Aaajiao (Xu Wenkai)

The Creator’s Project: What are you working on at the moment?

Aaajiao: Right now I’m working on a project called Messages and Architectures. We spent hundreds of hours interviewing lots of artists, and we are planning to rearrange their messages inside a space—an architectural installation that will feature all of their messages in it. When people touch this building or step inside it, these messages will change according to their movements.

Your projects are so different from one another. Could you tell us a little bit about the thought processes behind your work?

There are different styles in my works. The first one is calculation, which is using a computer program to do the visualization. This visualization could be abstract or concrete. The second one is the calculation of architecture. We used to draw the modules by our hands and brains. Now I give a set of algorithms to the computer and it simulates them by its calculation. The outcome is the module of a new building. The third one is more conceptual. It is about the storage of numbers and their values. Recently I’m working on a project, which is called The Weight of Data. I want to know if we use our oldest values to measure the value of data, which is the weight of gold. I found a writer on a website and he’s been writing his blog for ten years. I collected all of his data, saved it onto a SD card, put it on the scale, and on the other side of the scale I placed some jewelry. We wanted to see how this data stacked up to the jewelry. The results are obvious—the data is really light compared to the jewelry, but what I tried to express was that, right now, these blogs we create are worthless according to ancient views and measurements. I think I’m kind of different from those artists in China who try to use their work to represent the phenomenon of society or the reflections of their minds. I tend to focus on the interaction of people and new lifestyles.

The ideas represented in your work are varied and interpreted in many differ¬ent ways. How do you get these ideas? Do they just pop into your head when you’re walking around the street or come to you when you wake up?

Uh… it’s kind of hard to explain. When I was doing the visualizations, I didn’t think about any ideas or thoughts. The one motivation I had was just giving stimulation to people’s eyes, and I tried to use skills and technology to satisfy them. But for the calculation of architecture, I just wanted to find a new idea in architecture that was different than the traditional ones.

What can we expect from your forth¬coming projects?

I think I’ll put those three styles of installations in an exhibition and also develop an application for the iPhone. Maybe I will design a mechanical installation, but I haven’t received a complete proposal. The reason I want to do a mechanical installation is because I’m interested in inorganic motions. Maybe some people think that inorganic motions are boring because they are repetitions of the same motion, but if you stare at these type of motions for a long time you will find out they are actually pretty cool. They are doing their jobs stably, no matter what affects them.

Do you have any thoughts about where technology might lead us in the future? Will it continue to be a positive thing?

I believe that people’s lives will combine with technology. Take the maps in cell phones as an example. Right now most of us are used to relying on the maps in our cell phone, and I don’t how people lived without this technology in the old days. It can already be seen that people in the future cannot live without technology, and they can’t be separated from it.