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Ferro Media

AR Experience Design | Installation Art


Xin Feng (Installation design and prototyping)

Xinyi Yang (Installation design and prototyping)

Xiaofei Hong ( Visual Design, AR Prototyping using Unity)


04/2022 - 06/2022



Social media tends to create messy and chaotic “invisible environment”. We use the ferrofluid to mimic the changing “field” of social media, drawing an analogy between the invisible, intangible social media and the shapeless fluid.Further built on the context of Shanghai Covid Lockdown, we collected hot topics and comments on the social platform and tried to keep a record before it disappeared on certain platforms.


When users are typing with the keyboard , the magnetic field of the solenoid will change in real time.Through tablet AR, audiences can look into the digital layer, where previously collected comments were triggered based on input mood (ranging from isolated, wounded to hope and empathy).



Phase I : Parallel Sounscape

At the beginning of the term, we brianstormed around the topic : Revealing a different reality that exists in your daily routine.


Is there a particular unseen quality of the site that interests you? 

How does a physical place tell a story? 

A Different Reality
At the beginning, we defined the parallel soundscape concept, to indicate that the visual and the sound of our daily life are not necessarily one-to-one correspondence. The sound environment could be so rich that could trigger imagination and another reality

Phase II : "White Noice"

"Quantitative" to "Qualitative"

White Noise : a heterogeneous mixture of sound waves extending over a wide frequency range
Following the trace of the concept parallel soundscape, we discovered that, a single sound with single frequency can be distinguishable, but usually, when single sounds displayed at the same time together and formed a white noice, they lose their original identity, thus could be fitted to other visual scenarios.

Phase III :  Social Dilemma

We found the sound of tying could be one of those individual sounds which froms a chaotic white noise.
Following the trace of typing sound, we figured the social media could be a great narrative here.

Diffrent voices on the social media behind each time of tying could be a little drop, which togethe forms a vague and chaotic dilemma.

Typing Sounds and Water Drops
Installation Brainstorming
0224 Presentation_页面_12.jpg

Phase IV :  Ferro Media

After finding the similarity of social media and the everchanging water surface, at this step we decided our concept would focus on the ripple effet. A great material to form ripple field could be ferrofluid.

Social Media and Ferro Fluid



Physical Layer

After finding the similarity of social media and the everchanging water surface, at this step we decided our concept would focus on the ripple effet. A great material to form ripple field could be ferrofluid.

Digital Layer



Social Media Study

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks
Emotion Classification Ref
Concept Revise
Effect Diagram

Narrative Design - A cryptoscope for ferromedia

[Vignette 01 Awareness]

She wakes up in an isolated, quiet room with a flashing screen. She yells hard for response from her peers but only left with her own echo. Everything is dark and the screen flickers constantly with harsh ringtones. It’s the sound of hope, connection and her presence. Welcome to the cyber world. As she is keenly searching for evidence of living creatures, she suddenly falls down into a hole full of words. 


She tries to look around and have a glimpse of word fragments - “It sucks”, “I am… fine”, “Sorry”, “Lovely”, “Like hell…”, “crazy”... What does it mean? Why only pale words? Where are her peers? She has no idea but to keep falling down.She feels the upsurge of words with faster speed and stronger strength, almost slap onto her face. She begins to see more words clearly -  “No way in hell can he do that”, “Justice will never be late”, “We vote for…rights”. She carefully follows the traces and decodes every word within its context. A skinny, desperate lady’s figure shows up in her head and quickly fades away. It’s the first time she feels the presence of her peers. 


[Vignette 02 Acquaintance]

The surrounding words got out of her sight but the fussy images of her peers intertwined in her head. She feels the mixed taste of grief, loss and anxiety even if she doesn't know whether it’s real. Without time to put away her emotions, a second, third upsurge of word vortex approaches and drowns her inside. This time the words point to a lovely girl who passed away from a heart attack. To check if the cyberworld is real or not, she spills out her feelings and wishes to hear some echo back. 


She types in the sentence character by character - “RIP for this lovely girl”  Seconds after her post, she hears familiar ringtones. “RIP”, “RIP” … tons of words follow mine, collectively forming a tender, warm wave in her heart - conversation established. The emotions she feels are more real and she gradually gains the power of peeking into the words and resonating with her peers. 

[Vignette 03 Dissimilation/Assimilation]

Words, like holy silk threads, weave into a web, tenderly flowing around her. She closes her eyes, drawing energy from the peaceful field. Glimmers converge. Bathed in the holy light, the figure of the lovely little girl, the flesh and blood of her peers fade away as she sinks into the dreamland. When she opens her eyes again, a short distance away, a shadow gradually blocks the light.“She faked her death”, a discordant sound penetrates through the words. 


Harmony suddenly breaks. Delicate feelings disappear. “The writer is utilizing our empathy…”,“I’m done with it…”,“Go to hell”. Again, she felt rage, anxiety, the wave was much stronger than the last time. Threads rushed back and forth in seconds, not a single sentence would survive in the turbulence for long. She tries to build connections through peeking into the words. The portal is closed. However loud she shouts, however fast she waves her hand, not a single echo responds. What’s left is this devastating chaos in darkness. Strangely, the vague images of her peers now emerges again. Are they still my peers? What happened? What should I do?


[Vignette 04 Transcendence]

In this strange field of words, the center of the vortex appears and disappears, at some random place, some random time.The mystical strength is almost a moral guidance. Living in the mist, she no longer has the power to decode or to solve the puzzle. Her existence could never catch their awareness. She gives up struggling. There’s nothing she can do except for waiting, waiting for the floods of words to slowly engulf her. She’s hypnotizing herself. She's joining the moving army. As she almost became assimilated, a weeny delicate voice caught her attention. “May she rest in peace”. 


She follows the voice, whispering the same tone,trying to focus, to breathe. The voice leads her out of the vortex of words. Looking back, a transparent fluctuant barrier isolated her with her peers. She stays silently on the other side, watching them floating away… Where is she ? Is she out of the cyber world? Screen is still flickering. This time she closes her eyes. Three, Two, One…With a mighty bang of the breaking glass, two worlds now blend in one. She runs to her peers.

Monica's Mental Process
Isolated  -  Wounded  -  Agitated  -  Empathy  -  Hope

Installation Design



Isolated  -  Wounded  -  Agitated  -  Empathy  -  Hope

Our installation mimics the mental process of Monica in finding her peers with the help of ferromedia.



Phase I : Parallel Soundscape
Phase II : "White Noise"

Phase III : Social Dilemma
Phase IV : Ferro Media


Physical Layer
Digital Layer


Social Media Study
Narrative Design
Installation Design


Monica's Journey
Voice from Shanghai Lockdown
Style Guide
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