Art Narrative/storytelling


An experimental video of a synthetic architecture that serves as a metaphor for the looping patterns of an individual's psyche.


Persia Wu


Despina Papadopoulos


“Ruinenlust” is a German compound describing the curious obsession with what we most fear and the pleasure taken from spending time amidst ruins. Psychiatrically, the architectural shape of our brain is invaded by our mental illness. Psychologically, the defense system we are building up as we grow up is the life architecture of ours.As an individual with bipolar disorder, this word resonated with me as a self-portrait. I create this synthetic architecture that serves as a metaphor for the individual’s psyche, integrating visual symbolism from alchemy, Taoism and Satanism. The architecture and avatar serves as a metaphor for each other featuring “eternal return”. They symbolize my departure from conventional beliefs and a newfound empowerment confronting this endless loop. Through “Ruinenlust”, my realization on this cycle of inner turmoil towards self-discovery and growth steps to the forth, reflecting the complexities of my inner world and the intersection of the philosophy and spirituality navigating it. Eternal return is not about gaining a whole new life in every new cycle. It is about the coverage and faith that even when you already foresee your path, you are still willing to march forward onto your own road. It is always your own solitary and holy pilgrimage.


The research suggests a connection between the metaphoric structure of “self” and cinematic architecture. The temporal design which involves the subjective virtual existence in space, the rhythm and pace of storytelling influences architectural structure. The use of existential form as a philosophy metaphor is also explored as seen in “The LIbrary of Babel”. “Self-identity” related theories from various psychologists highlight the complexity of the layers of “self” and the narrative construct of “self”. Overall, the research focuses on deconstructing specific events into the abstract patterns they all share, seeking a better understanding of the universal patterns underlying the self.

Technical Details

The architecture and avatar utilizing the visual symbols are modeled in Blender then exported into Unreal Engine. To illustrate the concept of loop, I used the specific language empowered by game engine-like portals to sew the different dimensions of architecture into one cinematic long shot. The whole visual style also refers to retro gothic movies to create the epic tragic aesthetics.

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