A deer prancing in the ocean kicks its back two legs up

January 1, 2021

On this first day of 2021, we’re a year in, and we’re happy to announce we’ve had some realizations regarding how we work together.

We began by creating this chart:

CSS Independent domains Sun sign Eye color Birth season Height URL
Laura Coombs books, typography, materiality Cancer blue summer 5' 6.5" lauracoombs.com
Laurel Schwulst websites, metaphors, world-building Pisces hazel winter 5' 4" laurelschwulst.com
Mindy Seu archives, politics, creating connections Taurus brown spring 5' 7.5" mindyseu.com

This chart maps our unique and complementary aspects. In addition to conducting research on ourselves, we also spent this first year exploring gift-giving and citations across time and space.

As 2020 passed, we noticed our birthdays cascaded throughout the year—with Laurel’s in the winter, Mindy’s in the spring, and Laura’s in the summer. Our gifts for each other’s birthdays were some of our first projects. We liked that the gifts involved surprise, observation of the recipient, and reflection of the givers. The gifts slowly built on each other. Laura’s birthday was last, and her gift may have been the best: a time capsule that slowly revealed memories from her friends and family presented as a year-long google calendar.

Our letter from last year ended with the phrase “intimacy without proximity” … which not only became a uniting and guiding principle for us but also a reflection of a new world in a global pandemic. We researched the phrase’s beginnings and realized an interwoven tree of influence rather than a single source:

“intimacy without proximity ... ” . Donna Haraway
                                     . Jacob Metcalf
                                        . Karen Barad

Our symbol ⋱ became more important than we expected, and we’ve been exploring its roots ever since. When used in a mathematical context, the ellipsis is used to mean “and so forth.” It often fills in missing values or indicates trailing off into infinity. On March 1st, 2020, we officially adopted the character ⋱ (Down Right Diagonal Ellipsis, U+22F1) from the Unicode Foundation.

We each have distinct practices that complement the others, so we consider CSS an alliance of separate but interconnected islands. As a group, we only work on projects we couldn’t do alone. Time is our favorite medium.

We have some other exciting announcements on the horizon …

Laura, Laurel, Mindy

“move at the speed of trust” — adrienne maree brown ⋱ Mervyn Marcano ⋱ Stephen Covey