As 2022 drew to a close, the pandemic was fading away, but people’s anxiety and restlessness were still high. In this crucial moment, we teamed up with MAD Architects to create a borderless “universe” in a beer silo for the 2022 Shenzhen-Hong Kong Biennale. The silos were a part of the city’s industrial legacy, but we turned them into a space of light and wonder. Inside the silo, visitors could look up at the magnificent nebulae formed by LED lights and multiple mirror reflections. They could immerse themselves in the endless images and imagine traveling through the vast cosmos. The project was a temporary escape from reality and a way to explore the infinite potential of the self. Even if life was constrained by the pandemic, the mind could soar freely in this boundless universe.

The installation – “Universe” – stood in a 20-meter-high silo, with a spiral staircase leading to a platform. The silo was lined with highly reflective acrylic panels, suspended from the top like an umbrella and fixed at the bottom. The light strings were attached to the outside of the panels, with small holes burned by an electric soldering iron to insert the lamp heads from behind. The lamp heads protruded from the inner wall of the silo, creating the starlight points in the installation.

To create a natural starry sky, the light strings were arranged in a random and patchy pattern. The light spots were denser at the top and sparser at the bottom. We used standard light strings from online shopping platform, each with 50 light nodes, and only passed 1/3 to 1/2 of them through the panels to become glowing stars. The total cost was only 100 US dollars, but we achieved a stunning effect.

The LED lights and their mirror reflections changed with the movement and perspective of the visitors, like twinkling stars in the universe. The scenes they saw were multidimensional and dynamic. Through this art installation, we and the architect created an illusion of the cosmos in a narrow vertical space. We gave people a chance to let go and face the unknown, to awaken their curiosity and desire for the mysterious world, and to break through their limitations and appreciate the wonder and beauty.

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