InfoCV, Insta       

Thesis Thoughts and Process
“COCOONED”  “ 囚”

Jan/2019 - Present

Apr 23TH
Please follow me on my Instagram, see the updates.

Feedbacks from Final Review: (Thanks Jess helping me to write the note)
From Jess:
MJ - Tremendous job making this project and committing to this, precedents make sense. Smart project. For us, makes us consider asymmetrical experience of communication. Like the humor in the projects, not taking oneself so seriously. Would want you to have documentation that is beautiful and poetic. Tear project is interesting, can work out details more. Essay by ______ Work that is transforming is the process, not the work. Other precedents: Abromovich, Acconci,

AF - Really fascinating project; very curious to follow it and see the results. Think about many ways to document the experience. Sites may visit: fun to image you at these iconic location. Challenging physical circumstances. How can you present your own written / visual diary. Look at work of Sophie Calle as a precedent. Read that if we open the cocoon, the caterpillar is not there, the cocoon is empty. Not sure if this is true? Nice that you are doing this during spring. Maybe visit a

DJ - I want to see you on the Brooklyn Bridge ;) The balance between the spectacle / the internal process of transformation. Like seeing the bits of your fingers pop out, know that you in there. Will be curious to hear how this does doesn’t feel like a trap. Act of not speaking: “I know why the caged bird sings” by Maya Angelou

JI - interesting juxtaposition of mechanized voice and the probing of your human experience. Time lapse video is a nice nod to Hsieh, I think you should include this in your show.

Reflection from me:
“asymmerical experience of communication” new aspects and terms.
“humor in the projects” be honest, I never expect the humor part. But really has.
Vito Acconci, he is a great performance artist I don’t know before the review.
“iconic location?” I already go to Central Park to shot with flowers, still decided to go the place where have more butterflies: The American Museum of Nature History. Outside places still need to go: Brooklyn Bridge, Time Square and flatiron building.
I don’t have even know I already saw Sophie Calle’s Exquisite Pain. I loved it! Definitly going to see more works from her.

Things must to do next two weeks:
Absorb more, write more, take more photos. Also think about what to show maybe.
Public Place still need to go: The American Museum of Nature History;  Brooklyn Bridge, Time Square; flatiron building; chinatown; Ferral.

"Cocoon" Day 1- Presentation from Xu Han on Vimeo.


Mar 28TH

Update Rules:

I,Han Xu, will do a 3 weeks cocooned trip.
I shall knit this “cocoon” by myself and wear it everyday in this 3 weeks include eating, transportation or attending class, shower and sleep.
I shall write in my diary or talk about the psychological activities and the changes of my perception from experiencing inside everyday.
The performance shall begin on Apr. 9 and continue until Apr. 30.

Mar 12TH
Feedbacks from Midterm:

Notes by Jess:

MC - Complete idea, complete presentation; precedents helped. Sooner you build this, the more you will test of the tech, and test of the trap. May not know until you are in it. Andrea Zittel as another artist to look at (uniform from one yarn). Sounds like you are planning to take video all the way through: may be the uncommon things that reveal this experience. Possible modification of “rules.” What constitutes enough “trap” for you as the artist? Video of process, documentation, artifact of the trap. Consider ways to modify how this can be shown in the exhibition. What is the singular gesture? Consider limiting what are the best things to show? Who might you be next to in the show? Consider the context of this. Nice exploration. Meditation is a good idea as a way to prep.

UM - Unless you go through it, it is hard to know what to expect. Have you done much meditation or sensory depravation? How might you mentally prepare yourself? Giving yourself a process - how do you emerge as a butterfly at the end? Prototype what happens when you trap yourself. Very curious to see your piece. Good luck.

DJ - Tension between internal process and spectacle of how others will see this. Focus on the internal: how can you focus on this? External documentation is good, but am more interested in your experience. Look at magicians who undergo duress. How do they prepare? 

My takeaways:

I think the main part of the feedbacks are on Prepare and Show. Prepare for a three weeks new life. And show the viewer as much as what I feel. I think I did not realize the importance of “prepare” before this presentation. Mentally prepare is really important. I think I was not strong enough to face every possible social justice or questions. So I will write every possible situation I may encounter. And also write the possible solutions. 

