©Xinyuan(Caesar) Li

Summer ‘夏’

Multi-channel moving image, rice paper
Dimensions Variable
2 minutes

Sound Edit: Benjamin Woods

Summer ‘夏’ is an immersive projection installation that explores the synergy between Chinese and English typography. It presents a unique visual narrative that transcends traditional bilingual typography.

Memories of bamboo forests and fishponds from childhood intertwine with bilingual typography, serving as a canvas for my cultural reflections. The character ‘夏’ (‘zhu’, meaning bamboo) is deconstructed with branches and bamboo leaves, and the letterforms ‘b’, ‘a’, ‘m’, ‘o’, ‘o’ represent bamboo joints. The concept of a swimming fish is portrayed in ‘hieroglyphical Latin’ by creating a pictograph using the letters ‘f’, ‘i’, ‘s’, ‘h’ to form the shape of a fish.


Wind ‘风’

Single-channel moving image
1920 * 1080 pixels
3 minutes

Chinese characters, an integral part of Chinese culture, carry rich symbolic meanings. In the 1950s, the pictorial functionality of Traditional Chinese characters was reduced as they evolved into Simplified Chinese characters. The question raised is whether these characters can reclaim their pictographic essence through modern technology.

Wind is depicted by the swaying of trees, represented by the Chinese character ‘木’ (‘Mu’, meaning tree) and the English word ‘TREE.’  This implicit expression seeks to unlock the character’s pictorial potential and explore new narrative possibilities for bilingual typography in modern Chinese and English through the use of motion design.


Rain ‘雨’

HD video
0:30 mins

As a significant aspect of Chinese culture, Chinese characters carry rich symbolic meanings and cultural connotations. In the 1950s, traditional Chinese characters gradually evolved into simplified Chinese characters, causing the pictorial function of most characters to diminish. Given the advancement and development of technology, could there be a way for our characters to regain their 'pictographic' function?

In this artwork, I have deconstructed and reinterpreted the Chinese characters '表' (Biao, meaning clock) and '雨' (Yu, meaning rain) using motion design. I aimed to explore if modern simplified Chinese characters could reclaim their pictorial potential as well as investigate new narrative possibilities for bilingual typography of modern Chinese characters and English, using the lens of motion design. The character '表' is interpreted with its strokes representing the hands of a clock. Similarly, the character '雨' (Yu, meaning rain) is deconstructed, its outlines resembling a window with four drops replaced by the English letters 'r', 'a', 'i', and 'n'. This fusion of elements from Chinese and English languages serves to underscore the universality of certain experiences, such as time and weather, while also highlighting the beauty of pictographic characters.

Clock ‘表’

HD video
01:00 mins; 02:00 mins; 24 hours