“沒有規矩，不成方圓” is an ancient folk-say in Chinese, meaning that you cannot create a square and circle without using the ruler and compass. People usually use this quote to indicate that you cannot accomplish certain things without norms or standards.
Square and circle is a very specific definition of a shape. There is no space of ambiguity when they are referred to. To recreate these shapes, we, without practice, need to use tools or processes.
It seems to be our instinct to define, classify, disambiguate and interpret. Other than square and circle, there are many other things that are clearly defined by human, which are believed to be the “correct” or “normal” to pursue and follow — definitions of a happy life, good wife/mother, success, purpose… And to pursue such things, rules, norms, corrections, procedures and forces are usually compelled onto individuals. Some extreme of which have led to numerous ideologies and historical events such as genocide.
— “You should behave like a girl”
— “You should be social and cheerful”
— “You should go to the best school, get a stable job, marry happily and have a child before 30”
— “You are not like us”
In my limited life experience, I have started wondering more and more: why making a circle or square? Isn’t the ambiguity and the in-between state seems more natural in our lives? Isn’t the uncertainty a source of creativity? Jean-Paul Sartre followed Heidegger in describing the human essence as ambiguous. Nietzsche said that “There is no fact, only interpretation.”
Albeit, I have found myself being quite afraid of ambiguity and uncertainty. I always hope for knowing the fact, the correct answer, doing things in a proper way. Sometimes, I would arrive at a moment when I can see the meanings and purposes, while followed up by self-doubt and frustration again and again.
Maybe some people share the same feelings.
Hence, I want to make a musical instrument to express the idea of the dynamic tension between definition and ambiguity in life, and my emotion when struggling with them.
I am inspired by Japanese artist Akinori Goto’s work “Rediscovery of anima” — use strings to connect 2 shapes, and create a morphing effect.
I then prototyped this craft techniques with my context: using strings to connect square and circle to create a series of varied shapes in between.
I am happy with the effect. I then plan to make an instrument using this form.
Thoughts on the interaction:
- User add ambiguity to shape highlighted to change the sound dynamics
- Users transform the related positions and rotations of 2 shapes to interrupt with the perfect square and circle shape highlighted by light
- The instrument will make sounds based on the highlighted shape: sound of square, sound of circle, and sounds of variations in between