A bosom friend afar brings distant land near. The Oversea album shares the lives of Chinese living abroad with all. The No.70 episode is about Senbo Yang, who graduated from RISD and is now working for TLS
Why going abroad?
Actually, I didn’t think about it too much, it’s was just a situation where I went with the flow.
What impressed you the most when you are abroad?
有两件事情让我一直思考。1、很多人的职业出发点就是简单的喜欢，并不会计较太多别的事情。喜欢就坚持很久，不喜欢了就随时转向，并没有一定年纪就应该做一定事情或者要达到某种状态的局限。时不时遇到一些坚持做很奇怪的事情的人，或者年纪很大仍然经精力沛敢于冒险的人，让我经常有一种 人生还可以这么过啊 的感叹。2、人会比较大方地表达自己的感情。在我的成长环境里，人是怯于表达情感和喜好的，一旦表达出来就会有一种羞耻感。而我可能是想法比较多的人，又羞于表达，慢慢就变成了一个内热外冷的人。刚来美国的时候连直视别人的眼睛说话都觉得困难，经常被美国朋友指正。现在还在训练自己，目标是要活得坦率。
In the States, I was impressed by two things. The first, people do what they want to. A career? Well, what do you you like to do? And if you don’t like your chosen path, you can change. A person can rewrite their path in the States. This isn’t as easy in China as pressure to “achieve” presents itself in different ways than in the U.S. Secondly, people are very direct here (especially in NYC). Where I grew up (in China), people kept their opinions to themselves. This effected me where even now, after having lived in America, I still find it difficult to express myself as an American might. As an introverted I had trouble looking someone in the eye when talking to them but now I am training myself to talk directly to someone, especially so they can hear people.
What do you miss the most about China?
Bustling, busy, pyrotechnic Guangzhou, my family, my drinking buddy and my 2 cats.
Will you come back China? Why?
Not sure at the moment, But it won’t happen in the near future. I’ve got a lot of things to do here. I tried to make decisions without thinking too much about them; my trips from China to the US, east coast to west coast. Most of the time I just threw myself out there to see what would happen. Hesitation is torment. Maybe my move will happen all in a sudden? I haven’t thought about it yet.
Is it more distinct to view China in a different environment after going abroad? Any thought?
As of yet, I haven’t felt that much difference, with the exception of a more limited internet back in China. That said, when I go back to China I feel the country is moving so fast that I hardly recognize it. I was struck on my last visit home to find no one uses cash. I felt like a dinosaur and had to download a new app and scan a QR code just to pay. I was so amazed.
What makes the curriculum of your school different from other architecture schools?
在RISD的感受到最多的仍是自由，搞不好会失控的自由。我修完了景观系必修课程之后就开始玩，学过油画、装帧、陶艺、雕塑、建筑和公共艺术。虽然当时看起来会有些随性，但是后来我发现学过的东西不知不觉就互相渗透了。这种感觉是很有意思的。很多尝试都是从练习技巧开始，但是久了它们会在潜意识里转变我的思考方式。这种转变可能一下子很难体会到，但是经常有一些瞬间会突然想通 – “原来是我景观的思维在帮助我完成这个艺术作品啊”，或者“原来我的艺术创作真的可以帮助景观概念的形成啊”，然后就觉得其实绕过的路都是非常有意义的。
I spent 5 years in SCUT for my bachelor of landscape architecture. I appreciate the time being with my funny friends and supportive professors. The most important project I finished in those five years was a ecological park design featuring tree burial. It was a rare perspective to introduce a cemetery into a park design. But my professors were very supportive of my idea and helped develop the idea into an award-winner design. I appreciate every minute I spent in SCUT.
And RISD was great. There, I had the freedom to try and test everything. Which is exhilarating but can also overwhelm a student. After completing all my core Landscape Architecture classes I spent time exploring classes in different fields like oil painting, bookbinding, ceramics, sculpture, architecture and public art. This may sound overwhelming but everything all fell together in a really interesting way. It was an experience where I noticed myself fusing a myriad of fields. The complementary dualities were working together to create a whole. The detours at school became the best lesson.
What are the characteristics and interesting points of your firm?
Again, freedom. When I was looking at firms, I found I prefer smaller firms that offered more flexibility. At TLS I have found a good fit. At the moment my main focus is the Suzhou Grand Canal Waterfront. It’s been a great project to test different, sometimes unusual ideas. I’ve even had the chance to bring in some of my ceramics experience to help develop different ideas. The firm encourages this type of trial and error and I think this type of methodology has helped with the firm’s success. TLS is very supportive of my art explorations. I appreciate the flexibility of time and resources they offer to help realizing my vision.
