Part 3.


Research-language and communication




I was doing research on the communication between people, because I think this is a part of the factor that decides whether someone really gets along with the environment. I found this book in the school library named Wittgenstein on rules and private language. The book itself wasn't completely about communication and understanding, but I found interesting text that might can expand my idea in this area.

In this text, author explain a theory about how people "learn about" their surroundings and turn the fact they saw into information that can be used after as experience in their life. However, no one can make sure that things work in their case would work on other people as well. Realization cannot avoid subjectivity, and we can never really know what things are like in other person's angle. We only know what "we can see", but never know what "others can see".

The idea helps me to understand the situation exist when people are trying to communicate with each other. This supports the idea that the process of knowing each other is like trying to find each other in a wide ocean of mist. I want to use this interpretation in my following exploration in the next few weeks.

Research: Space


Baitogogo, Henrique Oliveira

My theme was about sense of feeling belong to somewhere. Apart from the communication with people nearby, space is also an area I want to research in. I found this design of room in a contemporary installation collection.

I think this piece of work is a very good example of combining the natural material itself and the structure of the building. The wooden part with original texture give out a sense of growing out from the wooden pillar, which is a great representation of "being the same but not the same". This expression makes me connect it with foreigner's alienation, the strange period I'm staying in. It's like start to get used to the life here, but still feel uncanny of things exist around, which means I don't feel I belong to here.

This piece of research is useful for my concept exploring, and might get me inspiration of forms of work I can use too.

Using environment: Lighting



Ban, Orproject Christoph Klemmt & Rajat Sodhi

I found this piece of installation work in a collection of contemporary artwork. The transparent material is PETG, and pieces of film are bounded by rivet. The project based on their research about anisotropic sheet morphologies. The whole structure was built up with geometries, which made the whole piece can stand without other support. It is placed in Beijing's ancient street as roofs.

I think the design of this transparent installation is interesting with its feature of showing different texture of lighting which go through it as the angle and color of natural lighting change. It's a clever way of playing with lighting and environment around the piece of work, which is the part I want to learn and use in my project.

The London Open 2018 (1)



I went to The London Open 2018 exhibition and tried to find art installation that might give me inspiration, and I notice this small exhibition in the corner. The whole work includes pieces of hand cut clay tiles and the shelf to keep them, and a video which shows the process of making them.

The way of putting many small pieces of work together and make it become a whole work sounds very interesting to me, different kinds of tiles and the waste made during the process are showed in a tidy arrangement. Collecting up small "meanings" and create an atmosphere through the way artist place them and exhibit them, this is the thing I want to learn.

Jewel by Dean Ruck & Debbie McNulty




Psychogeography: Art of feelings from place

Youarehere_ Liz Hickok‘s 3D Jello-like vision of lower Manhattan.jpg

3D Jello-like vision of lower Manhattan by Liz Hickok

"The material took unexpected turns as it bent, glistened and melted, revealing the hidden fragility of the familiar city grid. "

The way Hickok use to interpret NY city in her mind is very interesting with that colorful visual effect and childlike atmosphere. I love this piece of work which really express artist's own emotion and memories toward New York,  I can see it's a very personal view and I like it. It's quite connected with my project theme, as I want to create works with sense of places and hometown memories. This installation work is a good study example for changing the nature of the real scene and turn it into another form that is more abstract, or more conceptual with personal feelings.

John French-Know your Town(like the back of your hand).png

Know your Town(like the back of your hand) by John French

 This is another piece of work from John French, which use symbols and words directly on the abstracted map, which allowed the creator use a very personal angle and his own understanding towards the area to draw such a psychogeography map. The hand shape is another element John French used to express his emotion and familiarity of the town he lives in. I think this form of reshaping the map and put pieces of place together to create new images and artworks is a interesting way, which I could learn and gain inspiration from

Artist: Ernesto Neto & David Altmejd

Images: China town




I went to the china town and find it interesting that Chinese style element are decorated on the British style buildings, which creates a weird visual effect for Chinese people like me. The most familiar language and decorations are set on unfamiliar buildings. This connected with my theme of contradictory feeling somehow, and I was interested in this kind of combination.

I get an Idea of using different style of city structure to build a combination of it, this might be a method to make audience get this familiar and unfamiliar feeling at the same time. I decide to try it with wood blocks and build city models with it.

Image: Four countries' city structure



London from 汇图网



Hong Kong  from 汇图网


Tokyo   from 视觉中国



New York from 视觉中国

 These are the visual reference for building the model of city with mixture of style.

