Jocelyn Tsui

The Perfect Circle

Class of: 2024

Major: Fine Arts BFA

Medium: Digital, printed, paper, writing, text

Faculty: Casey Haymes (Seminar) and Audra Wolowiec (Studio)

Prompt: By combining an image archive (Studio) and writing (Seminar) together, we had to produce a publication that would identify and develop a research topic that relates to an idea of shift. The publication, digital or printed, had to shape what shift looks and means to each of us, and exhibit deep complexity and thought into our specific idea.

What is a “Perfect Circle”? Does it exist?

I saw the circle as a portal to another world. A means of escapism away from our own world and its imperfections. This could be into space or the cosmos, visually beyond the circumference of a circle. Or way into its centre, into the world of consciousness or the mind. Whether or not it’s a physical search or a search into imagination, the circle has been used to understand the unknown and make the invisible visible – the perfect representation for perfection.

Inspired by Maggie Nelson’s research writing in Bluets, I wanted to similarly explore the significance circles had to me. I had been drawing intricate mandalas for a long time, but only considered them as a hobby and never thought too deeply about them. However, I wanted to engage with this ‘passive’ work through a different perspective, and explore my hidden struggle with imperfection and constant desire for perfection.

The project outcome included a series of handmade notebooks, which each explore a component from my writing e.g. labyrinths of the mind, mathematical diagrams of consciousness, confusion, and destruction. Some include hand-drawn mandalas and cut-out pages to reveal depth and layers – a physical motion of delving deeper into the concept. I also created a digital publication (38 pages) using InDesign, in which I hoped to demonstrate a shift in mindset towards ‘perfection’, and whether or not it’s sustainable.