My interests span cultural identity, human senses, materiality, as well as interaction. I'm particularly involved in exploring the expressive power of emerging technology. The current piece I'm working on, Poeceptible, is a new type of Virtual Reality poetry that enables a global audience to appreciate Chinese ancient poetry. It immerses the viewer, and directs him/her through an evolving 3D landscape of calligraphic characters accompanied by the poem-reciting soundtrack, inviting them to look at, look through, hear and feel the “poem”. Poeceptible is not an attempt to translate Chinese traditional poetry. It is rather an experiment to reenact Chinese ancient poems in a contemporary context. The process of creating Poeceptible started from literature research, in which I learned about the multi-dimensional as well as multi-sensorial nature of Chinese traditional art, especially in the form of Chinese characters and poetry. Then I selected a widely-known poem written in the Song Dynasty by the famous scholar Su Shi, and recovered that into a primordial calligraphic style to open up for re-interpretation. Following that, I sketched some ideas on paper about animating those characters across space and time to revive their richness both graphically and semantically. Finally, the creative tool AnimVR was employed for drawing and animating these characters in VR. The evolving characters were laid out in VR in a way that implies an optimal viewing path, but also allows self-directed navigation of viewers.
I'm trying to finish 1/4 of the poem by the end of this residence. For me, it is also a personal journey to rediscover my own cultural root, and the under-represented modernity of it.
Check out more of Xiaobi's work throughout the process below.