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Everything Before, Everything After
Seph Li 李昊哲


The main body of this digital installation is a meandering river rendered in Chinese ink painting style. The river, simulated by the rules of meanders, constantly shifts its path as it flows, marks time and leaves behind the transition traces. Chinese traditional ink painting is characterised not only by the fluidity of the ink that represents the flow of time, but also by the panoramic expression of space that can not be contained in a single view. This artwork aims at rejuvenating this zen concept in the digital age and extend it through motion and interactive properties.

The visuals are rendered on 2 touch screens. By touching the screen, visitors are invited to paint their own strokes to the artwork. Not only does the visitors’ strokes stay on the canvas, but they also apply additional forces to the meandering simulation. As such, the originally predictable shapeshifting of the river becomes an irreducible and unpredictable process, therefore, the ink river becomes the history itself promoted by both the flow of the environment and human interruptions. What the audiences see at an exact moment is no longer just “now”, but the summary of “everything before”. With visitors’ participatory disruptions, the river carries what it has accumulated into the future - thus “everything after”.
Furthermore, once the artwork’s software starts running, all the process and interactive strokes are recorded, and the status of the river is never being reset. This ensures the ink river really becomes the medium that carries the eternity of the artwork and becomes the river that flows through spacetime.


Born in Beijing in 1988, Seph Li has a mixed background in technology and design, and his keen interest in interactive artworks led him into the field of media arts. Seph has studied Computer Science and Entertainment Design in Tsinghua University and continued his M.F.A. study in Design | Media Arts at UCLA.

After obtaining his masters degree, he has traveled and worked in Tokyo, Barcelona, Amsterdam, before moving to London, UK. His installation and interactive works have also been exhibited in major media art entities such as New National Art Center in Japan, the ZKM, Currents Festival in the U.S., FILE Festival in Brazil, Mucang Museum in Shanghai, ArtSci Museum in Singapore among others. While spending his time in Tokyo, Seph has been working with world renown artist collective teamLab; he has also received commission works from global brands such as OnePlus, Nissan, Google etc. He is currently running his own creative studio in London.