Industrial Designer/
Creative Technologist/

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2021 / Parsons School of Design, the New School
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Project Background

Tsingcrow University project focuses on the relationship between crows and residents on the Tsinghua University campus. Tsinghua University campus is known for its large number of crows. The droppings produced by them seriously affect the sanitation of student living areas. It shows the conflict between the habitat of the crows and the living environment of the residents. And a series of repellent measures (installation of noisy bird repellers) by the environmental authorities have not solved the crow's issue. It led me to think about the subject-object relationship between human and non-human species: Is human the invader of the natural environment? Or are crows the invaders of the urban area?

Tsingcrow University project changed the name of Tsinghua University and was published on the WeChat subscription platform. Every day, a photo of crow’s poop taken on campus is posted, to document the campus from a different perspective. The project was halted in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but I continue working on derivative works based on this concept.

Design Process

I imported my data collected from the Tsingcrow University project to GAN (Generative adversarial network, a machine learning method for generating image). Some data samples are shown below:

After several steps of training, I got the following outputs:


From a semiotic point of view, the AI has done a good job of summarizing the signifieds of this series of images and generating these visual symbols very "accurately". But in this process, did the signifiers of the images change? Does this process add a new meaning to the objects (crows’ poops)? Or does the “synthesis” itself reduce the meaning of the original image?

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