Delve into the fascinating world of medieval arts

Wang Jie
The installation "Form | Shadow | Mind" at Harvard FAS CAMLab is inspired by the medieval effort to overcome physical and material constraints.
Wang Jie
Delve into the fascinating world of medieval arts

Part of "Cave Dance"

Delve into the fascinating world of medieval arts

Part of "Shadow Wall"

Immersive digital art is becoming increasingly popular. Harvard FAS CAMLab's exhibition "Form | Shadow | Mind" features three digital installations in three separate rooms in traditional architectural style.

Visitors at Kaimu Theater, in Cheng's Ancestral Hall at Panlong Tiandi, are given an audio guide to discover the rich tapestry of art history through the evocative vestiges of culture and humanity as they enter the dark halls.

These pieces, inspired by the medieval struggle to transcend physical and material restrictions, use digital technology to bring profound artistic visions to life. Explore the depths of medieval Chinese arts – a world where architecture, sculpture, painting, and literature converge – and contemplate the profound interplay of mind and matter.

For example, "Cave Dance" is based on data from static mural drawings and motion capture of professional dancers in Dunhuang, one of the world's most significant cultural heritage sites, which preserves over 400 embellished Buddhist cave shrines dating from the fifth to the thirteenth centuries.

Scenes of celestial dance performances in Buddhist paradises are usually regarded as the most typical creative achievements at Dunhuang, standing out from the rich visual culture of Dunhuang caves. The artwork uses machine learning to gain fresh insights into old dance practices, resulting in a human-computer collaborative choreography of animated movement sequences.

Delve into the fascinating world of medieval arts

Part of "Embodied Architecture"

"Shadow Wall" addresses a myth of Buddhist art that originated about the year AD 400 in the Nagarahara region in Afghanistan. Buddha is said to have leaped into the wall of a cliffside grotto, imprinting a "shadow image" on it that was radiantly reflective like a mirror from afar but then disappeared into the rocky surface. While contemplating materiality and transcendence while seated on the ground in an immersive "earth, water, fire, and wind" scene, visitors might lose track of reality.

"Embodied Architecture," the last work, seeks a new manner of expressing the master narrative of Chinese architectural history. It concentrates on the Pagoda of Fogong Temple, the world's tallest and oldest surviving pure wood-framed pavilion-style architecture from the Liao Dynasty (916–1125). Through photogrammetry, digital modeling, CG animation, 3D printing, and mixed reality, the installation reconstructs the pagoda in virtual reality and takes viewers on a spiritual journey that explores ascension and transcendence.


Date: Through the end of March 2024 (closed on Mondays), 11am–7pm, From Tuesday to Friday, 10am–8:50pm, weekends and holidays

Venue: Kaimu Theater, Cheng's Ancestral Hall, Shanghai Panlong Tiandi

Address: No.8, Lane 123, Panding Rd

Admission: Please make a reservation and buy tickets through WeChat program :线上蟠龙


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