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Yang Sheng (IPoC Taicang 2014 April, group 5)

Lieke van der Most, Xiaoyan Xu, Wenxuan Xie, Biao Bo

Concept Video:

Prototype video:

Yang Sheng is an ancient Chinese Philosophy that translates to English as “preserve one’s health”. Throughout generations the practice of Yang Sheng has changed. Nowadays the practice of Yang Sheng is focused on both physical and mental health.


Today people’s lifestyles have changed which asks for a development in the practice of Yang Sheng. Tai Ji is a sport which originates in China and is still popular today. However most of the young people in China no longer feel affection for this sport.


Inspired on Yang Sheng this installation stimulates young people to do Tai Ji by making it more interactive.




Yang-Sheng: about fostering health and well-being by nurturing body, mind and spirit in harmony with the natural rhythms in the context of exercise; Tai Ji.

Physical and mental health has always been an important factor in Chinese history.

Yang-Sheng is a concept in the Chinese culture. It is about fostering health and well-being by nurturing body, mind and spirit in harmony with the natural rhythms, and with universal laws. Health preservation rather than curing sickness is a central feature of this practice.


The concept of Yang-Sheng consists of many aspects, but we will focus on only one of them: exercise. Exercise in a broader sense, both influencing the mind and the body.


During observation of people exercising in public in Taicang, China, we noticed that many of the people who exercise outside are doing Tai Ji, an exercise method that relates both to physical health, mental health and Chinese philosophy. There were none to no jong people to be found practicing tai ji in the public spaces.

Our concept focusses on how to get younger people involved in the physical activity of tai ji.

The essence of Yang-sheng stays the same but the practice and focus in the culture slowly changes.

In physical products Patina is the mark left (by use) over time. If we look at a culture the patina is a little more abstract.

According to us the patina of Yang-Sheng can be seen as this:

Throughout history the Yang-Sheng philosophy has been taught in every generation. Because the world changes, every generation has a different perception on this philosophy. This means that, although the essence of Yang-sheng stays the same, the practice and focus in the culture slowly changes. This is the patina of culture.



Decrease in physical activity

The influence of western countries (mac Donalds, KFC, etc) and modern society (desk work) have caused a massive decrease in physical activity. Where in the past days people were able to practice the physical side of Yang-Sheng in their daily jobs, now a days extra physical exercise is necessary to preserve the physical health. But this does not happen.



Using projection mapping to make Tai Ji more popular among the younger generation

We want to get younger generations focussed on a historic exercise, based on  Yang-Sheng, namely Tai Ji. Tai Ji is still very popular in China today, but mostly with the older generations.


The concept exists of projection mapping on a statue with multiple squares. Around the statue people can be doing Tai Ji. On a limited amount of squares on the statue there are projections of shadows who are performing different forms of Tai Ji.


While the people around the statue are doing their exercises they interact with the other squares of the statue.

The mapping is of a ball which people press forward and backwards while doing Tai Ji movements.

During the exercise the ‘ball’ develops, grows, and changes patters. After the exercise the ball stays present on the statue. Other people can choose to pick-up this ball and continue to develop it. They can also make the decision to create a new ball. Together the people create a statue covered with balls from different sizes and structures.



Mirroring, communication, presenting, choice

People copy the example movements

People can interact together to let a ball grow faster

People can make choices between the balls they choose

The movements of the people are mirrored on the installation.



Time, objects, productivity, rules, place, role, front- and backstage

The time in which our concept is used is not set but flexible to the preference of the user.

The objects used in this installation are virtual, interaction is through the senses of the device

The performance of this act is productive for the body and mind.


The rules are suggested but not enforced, people can follow the movements of Tai Ji, but also choose to improvise.

The place is limited to the reach of the device.

The roles of audience, perfomer and operater are very much intertwined in this concept. The  user is both the performer (they cause the projections) and the audience (they watch the projections) but the virtual ‘teacher’ is also a performer. The installation is the operator.

This also applies to the front- and backstage. The frontstage is both the projection (this is part of the performance) but also the real-time performance of the users (this is where the performance is actually happening).