Looking-Glass Mixology


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Publication Date



artists' books, Baker & Whitehill


Book and Paper

Student Status

Undergraduate student

Year of Graduation



Printmaking, Brown RISD Dual Degree (BRDD)

Faculty / Course

Jessie Karlsberger

Materials + Techniques

LED, Concrete, vellum, gampi, laser print, transfer print

Student Narrative

(Looking)-Glass Mixology, an artist’s book, was designed, bound, typeset, and in many other ways created by Xu (Susie) Zhu in quarantine in Beijing, China, May 2020 (in the time of COVID-19). Xu has been spending a significant amount of time in/in front of her windows, contemplating on invented space and the possibility of inventing space during her self-quarantine period. In quarantine, window becomes the most spacious “space” in the house. Window is beyond 2-dimensional: Reading the window throughout the endless days of stay-home is a reading of the plane opening up into space that’s possible but not possible, accessible but not accessible anymore. The book is a “looking-box” that is inspired by the experience of looking out window for 14 days during quarantine. For a lack of things to do, I began by observing what’s on and out the window but eventually the window becomes a frame around imagination: endless images emerge from that one limited square of glass as I contemplate on what I see and I what I am thinking about seeing. The book is made up of one light box; one “looking box” with structures constructed using photos taken from my window as materials to generate abstract, morphing images when peered through the tiny hole on its front; and a transparent, “ambient text“ block with its head and end connected to each other thus loses its beginning or ending. The text is the least “book” part of the book, it is like wall paper, an ambient text. The book all together resembles building blocks——that I have been trapped in, by COVID, but as also by the city life that I have grown up living.


Music credit: music reconstructed from Jason Kahn, Untitled

Looking-Glass Mixology