Synecdoche, New York: Building up reality



Synecdoche New York is a film directed by Charlie Kaufman. The film talks about a theater director's life and how he struggle through physically pain, being in a cycle of building up and breaking down relationship around him. The main character tried to imitate life through building up a "New York City" in a warehouse for theater, and let a huge amount of actors act other people's daily life in it.

I'm very interested in the main character's thoughts and action of building up a whole city inside some place. It's like another repeated world simplified inside a piece of artwork, which is used for a commitment of life and death. That piece in the film should get emotional resonance from those normal people all over the city, who lives simply, busily, struggle but lively everyday. I think the part of emotional resonance and the form of that play is the main thing I want to learn about. The angle is kind of similar to what I'm trying to do with my model work.

Artist: Frei Otto

This is an architect I've researched before, the style of his work is suitable as an reference in this project and I decided to put him in.

"Visitors get the impression that they are floating through a »horizontal cabinet of wonder«.", this is how ZKM website comment about Frei Otto's work. Otto is one of the most famous architect in his time, his sculptural buildings were made from the inspiration which was gained from nature. Otto combined his observation with science and technology, which creates impressive beauty in these structures.


The details have been taken cared and I can feel how delicate the shape of the structure is. The whole piece is smooth in silhouette, which creates harmonious effect in visual. The balance in the structure of his model is the part I mainly want to focus my learning on. I'm thinking of performing a practice with a piece of sculpture of buildings or landscape, with inspiration absorbed from his work

Artist Research: Andy Goldsworthy


Cleanly broken pebbles scratched white, SCAUR WATER DUMFRIESSHIRE,  April 1987

Andy Goldsworthy is a British artist who works with natural materials such as wood, stones and ice. 

From his own words: 
"I enjoy the freedom of just using my hands and "found" tools--a sharp stone, the quill of a feather, thorns. I take the opportunities each day offers: if it is snowing, I work with snow, at leaf-fall it will be with leaves; a blown-over tree becomes a source of twigs and branches. I stop at a place or pick up a material because I feel that there is something to be discovered. Here is where I can learn. " 


Cold wet river stones carried without leaving drips made into a cairn on a dry pebble beach, Scaur water, Dumfriesshire, 1 Sep 1993

The reason I chose his work as a part of my research is that I want to learn his way of using every material that come to one's hand cleverly and freely to create artworks. Goldsworthy didn't limit himself with a single kind of material or technique, but combined and played with materials joyfully. He used this way of creating artworks which work with its surroundings or environment, and gain this balance between human-made and natural presentation.


Mashiko clay-covered river stones, Photographed by Norihiro Ueno, Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, Japan October 1993.

One thing I really like about his work is that he keeps the silhouette or a part of features of the material while he is making delicate changes to create artwork. The stones were covered with clay perfectly at first, and the clay cracks and falls over after a period of time, which created this beautiful effect of broken cover. The texture of clay cooperates well with the texture of original stones, which make a idea of "stone which is not a stone". The first several word come into my mind about this egg-like cracked surface is "birth" and "reveal", which gets me a lot of ideas about "getting closer to the essence", just like breaking other people's self-protection barrier and become real friends with them.


Pebbles, Andy Goldsworthy

His work always gets this harmonious atmosphere, a great cooperation between environment and artwork itself. I found this effect kind of connected to my concept of getting a place that feel belonged. The stone statue stands out from the environment, but still a part of the environment. The boundary between "different" and "the same" is not clear in this piece of artwork, which is similar to the situation that foreign students would experience when we are studying abroad, the status of getting more familiar to the neighborhood but haven't really become a part of it. This becomes a source of inspiration for me in this project.

Research: Christo & Jeanne Claude

The London Mastaba, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, 2016-18


Photograph I took in real place at noon


Photographed by Wolfgang Volz in the evening 

I went to the lake and see this huge installation as a part of my research. After taking photos and hanging around to see different angles of view, I search for this installation on line to look for more photos taken at different time in a day. This photo taken in evening gets good visual effect so I put it in my research. 

"Christo’s ‘London Mastaba’, the construction of which began in april 2018, comprises 7,506 horizontally stacked barrels on a floating platform, 20 metres (65.5 ft) high x 30 metres (90 ft) wide (at the 60° slanted walls) x 40 metres (130 ft) long. Standard 55 gallon barrels, 59 x 88 cm (2 ft x 3 ft), were fabricated and painted for the sculpture, while the sides of the barrels, visible on the top and on the two slanted walls of the sculpture, are red and white. The ends of the barrels, visible on the two vertical walls, are blue, mauve and a different hue of red." (text introduction from designboom)

"After the Event": Freud s Uncanny and The Anxiety of Origins by Andrew Barnaby

Uncanny Encounters: Literature, Psychoanalysis, and the End of Alterity by John Zilcosky


Concept research: uncanny

To explore the sense of belonged to somewhere, feeling familiar and unfamiliar to a place, I read several essays and journals, about psychology and Freud's 'uncanny' theory. I tried to find out the main factor that affects these feelings of people, to develop my concept of this project and get a direction of making experiments.

