Datarium is a series of generative animation/video installations. In this series, I imagine a digital world inhabited by digital creatures. Many portals, some of them appear to be screens and some of them look like everyday objects, bridge the gap between our reality and the digital domain. Each portal offers a unique glimpse into specific areas of the digital world, revealing diverse ecosystems teeming with digital life forms.
Datarium is the result of a series of extensive studies on diverse natural ecosystems, especially aquatic ones. It is a re-interpretation and re-imagination of the world we occupy, an exploration of alternative forms of organisms, and a question of the essence of life.
Mechanic Synesthesia provides a special multi-sensory experience. The audience is invited to touch the sculptures made with different materials residing in the cells of The Hive. Sensors hidden inside the sculptures translate the touch into sounds and generative visuals representing fluidity and softness. The installation invites people to explore the different materiality of the sculptures through the three corresponding senses. As one of the audience said, “(it is) like I am hearing through my fingers and seeing through my ears.”
For Beyond Surface – Tactile Presence x Tate Modern Late March 2023
Every morning I wake up, I leave the apartment building, walk along Fa Yuen Street, turn into Soy Street before Sai Yi Street Garden, then turn left to Sai Yi Street, then Shantung St, then Yim Po Fong St. Finally, I arrive at Mongkok East Train Station and take the train to school. And at night I follow the same path but in reverse to get home.
Walking through the streets countless times makes me numb to the surroundings. Everything seems to be so since time immemorial. One day on my way I heard a ship whistle. Suddenly I felt lost for a while, and I could not recognize if I was in Mongkok or Tai Kok Tsui. The sudden confusion was like a spike. I started to pay attention to the shops and people on the streets again. And I found some shops I never noticed and some new neighbors I never met.
Unsounded is a project that makes the spikes. With many small installations that work as knots, it creates a network for sound to travel from one location to another in the local area. The project is also open-source, making it possible for people to participate in making and distributing the devices in their neighborhoods.
Join the project, and create sound portals in your town. Maybe you just help someone to rediscover the community that they have been living in.
With the 5th outbreak of Covid19 in Hong Kong, people are reminded how the lockdown feels like again after having a taste of half a year of freedom. Quarantine soon became a hit word on social media again.
Human beings are not the only ones that are affected. Two robots, Kamala from the states, newly arrived at Hong Kong for its degree, and Philip, a newly local graduate, are also in quarantine.
What will they think and talk about when they are isolated physically? How is it different from us humans?
visit the project website for more information here.
DiVision is a recent outcome of my research of generative art with non-digital elements. In the installation, a customized projection system with prisms, beam splitters, and mirrors is used to create colorful and multi-layer immersive visuals from a digital projector projecting single-channel black and white images.
It is called DiVison because, in the system, the light beams coming out from the digital projector would be divided and altered through the beam splitters and prisms. After setting up the system, I then composed the black and white computer-generated graphic with the concept of division.
Expanding city is progressively invading wild, and villages, to build its own colonial empire.
At the same time, the populace of the city empire flood to the countryside every weekend, enjoying the clean air, leaving tons of trash, and taking away fresh fruits and vegetables.
On a Saturday, I went to Ma Shi Po, a village that recently lost its farmland to property developers. Five items are collected, put into well-sealed plastic bags with marks of the location and time of them being picked up, and brought back to my apartment in the center of the city.
In two weeks, those items are isolated in their own little plastic bag, rootless, decaying in a totally unfamiliar environment.
Pillows in the modern days have long been associated with comfort, relaxation, and even health care. They are designed to maximize their functions of comforting people during sleeping, with a number of complicated ergonomic estimations.
Comparing the headrest from the Song dynasty and the pillows we use today, it’s not difficult to find that there are essential differences in what people actually take them as. The headrests from ancient China were often made of hard, cold ceramics or wood, and the sophisticated patterns on their surfaces indicate its aesthetic value and the owners’ social status, apart from its functions.
Yet, what is the boundary of a “pillow”, physically and functionally? Does a pillow have to comfort its users? What do people expect more from a pillow than a “headrest”? For example, can it “record” and visualize the sleeping quality of the user, or can it help people who suffer from insomnia fall asleep more easily?
We did notice that the pillow has some specialities that other daily used objects don’t: Short distance (i.e. intimacy): people get tightly close to the surface of the pillow when putting their heads on it, making it possible for them to perceive tiny signals and messages (sound/smell/…) that come from the pillow itself; Long time & long-term: most people keep close contact with their pillows for quite a long time every day, and use the same pillow for plenty of months or years. Through these, in a sense, some relationships can be built between the user and the pillow.
Those led us to think of Animism, which is the belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. While the terminology was developed in the late 19th century, this idea of “perceiving all things as animated and alive” can be found in the ancient cultures around the world, and is one of the earliest, if not the first, concept in anthropology.
It is very interesting to think about how we can combine these ideas and reflect back to the headrest from the University Museum Art Gallery. And overall, the target and core concept of our project is to question that, can we make a pillow that pleases and disturbs its user at the same time?
So, yes. This is a pillow with the shape of a strange creature; it’s half-bio half-machine, with reference to the T-800; it has tattoos derived from classic Chinese erotica art under its skin, and it will make strange sounds when you put your head on it.
Or in other words, it is alive, and it seems to be concerned about the fertility rate of human beings.
The original pillow was used during the summer so as to get relief from the summer heat, and it’s also described as neck rests intended to protect a woman’s elaborate coiffure while sleeping. As it’s made with ceramic, it is hard & uncomfortable to sleep on. Ice , somehow, inherit those historical used and physical characteristics, and even push some of them to extreme (for example, the uncomfortableness).
In short, the WiFi Killer 2000 is an interactive WiFi Jammer that can chase people and jam the WiFi signal nearby, modified from an old WiFi router.
I am not against having online life, to be honest I spend most of my time online, too, especially in 2020. But it is just a truth that disconnecting, or living offline is much more harder now, not need to compare to 10 years ago, just compare to the days in 2015 or 2016 when IoT and social media are not such huge things.
In my vision, WIFi Killer 2000 is a light joke. The experience of being chased by a moving WiFi jammer might be a bit annoying for those who have business meetings all the time but I believe it is over all funny. I hope when people are trying to run away for it they can also think about these two questions: “Why am I doing this?“ and “Why is it doing this?”