Who is your favorite artist (in wider range such as art, music, movie)? What is the influence?
画家Andrew Wyeth。写实派的绘画容易让人觉得无聊。虽然Andrew Wyeth的画很写实，但是很多时候他写实得很隐晦。他有两幅画分别叫“Wind from the Sea（海风）”和“Off at Sea（在海边）”，主题都是海而画面里并没有出现海，两幅画都只画了带窗的空房间。但是站在窗前能感受到海的气息，让我觉得非常震撼。后来我在油画课上临摹了“Off at Sea”，没有画海，只是事无巨细地描绘房间里的所有物品和窗外的乌云，空间本身就像一个容器，把他要表达的气氛盛放起来，再呈现到你面前。还有一个装置艺术家叫Ned Kahn，做了很多精巧简单的装置去记录自然现象。风怎么吹，水怎么流，光怎么变，你一看就都懂了。感觉他们创造新事物的欲望没那么强烈，只是把一些容易被忽略的日常呈现出来，带领我们去感受，我觉得这样的表达会更加诗意。
Andrew Wyeth. Realism is sometimes boring. Wyeth painted the environment without the theme of the work. I like his “ Wind from the Sea” and “Off at Sea” a lot. Instead of painting the sea, Wyeth painted every detail of 2 rooms with windows. Though there is no sea in the image, you can still feel it, it is almost tangible. I spent 40 hours copying his “ Off at Sea” and the room in the image is like a container, registering every breeze from the sea. I like installation artist Ned Kahn too. He describes his work as “observatories” in that they frame and enhance people’s perception of natural phenomena. Neither of these examples seem to be crazy about creating alternative realities but hey use their work to register the mysteriousness of the world where I discovered a more poetic way of creating art.
▼ Wind from the Sea, Andrew Wyeth
▼ Off at Sea, Andrew Wyeth
What fascinates viewers the most in your portfolio in your opinion?
浅显易懂吧。不是特别专注，但是有一些看着还比较好玩的东西。好像在研究生阶段没有用电脑画过任何效果图，全是手绘和模型照片，我觉得我比较信任自己的手。申请研究生的时候我的作品集就叫Complementary Dualities (互补二元)， 毕业之后这个主题还是在延续。很多时候我创作灵感都是来源于两个相对或者矛盾的词- 光和影、生和死、长久和短暂、纯真和偏见，漂泊和安定，它们独立存在又相互连结，我很喜欢把这种矛盾并置同一个画面里，观察它们怎么形成太极。
It looks easy and relaxed, not too focused. But it’s fun. 3 years ago my portfolio is tittled “Conplementary Dualities”，and now it continues. Light and shadow, dead and alive, long lasting and ephemeral, staying and drifting, opposite or contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, giving rise to each other as the interrelation.
When did you start to follow gooood? Any suggestions?
大二开始的吧，七八年了。之前经常看项目找灵感，现在比较喜欢看在海外专栏因为有时候会出现我认识的人。最近才发现有一个专栏叫Under 35 (35岁以下创意人)，觉得也蛮好看的。我觉得创意人这个词非常好啊，很适合用来定义我们这种什么都搞一搞，但大体上还是在搞设计的人。
Since 8 years ago. I got a lot of inspirations from Gooood. And I found some of my friends in Over the Sea recently. It feels good to see their work and their words here. And I recently found the Under 35 interesting . Creative People is a good term to define people like us, who keep creating by designing.
W O R K
Dead and Alive
Collaborate with Danwei Lin, Qixiang Qin
This project centered around the idea of life and death in the context of an abandoned quarry. I proposed to transfer the abandoned pit into a tree burial cemetery. While conventional graveyards have become scarce resource in urban area. Tree burial not only provides a more economical alternative but also restarts the process of natural succession. I describe my design not as a fixed construction, but an appeal for public actions and the sustainable urban phenomena it brings to the society. Interventions following the unique topography of the quarry can revive ecological environment with stable water storage and sufficient thickness of soil. And more importantly, it provokes public awareness of environmental responsibility.
▼利用了石坑特有的空间氛围，将树葬公园的功能引进废弃的采石场，Tree burial park takes advantage of the unique spatial experience of an abandoned quarry.
