* photo credit to Artificial Intelligence Arts fall 2019 class at IMA, NYU Shanghai

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor, Xi'an Jiao Tong - Liverpool University. 2020 -
full-time, MDes & B.E. Industrial Design.

Research Lab Director, Xi'an Jiao Tong - Liverpool University. 2020 -
full-time Interactive Experience Lab, Design School.

Instructor, New York University, Shanghai. 2019 - 2020
adjunct, B.S. Interactive Media Arts.

Resident Research Fellow, New York University, Shanghai. 2015 - 2019
full-time, B.S. Interactive Media Arts.

Lecturer, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2019
adjunct, M.A. Cultural & Creative Industry.

Summer Contract Faculty, New York University, Shanghai. 2016 - 2019
summer position, High School Academy, School of Professional Studies.

Lecturer, Shanghai Art and Design Academy. 2016 - 2018.
adjunct, B.A. New Media& Communications, WPP School.

* full academia experiences in academic resume (updated 02/2020).

Practice Statement

Creative Practices with Emerging Technology.

If I use one phrase to summarise my practice, it would be creative practices with emerging technology. I keep improving and enhancing my creative approach and artistic medium with the up-to-date technology advancements includes:

1. interactive media technologies such as creative coding and physical computing;
2. generative algorithms;
3. more recently, creative artificial intelligence.

Interactive:: after Artificial Intelligence:

My practice and projects vary in terms of the underlying technology and presenting format, but they mostly share one common feature - “interactive” and focus on human-machine interaction.

With strong recent interests in cultural innovation and creative artificial intelligence, I've created a project series titled “Chinese New Literati, 2018 - ”, this installations series includes both screen-based and physical interactive experiences, and all engage participants to interact with the system(s). This one series generally aims at assisting users to create, enjoy and appreciate Chinese traditional arts and culture. These recent works are categorized as "project:: after AI" here.

Interactive:: Before Artificial Intelligence:

Earlier projects of mine were more physical, and focusing on interactive media and generative algorithms:
-- the generative progress, the algorithms and how participants and machine response/interact;
-- the generated appearance, such as presenting format of the result eg., digital fabrication.
These previous works are categorized as "project:: before AI" here.

Create with Artificial Intelligence:

The application of artificial intelligence as an artistic medium has re-shaped my approach towards art, and its significant influences went far beyond. Investigate in my concerns and excitements of artificial intelligence, I've trying to guide my practice with one statement - Create with Artificial Intelligence.

* full practice statement (updated 02/2020) can be found here.

Research Statement

Artists and other professional creative participants should conduct research as in other fields, so to enhance and advance their practices. In my personal experiences, written research is guided through cumulative stages of critical reflection and/or interpretive analysis of my practices. I intend to develop art projects for specific research question(s) that I want to investigate. Led by research questions, I dedicate to conduct a combination of praxis and thinking, where writing actively contributes to the creative work itself, functioning as an integral part of the overall research. Both culminate the research deliver as exhibited artwork and submission of creative research writing that best articulates and reflects ideas. In brief, the creative work is the research itself together with a written component informing research.

Create with Artificial Intelligence

My general practice and research interests spread in interactive media, generative art and machine vision for arts applications. And recently, I focus on utilizing artificial intelligence/machine learning to create art and have been directed by three questions: 

1. can Artificial Intelligence be creative?
2. can we design AI to collaborate with and facilitate, enhance human creativity?
3. and how could the Chinese cultural heritage be involved and evolved?

* full research statement (updated 11/2019) can be found here.

Teaching Philosophy

If I use one word to summarize my teaching philosophy, it's practice. I believe practice is the key to both teach and learn creative art and technology. I teach what I practice. I summarize and include my in-field successful or temporary failed attempts in the syllabus and keep students updated with the most current trends and state-of-art technology advancements. I encourage and guide students towards self-directed projects. I engage them to develop their concept and technical skills, and build individual artwork as practices.

I develop and teach undergraduate and graduate creative technology driven art and design curriculum. I currently teach Interactive Media Arts (IMA) in various institutions. In my recent roles, I taught courses on how to apply emerging media to create arts at NYU Shanghai and Shanghai JIAO TONG University (SJTU). Before that, I taught new media arts fundamentals and advanced studio courses at Shanghai Arts and Design Academy (SADA) as an adjunct, and I was a resident research fellow of IMA at NYU Shanghai for four years.

* full teaching Statement (updated 11/2019) can be found here.

Teaching Examples

All my courses focus on how to apply emerging technology, such as creative coding, creative AI and other interactive technologies, to produce art and design. For example (updated 11/2019):

1. In “Artificial Intelligence Arts, F2019” and “Interactive Machine Learning, S2019” at NYU Shanghai, I taught students how to apply creative AI software and coding framework to design and develop interactive projects. Through 14 weeks’ learning, students learn both conceptual and technical knowledge through practices and succeed in the class with individual projects. There is one student building an “interactive newspaper” in which an AI algorithm generates caption of what camera sees in real-time and updates the headline of her re-designed “New York Times” newspaper title! Or another student project titled “A-Imitation” which is a magic mirror and transfer anyone in front of the camera to paintings like “The Scream” or “Starry Night”. Or other projects like websites can generate tattoos, and anime faces.

2. In “Digital Arts, S2019” at SJTU, I taught (master) students with minimal background both the basics of creative coding and physical computing first and then ran the rest of class as design studios to help them develop projects. Thirteen students are broken into six groups and all managed to present their creative projects at the end of semester show. One group built an interactive installation for social good with Arduino, which is a toilet paper dispenser connected to a computer and screen. Along with the action of taking the paper, the virtual tree on the screen will fall leaves. If an unreasonable amount of paper is taken at one time, the tree will shrivel and awake the environment-friendly mind. Another student project tries to backup the LGBT group with screen-based interactive experiences. When approaching the end of the interactive story, the participant will receive one rainbow marked profile photo. Other projects also use different technology, such as Kinect, to build projection mapping for various interactive experiences.

3. “See Through Kinect, S2018”, “Interactive Installation, S2017” and “Integrated Design Studio, F2016” are similar courses I taught at SADA as advanced interaction design courses, aim to teach design background students how to apply hardware like Kinect, Leap Motion and Arduino to build interactive projects. Some students create interactive installation to advertise different product like participants can follow the pose instruction and dance in front of the “window” and get the virtual snack package, or participants can catch the virtual canny in screen through waving their hands in air, or participants just simply enjoy interacting with the Funny M&M's Characters. Some other projects also address broader social issues like calling for attention to people who need help, elder, young children and disabled. One student project applies Arduino to a bench and connects to a screen. (only) when the participant sits down, the virtual character - an old man - will hug the participant virtually. And there is another group designed an ultrasonic powered white cane and use sound feedback to remind the user when needed.

4. I also have the ability and experience to teach interactive media fundamentals, such as "Interaction Lab, 2015 - 2017" and "Make Design Interact, S2016, F2017" at NYU Shanghai and SADA. These courses usually teach freshman students with low computer literacy and hone their interactive media fundamentals. Besides that, during my first two year's fellowship at NYU Shanghai, I led the design and teaching of the "Digital Fabrication" course at NYU Shanghai and set up the digital fabrication lab which contains several 3D printers, CNC milling machines, and one laser-cutter.

* more syllabi (updated at 07/2018) can be downloaded at here.

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