Nate Wessel

Charta Vitae

This project, still very much in progress, is an attempt to turn my dissatisfyingly linear curriculum vitae into a two dimensional charta vitae, or “map of life.”

The backstory

Sometime around 2013, I found myself out of school and looking for work. I’d just published a transit map with some success and having a lot of friends in design, I thought it would be interesting and attention-grabbing to make my otherwise boring resume into fantasy transit map in the same style. It ended up looking pretty neat and I actually learned something about myself in the process.

I eventually found myself some paid work (i.e. grad school) and didn’t need a resume again for a while. Meanwhile, in 2015, I’d been playing around with WordPress and making a little agent-based, self-drawing map out of my site’s post metadata. It looked pretty crappy, but that was mostly bad color choices on my part – the idea was there.

Now that I’m looking for work again, I’m becoming rather keenly aware that a standard resume is a really ineffective way of showing off my skills. I still like the idea of the carto-resume, but the hand-drawn vector layout makes it difficult and tedious to update or modify for different jobs.

This project is a sort of synthesis – a visual map of my life’s (highly curated) work in a format that’s dynamic and self-updating. I’m developing a WordPress plugin that allows me to store events or projects as a custom post type with start/end dates, descriptions, tags, metadata, etc. These then get extracted and rendered in the map above, with information rendered about projects and the relationships between them. Red arrows for example are causal relationships, where one or more projects directly led into or caused another.

The whole thing is becoming increasingly integrated into this website and I’m beginning to lose track of where one project starts and the other ends.