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The Intelligent Optimist: Yuxi Sun

Yuxi Sun – 2015
Yuxi Sun – 2015

Written by
Colin Buttimer
Published date
21 September 2015

Yuxi Sun - Image 4

With The Intelligent Optimist exhibition and event series officially open, Yuxi Sun joined us to talk about her inspiring project ‘The Diary of a Couchsurfing Host’ and how she came to create 62 pendants that tell their own individual story. 

Tells us about your project

For the past year I acted as a Couchsurfing host. My project was sort of a social experiment, I wanted to record the interaction between my guests and myself but also create something that would reflect my personality and attitude towards life. I made 62 pendants, one piece for each of my guests to record the experience. It is a social experiment and this is essentially a piece of evidence. 

How did use the pendants to record each experience? 

There are intricate pieces of information and details behind each pendant. I decided to create a list of ten rules that I would take into account when constructing the pieces. For instance I would base the type of wood I used on the season they stayed with me, and how I felt about them. Each piece also includes a part that represents me and I always remain perpendicular to the guest aspect of the jewellery. Within each one there is also a small engraving which states the number of miles they had travelled. The information applied to each object makes them very individual.

What were the highlights and difficulties you came across when working on this project?

The most difficult part for me was determining how I would translate the experience into the object and deciding what I actually wanted to take from this project. I knew that I wanted to express an idea about trust but I didn’t have any idea how I was going to translate that. There was a lot of experimenting with different materials and really thinking about the different aspects of the stories I had that I wanted to convey.

Visit The Intelligent Optimist – Social Agents webpage to read the full interview. 

The Intelligent Optimist exhibition and event series is currently open in the Lethaby Gallery until 17 October. Visit the Eventbrite page to book your free tickets to hear Yuxi and 30 other graduates share their projects.