Best way to show? Stil searching...
I have planed to write driaries and record the sound and videos. The video may include what I can see from different direction (front, left, right, back, front blow (I need to see the road), sky), the process of knitting, how I eat, how I use computer, how I communicate, did I create new way of communication?, how I do transportation, how I express my emotions, how I walk, etc. I also want to make a book about all the words and pictures. 

The Rules: What constitutes enough “trap” for you as the artist?
“what the idea of limitation, concealment, disembodiment could mean to you, in envisioning this project. Your intention is to grow, not suffer, though there may be discomfort in the growth. “

About the internal process, I think the diary may show? or I will add another camera record myself or my physical situation like breath?

Do research about the preparation of Magicians is really good idea!! 
How thinking like a magician can help you get ahead at work

Material Update: I may use t-shirts and cut them to use as yarn. Because it will not as hot as the real yarn and also cheaper. 

Precedents Update: SIX MONTH UNIFORMS by Andrea Zittel

Some other thoughts: Machine Learning is the technique that machine find the logics and rules in a series of sequences. I will actually do that but in a social context. Learn and have the logic of living in a specific form. So maybe my title could change a little bit to highlight the “learning” part of my project.

Questions: the test part. I think I need to record the virgin feelings of being in a cocoon and the learning process. So do I really need to test it?
Answer from Jess:
-That is a very good question, about testing. I do think it would benefit you to make sure it works, and anticipate any limitations that could become a problem. Perhaps there is a way of thinking about this that can help you. Mindset #1: you are a builder, working for the artist Xu. Your job is to make this cocoon as instructed, test it out, ensure there will be no problems. Mindset #2 (start of performance): you are the artist Xu, about to go on a journey into an unknown space. I think the two can be separated in your mind to assist you do get to experience a "virgin" feeling, once the artist is inside.

Mar 5TH
Presentation Slides:


I will knit a cocoon to cover myself by using yarn. I will performance to live in this cocoon for a month. I will make a statement about when I could release myself each day. I will write diary about how I feel everyday. And I will make my eyes, my hands, my mouse by using technology. 

Domain: Performance Art; duration performance art; language; multi-sensory experiences; humanity; human unconsciousness; human body.

Statement (Draft)

I, Xu Han, plan to do a one month performance.

I shall wear the “cocoon” that I knit by myself everyday in this month, include in home, eating, transportation or attend class.

I shall release myself when I need to sleep.

I shall write in my diary everyday.

I shall use my camera on record mode when I step into public space. 

The performance shall begin on TIME  and continue until TIME.


Feb. 25 - Mar. 7:
Refine Statement
Consider the machine I need and make part of the machines that I may use through the performance.
Consider the material: color, thick, material

Mar. 7 - Mar. 18/25: MAKING
Knit the cocoon;
Build the machines;

Mar. 18/25 - Apr. 18/25:

Apr. 18/25 - Exhibition date:
Prepare the show

Elements in Thesis Exhibition

All diaries —— Artist book?
Video of knitting, video of how I eat, what I can see,
The machines that I made
Captured conversion, sound


Outside“Eyes” : Mini FPV Camera  *6 or Camera Module (embedded in yarn)
Inside“Eyes”:  Arduino Screen

Concept Update:

We always keep doing something very hard or pursing some goals in our lives, but when finish we actually have been trapped in this accomplishment that made by ourselves. Like the education we have, the savings for buying the house,  social demands, family demands, etc.
This project also explore: I, myself as a human, transform to an object. 

Feedbacks and Reflections from Science Fair:

1, I asked almost everyone what my thesis means after I told them what I was gonna to do. Some of them think it is a project about self-protection or self-isolate which are apparrent not what I want to purse. Some of them think it is about social anxiety, communication barriers, etc.

2, Symbolic meaning of knitting. One of my fellow thought knitting was like self-talking for her. It is a moment that she can face herself. This may be helpful for overseas student to get away from diffculties. Maybe this constant repetition of knitting could trigger a hurrying modern human to find a peace to face themselves.  So, I was thinking if I can use books pages or some materials have text on them to knit.
Knitting machine?

3, Symbolic meaning of cocoon. Several people mentioned that the meaning of cocoon always connect with the meaning of “transformation” and “butterfly” . Means, this thing may transform to another better form. I don’t have this on my thesis at this point. 

