Wunderkammer

This seemingly disconnected collection of objects are all either tokens from my childhood / memorable past experiences that remind me of a specific season of life / important relationship, or personal possessions that reflect my taste, personality and interests. Although behind each object is quite a different story, there is a strong aesthetic cohesion within the collection in that there are a lot of colors, patterns and handmade elements. Each object/groups of artefacts is also quite unique and, in a way, unexpected, as though there are multiple layers of meanings that are to be discovered with more and more understanding of the objects’ stories. This is in a sense the way people have come to know me — to be surprised as they get to know more dimensions of my personality.

One common theme is the idea of play and quirkiness. The toys I acquired from childhood as well as the unusual circular calendar are fun to interact with. Other artefacts like the golden branch, target papers, the pillowcase, the seal and the maze are reminiscent of the act of playing, fiddling, making, and are not very typical everyday objects.

Another distinct characteristic shared is the reflection of a creative endeavour. Quite a few of these artefacts are products of my own making, which shows that I am a very hands-on person and love creating. I am drawn to vibrant colors and things that are visually exciting.

Most of these artefacts have some stories that relate to people who are important to me. They represent memories I have shared with family and close friends and often remind me of the impact they had on me in those specific seasons of life.

  1. Marble Seal with my Chinese name carved 
    I made this during the class trip to Beijing in 8th grade. It was a lovely trip with my best friends till even now. The seal is also a reminder of my heritage, since the older I grow, the more I get called by my English name rather than my Chinese one.
  2. Series of animal Mighty Beanz
    I love playing with and collecting Mighty Beanz with my brother when I was younger. I am especially drawn to the animal ones and love the different colors they come to make.
  3. Necklace with fish pendant
    The fish is a symbol of my Christian faith, since the fish, or the Ichthys, means the follower of Christ. This necklace was given to me by my church before I left for boarding school in UK. It serves as a reminder of what my belief is, as I began living life away from home. It also brings to mind the highs and lows of my time in boarding school, which was when I experienced a lot of personal growth.
  4. Yellow cateye stone
    This is given to my by my dad after his trip to Beijing when I was around 5 or 6. It was the first time our family was not together for a period of time. This always reminds me of my dad, who is usually very busy working, but I know he always yearns to spend more time with us. Yellow is also my favourite color, and speaks about my joyful personality.
  5. Calendar from MoMA
    I got this unusual calendar from the MoMA in New York. I love how creative it is and love fiddling with it. I think it speaks about my attraction to things that are fun, eccentric and creative.
  6. Target papers from an air pistol shooting class
    I took an air pistol shooting class with one of my best friends 3 years ago. These are tokens of pride — I’ve always been a clumsy person with poor hand-eye coordination, but I did quite well in the shooting at the time. They are also mementos of fun memories I shared with my best friend.
  7. ‘Julia’ maze bookmark from my brother
    My brother is very good at drawing mazes and there used to be a time where we would always hand make birthday presents for each other. I remember being very impressed with his maze. Now we don’t hand make our presents anymore, so this has been a fond memory.
  8. Branch spray painted gold
    This is from a project I did in sophomore year. My teammate was very inspiring, and I remember fondly of how experimental we had pushed our project to be. This branch reminds me to not be afraid to experiment and play when I design.
  9. Wooden toy giraffe bought in Munich
    The giraffe is my icon, since it is my favourite animal. I love the way the toy was made, and every time the string is pulled, the way the giraffe twitches is also strangely reminiscent of my awkward movements. It was bought when our family visited Munich, and that was one of my favourite family vacations.
  10. ‘Dream Tumblr’ Pillow case from high school art class
    The pillow has two sides, one where the hoover sucks away a person’s dreams, and another where the stereo plays them back into a person’s heads. The concepting and making parts of this project was very fun, and reminds me to keep coming up with weird creative ideas.
I attempt to make connections among the 10 objects, and connect them to the five central themes I explored through this assemblage of items. These five pillars make up a lot of my identity, and it is interesting how each object would have multiple connections to these themes or other objects, that none of them are truly individual or isolated.
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