Week 7: Final Project

For the final project of the sample display, I chose to curate Diane Arbus’ photography, which could be cataloged into the human-related professional artwork sub-category in my proposal of the museum.

I got inspired when I saw Diane Arbus’ photography of marginalized people. She took honest and intimate portraits of them, and showed directly what is usually not seen to the public. Her work demonstrate a group of people, which are usually disregarded or at least not in accordance with the beauty standard we see in the media everyday. She documented imperfection, in a very authentic and respectful way.

Having such master piece as my foundation of the project, I built on that to make it more personal and convey my ideas to the audience. I noticed that short people, or dwarf, is a repeating theme in her works. Thus, I would want to feature on that. Also because the portraits are very intimate, I feel like having a box would be able to both put together photos of short people to create a more heavier impact, as well as create a suitable atmosphere for the intimacy.

To add more layer in to my work, I found an interview of Cara Reedy, who suffers from dwarfism (Link:https://www.cnn.com/2014/09/12/living/little-person-dwarfism-first-person/index.html). In the interview, Cara talks about how it is like to live a life as a short person, and that how dwarfism should not have been seen as abnormal. It suits perfectly with the idea I want to pass – embrace our imperfection. Imperfection should not be equal to abnormal, and should not be disregarded and make people feel ashamed of. I watched several videos about her as well, hoping to find some materials to turn into audio and put into my installation. However, none of them is perfect. I, therefore, kindly asked Millie for a huge favor to record the interview into an audio in a neutral tone.

Therefore, my installation has its final form. On the wall there are portraits of Diane Arbus on ordinary people – all kinds of them. In the box, there are only portraits about short people, with earphones playing the audio story of a short people’s monologue. The installation is named “Normality Featured” in order to pass the message that imperfection is not abnormal.


Week 5: Final Project Proposal

Museum of Imperfection

The museum of imperfection is established to show the public what are usually disregarded due to their imperfections and to challenge the mainstream obsession with perfection, which people tend to use as standard to define or measure what should praise. We love nicely polished and brand new objects and dispose flawed items because of their imperfection, considering them worthless or useless. We advertise standardized faces with big-eyes, small nose and “V-shape” jaw, setting a beauty standard for people to feel ugly with their natural looks. We are even educated to be “perfect” throughout our life, starting from “perfect students” who work hard and have straight A’s, to have a “perfect resume” to enter a top-tier big brand company with a considerable pay, and later have a “perfect family” with a sweet and stable relationship, a baby, a nice house and a good car. When perfection becomes the standard, imperfection constitutes uniqueness. Thus, the museum of imperfection focuses on what is regarded as imperfect in a traditional sense, whether tangible or intangible.


To be specific, the display items would be of two main categories: object-related and human-related. And the sources of the displays would be professional generated or contributed by ordinary people. For the object-related items, if it is from artist’s hands, it could be art works in a more abstract form to discuss the theme “imperfect” in forms of painting, installations, statues, videos and so on. An example would be a kintsugi china. If it is from ordinary people, it would be an object that although not perfect, but contains special meaning to the owner or has a story behind it. For the human-related professional art pieces, it would be more documentary to discuss the imperfection on a sociological level, such as marginalized people, and non-mainstream aesthetics etc. An example would be Diane Arbus’ photography works on marginalized people and “others whose normality was perceived by the general populace as ugly or surreal.” The pieces contributed by ordinary people would be more on a personal and relationship level to discuss their personal experience and share some intimate thoughts. An example would be the diorama talking about a perfect family that is actually a broken relationship.


As for the setting of the museum, it does not need to be multi-floor. A spacious ground floor would be sufficient. The building of the museum would best fits in an existing architect, such as an old factory or warehouse. It does not need to be repainted but to keep its original interior style with some clean-up work. The coarseness and roughness are exactly the imperfection that is focused on in the museum, without polishing the “ugly” inside to make it look perfect. Moreover, some reconstruction work needs to be done to allow more natural light to come in as the main lightning during daytime. Some warm spotlights would be installed to feature some special displays.


