Jinwen Xian






  • Jinwen Xian is a designer and artist based in London and Shanghai, currently studying at Royal College of Art. 


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Jan 2019
Participatory Project / Installation

This project is a derivative of my undergraduate thesis, in the last chapter I discussed the possibilities and limitations of the participatory project as a further perspective of constructing qualitative displays. I invited some participants to copy my thesis (4000 words in total). In this process, these people were trying to find a balance between co-author and 'tool' that I used to implement my idea.

Participatory projects can be seen as a further direction of the qualitative display, in which the participation experience of audiences and the outcome they built are all qualitative. By creating the qualitative artefacts that referred to the meanings, metaphors and symbols of social or political culture together, a new type of liberating social relationship can be established and promoted.

Shall artists be working on the social reality as an explorer and present solutions to the existing problems, or to be proposers of new languages to represent social contradiction regardless of the ethics and values in the real world?

After the development of technology, the purpose of artificial light used in data physicalisation is beyond conveying information, but more like a new aesthetic experience that can help people better with qualitative displays.

I did a lot of secondary research according to the requirement of the paper. But there is almost no primary research in my thesis. That's the main reason I decided to do a participatory project. I invited some participants to handwrite my thesis together with me. They can ask questions or rewrite my thesis as much as possible in the process of copying. In this way, we get transmutation rather than transmission. It should be fun.

But the actual situation is more exhausting than I expected. Even if this is such a simple instruction, many people will not know how to do it. It's hard to believe, but it's true. I also need to consider the situation that some people cannot submit on time.

I  printed all handwritings on tracing papers and attempted Superimposition.

Handwritings Collection