4, Ideas and critiques about projection on the “cocoon”: 
    Is it necessary?Is “projection” have any connection with the concept?
    Project an iphone interface ( myself may see as a button); project my face; project a poem; the certificate of mine
    Project all the work I have done for thie project. (Like it! Acho my concept about “finished and be trapped: Thesis is done but I have been trapped and projection is still making it. It will like a loop that we are keeping doing this again and again.)
    Project my possible situation inside the cocoon; Slightly movement of myself like mixcan jumping beans; “Animorph”;  Or other kind of unhumanly movement may project ont he cocoon.
   Will it project with good quality on the yarn?

5, About the sensor on the “cocoon” that can make sound if people approach or touch:
    Don’t use. The viewer may feel the meaning of “isolate”.
    Like it. it could be instead the human senses. 
    Instrument, make music. But what the purpose.

6, Interaction
    Interact outside with inside, or no connection?
    Have lints outside of the cocoon that people can interact with inside;
    Outside’s movement may inflence inside atmosphere.
    If interact with large certain amont of people, the “cocoon” may release.(!!)

7, Material: thick yarn; basket... 
8, Possible Outputs: Sound; visual

9, Research about cocoon!!

10, The actual process and form for this project on the show?
   Show several cocoons with projection maybe, but I will going to finish one on the show, which means this process coud happened again and again. 
    Shape, color, size, scale, video or projection will loop again and again?

Ernesto’s feedbacks and my summaries:

1, I need to decide whether this project will be a performantive oriented or object oriented piece. It is a personal piece which only about me or it create a experience for others who can interact with.

2, If this is about communication, how could I create a dynamic language that generate by using the “new body”. What to communicate? How do others know me? Why body? Why not do a mask? (generative art as outputs?)

3, “Me” myself is the past, the “cocoon” or an other thing is the new form of me. Having wings is for cocoon when doing transformation. What is the meaning of “wing” to me after being trapped?

Atsuko Tanaka Electric Dress ;Tehching Hsieh “One year performance: Cage Piece”

Lawrence Malstaf “SHRINK


Mini prototype:

Science Fair Engagement Plan:

- What is your plan for engaging people who are unfamiliar with your thesis and getting feedback on one or two specific elements that will further your work? Please sketch out:
I will first describe what I will performance and show my prototype and sketches for people and let them speak what my thesis is.

- What is the succinct text & visual you can show your audience to sum up your thesis, at present? “The english name for this work will be “Entrapment” and the Chinese name for this piece which is “囚” . “囚” is a hieroglyphic word.  “人” means a person. “口” means enclosed inside. So this word means a person traps inside a place.
I will make a performance that knit the yarn though my body, from my foot to my head. Then I will get a new interface of my body. So how could you interact with it? What do you think my thesis is?”

-What questions lie at the heart of your thesis (these may have shifted from the design brief)? What do you think my thesis is?
Is it connect something you encountered in your everyday life through my performance?
When I done knitting, how could you interact with it?
What do you expect to happen when I trapped inside?
Do you want to talk with me (use original way of communication)? or do you want to help me in some ways?

-What you need to bring / print / make beforehand?
I will prepare my questions, bring my small prototype and print the Chinese word 囚 to the viewers.

- What feedback / content are you gathering from this designed engagement? I hope I can get some inspirations through talking to others and figure out how to interact with my “cocoon”.

Idea Updates:

No more tears any more!!

Currently inflenced by artist Ann Hamilton, Lygia Clark and the course Multisensoral Space which taught by Ernesto Klar. I changed my idea to another which have nothing related with tears. But still in the domain of my interest about reshape human behavior. 

A Chinese idiom 作茧自缚 which could translate by ‘spin a cocoon around oneself’ to illstruate someone who get caught in his/her own trap.  Spin a cocoon also could have other meanings related to human like reborn; transformation; living and death. I like this kind of symbolized metaphor connecting with human life. 

I will do a performance which knit some materials (maybe conductive wool) around me from the bottom of my body to my head. When I covered by this material, I will have a new interface that can communicate with other people. The communication limit in non-verble interaction which may include drag the material, hand press, huge, kiss, etc. These interaction will tragger other output. I, myself could be seeing as a human button. 

I came up with a chinese name for this piece which is “囚” . “囚” is a hieroglyphic word.  “人” means a person. “口” means enclosed inside. So this word means imprison, a person traps inside a place. 

Pecedence Updates:
Lygia Clarke, she created objects to shape human behavior and build new way of communication. 