Technique wise, the museum of imperfections would have a mini WeChat programs. It can both serves as the virtual guide for the museum, or an online virtual museum so that audience can appreciate the display without actually coming to the museum. The virtual guide is based on a map of the museum, equipped with GPS so that it be simultaneous with user’s location. It will follow user to enter specific galleries. For the virtual guide mode, users will see the display showing on the map from a bird’s angle, and they can click on each items to learn more about the display without crowding to see the captions. For the virtual museum mode, users will be touring the museum from eye-level. They can control the direction and walk around using their phones, like in the games, and see the museum thoroughly.


Some sample demonstrations:


Week 5: Reading Response

From the reading material, I have gained a deeper understanding towards the versatility and importance of exhibition as an independent art form itself to express messages and stimulate ideas of the art works curated. Curating an exhibition is not just about displaying the art pieces spatially. Instead of serving an ancillary function for the art works, exhibition or curation requires more thoughtful process to bridge the gap between audience and artworks, and better to build on top of that to create possibilities for open-ended and cumulative engagement. It could be seen as designing a path or guide audience to first get in contact, and further, to interpret the exhibition a whole with not only the what is displayed but also the way of displaying. Thus, every detailed element is important and would affect audience’s experience of the exhibition, such as the location of the exhibition, the color scheme, the arrangement of the objects and the techniques to present them. We have observed these during our museum trips, and reading the materials further confirmed the importance of the things we observe and explained why so in theories.


My favorite quotes from the reading are as below:

  1. “Communication lies at the heart of exhibitions, whereby communicative medium is not a neutral transmission of information but something that contributes to the positioning and controlling of the spectator in a space of display”
  2. “The rise of the temporary exhibition-as-event reinforces the dominance of the exhibition within contemporary art discourses, making the latter half of the 20th century ‘no longer…a history of artworks, but…a history of exhibitions’ “
  3. “The curatorial is always dialogical, withe resultant exhibition form being a condensed moment of presentation exposing to varing degrees the processes of cooperation, exchange and agonistic co-production that have made it possible”
  4. “Instead he or she is seen to be responsible for extracting art from its position or circulation, opening up a pace where individual works of art gather new meanings and values by virtue of their regrouping for public consumption”
  5. “They do not prioritize the exhibition-event as the one-off moment of display, or its event as exhibition. Instead, they allow for open-ended, cumulative processes of engagement, interruption, and possibility”

Week 4: Interactive Chair Project by Claire Song

The interactive chair I designed is intended to put in my Museum of Flaws, as part of the interactive activity with the audience. It is composed of a chair, a table, a lamp, a stack of blank paper and an instruction. A simple demonstration of how the installment looks like is as below, but to imagine the wall to be completely white and the floor to be dark grey/black because that would be the main theme of the whole exhibition (but due to the natural limit of my room’s design, we need a little bit of imagination here).

To take a closer look on the table, the layout is as below with one simple introduction of the chair.

From the audience point of view, the table is very clean with a clear purpose — inviting them to sit down and write.

Audience who are attracted by the installment are welcomed to sit down and write whatever they have in mind about the main theme of the exhibition, which is flaws, brokenness or even regrets they have in mind — the things that they have been kept to themselves for a long time, and afraid to speak out because of the negative feelings they arouse or the reaction by the public, as written in the introduction. After that, they are encouraged to crumple the paper and toss them behind their back in to a pile of crumpled paper of other people’s unspoken words. A sample interaction is demonstrated below.


The main idea of the installment is to provide an outlet for people to say out the things they have been ashamed to because they are not perfect. Another purpose is to subtly convey the message that we should not be bothered or feel ashamed for those things any longer, because they are not perfect — flawed or even broken. The imperfect things in our life do not make us inferior or subordinate. In fact, it is because of their existence, we have become who we are today. Thus, tossing away the paper represents, in a way, tossing away the negative feelings brought by the imperfect things, and encourages audience to face the flaws in life in a different angle.

