Through my project, Being, I aim to explore the human experience and challenge our notions of otherness through ordinary ideas, thoughts, beliefs, stories, and philosophies of strangers. I visually present diverse voices through the medium of design.

To do this, I passed out anonymous surveys to collect accounts of individuals' experiences. These surveys contained a list of 45 prompts, including questions such as: “What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life?” and “How do you deal with anger?” After the surveys were returned, I created an image from each response. The design of the image corresponds with something from the response that I felt defined the character of the respondent. Through presenting these images to the public, I hope that people may discover meaningful connections with total strangers and build a greater sense of empathy. I want people to realize that these stories could very well belong to strangers sitting next to them, or the acquaintances that they see every day but do not know much about. Ultimately we are all human and we have a lot more in common than we think. I believe that by sharing these accounts of the human experience, I can help people become more aware of the connections we inherently hold as humans. Hopefully this understanding will help people find the motivation to treat all others with kindness and respect.

This blog consists of nine images followed by the written responses that served as their inspiration. Passages or phrases that particularly stood out to me are colored light yellow.

Thanks for your interest!

-Masami Chin


23. What was the most profound spiritual moment of your life?
I’m not sure if this is the most profound spiritual moment I’ve had, but it is definitely one that has stuck with me. It happened after my grandma passed away the night before her funeral. While I was sleeping, I had a dream and she was in it. I distinctly remember asking her, “Grandma what are you doing here? I thought you were dead...” She told me that she was, but she just wanted to say bye before she left. I was also surprised that she knew who I was because she had suffered from Alzheimer’s and hadn’t recognized me for years. When I woke up that morning, I remember feeling at peace. It turns out 2 of my other cousins had similar dreams that same night. This is when I started to believe that dreams are how the dead can communicate with their loved ones. 

25. Do you believe in the after-life?  What do you think it will be like?
Even though I am Catholic, I have a very different view of the after-life than what the church teaches. While I believe that there is a Heaven, I don’t really believe in Hell. I personally can’t imagine God wanting to punish someone (no matter what their sins are) for the rest of eternity. I believe that God is forgiving and understanding and accepts everyone into his “kingdom” once they pass. I also believe that reincarnation is a possibility in the after-life. I have yet to work that out with my belief in Heaven, like who gets to be reincarnated, etc, but I do believe it is possible. Overall, I am still working out what my beliefs are, and I guess I will never really know; I just know something else has to be out there.