Architecture and literature 02

aol_07_The-jewish-museum-berlin-installation_021 download Jewish Museum Berlin_0 Resize

Inspired by Walter Benjamin’s essay “One-way Street,” a book of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust, the invisible web of relationships between Jews and Germans, and the unfinished last act of Arnold Schoenberg’s opera “Moses und Aron,” he created the “Voids” – concave cavities that lend the museum a unique atmosphere. In the misunderstood reception of the Holocaust as “Jewish history,” Libeskind’s design came to be seen as a symbol for a “Jewish” museum.


Architecture and literature 01




I.M. Pei
Miho Museum, Kyoto, Japan
The path leading up to the MIHO MUSEUM is based on a Chinese poem called “Peach Blossom Valley”, about a fisherman who finds a mysterious cave that leads to paradise.
He enters the cave… (note that the tunnel is curved so you cannot see the way out, and the walls absorb sound, so there are no echoes)
…finally, he sees a light…
In “Peach Blossom Valley”, the fisherman spends a few days in the village, feasting and enjoying paradise before returning home through the cave. However, when he attempts to return another day, he cannot. The path has disappeared. At the MIHO MUSEUM, we saw ancient treasures from around the world, ate delicious food, and experienced “another world”, away from civilization. Lucky for us, the cave never closes, and we can go back anytime.

Tortoises, Neural Nets and Cybernetics

Neural nets are currently the most hyped format for artificial intelligence. What are they? Basically they are an attempt to emulate a brain by building a mathematical pattern recognition process with a network of nodes. Neural nets underlie many recent image and speech recognition and generation advances.


The contemporary neural net resurgence is often traced to Geoffrey Hinton whose work gave rise to convolutional neural networks. Convolution is mathematical treatment of matrices of values; but it can also be understood as simple feature extraction since it’s been used in image processing to find outlines and edges. What the neural nets do (at a very simple level) is find those edges, compare the similarity of those edges in data, then cluster the edges that are similar, apply the filter again, repeat. Essentially building a weighted graph: lines between nodes in a network, thick lines have more weight suggesting connection. Treating any data in this way gives rise to surprising insights. For examples the sentiment or emotion in language can be extracted (for more info: here’s a very brief review I wrote of Socher’s 2014 sentiment treebank).

Recently Google DeepMind labs succeeded in beating a Go master.

And the conceptual roots of these neural nets arises from cybernetics, the idea of a feedback loop, Frank Rosenblatt ( in 1957 proposed single-layer perceptrons which were expanded into multi-layer perceptrons which became neural nets), Gregory Bateson (difference that makes a difference), Grey Walter (early robotic homeostatic machines with sensors and simple feedback elicting complex behavior, see video below), Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts (synaptic inhibition within networks), W Ross Ashby (information theory), Norbert Weiner and the Macy conferences.

258px-Wiener_Norbert_Cybernetics_or_the_Control_and_Communication_in_the_Animal_and_the_Machine (1)Margeret Boden (whose exhaustive Mind as Machine 2 volume history of cognitive science is the canonical reference for 20th century cybernetic history; at 1452 pages with 134 pages of references, it includes references to all of the major figures) wrote:

Grey Walter’s intriguing tortoises, despite their valve technology and clumsiness, were early versions of what would much later be called Vehicles,38 autonomous agents, situated robots, or animats. They illustrated the emergence of relatively complex motor behaviour—analogous to positive and negative tropisms, goal seeking, perception, learning, and even sociability—out of simple responses guided and stabilized by negative feedback.


Poem library

The entire project I want to achieve is a library of traditional Chinese poems.  The project contains several levels of contents:

1. Poems

2. Translations to both modern vernacular Chinese and English

3. Related history of Chinese characters, from oracle bone inscriptions to nowadays traditional Chinese character (Since simplified Chinese ignored quite a lot from the original features

4. Data visualization of the poem library

5. Presentations of the poems themselves


However, since the project is too large to be completed within one semester, I would like to focus on some poems from a certain period. Namely, I would like to build a database of poems from 1100BC to 600BC from the Book of Songs with contents, translations, related Character history and then visualize it.

There are some databases of the poems on the Internet and on traditional printed books. Here is an example of Internet version of the book.  It already contains translation to modern vernacular Chinese and some notes.  However, I would like to make reference to the book published in 1991 by 中华书局 written by Cheng Junying.  The reason why I want to do that is that the translations can be quite different, especially after the Confucianists give a highly idealised idea to the songs, basically known as 思无邪 in Chinese ( pure and innocent).  This makes the comprehension quite different from what it was, and the scholar Cheng Junying tries to find the original meaning of the poems.  However, to add the Confucianism translation of the poems is also interesting, since these different versions of comprehensions already form a kind of network.

