Danning Niu
Design Portfolio
Souvenirs of Innocence

Lithographic crayon resist and sugar lift etching,
blue ink on cream Rives BFK

A feeling of unfulfilled nostalgia-
Yet you don't smoke, so I have nothing to collect. 0/421

[had an obsessive thought about the Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk]

I allow myself 20 cigarettes for the year-a perfect pack, saved for moments of real anguish and occasions for performances of melancholy. For either cause and every cigaret, the smoke I puff out makes out of the shape of its idiocy and half-and-half sincerity-and-artifice.  

In the process of mourning our love, I smoked seven. A bit over a third of my yearly ration. "Proper." I thought, as a farewell.

Yet, why? As I stubbed out my seventh one, the image of you began to ignite. I thought of Pamuk's Museum of Innocence, along with the 4213 lip-stick-stained cigarette stubs the author meticulously collected, cleaned, dated and supposedly belonged to the heroine of his novel, Fusun. "Before it turned into ashes..." I suddenly had an urge to cling onto something.

Artifacts of peculiar shapes, imprints of your singular intimacy.

I wondered whether you even know I smoke. And if you do, would you ever think to collect these stubs of mine?

I know if you smoke, I would collect yours.

Yet you don't smoke, so I have nothing to collect. 0/4213