Dimensions: 660 x 711 x 1397 mm
Medium: acrylic, aluminum, neodymium, 3D printed PLA, PET, motors, electronics
As Above, So Below is a self-responsive kinetic sculpture (Fig. 1). It establishes a cyclical model based on the architecture of Tao philosophy, that weaves interconnected components into a complex network, unifying them into an inherently organic, ever-changing, indivisible reality.
This piece consists of six layers of dynamic sets of neodymium. It amplifies the weak magnetic field generated by mammalian bio-currents and uses it as an initial drive to manipulate the first layer of magnetic field. The average magnetic field strength of each layer determines the electrical velocity of the motor on the next layer. It flattens the entire self-similar universe of different spatial and temporal scales parts to the same grid and metric plane. The dynamic sets of neodymium on each layer are regarded as physical agents that senses the changes in the previous layer. The physical agents map data and incur computational losses throughout the transformation process. The magnetic field strength of the last layer and the initial drive are calculated with different weights to reactivate the top layer, thus looping and expressing the “empty, but not exhausted” of Tao (Fig. 4).
Everything in the universe is interrelated, and the presence and functionality of one level can be mapped to another, as this piece reflects. In order to link things and events on Earth to the more general cosmic order and principles, the six levels of this dynamic process—material, social, biological, living, ecological, and cosmic—shape various organizations and sublevels in the course of generation, interaction, and evolution.
The acrylic assembly is specifically made to be somewhere between wobbly and solid. When the motor is activated, the acrylic support will shake with it. Each layer is affected by vibrational signals that propagate energy by way of fluctuations, which is similar to microscopic particle vibrations, water vapor waves, communication signals, and cosmic rays. At the same time, they are kept in balance.
Considering that the degree of disorder of the universe is proportional to the number of possible states of the system with n-bit binary numbers, the rotating aluminum sheet consists of star polygons with 2 to the power of 1 to 6 vertices (Fig 8).
The project explores the consilience between Tao philosophy and modern Physics. Lu attributes the functioning of the Tao to the collaboration of three elements, Energy, Rhythm and Network. She proposes Ten Gates (Lu, 2020) based on a comparative analysis of the numerical energy frequencies of the symbols used in the Jewish Kabbalah, the calendar system of Mayan culture, pythagorean numerology, and the gates of the human design system. According to Ten Gates’ theory, the elements from one to ten are Seed, Breeding, Form/Limitation, Power, Balance Point, Return to the center, Harmonious integration, Reproduction and Return to the original. Each gate is associated with a combination of multiple elements of the Tao, and in this way her artistic practices unfold respectively (Fig 9).
Using this path as an index, she combines one or two of the three elements of the Tao to develop several artistic practices that bring the inspiration from Tao philosophy into an understanding of the relationship between creatures, communities, machines, and the universe. The work As Above, So Below demonstrates inter-mapping of the six scales. The art practice diagram is also illustrated in six nested squares. Each gate is referred to by an icon. They are arranged clockwise from the fourth quadrant. As the sequence of gates increases, they move further away from the center point. The tenth gate returns to the position closest to the center point. Emitted from the center point, the ray connecting each gate icon corresponds to the art practice.
This project is a long-term exploration and also a practice of a personal methodology for the application of Tao philosophy to art. If you also share the same passion, you are very welcome to contact her email@example.com
Project Guidance: David Carroll, Jess Irish
Writing & Research Guidance: Jessica Marshall, Ethan Silverman
Special Guidance: Anne Gaines, Ayo Okunseinde, Huitu Chao
Reader Editor: Loretta Wolozin, Melanie Crean, Tanvi Mishra, Lauria Clarke
Videography & Lighting Setting: Bowen Li
Earlier Prototype Support: Bowen Li, Yuqing Liang, Keijiroh Nagano, Ofer Shouval, Stephen Fan