The Impermanence

Abstract or Summary of Project

Metaphor : Xi Shui Chang Liu (Thin Water Long Flow)

‘Careful spending makes resources last longer’

This metaphor maps the moving nature of water to a simple principle of financial management: if one controls spending, the resources will last longer. If one controls the flow of water, the water will run longer. Moving water = Economic resource.

Process and More Details


The significance of water was greatly respected in the past. Both existence as mineral or linguistic form, are especially attached to the Chinese. The Chinese character “水”(water) is practiced extensively in many aspect of Chinese culture such as calligraphy, poems and metaphors that bears profound meanings. These further accentuate the true beauty of water. Water is a valuable commodity. People cook, bath, wash their clothes and travel through means of Water. Our whole life depends on it.

Presently, in developed countries like Singapore, water is easily accessible, resulting our younger generation taking it for granted. In juxtaposition, reminiscent of how the appreciation of Chinese language is being neglected. Resulting in loss of tradition and values. Not only because English is the primary language in our society, our multiracial community also lead to corruption such as Singlish is evolved. On the whole, breaks apart the characteristics and purity of Chinese language.

There is a disparity between nature and human. We tend to take things for granted, not foreseeing that eventually, one day, everything will come to nothingness and be lost for good.


Juxtaposing the values of water with the values of Chinese culture by creating ice sculpture of the Chinese Metaphor, where it eventually melts and evaporate. Where everything just breaks apart, unrecognizable and formless. Portraying how water and culture, has changed through time.

The Installation

Projection of water related images with various colour will shine and pass through the Chinese ice characters, creating magnificent overlaying illumination against the dark surrounding. A video recorder will be placed in front of the installation to take down the time-lapse video of the melting process.

When everything have melted and evaporated, the time-lapse video will be played through the projection for the rest of the exhibition. Leaving nothing left to be viewed by the audience, or for them to expect, but showing how everything eventually ends in an empty and deserted room. Which ties back to the installation title: The Impermanence.


Calligraphic brush strokes are applied at the back, to reinforce the beauty of Chinese culture and also oriental art. This creates depth in the poster and brings out the Chinese ice characters without getting too much attention. It helps to tone down the hard edges of the characters and give the poster a softer touch. To balance off the heavy content at the top, information is placed bold but off centered instead. Smudges and gradient is applied­­­­ like as though the Chinese characters are dissolving, losing its characteristics and diluting the language as per se. Dual meaning in the lost and corruption of Chinese language and in terms of resources that one day might just reduce to nothingness.

Invitation Card

Made use of Lenticular printing that displays short 3-dimensional animation when tilted or viewed from different angles. Making use of the direct translation of each Chinese characters,”thin water long flow” without making any sense initially, it almost looked like Singlish, which ties back to my concept of corruption of language. The card showcases the melting process of the Chinese characters at the same spot. The intention of keeping the characters light is so that people will take the initiative to look closer. Like how it relates to asking people to stop taking things for granted just because the situation is easily comprehended.

URL(s) of Video or Trailer


Posted on

March 26, 2015

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