Homo ex Humo

Homo ex Humo (Man from dirt) is a memento mori for nature, an interactive sculpture about the human disconnect from nature.

Louise Lessel



In the past few centuries humankind has been systematically removing itself from nature. Today we live in a society where “nature”, is understood as “plants”, “city parks”, or “landscapes”, all of which are sculpted by human hands and must attempt to exist on human terms, at timescales that are ever faster. This installation inverses that relationship, and asks what it would feel like if humans existed in the slow realm, on plant terms. The installation consists of a series of robotic branches protruding from a wall. They react slowly to human presence in the room, and demand people to adjust their movement to exist on their terms, which mimic real natural responses of plants. A failure to slow down will harm the branches and only as the humans leave, will they slowly heal again. Though if a meaningful co-presence is achieved, the branches will thrive and cast the room in a beautiful lumia light.



IMA/ITP New York

Crazy Little Beliefs

Crazy Little Beliefs is a series of whimsical objects that reimagine through the lens of present-day technology some of our common if often irrational beliefs that have persisted through time. Interaction with these objects has been designed to allow users to reflect on their collective past experience and the influences that have shaped their fears and wishes, personalities and perspectives.

Shu-Ju Lin



When was the last time you wished on a fallen eyelash or said bless you to someone who sneezed? Many of our commonly held beliefs are widely known to be irrational, not based on reasoning, fact or knowledge. Over time and across cultures, people have found ways to explain unexplainable things and to feel control over their fears of the unknown through seemingly random and arbitrary sayings and actions. Studies have shown that this kind of magical thinking decreases as we age.

Crazy Little Belief aims to recreate the whimsical aspect of our irrational beliefs in the world today that is often automated, machine-operated, and algorithmically optimized. My thesis project consists of three objects, the Cautious, the Visionary, and the Charming, each emphasizing the state of mind of people who believe in it. The purpose of this project is not to critique or dismiss these irrational beliefs and behaviors, but rather to encourage them and remind us that many of our beliefs are part of our culture and identity.

IMA/ITP New York
Thesis Part 2: Production

You Are Not the Only Particle in Universe

A multi-media performance using home lamps as performing instruments. You Are Not the Only Particle in Universe is an experiment of transforming home lamps to new interfaces of performing music and light as interactive props in performance.

Mingna Li



I have a background in stage lighting design. In most stage performances, designers hide the light instrument above the stage or on the side behind curtains where audience could not see the light source itself. When I designed lighting for dance, I always thought I am also creating choreography but with medium of light. With this experience, I started to wonder what if I put light on stage, so that they are no longer complimentary roles in performance, but instead an actor, an expressive performing instrument on stage.

You Are Not the Only Particle in Universe is a continued research from a past performance project, In a Box, which I first created a performance that included a custom made instrument with home lamps and home lamp switches. My thesis project further develops this instrument with more interactive functions and allows the performer to create more versatile music and movement.

Light 2.0 is a multimedia performance that combines light, music, and movement, when light and music are not complementary roles and movement and performers are also not leading roles. Together, all these elements become performing instruments on stage.

The performer can bow, tap, or spin the lamps to create various combinations of music, light, and movement. When bowing the lamp with a bow or tap near the sensors, it looks like bowing a cello and plucking. The performer can also spin the lamp shade to activate different parts of music composition.

IMA/ITP New York

Augmented Music Playground

This is the project to turn various things around you or things in Nature into playful inspiring music media so that anybody could enjoy create/co-create music symphony with others and things.

Sachiko Nakajima



As a jazz pianist, mathematician, STEAM educator, I have been really passionate in delivering the joy to:

• Create Your Music

• Co-create Music

• Co-exist with diverse daily things / Nature

Under these passions, in this thesis journey, I explored to produce “Augmented Music Playgrounds”, which aims to turn daily life objects or Nature around you into some musical media, so that people (even with no music backgrounds) could enjoy to create/co-create music through spatial, multi-sensory intuitive interactions with them.

Basically, I explored 2 main new music media to create or co-create music with others:

1. Fruits/Vegetables/SLIME… : Turing your weird haptic experiences into music

2. Hand-drawing Doodles: Turning Doodles into musical media through magic camera

These could trigger not only hidden, augmented music (or any sound effects) but also visual effects as well. So, you could enjoy music creation, not only by listening, but also by touching, seeing, smelling, tasting(?), and feeling. I believe this research would open up new playful, inclusive, participatory ways of music creation and to turn the “music live performance stage” into our daily life, like what Minyo or traditional music have been.

Also, this project is under the Japanese animistic concept of “YAOYOROZUNOKAMI” (8 millions of God), in which people respect the soul or divinity inside objects such as stones, rice, water, mountains, toilets, pencils, robots, as well as concepts like numbers, or even abstract things like emptiness. We sense the soul or Kami-sama(God) in everything. This does not mean that everything is perfect but rather that imperfect diverse divinity is present everywhere which should be respected for and sensed by intuition. Through this thesis project, I tried to let people get aware of these hidden divinities inside objects, by hearing and sensing their “singing”, which could create the whole, augmented improvisational miracle symphony of our life.

IMA/ITP New York

e-Cycle: The Making and Discarding of Electronics

A mobile exhibit interactive about the life cycle of electronics seen through the lens of labor, materials and waste. E-Cycle: the Making & Discarding of Electronics visualizes the complex flow of electronic materials in order to reveal the efforts and conflicts involved in the manufacturing and disposing of digital devices.

Emily Lin



Electronics require an inordinate amount of material and labor to manufacture. From the mining sites to the clean room, there are thousands of hands, chemicals, and minerals that make a technological product possible. In the process of creating high technology there are significant amounts of waste generated that give rise to health and environmental issues. Waste and wasting happens throughout the manufacturing and supply chain, not just at the point of disposal. In addition, the infrastructure for discarding an electronic item consists of a multitude of processes and machinery. Few of our current disposal methods, including recycling, are optimal – our options take for granted the high labor, environmental, energy and health impacts required to create the technological products we've come to rely on.

The purpose of this project is not to condemn high technology, but rather to show the complicated movement of electronic materials and to empower others to imagine alternatives to this current cycle.

IMA/ITP New York
Thesis Part 2: Production
thesis, life-cycle of electronics