Wave-washed Sand

Yuli Cai

Poems are written in words. But what stay with us are the emotions they provoke. Can I make a kinetic sculpture that can represent this inexpressible nature of one of my favourite poem?



Wave-washed Sands is an experience centered on a kinetic balloon sculpture based on an ancient Chinese poem, designed to bring a universal communication space for all people no matter what language they speak. The selected poem, Wave-washed Sands (Lang Tao Sha) by Li Yu, describes the poet’s feeling of both loss and acceptance at the same time. He was the last emperor of his dynasty, imprisoned in his enemy’s land. This kinetic sculpture experience, is written in motors, balloons and code, performs different phases of the poem emphasizing the feeling of exile. I believe no matter what culture we come from, there is a powerful commonality in all humankind, and that is what I wanted to explore with this project. Wave-washed Sands was made by mixing and crafting people’s impressions together and baking them into features and movements of my kinetic sculpture.