Next thing to do is to find history of the key words in the poem.  甲骨文编 published by 中华书局 in 1965 can be a good reference for this part.

And another important part of the project is to visualise the database. I have looked at several projects at, and I’ve found out that the most important part to do the visualisation is to design a virtual space and the corresponding axises of the space, and after that, the data can be shown in the space as spots or other forms in that space.  Usually people will put the poems into a database based on Time and genre, however, I would like to take the contents into count that the database can also shown the proximity of contents between different poems.

About the form to present the visualisation, I would say that the database may become larger and larger as the project goes on, so points and lines can be quite good form.  And in the future, when the audience click on a point, the poem will be shown to the audience in a different way, maybe interactive?

An example is Beyond Pages by Masaki Fujihata.

Shelley Jackson’s SNOW

Here comes the text.

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Now may be it is more readable, but less less beautiful.. hope haven’t spoil your interst to watch the pictures of this essay about snow at same time written on the surface of snow…

“Jackson’s recent work continues this distributed patchwork publishing technique using ephemeral media (snow) and social networking (Instagram): Jackson, Shelley. “Snows” on Instagram, 2014. ”  quoted from former post by Jhave.



several interesting videos here


Hito Steyerl, How Not to be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File, 2013.

The first time when I saw Hito’s work “How Not to be Seen” last year, there was some sort of inexplicable excitement running in my mind. And for a very long time, I could’t get rid of the catchy song from the background, also those low resolution images and the poor-designed 3D model scenes. Here is the link of Hito’s article: In Defense of the Poor Image

Jon Rafman, Mainsqueeze, 2014.

Jon Rafman’s works are disturbing but somehow absorbing. Compare to Hito’s “How Not to be Seen”, this work is more direct and more “authentic” within the content of internet. An obvious distinction is that when I first watched this video, I was not sure if it is so-called an art work of an artist, or a normal cut-paste video from Youtube. Just like Jon once said in an interview: I am intersted in technology’s creative social application. I love looking at what people have created just because the are simply excited to create things, without the intention of it being called “Art”…

Interview of Camille Henrot

Camille Henrot’s “Grosse Fatigue” is one of my favorites so far (I never get to see the full version though). Personally, I am skeptical about putting Camille’s work under the terminology “post-internet”, because her works are not focusing on only “internet” or on line culture, but on a bigger picture like knowledge and universe. Like Jon’s works, her works are very archived and also with an expression of deconstructivsim, but at the same time, with more sense of authorship, which is simlilar to Hito.

Here is a link to read more about Camille’s works:

BTW, I strongly recommend you to subscribe this magazines : LEAP|艺术界

it’s bilingual and totally in of style!


Based on the cool videos I found. I produced a sample clip of one of my project which is about the relationship between HK and mainland China. Welcome to criticise.


some meterials to read:

4.  “The Birth of The Algorithmic Author”5.



Your Body, My Novel and Our Name: three artistic ways to build networks


Chapter I:  A Line

Santiago Sierra has always shown his artworks as archive both in video or photography in black and white. By doing so, no matter how recently his work made, it looks like some images from long gone past. See below links of these three works, “Line of 30 cm Tattooed on a Remunerated Person” (1998),“250 cm Line Tattooed on Six Remunerated People” (1999) and“160 cm Line Tattooed on 4 People” (2000).

“Having a tattoo is normally a personal choice. But when you do it under ’remunerated’ conditions, this gesture becomes something that seems awful, degrading—it perfectly illustrates the tragedy of our social hierarchies. The tattoo is not the problem. The problem is the existence of social conditions that allow me to make this work. You could make this tattooed line a kilometer long, using thousands and thousands of willing people.”  (artist quote in “When Human Beings Are the Canvas” by MARC SPIEGLER,2003, see the full-text here:

Also there are some other references:

Santiago Sierra: Radical Cruelty and Second Reflection

Santiago Sierra’s harshest device (review)
by D Rosier on

Chapter II: My Novel

Shelley Jackson: Skin(2003)

Refer to Jhave’s post:

Chapter III: Our Name

Jun Yang’s “JUN YANG LOOKING FOR JUN YANG”. or “Jun yang meets Jun Yang “

According to a semi-official website based on government’s I.D. system 232,060 people shared or joint possed the name 张静 with me, also, there are 11,688 Chinese citizens named 郑波, exactly same characters with my supervisor Dr. Zheng Bo’s name. As when different Chinese characters go to romanized to pinyin, they become the same word, so similarity increased and it becomes harder to googling a Chinese artist,scholar only via her or his name.  


Artist Jun Yang seeing this similarity as a way to make friends or to choose friends, to build up connections and get a group photo for a assembly of people with the same name.