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Szu-Yu Chen


  • 07394789288

2021: Art & Design



The core of my project is rooted in an exploration of the world in restriction. I visualized the abstract restriction into a physical form—frames and boxes.

Have you ever noticed the existence of restriction?

In the final short video, viewers can see the different scenes I have built in different places. Each scene consists of white model figures, color blocks, and white paper structures. There are close-up and panoramic views. The switching between scenes is quite fast paced, with repeated screen divisions to create ‘a loop’. The background sound is kept in its original state. The recorded mechanical sounds, such as phone calls, TV noises, printer printing, and so on, are also familiar to many people. These pictures and sounds reflect the people in our society, especially those living in the metropolis who are doing routine things everyday. Many of them have not realised that they are being surrounded by the limitation of frames and boxes. I hope my work could inspire people to reflect on their lives, and perhaps to even direct them to think about: ‘Have you ever noticed the existence of restriction?’

Limitations & Miniatures

The idea of my project was largely inspired by the psychological impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown measures and restrictions have certainly given me a sense of oppression, as I feel trapped most of the time. To be more precise, I feel that I am locked up in a room that is surrounded by rectangular shapes most of the time, these include frames or screens. The experience reminds me of a book that I read when I was little. The book specifically mentions that the birth-death process has a significant relation to boxes, beds, cars, rooms, tombstones, etc. The animator Lubomir Arsov also created an animation In-Shadow to depict similar concepts of limitation. I decided to integrate the concept of microworld simulation into my project after reading Simon Garfield’s book In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate the World. As mentioned in the book, miniatures enable one to see and approach things from a different perspective, they can teach us to understand the world by taking a step back. Therefore, limitations and miniatures are both employed in my project to present my resonance for today’s life.

Practice and process

I visualised the abstract restriction in its physical form—frames and boxes. Through using a variety of media and materials – card papers, projector, video, installations, screens – I aimed to build different miniature scenery in a small space, such as a corner of my room and the basement.

During the whole art practice, I am interested in making use of grids to create my work. In addition to forming several rectangular gaps on the paper using cutting technology, I also divided the single frame into multiple frames through video editing. The interweaving of frames and lines is another key aspect that I am exploring, especially the overlapping of colors and light as well as the connection of different media; the intricacy of the whole visual system is a representation of the difficulties we face in life, which also implies the complexities of life.

2D │ The first attempt to visualise ‘frames and boxes’

2D │ The first attempt to visualise ‘frames and boxes’

2D illustrations to 3D paper sculptures │Paper layering

2D illustrations to 3D paper sculptures │Build miniature worlds

Playing with light, shadows, and colours

Exploring light, colour and shadows

‘Have you ever thought about what restricts you? Or Have you ever thought about how to get rid of it?’