This is a one-week project for my sculpture course in California College of the Arts.

Each student will be given four different items randomly. The student needs to utilize these four items to complete a themed sculptural object.

What I get are a piece of tree bark, a broken lamp, a cardboard tube and a dozen of pink zippers.

I forget to take photos during the process. So, I find these images below on the internet instead to show you what these items look like:

Tree Bark
Pink Zippers
Cardboard Tube
Broken Lamp

After giving the four items, there is a theme lottery for all students. Students just pick a folded paper note on the desk, open the note and read the word out load.

When I read my word, I got a pleasant laugh from the class.


Well, when you think of AI, you might think of this:

However, the only objects I have in my hand have nothing related to both artificial and intelligence.

What came to my mind at that time is:


You gotta be kidding me.

What am I suppose to do to make an Artificial Intelligence with tree bark, cardboard tube, a broken lamp and pink zippers?

Here is the tip: Once you feel like having no clue to a project, it is always helpful to start with brainstorming:

So, this is what I thought about Artificial Intelligence:

  • Electricity
  • Light-Lamp-Light bulb
  • Smart
  • Brain-Human brain/Circuit board
  • Shape of Brain- Color/Texture/…

Also, I played with the four items to find some inspirations: I cut the cardboard tube open by following the spiral structure on its surface. I disassembled the broken lamp and separated the light bulb from the lamp shade.

During the exploration, I found that there was a thin plastic-like layer attached inside the lamp shade. The layer broke into pieces when I tore it apart from the lamp shade.

I placed these pieces on the tree bark and magic happened: It has a keyboard-like appearance which reminds me of database and calculus.

Suddenly, I got the idea!

The sculpture looks like this in the end:

Artificial Intelligence

The cardboard tube was cut in a spiral structure and bent in a brain-like shape. I sprayed the cardboard tube in pink for two reasons: Firstly, the pink color is matching the color of zippers, which could create a relationship between cardboard and zippers; Secondly, the pink-ish color reminds me the color of flesh.

Due to the curved structure of the cardboard, I glued the pink zippers in a twisted shape to the edge of the tree bark by using a glue gun. 

The long tree bark was designed as the main body of the object. It looked like a spine that connected to the brain. Besides, I placed the light-colored plastic pieces and glued them onto the tree bark, which created a cool texture on the surface.


To present the feeling of technology, I hanged the object in a dark room with some fish wire. So, the whole object was floating in the air.

Also, do you remember the brainstorm I had? I wanted some electrical element or light in this project. Thus, I put the light bulb, which was originally from the broken lamp, above the object. I used a black tape to fix the electrical wire to the ground and make the wire invisible. So, the whole sculpture would be glowing in the dark when the light goes on.

What is more, I changed the light position to see if the feeling I received from this sculpture would be different:

Light Underneath

Generally, this is the whole process of creating the AI sculpture.

The reason why I put this article in the MATERIAL category is that it is more like a material exploration to me rather than making a completed object. 

How do we feel about different materials? What kind of relationship or resonance do you think could have between people and materials both physically and emotionally? In which way could we present the possibilities of different materials? What other meanings or feelings that could possibly created by combining different materials?

Feel free to leave any comments. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Hope you enjoy the reading.

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