Reflex-Arc

Identity

Reflex-Arc was founded in Beijing in 2018. The studio seeks to research, reflect and design on contemporary urban and architectural designs from a multidisciplinary perspective connecting architecture with urban planning, social sciences and art.

Inspired by the biological concept of a reflex arc, the visual identity system is aspired to reflect on the dynamic architectural/non-architectural perspective, enabling the identity to serve as the medium that connects multimedia platform and various application scenario.

Year: 2020
Place: Beijing

Twilight is not only a time between day and night

Thesis

In anthropology, liminality is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage. During a rite's liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which completing the rite establishes.

During a liminal period, certainty has been reversed and dissolved. “The dissolution of order during liminality creates a fluid, malleable situation that enables new institutions and customs to become established.” Liminality opens the individual to the all. It is the quality of hybridity, imbrication, and multi-layering of identities as a vehicle for critique, subversion, or a “designer’s position”. It is not defining “a” position or “the” position; it signifies a possibility to absorb anything needed.

By outlining a self-image, we declare a territory which restricts us to the realm of the known, while neglecting the surroundings that might potentially lead us to something new. We seem to presume that a defined identity is necessary for self-awareness, but can ambiguity be promising as a liminal stage? Twilight is not only a liminal time between day and night, but also spectacular as a moment that cannot be repeated.

It is easy for us to abstract ourselves to a self-identity, defining, judging and defending, yet abstraction is dangerous. Abstraction is built upon the old, the past, and the cliché, forbidding us from encountering the new and future. In the words of postcolonial scholar Homi Bhabha, “in-betweenness is a fundamental condition of our times.” In the between, liminality presents itself as inclusive, and will subvert the fabrication of “otherness.”

The text above is excerpted from my designer statement. I completed my statement in February this year, but after the pandemic broke out, I found liminality has been imprinted profoundly in the reality. In the past two months, I have extricated myself from panic and anxiety work and live normally. I have witnessed how the people around me struggled and coexisted with uncertainty, and how the people and organizations working in various industries redefine and practice in this special period. COVID-19 seems to be asking questions of all that we are accustomed to, and it will lead us to a new world. I’m not saying that the physical world in which we live will be subverted by the pandemic. But doubt has arisen; and the wings of butterfly have begun to flap.

It can be said that my three-year study at Yale is the longest project I have done around myself, and will continue to do so. This book is a staged abstraction of that project. The original intention of my thesis was to find an answer to my position, but the final answer is that I don’t have to have one. It is worth adding that although liminality can be a long-term ideology, it cannot be an eternal state. After the liminal time, everything will eventually be on a particular track, but it will never return to the track it was on in the past.

Year: 2020
New Haven

Troposphere SJTU Design Symposium

Poster

This poster is made for Troposphere Design Symposium of Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Design. We hope that the School of Design can also form an ecosphere similar to the "troposphere". Looking for potential experiencers in the academy, the symposium is aiming to share and exchange in the "troposphere" platform.

Year: 2020
Place: Shanghai

Film Series

Poster

This poster is made for film Parasite (2019) and Columbus (2017). The poster series illustrates the superficial well-being of modern life. Collaborated with Yuan Gao.

Year: 2020
Place: New Haven

Paprika

Editorial

Human have lived in intimate relationship with so-called “Wild” landscapes since time immemorial. But our current notion of Wilderness is a fabrication, an ongoing colonial project of cleansing under a racialized veil of purity. By engaging alternate methods of seeing and understanding the world around us as neither natural and wild, nor fabricated and controlled, we hope this issue serves as an entry point into the larger collective and ongoing work of reimaging our planetary relationships and opening spaces for abundant futures.

Edited by Blanca Begert and Jen Shin, Graphic Design by Yuan Gao and Wenwen Zhang.

Year: 2020
Place: New Haven

The Mountain

Poster

This poster is made for Yale Photo’s weekly Visiting Artist Lectures with Rick Alverson, and a screening of his movie, The Mountain. Fascinated with the theme, Rick Alverson reveals human connection and alienation on the way to the peak of “the mountain” in his movie.

Year: 2020
Place: New Haven

Julika Rudelius

Poster

Made for Yale Graphic Design’s visiting artist Julika Rudelius, the gesture of the illustration is captured from her movie Forever.

Year: 2020
Place: New Haven

Irma Boom

Typeface

This typeface is made for Irma Boom’s workshop. The shape of the set is abstracted from the structure of book, including page, spine, and the physical tension during reading a printed book. Unfortunately, the workshop was cancelled due to COVID-19, but we were glad to share our typeface with Irma via email. Typeface design collaborated with Yuan Gao.

Year: 2020
Place: New Haven

You Cannot Record a Sigh

Editorial

This project provided a sufficient condition for real dialogues to happen: six good friends as participants and a glass of water in front of a window. All dialogues were virtual. Each of them lasted one and a half hours. No predetermined topics; the topics occurred naturally. All the conversations were recorded.

After all of the dialogues, I transcribed the recordings. While doing so, I realized over the course of the dialogues, the participants were merely focused on shaping their own personal images, even if those images were unclear. The dialogues have now become performances. Ones revolving around who we are, what we think, and how we project ourselves to the world.

But the question is, as the artist Lynn Hershman Leeson asks, "Where does performance begin and ordinary life give way? Or is all of life a performance?" There is no way you can avoid performance when you are being recorded. But when you are not being recorded, are you still performing? You cannot record a dialogue, as you cannot record a sigh.

