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There is a saying in Dao De Jing of Laozi: "The whole world knows the beautiful as beautiful only because of the existence of the ugly. The whole world knows the good as good, only because of the existence of the bad. Being and non-being, difficult and easy, long and short, high and low, voice and sound, back and forth, they always come in pairs."

My project is attempting to present this philosophical idea of Laozi. Normally, only part of the content and the character You (The Being) exists. When water is sprayed on the canvas, the character Wu (the Non-being) will appear, then gradually fade and disappear as the water is evaporating. The two characters share some strokes, indicating that the Non-being could exist only because of the existence of the Being.

This hanging scroll is made of a kind of special material. Where the canvas gets wet, it will become black and appear to be painted by ink. Covered by wax, other parts of the canvas are waterproof and will always be blank. Ideally, the hanging scroll would be shown as an installation with sprinklers at the top which spray water downward periodically. The water will create a slightly different textures each time the canvas gets wet and dries. Viewers could feel the idea of the Being and the Non-being as well as the passage of time.

Watch the Demo on Vimeo