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Experimental Design

Yi Tian

Yi Tian is an artist and experience designer based between London and Shanghai.



Degree Details

School of Communication

Experimental Design

In Yi's practice, she showed her interests in exploring the relationships between materiality and temporality, and transforming them into intuitional experience.

As we now living in a hyper reality, the digital format of ourselves is expanding greatly via enormous duplication and fast transportation. When the representation of us is proliferating more than we expected and becoming immortal, does it mean that the representation, the portrait size picture of ourselves, has become more dominant in virtual world? As we revealing ourselves actively in the virtual world with selected portrait photos, we are also being passively involved into image production, which has becomes mass postproduction(Hito Steterl). In order to give authenticity to the reproduction work, I tried to make the 3D-scanned image of myself be possible to be melt into water, inhabit water thus make a symbiosis connection with an organic material. In this work, water with image is an organic medium and metaphor to demonstrate the position of digital representation that lying between physical body and external world. The digital image in this work shows its softness and fragility as well as our physical body in real time.

The title of the work comes from the approach of film developing. The work consists of two conditions, negative and positive. In the positive form, you are looking at the front face; while the perception of the negative form is looking from the back as well as seeing the front face at the same time.

The negative form is made of silicon, it's the objective external that shaped from my body and it remains still all the time. The positive form is ice, it represents my physical body which is inevitable and subtle as it would defrost, shrink, liquify, dry out and disappear. The image is a portrait-size capture of a 3D scanning file of myself and it represents my digital body.

The image would be revealing itself along with the defrosting progress. After the positive ice sculpture defrosted and the water ran out, the image would be torn by the changing volume of the water. The negative form would still be standing there with fragments of the digital image.

The following video shows the reproduction of physical body and digital body sharing a sequence of presence in time and space.


Print, silicon, water
Undeveloped Portrait

The Positive

The Negative




Transitions Between Positive And Negative

The making progress is a series of actions which in transitions between negative and positive form, which is very similar to the approach of film developing.

When I was doing lifecasting with my own face, the material, plaster bandage, was wet and cold at the beginning. It shrank after a while, then completely stick to my skin with my every breath. It reminds me of the traditional portrait photography. They all about duration and being still, waiting for the material, light or plaster bandage to pick up the details of the shape. The way of pouring plaster into the shaped plaster bandage in order to get a concrete sculpture is like developing the negative film and turning into revealing image.

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