Graphic Design

Formation of a New Order: Story of Pass_Permit

Stella Shi
Practice Commercial Practices
Project Data Design
Major Graphic Design
Year Fourth Year

Nominee: Bachelor Research Award & Drempelprijs Commercial Practices

This is the year 2020. At the time when a nation-wide quarantine lock-down took place in China, the not-yet-defined virus continued to gain its momentum in not only spreading through human bodies but also significantly through destroying every possible normality of domestic life. Just in days, citizens were restricted from taking unnecessary social events outside of their gated-community, under the performance of prevention and control. Life was overturned. All livings were, therefore, questioned: How do we continue our lives?

Hundreds and thousands of residential pass-permits were distributed across China almost overnight. As a Chinese citizen studying and living abroad, I am never too close nor too far from the pandemic. By following the event from the beginning of the thread, pass-permits came in at a very early stage, it was so essential to every Chinese citizen that we even felt its importance overseas. Families and friends made photos of permits and sent to me almost as if they were perfect embodiments of the evolution of the epidemic situation.

Therefore, I sensed an interesting topic rising, and meanwhile, I felt the responsibility to give a presentation on this as a proper intermedium between two types of social cultures. It would be me, a Chinese student studying in the Netherlands, giving my vision and knowledge to introduce a formation of this new order. My growing eagerness to document these pass-permits drove me to the cultivation of this project.
The visualisation of the new order of lifestyle under close-management is realised through the analysis of the restrictions of each pass-permits, based on how strict they forbid residents from daily travelling.

More specific details are presented through a series of illustrated land maps, showing facts and relevant elements of each district/community, giving a direct vision into the reachable spectrum of living activities.

Next to the illustration and photographs, I tried to gather real-life stories which can tell the changing lifestyles from the ones who are experiencing it.

Together they make up a book that archive and document a global event starting from a simple object.

When I consider the form of my projects, it always seems to connect with a method of listing, exhibiting. Here my role as a visual researcher, a graphic designer, a data designer is merging with the role of a curator and an author. These roles led to the production of a catalogue documenting and preserving the pass-permits as a witness of events.