Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017
Graphic Designer Battling Cancer Looks To Take Instagram Notes To Bigger Multimedia Stage
Yuri Angela Chung
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Yuri Angela Chung, a Los Angeles-based graphic designer currently battling Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, would like to transform her Notes To A Friend--her personal reflections on cancer and life which have been well received on Instagram--into a multimedia installation in New York that will allow more people to experience her heartfelt observations in an evocative new way.

Chung was first diagnosed with cancer at the age of 25. She battled it seemingly into remission only to have a recurrence at the age of 30. The original Notes To A Friend is a collection of intimate writings that describes her personal experiences with cancer. Friends and others who have come across the reflections have found them inspiring and informative. And they have been therapeutic for Chung, serving as a self-described “remedy to my own fear and pain.”

“Nowadays,” observed Chung, “there isn’t a person you meet who hasn’t been affected by cancer in one way or another. But at the same time, it’s still a taboo subject in our culture. Unless you have been there yourself, most people have a naive understanding of what ‘cancer’ entails: chemo, hair loss, death. But what about everything in between?

“Every cancer is different. And every cancer has a person behind it who has a story. Notes To A Friend is mine.”  
Chung envisions that story taking on new dimensions via Notes To A Friend: The Experience installation, which she would like to activate in October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

To bring this ambitious project to fruition, Chung is collaborating with some close compatriots--actress Embeth Davidtz (Schindler’s List, Matilda, Junebug, The Amazing Spider-Man), a breast cancer survivor herself, the creative technology studio Space Craft, and architect Jackie Park. Additional funds are needed to fully realize what Chung envisions. Towards that end, a Kickstarter drive has been started with a campaign that’s been recognized as a “Kickstarter Project We Love.” The campaign launched on July 27 and will conclude on August 26, 2017. At press time, the Kickstarter campaign was 43 percent funded.

Engaging both sight and sound, Notes To A Friend: The Experience brings to life the deeper themes embedded in Chung’s notes. Initially posted as short reflections on Instagram, the notes will be letterpressed as 18” x 24” posters and mounted on the walls in the installation space. They will be blind debossed, which means the words will be pressed into the paper without ink. While they will still be able to be read, the idea is that they are not “activated” until the actual note is being read in the space.
Within the space, an audio recording of Chung’s notes being read by Davidtz will play on loop. Sound enables sight as Davidtz’s voice cues a digital projection mapping to its unique note, filling the words with a form of dynamic “ink” that illuminates the words and allows them to be read as they are heard.

Chung has made a significant impact thus far in her professional life, working with a wide range of clients and collaborators, including WSJ Magazine, Kelita & Co., and Tool of North America. She is co-founder of A Happy Talent, a creative studio focused on the design, craft and production of printed matter, as well as a founding member of Untitled Mondays, a collective of women based in the creative industry in Los Angeles.

Now she’s bringing that professional wherewithal to bear in order to create with key collaborators a deeply personal passion project which is vital to her--and she firmly believes the immersive experience will be of value to many others. She related, “Cancer at 25 and again at 30 is anything but normal. This is not the kind of extraordinary that I dreamt of in my youth. But if this is my extraordinary in this lifetime, then I have to fly with it.”

For further info and to contribute to funding of the project, click here for the Kickstarter campaign.