Qianli Zhang

Video and paper

Class of: 2025

Major: Strategic Design and Management BBA

Medium: 2025

Faculty: Adrienne Reynolds and Maya Samat

This was my last Bridge project for both Integrative Seminar and Studio courses named “Stories from Here”. For seminar, it was to rewrite a myth that I chose into a modern, contemporary piece of writing. From what I have learned about the myth which I chose and alter its meaning to suit a present day retelling.

For the myth I chose “Zhuangzhou and the Butterfly”

典出《庄子·齐物论》:“昔者庄周梦为胡蝶,栩栩然 胡蝶也,自喻适志与!不知周也。俄然觉,则蘧蘧 然周也。不知周之梦为胡蝶与,胡蝶之梦为周与? 周与胡蝶,则必有分矣。此之谓物化。

The myth was written by an ancient Chinese philosopher called Zhuangzi during the period of 476-221 bce. It is a story that describes how Zhuang Zhou dreamed that he was a butterfly once. He did not know whether he was Zhuang Zhou who dreamed that he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreamed that he was Zhuang Zhou. In the end, he described that there must be a different between Zhuang Zhou and the butterfly, called the “transformation of things.

My contemporary story is a girl named “Z” who was 30 years old in her dorm at the stable as a professional horseback rider and coach, who dreamed and reminisced a trip she went to 5 years ago. After that trip to Xinjiang, it completely shifted the way she wanted to live her life and created a whole new chapter of her life. From being a fashion editor to a horseback riding coach. And to dream this dream, she untied and fixed a rider’s block that she had faced over 6 months. I wrote my story in a way that is very magical and filled with metaphoric atmospheres I would say. My thesis were focused on freedom, the transforming of things and just to ease in.

For my studio class, I had to choose a specific site to either make a video or slides to present the idea I had in seminar class. There were two things that I needed to complete. One was make an artifact that could connect from my myth to the video at my specific site, another, which I chose to make a video that would be a visual poem to my viewers about the site that I chose on there approach of five senses.

I believe this video fits the given assignment because it captured the harmonious relationship between human and nature which was one of main thesis in my paper for seminar. In studio, I could use this key point and expand more visually on it. My creative intention was to focus on the five senses around the site I chose, which is at the stable that I always go to when I would be in Beijing, China. My story’s setting takes its place at the stable and my video was capturing nature itself at the same stable.

I captured the five senses: seeing, scent, touching, taste and balance between human and nature in my  lm with original sounds that living organisms produced at the stable. These 5 senses were horses eating apples, birds and worms who live in the nature, in the stable, the balance between coaches and the horses, how a pair of human eyes and horses ears could explore and feel so much of the sensations there….

I used SONY a7s III and SONY GM (16-36, 24-70, 70-200) My video is about 55 seconds since I wanted to create a fast paced atmosphere. My story and theme is also based about reality versus dreams, the shots were all few seconds of every scene so my viewers won’t get a clear idea of what is happening, but rather being at a confused state of mind between reality and dreams.

Towards the end of the video, I recorded myself talking the myth in order to emphasis one of my key ideas and elements that I wanted to present, which is that everything could be transformed into each other at a certain point of state and things happen for a reason, one should just simply accept it and go on.