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Textiles (MA)

Christina Tai

Christina Tai is a visual artist/designer with a research-led approach. Coming from an interdisciplinary background of fashion design and visual communication, the artist works across physical materials and digital imagery. She manipulates materials to investigate conceptual ideas and employs contextual research to inform her process of making. 

Rooted in her fascination with human psychology and post-modern philosophy, she takes inspiration from the contradiction and fragility of humanity. She explores the possibility of utilising different materials and process of making to create her unique visual narrative in order to communicate immaterial ideas and emotions through abstraction. Her creation is not a solution, but the infinite interrogation of human perception of the material world.

artist in front of the inspiration wall

Extremely Odd, Completely Irrational

If every blink is a frame, we experience and understand the world as a sequence of images. This makes creating visuals a way of constructing our reality and belief. We are in a generation filled with images that we have became numb to them, thinking we have seen it all. We are actively yearning, but passively looking. Visual experience is consumed carelessly, making the act of seeing powerless. ‘Extremely Odd, Completely Irrational’ is intended to bring a tender disruption, a soft pause to the loud and accelerating modern society in order to reimagine the potential of seeing.

This rhizomatic series of experimentation does not answer but inquire. Tracing back to the intricate mechanism of visual perception and the idea of forming in craft making, ‘Extremely Odd, Completely Irrational’ is an exploration of the design thinking/method that merges the process of physical making with digital imagery. This ongoing research project explores the potential of visual language in abstraction through material voice and human action. The artist crafted visual experiences like constructing a piece of fabric. The human movement and unexpected material reactions bring uncertainty and new perspective to ordinary things, motivating the viewer to see beyond what is visible. The abstractions scrutinise the potential of visual narrative and material language through the tension of paradoxical dichotomy and the presence of absence. The unsettling ambiguity and enigmatic quietness prompt a closer and slower way of looking. The distressing yet comforting experience of ruminating on the work aims to create sublimity that prompts the audience to stop looking externally but explore internally, to stop dwelling in the known but to rediscover the unknown. 

photo of forming
“Learning to form makes us understand all forming.” - Anni Albers
Diagram of design methodology

Exploring the abstract visual narrative through the philosophy of craft making that intricately create and construct through materials and bodily movement of humans. The methodology involved a series of immediate and spontaneous experiments across various physical and digital media. The project extensively explore the relationship between object, images and visual experience.

Studies of order, consciousness and formation of things

Practicing cross stitch as a means of exploring and understanding the formation of things, I construct shapes using small units of stitches deliberately distributed without order while consciously follow the cross stitch rule that every stitch at the back only goes vertically. This led me to research how our behaviour is highly influenced by the order imposed by modern society, and how our perception is unconsciously affected. We are trained to see in certain way that somehow restrict and objectify our seeing, but meanwhile fortifying the normal functioning of our modern society as Arnheim argues that order is a necessary condition for anything the human mind is to understand.

By further manipulating our perception between absence and presence, the shape unfolds itself differently before the eyes of spectators, either forming or disappearing. This reveals the unstable nature of vision and the unreliability of our perceived reality.

cross stitch sample
Sample01_ Front & Back
cross stitch sample
Sample02_ Flat
cross stitch sample
Sample 07
cross stitch sample
Sample 04_ Deconstructed

Studies of images, sequence and formation of experience

The second narration includes four stop motion animation exploring the relationship between images and experience. The use of different material, movement and manipulation of sequence create abstract narratives from cross stitch samples and its prints. The viewer can clearly feel the short animation are fictions being manipulated and constructed through fragments but still experience it as one whole film in our visual reality.

Study of Becoming
Study of Sequence
Study of Layering
Study of Unfolding
photo of maquette
Object01_ 2459Image #2459 of object 01. The object has been lost and the image cannot be reproduced.
photo of maquette
Object02_ 10:52
photo of maquette
Object02_ 10:50
photo of maquette
Object02_ 10:56
photo of maquette
Object02_ 11:00
photo of maquette
Object03_ Juxtaposition
Object04_ Deconstructed
Object04_ Deconstructing
Study of Visibility