I had the chance to join a two-week international workshop to China (Taicang) in April 2014. Together with eight Eindhoven Industrial Design students, we worked together with teachers and students from Chinese universities (Jiangnan University, Nanjing University of Arts, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts) in teams of 3-4 students with different backgrounds. The goal was to create and design public installations for social interaction, inspired by elements and techniques from performance arts in the theme of “Interactive Patina of Culture”.
Our final installation was based on the patina Tian Ren He Yi, This is the Chinese theory that man is an integral part of nature. In every aspect of the Chinese life, nature is an import aspect that’s needed to be maintained. One tries to find a balance between nature and mankind. In the middle of the crowded and modern environment of Taicang, there is a mysterious waterfall on the wall. This waterwall is a big contradiction to the environment, a piece of nature inside the crowded city. Children often have the natural tendency to go with their hands through a fountain or a waterfall. Therefore, one can influence the animations projected on the water, when someone puts his finger or hand inside the waterfall. The animation tries to continuously balance nature and mankind, but will end with showing the limitations of life that make it impossible to balance at one point.
I worked mainly on the concept development and building the prototype. We build a scale prototype and I designed a small application to record the interactions with a webcam and connect this to animations designed by the Chinese students. But overall, the experience of working within an international team was the most important aspect of this workshop.