Ka Lun Chan

Museum and exhibition designer. Made in Hong Kong, based in London, now in New York.


Chaos Out Of Order

Chaos Out of Order is a Chinese calligraphy exhibition for Western audience, with the promotion of Expressionism within this art form as an emotional gesture that is derived from physical gesture.

The motivation for the curation of Chaos Out of Order stemmed from the realisation of neglected importance of Chinese calligraphy in the West compared with the high political, social and intellectual circumstances it embeds. Through Chaos Out of Order, I hope it renews people‚Äôs understanding of writing, especially in our digital modern world. The “chaos” from Chinese calligraphy is very similar to our modern world. Expressionism is highly valued in Chinese calligraphy from the raw emotion the calligrapher expressed. To allow this expression to perform, the calligrapher has follow grids of guidelines as their foundation. This is very similar to our modern days, where we have set of rules to obey. Yet, we are allowed to express ourselves freely within these boundaries. Hence, the curation of Chaos Out of Order aims to guide visitors to return to the origin with the simulation of the experience through different interactive installationsr.

In my thesis exhibition, I am demonstrating two installations under the museum context. The first one is Hold Thy Brush, in the first introduction session of the exhibition, where it aims to educate visitors in a literal and mechanical way. The second installation, Write Yourself, is in the fourth session of the exhibition after visitors have been accumulated with an extent of visual and knowledge about Chinese calligraphy, and will learn more about the physical factors involve in Chinese calligraphy through a kinaesthetic approach.

From researches that support physical interactivity to enforce learning in museums that is cross-age, (Schneider and Cheslock (2003) and Maxwell and Evans), the interactive installations that stresses on hand and body gesture helps as a learning process that has been de-emphasised by the complicated philosophy behind how Chinese calligraphy is a product of the Chinese culture and its language.

Due to the analog nature of the art form itself, my designs try to avoid the overwhelming use of technology that would distract from the appreciation and learning. Technology is a representational medium. I am embedding technology in Hold Thy Brush so it strikes a balance between the analog and digital ability as an internet of things, that it connects objects as a node within a network through the augmented connectivity.

Through kinetic learning, technology becomes a transformative medium in Write Yourself. The body of visitors becomes an interface through computer visioning to translate a pedagogical idea.