I made this animated diagram to be played as part of an installation project for the Beijing Architecture Biennale in 2004. I was playing with the idea of signatures – as a kind of diagrammatic inscription of particular lives, but which have an incredibly collective – or nonpersonal– life. When you start to collect signatures made by people in particular cultures and historical periods you see very clearly the degree to which something as apparently ‘personal’ as your signature is inflected by one’s milieu. I was interested in how this is also mapped out by sound ‘signatures’ through signature-like, guttural utterances such as laughter and crying, and I worked with Nick Murray to produce an accompanying sound piece made from recordings of laughing and weeping. The animation loaded up here does not have the sound track with it, but the image quietly diagrams the idea of a collective signature, squirming and being being inflected by invisible forces. The animation was produced using simulation tools in Maya software – the renders always surprised me and never quite did what I expected. This seemed perfectly and appropriately willful – as a life quite beyond me.