▼现状调研：广州墓地资源的稀缺; 传统墓葬方式和树葬方式的优缺点对比，Background research: Graveyards have become scarce resource; Advantages of Tree Burial compared to traditional ways
▼轴线、交通、功能、地形分析；不同生境示意；总平面，Axis, flow, program, topo analysis; Different types of habitats; Master plan
▼地形改造演变过程；储水分析；剖面，Topo intervention process; Water storage; Section
▼时间线：人的活动（树葬）帮助了场地的生态恢复，Timeline: Tree burial restarts the process of natural succession
A Bowl of Time
指导老师/Instructor: Colgate Searle
As an introduction to landscape design, this studio focus on understanding of soil structure, landscape transition, threshold, spatial experience, scale and form. Hand drawing and model making are initial methods to reinforce observation and understanding. Landscape is a question of not just adding, but subtracting. Once you understand the con Light is an important phenomenon in landscape. I focused on interventions that could enhance people’s perception of light. Subtle changes in the topography near 2 trees were made to to create a bowl-shape surrounded space, registering the dynamic changes of the shadow through time.
▼一年中两棵树在场地上投下的影子模拟，Overlay of shadows of two trees throughout a year.
▼土壤结构分析 ：土地现场挖坑、土壤连结方式模型、土壤成分手绘、土壤结构模型；场地环境变化分析：多材料模型和手绘表现，Analysis of soil structure: digging into the soil; model of typical connection, hand drawing of soil content, model of soil structure; Analysis of site transition: mix-media model and hand drawing
▼手绘表现场地变化：湿度、植被、光感、视线，Analysis of transitions: hydrology, vegetation, light, view
▼手绘平面图；模型表现空间感受的变化，Hand-drawn master plan; Model of special threshold
▼手绘空间功能和流线分析；模型推敲形态生成，Hand-drawn programming and flow; Process of clay model making
▼非常细微的地形改造前后对比，Topo intervention: before and after
I didn’t create anything new in this project – the shadows guided me through the design process. Before that I put too much attention to create beauty. The first studio in RISD is an important lesson for me to abandon that thought and focus on phenomena. At the graduation party, Professor Colgate held my hands and say: you are ready to graduate since you are no longer making anything beautiful. Those words have rooted in my heart.
Hidden Food Project
Collaborate with Ling Qin, Yiran Zheng
Hidden Food Project is a public art project that invites local residents and visitors to participate. From May 15th to May 25th, 2016, 200 hand-made ceramic donuts were placed in selected locations around Providence for people to search for or simply discover by accident. Each of the 200 donuts was labeled on the bottom with a serial number and the hashtag of the project, while the tops featured a wide range of glazed, frostings and sprinkles. The team took a photograph of each area where we left the donut in and post it to the project’s Instagram. The thought is that some people will go looking for the donuts, while others will stumble upon them by accident. Anyone who finds a donut is encouraged to post a picture of themselves with it and add it to Instagram with the tag #hiddenfoodproject. The idea of a ceramic food is to create a psychological gap that people would always experience in daily life. We all had the experience of joy when something is much easier than you thought it would be, for example, easily lifting a book that looks very heavy. The heavy and solid ceramic food will create as interesting experience in an opposite way.
▼“食物”被摆放在地上，产生疑问和心理落差，“Food” was put on the ground, creating wonders and psychological gap
▼200个带有项目标签的陶瓷甜甜圈在同一时间出现在普罗维登斯市中心的集市广场的快闪行动，200 donuts were put on Market Square in Providence for promotion of the project
▼为每一个藏匿地点拍照并上传至社交网络。参与者可以通过社交网络上的线索按图索骥寻找食物，或者偶遇，The team took a photograph of each area where we left the donut in and post it to the project’s Instagram. The thought is that some people will go looking for the donuts, while others will stumble upon them by accident
▼（上）甜甜圈摆放位置线索，（下）追捕到甜甜圈的人纷纷在社交网络分享与甜甜圈的合照，创造了食物与空间的关联记忆，Anyone who finds a donut is encouraged to post a picture of themselves with it and add it to Instagram with the tag #hiddenfoodproject
We are continuing Hidden Food Project to reveal the relationship between Seattle and salmon, San Francisco and California roll. Please follow the project instagram@hiddenfoodproject. More ceramic food is on its way to more other cities.