Pecedence Updates:

Thanks to Jess. I love Ann Hamilton’s Body object series.  For me, she was redifining body and also objects. Why does our body do the only way we get used with? Objects, fabric, cloth, material, etc have their purpose in human live but they could live speculatively interact with human living which may create other unexpected meaning like beauty or poetic. 

We live in this world and everything follow with us. Everything in our life from building,  furniture to cloth are actually living in the way that they should be in human demanding world. These things are unconscious existences. This remind me rethinking about my perivous work Face Font,  in that work I gave a purpose at end: The proportion of human visual language (typography) may actually design unconsciously by our choice because these connects with our human facial grid ( the fonts widely used today have more similarity with font induced by human facial features). Meanwhile, the objects did the same way. If elephant have intelligence like human and build objects which should unconsciously existence by the elephant way. Like furniture may hang on the top of the wall, because they don’t need to access close with it since they have longer hand/nose.

Objects like furnitures, products are ones like “language” which is the evidence of the existence of human being in this world. 

Feedback from last presentation: 

-It’s interesting to use tears as input for poetic, yet also quirky, outputs.
Perhaps instead of thinking immediately about the next output, it could be useful to explore the act of crying more and who cries, when, why, and who does not cry and why not? We cry + suppress crying for as many physical + societal reasons.

Maddie Schwatgman  teacher @ Parsons (MADELINE SCHWARTZMAN?)
Ann Hamilton’s installations ( website)
muscles--look up the history of  John Henry (muscle vs steam engine:)
How might the audience connect the brain as a muscle, eg. machine learning

tears to bubbles--I love the bubble idea. I love the bubble because it is beautiful and fragile.
unconcious behavior--explore more different kind of unconcious behavior

Maybe having a lens literal caption
background music is a little distracting
Is it going to be a public space set?
Do you still want to put youself in the main position?
2nd idea (muscle) seem to differenting away from your tears project. Is there any intention behind it?

Can you crowdsource tears?
Can be a part of a body of  work--“5 Facts About Tears” or “5 Facts About Hands” and it can follow a similar format

I’m curious about the narrative of tears. Why are you(the “woman in the video”) crying? Why does she want to use her tears and consume her tears and use the tears for her 5 “powers”?
The tone of the video is sad but it’s also humorous and maybe empowering. You’re using something/ a substance that is seen as unuseful and giving it a bigger purpose.

Are you connecting the bubble to the 5 facts about bubbles?

How to define “extreme emotion”?
I am not pretty convinced by the bubble form
Also I feel you need to do some tests with the muscle sensors as soon as possible, because you don’t know how sensitive the sensor is. Could it really detect the differences when you are writing down different letters? If it does, wonderful.

The physical form of the piece is very evocative. I wonder if this would be interesting as a performance too?
idea1:  is a little more interesting to me but it seems like it would need to be big at scale.
idea2: needs a little more background - it is an interaction.

I’m courious about the input before tears coming out of your eyes. What are the things that made you cry and what kind of emtion did they evoke in you? Will these be something that impact the output?
I noticed minor muscle movement on your face when you wore crying, expecially between your eyebrows. If you are going with the muscle movement direction, then facial muscles could be a good way to make it personal & emotional.

I thought you wouldn’t cry this semester! Yes, I’m one of the people who suggest you not to cry.
Tears sensor is kinda genius idea to me.
The muscle one might be seen as entertainment. I guess that might be one thing you want to avoid.

-I think the idea of tears was great. in terms of muscle, you can train muscles to write loves letter.

-What’s the purpose of showing people tears transforming into bubbles?
I find it hard to follow your concept with your ideas. Not woo clear what is your purpose.

2018 project history about tears:


- What are the literary and symbolic meaning of tears?
- Why are tears important?
- How could we switch tears from human unconscious activity to a conscious activity?

Five Facts About Tears is a work I did last semester. It is a video of art performance with five series of speculative wearable installations connecting my real tears. I want to explore the symbolic and hidden meaning behind “tears” and present them through objects in order to pursue the beauty of poetic.

For my next-step, I will make a larger interactive installation which may transform tears (or another humanly activity) into a more visually consequence as another present form. For example, transform real-time tears into gigantic bubble. The audience may include people who interested in poetry, performance art, bio art, wearable tech, body language, or emotion in general.

Tears can be cooled.
Tears can be eaten.
Tears can be fake.
Tears can influence vision.
Tears finally can be a life song.



© Copyright Xu Han 2020