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'streaming stillness': jiayu liu reimagines chinese topography using AI technology

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‘streaming stillness’ exhibited at the venice art biennale 2022


Media artist Jiayu Liu shares her immersive 3D mapping artwork exhibited at the Chinese Pavilion for the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale. Titled ‘Streaming Stillness’, the installation sees the transformation of a 21-meter long mountain sculpture into a poetic field of floating motion graphics powered by AI technology.

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‘Streaming Stillness’ at the Chinese Pavilion



using AI to recreate ancient chinese data and art techniques


A two-step process defines the ‘Streaming Stillness’ artwork. First, to build the sculpture, Liu (see more here) used two-layer deep machine learning to formulate several sets of virtual and dynamic 3D graphs based on terrain data cataloged in the ‘Tribute of Yu’, considered the oldest geography book in China. By combining ancient mapping with AI, Liu wishes to create a new topographical understanding that is relevant to the 21st century. In that same spirit, to generate the motion graphics, the artist digitized the textural details of traditional Chinese ink-and-wash painting using AI technology. 

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the installation is powered by eight projectors



a poetic experience transcending physical reality 


The final graphic overlay is powered by eight projectors, transforming the sculpture’s surface and the pavilion’s historic brick wall into an immersive and hypnotic space that seems to transcend physical reality. ‘It comes from the real world yet doesn’t exist in it. Instead, it’s a natural prototype existing beyond human experience and reaches transcendence,’ concludes Liu. 

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combining ancient Chinese mapping with AI 

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the structure is inspired by 3D terrain data



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a poetic field of floating motion graphics

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textural details echoing traditional ink-washing techniques




project info:


name: Streaming Stillness

program: Venice Art Biennale 2022 `

artist: Jiayu Liu

art assistant: Haobo Huang

technical director: Louis Mustill

project manager: Tingting Wu

content design director: William Young

content technical director: Xin Fang

motion graphic designer: Tiankun Yu

houdini technician: Zhaoxue Xiang

VFX: Jiakun Sun

machine learning technician: Qihui Wang

machine learning R&D: Aijia Wang, Ashiely Zhang

surface redesign: Xiangyu Wang

sculpture redesign: Bochen Zhang

fabrication director: Junxia Zhang

prototype: Nian Xiao, Weizhen Bai

sculpture: Zhenfeng Ding, Jiajun Ding

protection director: Junwei Yuan

mapping technician: Chao Yuan

film: Mark Winterlin

edit: Matthew Watt



designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

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