Week 2: Historical Residential Museum in 2115

As in 2115, the neighborhood, the house and the apartment where I once lived in 2018 in Shanghai near Lujiabang station will be turned into a museum.

Assumption: In 2115, people’s way of dressing, payment and communication will be different. Assume AR glasses become the new smart phone.



  • Audience will have to change into the attire of 2010s. There are multiple styles for audience to choose at the entrance and people can experience the daily apparel trend of the 2010s.
  • Everyone will be equipped with a smart phone which installed the regular apps people use most often in their daily life back in the 2010s, including WeChat, Alipay, delivery apps (美团/饿了么), DiDi, and Dianping. Each with a simple demo and explanation to show the audience what the apps are for and how people used it in their day-to-day life. Of course with important notice on the Wechat Pay and Alipay because it will be the main payment tool in the entire visit, if you want to buy food and souvenirs to get a little real taste of people’s life in 2010s

Touring experience:

  • Starting from the subway station, there are various kind of small shops along the road selling clothes, food, fruit, milk tea, coffee and the local grocery/convenience stores including family mart. There are also places that help you fix your lock and message places. The typical street scene of old town Shanghai
  • There is one for each typical shop. Inside the shops, there are simple demonstration for people to go in a see. For the food and milk tea shops, visitors can actually purchase the products
  • The guidance one the road will lead people in to the building where I lived in 2018, called Penglai. The lobby of the residential building has been transformed into a VR movie theatre, showing a short video clip of the actual street scene so that visitors can compare their experience with the real life in 2010s
  • After that, audience can take the elevator to go up to different floors. The building has 20 floors in total including my floor on the 17. But only 5 floors will be opened to each batch of visitor in order to make the visiting experience smooth and also not to overwhelm them. Each floor has 5 apartments and they have been kept the same as in 2018. Different people lived in different apartments with unique background. So the interior and the furnishing has been kept the same as how the owner of the apartment once made. It is a little bit like the Tenement Museum in New York.
  • Inside the apartment, the residents will appear on people’s AR glasses and welcome visitors to their houses. Visitors can actually communicate with the residents.



After the touring ends, all visitors will enter a space which sells souvenirs. The souvenirs includes hard-copy postcards from 2018 with time stamp on it, retro stylish apparel made in the future way of dressing, and other things.

Week 1: Research Idea – Museum of Flaws by Jiaqi Song

The topic I want to research is Museum of Flaws. It was inspired by a method to repair broken pottery, called “Kintsukuroi”.

Image result for Kintsukuroi

It struck me because instead of disguising the flaws or the fact that it has been broken, it respects the imperfections as part of the object and shows the world that an object can still be beautiful with its flaws. Or even, with flaws the piece is more beautiful, as written above.


In life, there are many things with flaws that are disregarded, disguised, hidden or tossed, so that it could be not seen from the public. Flawed jewels become cheap and undesired. Defective products are destroyed or tossed away. Ladies embrace plastic surgery to make them look more perfect. People have a natural tendency towards perfection and often time forget that there is no such a thing as 100% perfect. In most of the case, what we are looking for is not “perfect”, but more of a general standard line. Products pass the quality standard to be put into the market. People pass the “standard line” of being physically abled to enjoy a “normal life”. But beyond that standard, we all have little flaws on ourselves even though we have passed the standard line. And I think that it is the flaws that make us different and adorable.


Thus, I would like to research on the topic of “Museum of Flaws” to see whether it can have the enough breadth and depth to support itself and how I would want to present the topic in the form of an exhibition. To reach that goal, I plan on doing research on other themed museum to see:

  1. How they choose their exhibiting pieces
  2. How many facets they have touched in the topic
  3. How they extend the topic to a broader horizon or deeper prospective
  4. How they present the objects to convey the message
  5. How they get the objects they exhibit

And maybe more aspects as we go further in the class

China Remix — Donald Trump and His Chinese Friends: Our Animation Project

Inspired by last year July and Maddie’s project “wannabe” we want to do something similar. So animating and making fun of Donald Trump saying “China” sounds very funny to me. I proposed this idea to Kilian and we set off doing this.

