Taiwanese artist and design researcher Shih Wei Chieh #ArtTues @makery_

Taiwanese artist and design researcher Shih Wei Chieh was in residence from September to November at Bitwäscherei hackerspace in Zürich. During his residency, Shih Wei Chieh advanced his current research work on dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC), a photoelectrochemical system inspired by plant photosynthesis which, when exposed to light, generates electricity. Cells of this type are sometimes referred to as Grätzel cells, in reference to their designer, Michael Grätzel of the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne.

Makery wanted to know more about his background and new projects.

My background was interactive design in the early 2000s, while Arduino, Max/MSP, puredata, vvvv and Unity were still new. So my training was actually design, not art, however my school didn’t train us to become designers, they let us do whatever was creative.

I was developing a project focused on embroidering circuits using conductive threads back in 2011. This choice was motivated in part by my decision to join a residency program in Oaxaca in 2013, a town renowned for its rich textile culture. During one of my open studio days, I had the pleasure of meeting Leo and Clarissa, the creative minds behind Bandui Lab. This dynamic couple specializes in cartoon and toy design. They invited me to collaborate on their initiative, which seeks to preserve Aztec ancient culture by transforming mythology and folk traditions into wooden action figures. This experience inspires me that art projects can do much more outside of white cubes or winning art awards and give real impact to social projects. I feel like this might be the reason why I developed a nomadic habit to work while traveling with DIY tools, in-between different international art networks beyond my island home in Taiwan.

Read more in the article and Q&A here.

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