Futures Institute. The comic is available and freely shareable here. It reworks some ideas I explored in Unflattening, adds some new wrinkles, and starts on the path of where I’m going with the new work – and also offers a first attempt at reframing the endnotes/citations page in more visual fashion. Read it all here. I’ve included a bit of my sketch layouts here as well for comparison to the final…

The biggest news of all is our new arrival – Odysseus Sousanis – who came into the world November 27, 2018 – a little early for his due date (as listed on my syllabus) but he’s healthy and been eating and sleeping great since! We are all greatly enjoying getting to know him…

And finally, the follow up to Unflattening under the working title Nostos, is now officially underway! I’ve completed a two page spread from the 22-page continuous sequence that will be the opening chapter. Figuring out the whole sequence and then executing these two pages (8&9) has been a long time in the works to say the least. I’ve shared a few sketches here last summer (and frequently on Twitter), but it’s good to now have a real piece of it behind me, as I gear up to tackle what is shaping up to be something far larger than Unflattening. I don’t mean longer necessarily, but has meant an even deeper dive into the literature than its predecessor. I’m excited for it. The term Nostos means the delight in returning – associated with The Odyssey, which is a framing metaphor for this work. And it’s about a return of sorts – to something we’ve perhaps forgotten, a reminder of what it means to be human – how we came into the world and where we might go… And the delight in making that rediscovery.
Here you can see some of my sketches (from the hundreds I made) and compare a bit to the actual page. The text is talking about itself and also keeps referring back to the Odyssey and the other visual elements (all will be more clear when the connecting pages are present…). The closing line, about constructing our own ever more ingenious obstacles… is a reference to Bernard Suits The Grasshopper where he defines games as “playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles,” Raymond Queneau’s description of the Oulipians as “Rats who build the labyrinth from which they will try to escape,” (which i learned from Matt Madden), and Michel Serres’s phrase a maze is “a very long path within a short distance” that maximizes feedback, cycle… Looking forward to having more excerpts and sketches to share in the year ahead. Onward! – N