However, the process is not very smooth though. At first we wanted to do something not so “cliche” that is just all digital. So we thought of doing stop motion and combining it with the digital photoshopped version of famous Chinese figures painting saying China. I was in charge of doing all the digital faces and Kilian was responsible for creating the stop motion. However, as Kilian was doing that stop motion, he got another idea that instead of using Donald Trump’s audio, he wanted to dub this video and makes all the Chinese figures singing randomly. We had a conflict at that time as I still wanted to do Donald Trump. So we agreed that we would do what we wanted to do separately and see if we could combine them when we both have our video ready. I continued to build on using his stop motion and editing it in After Effects and Premiere to match the mouses with the “China” audio, and adding some effects into it to make it more fun. He at the same time dubbed his stop motion video. When we compared our videos together, we both agree that mine looks better. So after the presentation in class, we work on my version. As Kilian suggested that we should at least have a Donald Trump face in the video to introduce to the audience, as not many people have watched the video. Therefore, we kept some parts of the video and added some DT’s animations into it to match the Chinese painting. We made it like DT is talking to his Chinese friends.

How I did the animation:

  • Settle the idea
  • Draw the storybook
  • Find suitable Donald Trump’s China remix online, and find many famous Chinese figures’ paintings
  • Print them out in color*2, color one of the mouth black and cut the other’s mouth out to take pictures of both. However it does not work good.
  • Photoshop the pictures, one with mouth closed, one with mouth open
  • Put them all into Premiere and make one “China” series with mouth open and close two times
  • Match the video and pictures with the audio
  • Make fun with that
  • Tried use Affect Effects to move the body part and using dynamic link to sync it in Premiere
  • Finished

Assignment 12: Storyboard for Animation Claire and Kilian

Inspired by http://designtaxi.com/news/361998/LOL-Hilarious-Animations-Bring-Famous-Classic-Paintings-To-Life/?interstital_shown=1 and also July and Maddie’s work at last semester’s IMA show. We decided to do some fun things like that. Our idea is to make Donald Trump’s “China” Remix said by the famous Chinese characters like Li Bai, Lu Xun, Sun Yat Sen and Chairman Mao etc. Nothing political, but just for fun!

Here is our proposal, aka our storyboard.


Assignment 11: Response to Sita Sings the Blues

This film is very special. It focuses on an Hindu legend the Ramayana from an American perspective, and Nina puts her emphasis on the romantic side of the legend, focusing on the love story between Rama and Sita. It is also special because of its form. It uses animation to present what we usually called a musical film and made Sita becomes the female leading role, singing out all her emotions. This makes Sita more human, not a unrelatable ancient Hindu god. She is like many of the women who fail in their relationship. The film has two story lines, one is the story of the Ramayana of Rama and Sita, the other is the producer’s own story of her and her husband. The two story lines intertwine with each other which make the film Sita Sings the Blues. Also, the visual presentation of the film is very unique too. When it is presenting the real-life story of the producer, it uses very very simple drawing, like a kid’s doodle. And it shakes a lot. But when it is about the outside environment, it is very realistic, the producer uses real picture to present the outside environment. This gives people a feeling that their relationship is not mature enough, not stable and not realistic enough. However, when it is depicting the Ramayana, it is another totally different style. It becomes more exaggerative, and also very creative, with a strong sense of humor. This is most obvious when the three paper-cutting shadows are talking about the background knowledge of the Ramayana. It is very humorous, so it makes the “usually boring” historical story become more interesting and vivid. Not to mention this is a crowd-funded film and everything is finished on Nina’s computer. This film is just very amazing and very unique.