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I am exhausted from carrying my thoughts. Am I dreaming?

New York City

Parsons School of Design

Senior Thesis

Gallery and Exhibition Book


This gallery, book, and all artifacts included were designed and curated by Ani Kapreilian as part of her Communication Design Thesis titled "I am exhausted from carrying my thoughts. Am I dreaming?"

Definitions sourced from "The Dictionary Of Obscure Sorrows" by John Koenig.

Instrumentals by Madeline Kassen aka @pishapost on Instagram.

Hi8 footage by Nara Avakian aka @foggy__cow and @narasroom on Instagram.

"The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows" is a project created by John Koenig, a video editor, public speaker, and narrator from Minnesota. It features a collection of made-up words aimed at providing expression for emotions that have long lacked a place in the English language. These feelings have remained undefined and have existed on the outskirts of our consciousness without any acknowledgement of their existence. Koenig's project has given them a voice by crafting new words that reflect their essence. Although not intended for use in everyday conversation, these words exist for their own sake, providing a sense of structure to a previously undefined realm of human experience. The project began in 2010 via a Tumblr website and YouTube channel and was released in book form in 2021. The dictionary's website describes the words as a means of creating order in an unknown world, allowing individuals to explore their own feelings on their own terms.

In his own words, Koenig describes "The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows" as "a compendium of new words for emotions. Its mission is to shed light on the fundamental strangeness of being a human being - all the aches, demons, vibes, joys, and urges that hum in the background of everyday life. All words in this dictionary are new. They were not necessarily intended to be used in conversation but to exist for their own sake, to give a semblance of order to a dark continent, so you can settle it yourself on your own terms without feeling too lost - safe in the knowledge that we're all lost."

The haunting nature of our past memories and their intersection with our present experiences has always fascinated me. John Koenig's "Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows" has given me a new way to explore this fascination. Koenig's collection of made-up words offers a language for emotions that we all might experience but don't yet have a name for. In response, I have created a collection of media: print, sculpture, and video that draws on Koenig's definitions to explore my relationship with memory.

With my project "I am exhausted from carrying my thoughts. Am I dreaming?', I aim to capture the tumultuous yet beautiful experience of memory in its web, woven, crisscrossed, and knotted together, highlighting its fluid nature and the uneasiness of looking back. By creating my own visual language for these emotions, I hope to invite viewers into my personal exploration of memory while allowing them to find their own unique meaning in each piece. Ultimately, my project seeks to demonstrate how art can help us articulate and make sense of our experiences, even those that seem inexplicable.

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