In this project, I created an interactive wall for the Chinese ghost festival, a traditional Chinese festival where people connect and remembers their past relatives.
The interactive mural is a bridge that connects the world of the living with the world of deceased. I hope that through the mural, people can:
1. Understand the tradition and meaning behind this Chinese ghost festival.
2. Form a connection between the worlds of the living and of the dead. When people touch various images on the wall, the video will light up, and display what is happening on the side of the other world. For example, we have a tradition to send flowers to deceased family members. The videos will show you the expressions of those deceased family members when they received your gifts.
3. Help people see that death is not a final end, rather, the deceased members are living happily in another world and watching over us. Our memories and nostalgia makes their existence eternal.
The thin materials between people and spirts is a gap and also a communication medium.
It’s a great opportunity to communicate with the spirits by touch. Try it and talk to who you loved!
Institution: Tyler School of Art
Art Direction: Kelly Holohan
Date: 2019 Fall
The Ghost Festival is a traditional Chinese festival celebrated by people in many countries. This festival is on the 15th of the seventh lunar month. It represents the connection between the living and the dead, earth and heaven, body and soul. This month is full of love, love from the living to the dead. It is a yearly reinforcement and reminder of one’s filial responsibility towards deceased relatives and other ancestors in general. On that day, the gates of the dead world will be opened and spirits are believed to emerge out. The deceased will visit their living relatives, search for their memories from their time on the earth, and revisit their attachments to the people and things experienced during their lifetime.
On the Eve of the Ghost Festival, a long bamboo pole hung with a lantern is erected in front of each temple and home. The lantern is intended to light the way for ghosts at night so that they can easily find their way to the temple and home. It is believed that the higher the lantern is hung, the farther the light can travel to attract more wandering spirits.
These white and yellow flowers are best for rituals. The flowers represent mourning in traditional Chinese customs.
Fire acts as a gateway between the living and the dead. The fire can transfer money to the world of the dead, who then receive it and benefit from a prosperous afterlife. In ancient times, people burned real money but eventually moved to use faux money instead.
Chinese people believe that the smoke of incense sticks can connect heaven and earth. It’s the medium that connects to another world and serves as the communication tool to the spirits.
Elaborate meals would be served with empty seats for each of the deceased family members. Dimsum, meats, and desserts are some of the special dishes served to honor loved ones.
In the evening at the end of the Hungry Ghost Festival, it’s time to help the wandering spirits find their way home. The living float paper lanterns on lakes and rivers or set them outside their homes to light a path back to the afterlife. When the lights burn out, it symbolizes that the spirits have found their way back. Meanwhile, the spirits can read letters that relatives drop in the lotus lantern.