This event is part of our Past Programme
‘Truth becomes fiction when the fiction’s true, Real becomes unreal when the unreal’s real,’ wrote Cao Xueqin in his classic novel The Story of the Stone. With excruciating detail, the author constructs the illusory space of literature with mundane realism, blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality. In short, the story tells the tale of a sentient stone’s wish to experience the passion and folly of human life, granted by its reincarnation as the only son of a wealthy but declining family in imperial Beijing.
Loosely inspired by the novel, Dreaming of Red Mansions consists of a series of Augmented Reality filters and a twine game. The work reimagines the palace of the goddess Disenchantment set in ‘The Land of Illusion,’ as well as ‘Grand Prospect Garden’ where the majority of the novel takes place. Using the architectural structure of a 3D courtyard house, the game guides the player through the fictional world while the filters act like digital portals, offering a glimpse into individual rooms and vistas.
Trouble playing in browser? You can also play the game here.
Meitao Qu offers insight into Dreaming of Red Mansions
Meitao Qu lives and works between London and Beijing. Her practice is concerned with the production and circulation of images and the role they play in shaping discourses of gender, race, and nation. From costume to architecture, she is interested in how forms of visualisation operate as ‘props’ to stimulate imaginations. Through storytelling and worldbuilding, her work brings together the material and the virtual to consider the interplay between ideologies and realities.
She holds an MFA from the Ruskin School of Art (2021), funded by the Oxford-Kaifeng Graduate Scholarship, and an MA from the Courtauld Institute (2020). Recent exhibitions include ‘Adventures in Fact’, The Residence Gallery, London (2022) and ‘Imagination of the Digital Peach Blossom Paradise’, Spazio Thetis, Venice (2022).
Sound by Oliver Mounir, and special thanks to Eduardo Gómez.
Seeking Spring - This work is based on:
Low House by YanaBelaya; Tea Set by AcetoneCat; Swanboat by yuma727; Low poly trees, flowers and grass by Márcio Meireles; San Globe by Alexa Miller; New York Buildings by sumitmangela; 3D model Kite by Juno Huang.
First Spring - This work is based on:
Small Elephant Statue by Francesco Coldesina; 'Chrysanthemums by a Stream', byōbu by Thomas Flynn; Chinese window by JoeDong; Old Tree by gelmi.come.br.
Qin keqing - This work is based on:
Unseen: Fancy Bed by JmCVoyager; Gashapon Japanese Toy Vending Machine by mrongs; Gachapon ball by RasenDan; Chinese window by JoeDong.
Twine background images are based on Chinese Archway 01 by Leo.Leung and Ancient Chinese Courtyard Park by noyou, licensed under CC by 4.0.