Capturing Qi’s Satirical Approach to Feng Shui Puts the Smart Home in its Place


As a Korean interdisciplinary designer and recent graduate of MA Contextual Design, Design Academy Eindhoven, Yoojin Chung’s recognizes the core principles and purpose of the traditional Chinese system of feng shui. The practice of orienting people in relation to their surroundings with the purpose of finding harmony and balance has been around since 4000 BC. But Chung notes feng shui’s modern day equivalent has adopted an overly commodified and globalized “quick fix” approach, abandoning its philosophical origins for a simplified and convenient means of “self-optimization and self-improvement.” This critical perspective inspired Capturing Qi, a set of imaginary smart home objects intentionally fashioned with little actual substance.

Two glass vacuum chambered devices designed to resemble scientific equipment, one house a crystal and the other wind chimes.

The 3-piece Capturing Qi installation is represented by a crystal ball, wind chime, and fountain, each imagined as a fanciful feng shui smart home device that operates like a laboratory apparatus powered by purposely obscure technologies. Embedded with crystals, sacred water, and harmonized wind chimes, Chung’s creations are intended to slyly ridicule the entire spiritual wellness economy and all its promises.

Glass vacuum chambered circular table designed to resemble scientific equipment containing water fountain and dowsing rod

Two glass vacuum chambered devices designed to resemble scientific equipment.

“But what do they do?” you ask? Absolutely nothing in reality. Each smart home object is outfitted with their own Arduino circuit board to give the impression each is channeling fortune-building energy, controllable via Bluetooth of course. In essence Chung’s trio of devices are intended as a scathing (but also beautifully crafted) satirical commentary about the belief good fortune can be displayed and dispersed as conveniently as a scented oil diffuser.

Or as Chung explains with tongue firmly in cheek: “By consuming feng shui objects; the intangible qi becomes tangible; the invisible becomes visible… With the press of a button, capture and diffuse all the qi to your heart’s content!”

To learn more about the Capturing Qi project, visit chungyoojin.com.



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