Poetic Journey

Nai-Chen Yang, Yan Zhao

An interactive installation using Tang Dynasty poetry to bring viewers traveling through the spiritual life of Ancient China.



The Tang Dynasty is recognized as the Golden Age of Chinese poetry. Wen Ting-Yun’s poem “Setting Out Early from Mount Ding” exemplifies the Tang tradition in its 3rd and 4th sentences, only constiting of six nouns: 雞聲(rooster-crowing),茅店(thatched inn),月(moon), 人跡(track), 板橋(plank bridge), and 霜(frost). Even through these few words, Wen Ting-Yun vividly evokes a traveler’s mood via excellent inverted sentences and elegant parallel construction.

Our physical computing project is an installation showing the beauty of this Tang poem in an interactive way. It includes a screen, a scrolling mechanism (made by an RFID reader) and six stamps (made by RFID tags) with words. If the viewer stamps the words in order on the paper from the scrolling mechanism, they can rebuild the spot of the poem on the screen and witness the spiritual life of the Tang Dynasty. In the end, the viewer can keep the poem they recreate and take it away as a souvenir.


Introduction to Physical Computing