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Digital Direction (MA)

Kailin Zhang 张恺麟

Kailin Zhang graduated from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute with a Bachelor's degree in Film, Video and Animation Directing and a Master's degree in Digital Direction from the Royal College of Art in the UK, is now interested in interactive art and believes that interaction is a new approach to storytelling.

Kailin Zhang

My undergraduate degree from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, one of the eight major professional art colleges in China, meant that I had a solid foundation in graphic drawing and, more importantly, I gradually acquired the ability to feel life and artistic aesthetics. My major is in animation (film, video, animation directing), which involves transitioning from static to moving images. Through this process of transformation and practice, I have not only acquired a combination of skills including scripting, directing, photography, video and animation but also the ability to use a variety of software for post-production editing. The software skills I acquired at this stage include Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign for graphic design/layout, Eduis, Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro for video editing, After Effects Pro for visual effects and motion graphics, DaVinci for video colour grading, Audition Pro for audio editing, and Cinema 4D for 3D modelling, etc. This has built a systematic framework for my knowledge and understanding of the film and animation discipline and has helped me acquire a rich and comprehensive skill set.

At the postgraduate level, I studied at the Royal College of Art, majoring in Digital Direction, where I crossed over to another type of transition in my artistic practice - from moving images to interactive, participatory experience. In following the RCA's research-based approach to art creation, I practised the critical use of new technologies, tools and platforms to build new narrative experiences, further expanding my knowledge of related concepts from video to extended reality (XR), while familiarising myself with the AV hardware and digital projection, further exploring Motion Capture, AR and VR prototyping, physical computing and immersive interactive experience design. During this process, I have refined my skills in the use of hardware and software such as TouchDesigner, Unreal Engine, Blender, MadMapper, Arduino and Touch Board.

During my studies, I realised that I enjoy using an interdisciplinary approach to create artwork. In order to do this, I found and created new connections, embraced emerging technologies, and questioned established systems and methods to generate my own unique paradigms. I believe that this is a process of using art to create the future, and interactive art is the means of realising this. In my independent research project, I innovatively combined moving images with a physical installation, adding real-time location-based interaction by using the HTC Vive Kit and TouchDesigner.



This project is an interactive installation with moving images, constructing six prevailing stories of people using electronics.

This project explores the relationship between technology and human in the context of a digital industrial society, focusing on a reflection on the use of electronics by humans. The relationship between human beings and technology is a contradictory one of “control” and “out of control”, specifically, the control of human beings over technology is reflected in the fact that people continue to use advanced technology to produce high-tech products that satisfy human life and development, but people are increasingly overdependent on electronic products, which is a manifestation of a technology “out of control”. 

Based on the physical installation, I constructed a model of a PCB building in the virtual environment and combined moving images and audio with it: when one holds a torch with the HTC Vive Tracker and shines it on the physical installation, the moving images show a skeleton projection of the building and the life of the inhabitants 'living' in this building. The images show the perspective of the model according to the angle and position the participant shines the torch from, with different positions triggering different audio stories told by interviewees. In creating this work, I used first-hand research methods such as fieldwork and interviews, and collaborated with different communities, organisations and individuals to source the stories.

Behind the Scenes


PCBs; Moving images