Tin Man

Learning Shan Shui, Generating Feng Shui 2023
single-channel video


Man Tin’s art project is inspired by the Chinese Shan Shui (mountain and water) style of ink painting, which captures the essence of the natural landscape and draws inspiration from the characters of mountains, waterfalls, bridges, houses, flowing water, refined scholars and other elements. This unique historical art canon is based on a composition that emphasizes a sense of balance built on three components – the road, the threshold and the heart – through the perspective of scattered points, as well as accentuating the traditional Chinese elements of metal, wood, water, fire and earth. Meanwhile, these five elements are closely linked to the ancient geomancy of Feng Shui (wind and water), which helps the Chinese understand the harmonious, dynamic and energetic forces of the surrounding environment.

Man Tin’s interest is focused on developing the possibilities of Shan Shui painting using machine learning and computer vision technologies, with an emphasis on exploring the ever-pushing boundaries of artificial intelligence tools in the creative process. At the same time, in this context, the author asks what innovative meanings associated with Feng Shui geomancy can be recorded in the virtual landscape image thus created. In doing so, he uses the Branching Form tool to explore how artificial intelligence can create Shan Shui images while reinterpreting Feng Shui elements, using generative processes to realize new sets of artworks. Computer vision technology assists in identifying specific animals or objects developed by Branching Form concepts, enriching visual interpretation and exploring its resonance with human perception.

Through this structured artistic exploration, Man Tin highlights the differences between humans and machines in the processes of observation and vision. The forms highlighted in the landscape work provoke reflection on the different perspectives we hold. The inclusion of marked animals and objects reflects the automated principles of Branching Form in the Feng Shui thought system and invites a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness between humans and the Shan Shui landscape. 

The title of the artwork presented by Man Tin in the Gardening of Soul exhibition reflects the ideas pursued – “Learning Shan Shui, Creating Feng Shui”. This approach can provide a new perspective to appreciate Shan Shui paintings and understand the issues of Feng Shui, as well as the importance of artificial intelligence and computer vision in generating a landscape that will eventually reconnect us with nature in the age of computer vision and machine intelligence.