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Jewellery & Metal (MA)

Mengfei Li

Mengfei Li, a jewellery designer from China. During her undergraduate studies (2018-2022), she chose to specialize in Gem and Materials Technology. The connection between the body and the object keeps her thinking and studying jewellery and metal at the RCA.

“Great design is a multi-layered relationship between human life and its environment”, said Naoto Fukasawa. Jewellery design has never been an emotional and impulsive act for Mengfei, but an experimental, scientific and rigorous activity.


“In the indigenous world, everything is alive and spiritual”. With the current rapid development of technology, more and more machines with behaviour potential are being created. How do they influence our behaviour? And how are these influences reflected in jewellery?

Mengfei thinks about the relationship between machines and humans through behaviour. “Man is neither the height nor the centre of creation”. Compared to machines, humans are indigenous to the earth. She wants to think about the respectful, reciprocal and sustainable treatment of non-human AI and machines through the process of working with machines.

Mengfei wants to work with machines to make the act of wearing jewellery more visually expressive. This collaboration with machines will make us aware of the importance of recognising them as a new form of life, rather than just exploiting them to bring us convenience. Humans need to be aware of the changes that machines bring to our behaviour. In the process, Mengfei has blurred the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds and hopes to create a seamless transition between the two.

I used a VR gravity sketch to make a model of the unconscious behaviour of wearing jewellery. When our actions become a model, how do we interact with space at this time? Will this interaction affect my relationship with AI in the future?
AI engine
I recorded into the AI the action of wearing the ring and the action of wearing the necklace, and through the AI's continuous model training, when I did any action in front of the final preview camera, the AI would present a different percentage, meaning that I had included a percentage of the action of wearing the jewellery in this action. This model allows us to see how much jewellery-wearing is embedded in our daily actions, like how we seem to do it all the time.
AI auto-generated images
AI auto-generated images
AI auto-generated images
AI auto-generated images
Motion capture
Humans are made up of non-living elements (matter) and machines are also made up of non-living elements. So what is the difference between humans and machines? Through different methods of recording the behaviours of wearing jewellery, among them AI programs, Motion Capture, VR. In this process, the behaviours of wearing the jewellery as a bridge between us and the machine. It leads to thoughts on how we should deal with machines as a non-living form.