This is a book with appendix only. Appendix contains the transcripts from my friends' speaking, along with three index. Appendix Index A is my portion in the dialogue; Appendix Index B is a collection of images related to the words; Appendix Index C is topics repeatedly occurred in the six dialogues.

Year: 2019
Place: New Haven

Walk Walk Walk

Identity

Now in the ever-changing urban environment, walking becomes more passive due to the decline of public space. Through this exhibition, we aim to explore new forms of walking in the present social conditions, re-imagining our bodily experiences in the city space.

The main identity is derived from the Chinese character “walking”. Along with information of the exhibition, the character becomes a totem of motion and flexibility as what “walking” indicates.

This project was a proposal made for the Emerging Curator 2019 of Power Station of Art in Shanghai.

Year: 2019
Place: Shanghai

Matthew Carter

Typeface, Interactive

This website is an interactive poster made for visiting letterform critic Matthew Carter. The idea is to integrate sound with typography. Multiple impromptu voices are delivered as responses to each letter. The dynamic web-based typeface is designed using HTML and CSS. Collaborated with Julia Schafer.

Year: 2019
Place: New Haven

The View

Interactive

The View is an AR game about “point of view”. The players are assigned to put on different clothes, labeled with designed numbers which are identified as the trackers for AR objects. The players need to move their bodies, collect messages from the AR objects, and then link all the messages to a sentence as the passcode to win the game. The passcode is a quote from the British author, John le Carré: “a desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world”. The game becomes a nudge to link virtual space with physical movement.

Year: 2019
Place: New Haven

A Thing

Image Making

During the past few decades, the Internet has irreversibly penetrated into all sorts of everyday scenarios, where we are prone to ignore the existence of the Internet due to its invisibility. The power of the Internet, however, has twisted the medium by which we perceive nature, art and everyday life, the attitude with which we anticipate social activities and mass media. The Internet has become “a thing”, which lives in between the real and the fake, the virtual and the physical, the visible and the invisible.

Year: 2019
Place: New Haven

Alone Biography

Poster

This poster is made in Michael Rock’s workshop, Five Obstacles. Each of us is assigned to design a poster for one of our classmate’s biography. My design subject, Yuanbo, shares with me a story about her relationship with her family, and the aloneness she has endured from the past. Instead of showing the whole story, I only keep the very beginning and the end. In the middle, I cut the paper apart as a figure of “aloneness”. It also manifests her suffering from the family experience which has exerted an indelible influence on her.

Year: 2019
Place: New Haven

Lining Cusing

Typeface

Lining Cusing is an exquisite slab serif originally designed as ATF Lining Cushing No.2, 12pt. The type is monotone in appearance and has small inclined serifs. Captials are wide, ascenders and descenders are short. Figures are ranging.

Year: 2019
Place: New Haven

HUTOINGism

Identity

HUTONGism is an ongoing research project that collectively explores the potential of the hutong, a type of urban vernacular in Beijing, as a living condition in highly dense environment. The hutong has developed from gridded residential neighborhoods into dynamic mixed-use complexes. We imagine the hutong as a collective house: alleyways as living rooms, courtyard houses as bedrooms, shops as pantries, and restaurants as dining rooms. Different from high-rise residences, its collective attributes suggest alternative ways of living in high density. We consider the hutong as an inspiration for vibrant urban community.

The works explore the hutong through observations, interpretations, and design interventions presented by means of photos and videos, models and drawings.

Curator and Exhibition Design: Baolin Shen, Jingqiu Zhang

Year: 2019
Place: New Haven

Delicious Design

Identity

The 751 International Design Festival is an independent design festival held in Beijing Design Week. The theme of 2019 is Delicious Design, providing a venue to explore aesthetic appreciation, emotional connection and technological experience revolving around food design.

This project was a proposal made during the period of internship in 2x4 Beijing.

Year: 2018
Place: Beijing

Twoo Cuup Coffee

Packaging

As an emerging brand aimed at urban young people, Twoo Cuup Coffee celebrate the shared experiences between pairs. This project was made during the period of internship in 2x4 Beijing.

Year: 2018
Place: Beijing

reflex arc 1 reflex arc 2 reflex arc 3 reflex arc 4 reflex arc 5 reflex arc 6
Thesis Book 1 Thesis Book 2 Thesis Book 3 Thesis Book 4 Thesis Book 5 Thesis Book 6 Thesis Book 7
SJTU Troposphere Symposium
Film Series Poster 1 Film Series Poster 2
Paprika 1 Paprika 2 Paprika 3 Paprika 4
the mountain 1 the mountain 2
Julika Rudelius poster
irma boom poster
You Cannot Record a Sigh 1 You Cannot Record a Sigh 2 You Cannot Record a Sigh 3 You Cannot Record a Sigh 4 You Cannot Record a Sigh 5 You Cannot Record a Sigh 6 You Cannot Record a Sigh 7 You Cannot Record a Sigh 8 You Cannot Record a Sigh 9
walk walk walk 1 walk walk walk 2 walk walk walk 3
matthew carter matthew carter gif matthew carter video
typography online 1 typography online 2 typography online 3 typography online 4
a thing 1 a thing 2 a thing 3 a thing 4 a thing 5
alone biography 1 alone biography 2
Lining Cushing 1 Lining Cushing 2 Lining Cushing 3 Lining Cushing 4 Lining Cushing 5
hutongism 1 hutongism 2 hutongism 3 hutongism 4 hutongism 5
delicious design 1 delicious design 2 delicious design 3 delicious design 4 delicious design 5
twoo cuup 1 twoo cuup 2 twoo cuup 3