Research shows that memory is a very important part that affects people's feeling. Memory affects people's decisions when they are facing problems or question, and build up each person's characteristics as the time moves on. The familiarity of a place comes from memories too. The details of the building affect less than its general structure and shape, people would feel familiar toward something, and that's because 'they feel like have seen it somewhere before.'

I was exploring on what makes people feel belonged in the first stage of my project, and this research explain my own experience of feeling physically familiar but don't really feel belonged to a new country. Some of the buildings and street view in London can somehow connected with my memories of hometown, because their general structures are alike when the details and decorations are removed. However, that familiarity only exist at the first glance, and it fades away as I can easily realize where I am by those British style roofs, windows etc.

The London Open 2018 (2)



In this exhibition, I saw this sculpture and find its material quite interesting for me. It's a huge piece of wax with bits of clothing half-concealed inside, which creates a smooth surface but rich of texture and colors underneath. The shape of the sculpture is the body of women, this combination of shape and texture give me a feeling that this piece of work is trying to express women's mental complexity. I really like this visual effect of color cloth in the semi-transparent wax, but I'm not sure if I can apply this in my project, so I will keep it as a option for now.

Exhibition: Tomma Abts




-control of space and color blocks

-attract audience's attention and lead it to a certain point on the painting by arrange the shape and lines.

-balance of the painting, the atmosphere from audience's view

Research: Hong Kong orchid tree & osmanthus flowers



Hong Kong orchid tree is the flower on the flag of Hong Kong, My hometown. It's a very common kind of trees which is used as roadside trees widely in Southern China.

“Hong Kong is a city of contrasts: of new technology and old traditions, of high-rise buildings and stunning countryside, a hybrid between the East and the West. The territory's flag bears a flower whose past, and future, are just as complicated.”-BBC Claire Asher 12 December 2016

I researched on it because I think Hong Kong orchid flower is a symbol that can reminds me of my hometown. I used to see these flowers everyday on my way to school. Maybe I can use it as a symbolism or an element in this project work. The first thing I think of is using the beautiful pattern on petals to create drawings or prints. I want to research on a suitable way to make prints or texture of this pattern as the next step.


Osmanthus flower is a kind of flower with strong special fragrance, it's a popular garden tree in China as people like its smell. Poets in ancient China loved osmanthus and wrote thousands of poems for it, describing its shape and smell to praise it.

鹧鸪天·桂花 李清照

"In China, old sweet olive trees ( 桂花 ) are revered, signed and interpreted, and given holy attendance.  Protective fences mark their importance.  Tourists flock to gawk at their size and glory.  "- Dave Creech

I do research on osmanthus is because I miss the smell of the tree on my balcony. When the flower blooms, the fragrance rises and fill into every corner of the room, which is refreshing and enjoyable. This is another symbol of hometown for me, and I think the smell is the most important part. Maybe I can combine this into my project.

Material: Sulphuric Paper

Material: Banana Tissue and Lokta Natural paper

214886.jpgLokta natural paper

wild_yellow_1024x1024.jpgBanana tissue paper

Lokta natural paper and banana tissue paper are two kinds of paper I found in the art material shop that I think might be suitable for my project. I researched on the materials that are used to make these two kinds of paper and get some information about their texture from the internet. The lokta natural paper is mainly made of the bark of a kind of shrub Daphne plant, and the banana tissue paper is made from fibre of banana leaves. 

Both kinds of paper get the rough texture with visible impurities, which combined together to give out the sense of nature. I think this visual effect and texture are quite suitable to the flower pattern, and my theme of bringing out hometown memories, because the brownish and yellowish color of paper makes me think of nostalgic old times, which is a part of my project. This visual effect recall my memories of reading those old books when I was little, and I believed that it can express the feeling of nostalgic to all kinds of people.

To learn the texture of these two materials throughly, I bought some samples of them and decide to do experiment with watercolor drawings on it. In this way, I can see which one works with the watercolor better and make a choice from it.

Artist: Do Ho Suh

I've researched on this artist in previous project. Because I gain inspiration in this project also, I put him into the part three folder.

The atmosphere Suh created by this effect was absolutely touching for me. When I'm looking at his work, it feel like I'm looking through his childhood in silence and peace. Everything seemed clear, but still covered with the mist of past. I like his way of creating artworks with his memory of hometown, and this is what I'm doing as a part of the project too