CIH X DAR: March Winds

Close isn’t Home X Digital Artist Residency: March Winds is a collaborative Residency project between Grace Kwon and Samantha Vassor of Close isn’t Home and Lina Deng, Kathy Guo, Lucia Nguyen, Alfred Marasigan, and Vanessa Opoku. Close isn’t Home wanted to take the opportunity within the Digital Artist Residency to connect with other individuals online and extend an open call invitation to other BIPOC people interested in similar digital art principles. Throughout the months of March and April of 2021, Close isn’t Home met with everyone individually to discuss their digital art ideas as it relates to identity, culture, and art accessibility in non-western traditions.  Close isn’t Home: March Winds is a virtual 3D environment that focuses on ideas of transformation, seasonal shifts, our connections with objects as it relates to changing times, and the positivity that can accompany change.  

Click HERE to visit the DAR page and see more images provided by the collaborators.

“This digital sculpture interprets the characters of 'transformation' in the Nushu (女)language; Nushu remains one of the only languages in the world used exclusively by women. Originating from Jianyong County, Hunan, its usage has been recorded from the Song and Yuan dynasties.

However, 20th-century socio-political upheaval in the region has rendered the language obsolete in modern-day China. By rejecting the colonial onto-epistemological framework of the monument as static and private models of digital ownership, this work follows the ethical mandate of feminist poethics and welcomes collaboration.”

“Inspired by the women who unite in public squares to dance or practice qigong, these dandelions sway in a choir, reminding us how kind it is to move with a mindful stillness. Dandelions are resilient and ready for change. After their bloom, they let the wind carry their seeds into an unknown for a new generation. I think of my ancestors and family that twirled together, I wonder what's to come as I dance on American soil today.”


I have recently been looking into Philippine archaeology, sacred data (Money), and ethnomathematics. In particular,
I felt compelled to work with Close Isn’t Home and DAR to collaborate on a talking artifact based on the 2020 discovery of “two nautilid (Cephalopoda, Mollusca) fossils […] from an exposure of the late Miocene – early Pliocene Calatagan Formation in Talim Point, Lian, Batangas, southwestern Luzon” (Castro et al 495).

I have come to associate the appearance of these nautilids with preconquest and indigenous timekeeping practices (Manapat) given their common association yet apparent inconsistency with the oft-memed Fibonacci spiral. Coupled with my recent explorations with PythonTurtlea late 2000s program used to teach children coding (Rachum), and my interest in preconquest and indigenous Filipino timekeeping practices (Manapat; Scott), I wanted our collaboration to demonstrate how contemporary visual languages can anachronize artifacts and upset historicity. In the contexts of video games, museology, and pedagogy, I was hoping that giving life to an inanimate artifact as a sort of technoheritage (Al-Badri and Tinius) can ultimately initiate a form of epistemic dissent (Raju).

Al-Badri, Nora, and Jonas Tinius. “Technoheritage & Restitution – An Exchange between Nora Al-Badri and Jonas Tinius.” YouTube, IFA Gallery Berlin, 10 July 2019,
Castro, Abigael L, et al. “Rare Occurrence of Nautilus Sp. Fossils from Batangas, Philippines.” Philippine Journal of Science, vol. 149, no. 3, Sept. 2020, pp. 495–501., doi:
Manapat, Ricardo. “Mathematical Ideas in Early Philippine Society: Posthumous Essay.” Philippine Studies, vol. 59, no. 3, Sept. 2011, pp. 291–336.
Money, Jazz. “Sacred Data.” NAVA, NAVA (National Association for Visual Arts), 27 Apr. 2020,
Rachum, Ram, et al., contributors. PythonTurtle. Version 0.1.2009.8.2.1, Ram Rachum, 7 April 2009 of Release. Software. Download Site, 17 November 2020.
Raju, Chandra Kant. “To Decolonise Maths, Stand up to Its False History and Bad Philosophy.” The Wire - History, The Wire, 26 Oct. 2016,
Scott, William Henry. “Some Calendars of Northern Luzon.” American Anthropologist, vol. 60, no. 3, 1958, pp. 563–570., doi:10.1525/aa.1958.60.3.02a00120.

“My collaboration with Close Isn’t Home materialises a vintage mun shou (famille rose) teacup in 3D virtual space. The teacup is branded with the letters “4A”, in reference to the contemporary Asian art gallery for which I work in Sydney, Australia, and is filled with a brew of Chinese characters (from China’s millennia-long rule over Vietnam) and diacritics from the now-Romanised Vietnamese alphabet. This brew, long-steeped in the roots of Vietnam’s colonisation, sits on a floating lotus leaf – the national flower of Vietnam, which is mythologised as a symbol of beauty and endurance for being able to bloom from mud and grime. The defining ceramics style, “mun shou, famille rose”, is a name cross-bred from Chinese pinyin and French vocabulary. This speaks for itself.

This 3D piece is a tribute to my personal grappling with heritage and language as a child of the Vietnamese-Australian diaspora. My trajectory from distancing myself from my heritage as an adolescent in favour of assimilating into Anglicised Australian culture, and now attempting to compensate for these years by teaching myself to advance my reading and speaking literacy (especially as it was recently required of me at my place of employment), has perhaps mimicked the trajectory of the Vietnamese alphabet and Vietnamese typology. Our alphabet has been fractured, remodelled and transformed along the fault-lines and contours of colonisation; from Chinese imperial rule, to the French alphabet imposed upon French Indochina territories, to our current alphabet of appropriated French diacritics fine-tuned to the cadence of Vietnamese's varied tones. It's a history of adaptation, and I believe the children of BIPOC diaspora have to shape-shift and adapt identities for survival and self-actualisation in their estranged lands.”

Detail image provided by Vanessa Opoku:

“Inspired by stories of an AI trained on feminist sci-fi novels from the 1970's, this clam was sculpted in VR and then texturized. It is a visual representation of all the traces, observations and knowledge left behind for us to perceive, explore and transform.”