合作者：Theodore Hoerr, 图片与文字均为合作成果
Collaborate with Theodore Hoerr
As a child we see the world through an unblemished lens. As an adult we often try to catch glimpses of the perspective we had as a child, but it comes filtered through our life experience. Mind Games explores our perceptions of childhood through the lens of adulthood. The garden is at once a representation of these myriad states of being, and a sensory experience that invites both children and adults to play in a field of fallen leaves. Approaching the garden from the exterior end you peer through a diaphanous screen that serves as a filter for light and shadow. Here the interior garden is seen in silhouette projecting shadows against the screen at different points in the day. This is a space of contemplation with varying opacities around its perimeter. As you walk into the interior the appearance of a prototypical bosque of Sugar Maple Trees is upended. The bosque is rotated off axis and set within an undulating turf topography. Within the topography there are ten thousand plastic balls of yellow orange and red creating an explosion of color inviting kids and adults to play in a field of fallen leaves that is under perpetual change.
▼花园内外截然不同的体验，Two distinct experiences from inside and outside the garden
▼外部视角，View from outside
▼内部视角，View from inside
▼不同的视角，一样的欢乐，Different perspectives but the same fun
Fuyou: Staying Drifting
I-Park Foundation, Inc. 艺术家驻地作品
一张浮游的白床总结了我三年在海外生活的辗转经历，呈现了一系列漂泊和安定同时存在的场景。在这个艺术装置里，床代表内心安定的状态被暴露在与之矛盾的外在环境之中 —— 草甸、森林、湖面、沼泽、甚至树梢。这些地方都不能被称为家，床这个代表着安定的元素也因而被临时化。飘摇与静好的并置是我对处在生命这个特殊阶段的诗意表达。我也把这个项目看作是一个景观设计。床像是一个耀眼的异质，与周围环境如此的冲突，改变了人对环境和空间的感受。可是它又与场地产生联系，像是一个自然现象的暂存容器，记录周遭的风云雨雾和光影变幻。我四处行走，在值得停留的地方装起床，看床如何改变和适应空间，然后把床拆分，再重复以上。由此，这个项目还是一场内向的行为艺术，让我保持漂泊的状态并探索内心
This series is an attempt to capture the feeling of inner peace in unsettled situations. Through mixed media of video and photography, I create scenarios that are startling and calming at the same time a common feeling I have found throughout all my moments of transition. I capture the juxtaposition of calmness and restlessness. The solitary bed with white sheets acts as my media and the natural environment as my canvas – the lake, marshlands, meadowlands,moss-covered forest, and even the trees. These are intentionally not places that are associated with being home; these are dream-like places that represent my feelings at this time and during this experience. I also define the project as a landscape design. The bed gives a whole new perspective for viewing the landscape. It becomes a register of natural phenomena. Light and shadow, cloud and rain, wind and fog, they all become tangible in those surreal scenarios. I go out to the nature, set my bed, see how it fits in and changes the space, then take it apart and repeat. In this way, the project is also a process of self-exploration of what it means to be moving, an enlightenment to achieve self-poise in unsetting situations.
The title of the artworks, “Fuyou,” refers to Chinese poet Su Shi’s “[Live like] mayflies thrown between heaven and earth, [like] infinitesimal grains in the vast sea.” “Drifting” and “mayflies (insects that are believed to be born in the morning and die before sunset)” are homophones, pronounced as “fuyou” in Chinese. Through the lenses of landscape and poetry, the works touch upon a philosophical question: Is drifting an ephemeral or everlasting status?
▼08/02/2017，草甸，午后，晴，meadowland, afternoon, clear
▼08/09/2017，湖泊，傍晚，阴，lake, evening, cloudy
▼08/12/2017，苔藓森林，日落，多云，moss-covered forest, sunset, cloudy
▼08/19/2017，树梢，中午，大风，between trees, noon, windy
▼08/19/2017，树梢，下午，阴，between trees, afternoon, cloudy
在各种人的促成和帮助下，2017年10月21日，“浮游：漂/泊”将作为我的首个个展，在纽约新兴画廊BIGGERCODE（472 Broome St, New York, NY 10013）开幕。展览将呈现近20件包括装置和多媒体艺术在内的作品，触及年轻文化游子在身心双层面皆为动荡的生活命题。届时，展览将重现我在不同时空与同一型号的宜家单人床的屡次相逢，并阐述一种在居无定所之际对内心自在的渴求。
学校和工作单位: 罗德岛设计学院/ 华南理工大学/ TLS景观设计
When: 2014 to present
Where: Providence, RI; NYC, NY; Berkeley, CA
Who: Senbo Yang
From: Lianjiang, Guangdong
School & Firm: Rhode Island School of Design/ South China University of Technology/ TLS Landscape Architecture