MAXianghan. MFA Design & Technology.


GAZE - 2016 – Spring – Major Studio II – Final Project

My final project started as a two-week short project for my Major Studio class, which I made a short stop motion animation that manipulates classical paintings to evoke viewers to reflect on how women are portrayed throughout the history in the context of canonical western art historical paintings.


I’ve projected the short video on the balloon wall, which represents our inflated and void ego, and the emptiness and nothingness of our society and how it all just a phantom illusion.


I grew really fond of this project and got some really great feedbacks from Katherine and my peers, so I’m continuing developing it for my final project.

In order to push this project further, I’m now creating an augmented reality museum walkthrough tour to intervene / interrogate the museum experience, provoke audiences to question the way visual arts are structured around a masculine viewer. How women are passively portrayed through the active gaze from the man.

I’m hoping to try to escape the inescapability of the male gaze by layering my videos on top of the actual classical paintings while the audience is walking through an exhibition, in order to make the viewers think beyond the paintings.

The delivering mechanism I’m using is for each exhibition to have its own app and the audience would download the app at the entrance of the show, and walk through the exhibition by pointing their phone at the works to interact with the exhibition.

  • This is the mock of the app that I came up with.
  • This is the logo of the App.


  • This is what the interaction would be like.


For the technology part, I tried to use Unity to layer my video on top the actual painting. But I’m having trouble to make the video play automatically once the camera detects the trigger image. But after discussing my project with Don Undeen, the previous director of the Media Lab at the Met, I am now using AURASMA – an online augmented reality platform for the effect that I’m going for, it is a really handy tool and it generates augmented reality effects really quickly.


Xianghan Ma