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Back in 2008, the Beijing National Aquatics Center — more informally known as the Water Cube — served as an international stage for China’s engagement with the global public during the Beijing Olympics. Today, it continues this legacy of large-scale broadcasting, standing as a real-time display of China’s mood.
Unveiled on June 23 of this year, the installation Nature and Man in Rhapsody of Light at the Water Cubeis the product of Jennifer Wen Ma‘s artistic insight, Zheng Jianwei‘s lighting expertise and Guillermo Acevedo‘s programming chops. Together with their team, the three collaborators built a program that aggregates and analyzes millions of emoticons used on micro-blogging site Weibo. Based on the frequency of emoticons, the program constructs a lighting scheme to match the real-time feelings of China’s netizens.
The sequences are built around the main themes of fire, water, wind, earth, and thunder, and the colors move in daily flux.