Chinese calligraphy is considered one of the supreme art forms in our history, but as a native Chinese speaker myself, it's challenging for me to understand the beauty of it. So I deconstructed the aesthetic elements of Chinese calligraphy and linked them with different sensory channels, then developed an experimental game for visitors to match various calligraphy works with different textures.
The goal of this project is to communicate the beauty of Chinese Calligraphy through a new, synaesthetic interaction experience.
The typical toolset of Chineses calligraphy is writing with a brush dipped with ink on Chinese Xuan paper.
The soft brush tip allows a 3D direction movement, and the ink permeability on the paper reflects the speed and the strength of the wrist movements of the writer.
The amount of ink in the brush tip, the movepath,strength and speed of each stroke and the connection between different characters... Within one calligraphy work, there are so many elements that influences the final work.
As a summary from the literature research of Chinese calligraphy theory, all elements could be deconstruct into 3 layers from Outside,the appreance of the work to Inside, the feeling and emotion of the creater.
Below is the summary of aesthetic elements and the connection to different senses. And due to the time and technical limitation of the projects, I decided to focus on the Inside layer - Feeling and Emotions of the calligraphy work.
I've collected over 20 calligraphy works of the same character 'beauty,美' and 12 different materials. And let each participant feels the material and finds a matching calligraphy work.Around 40 participants joined the experiment.
As shown in the demo video above, the current project only presents the feelings of a calligraphy work through materials and sounds, many important elements like movements and strength are missing.
I feel lucky to finally understand a bit deeper of the beauty of Chinese calligraphy and get to experiment with different senses.
Haven't done any 'physical product' design for years, it reminds myself how much I enjoy creating designs that could directly interact with people. This alarm clock is definitely not a 'practical' product, but we all like it a lot :P.
I'd like to thank my thesis advisor Sheng Qing, who introduced me to the Chinese calligraphy world and guided me through the project. Also huge thanks to Wu Dongmin, who helped me build the complex installation prototype.