The Struggles of Laborers in "Capitalizing Soul" Published by Ticket to Nowhere

Beyond being an incredibly skilled graphic designer, Novita Thresia is also fond of writing. This fondness has taken her to initiate the Ticket to Nowhere publication project. Kicking off in 2018, TIcket to Nowhere has since released three volumes on a variety of topics. In their first volume, Ticket to Nowhere published Rationalizing Feelings to highlight the ways people view relationships. After quite some time has passed, only in 2022 did Ticket to Nowhere along with three other contributing authors publish their second title, Allegory of the Bubble, regarding discussions around the public phenomenon of a “bubble” in social issues and daily life. Carrying the matter of work and “burn out”, Capitalizing Soul was chosen as the title of the third volume and was released at this year’s Jakarta Art Book Fair.

The writing process of Capitalizing Soul actually began in 2020 in the thick of the pandemic. At the time, Novita poured her experience and perspective on the “burn out” she felt. Going through a "writer's block", she was only able to finish the draft of the first chapter. Three years later, specifically in May 2023, Novita finally continued writing the draft and completed the remaining two chapters. It only took two months to design the book and one additional month to complete the production of this third volume of Ticket to Nowhere.

“So each edition of Ticket to Nowhere always begins with the writing process first and foremost. When writing this third edition, the word count ended up being really high and eventually became the longest piece of writing I’ve ever done. Because the chosen topic is quite heavy and became really text heavy, I realized I had to really focus on the writing process with this publication. I have to make this book easy to read but still convey the idea I want to deliver,” Novita explained. In the previous two volumes, Novita played more with the design aspect with an exploration of form and included slips of writing in a handful of pages. Meanwhile in this third volume, Novita feels that most of her exploration was done in the writing process. She explained, “So in this [edition] I really experimented more as a writer. I was more mindful of the flow. More mindful of the research and the ideas I wanted to convey. So, design-wise [the publication] is much simpler and the layout is much more easy to see.”

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This has been evidenced in the outcome. Novita successfully dissected issues around work, especially in regards to the younger generation. Critical to philosophical views are delivered in a relatively casual tone that makes the crucial issues in the text easily digestible without one having to crease their forehead in confusion. Captured conversations on film are presented once again as with the previous two volumes with dialogues that catch the attention of any reader–it also shows Novita’s interest in film on top of her vested interest in design and writing.

In this volume, Novita utilized a handful of fonts. The IBM Plex Mono is the most prominent. In responding to Issues around labor, she chose this font due to its rigid, formal, and cold nature to simulate for the audience the feeling of reading an office report. Although the publication looks like a conventional book, Novita still experimented with a few details. For example, the application of exposed binding with green thread as well as the hot print technique with every chapter divider and cover.

In terms of color, Capitalizing Soul is dominated by green. According to Novita, she chose the color as a representation of money. “Maybe we’ve been brainwashed for a long time that the dollar is green. So it felt like the appropriate color to use,” she elaborated. As with the previous two volumes, the publishing of Capitalizing Soul is accompanied with the release of related merchandise. For Novita, in regards to the dense production time, a few of the merchandise items were not designed in accordance with the book’s visual identity design. This is because the production of the merchandise had to be timed to allow for the production of the book which was predicted to take up more time. Furthermore, a few of the merchandise items were designed in a more generic style and emphasizes the branding of Ticket to Nowhere itself.

Following the Jakarta Art Book Fair, the series of events to promote Capitalizing Soul continued with a showcase at Grammars, Bandung on November 11 until December 11. Aside from that, Ticket to Nowhere seemed to have upped their game in their exploration of the publication field by participating in Bangkok Art Book Fair and Kuala Lumpur Art Book Fair. These two events will be the first art book fairs held abroad that Ticket to Nowhere will be participating in.

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About the Author

Daud Sihombing

Daud Sihombing has been writing professionally for the past 9 years. This fervent alternative publishing enthusiast prefers his quaint little town over the hustle and bustle of the city and doesn't let sleep stop him from watching every single AS Roma match.