Tie Ji: Wishing



The emergence of Yang Drama can be traced back to the Nuo Drama which appeared in Shang Dynasty or even earlier. In rural areas of Youyang County, by playing Yang Drama, village residents make a wish for the things that they cannot achieve in real life temporarily. They believe that Guan Yu will help them beyond the physical world. Yang Drama is not only one of the few public entertainment, but also a kind of spiritual sustenance for them. Actors wear different masks to represent different roles, such as red mask, black mask, cow mask and horse mask. The biggest challenge for Yang Drama is the shortage of actors. The old masters are passing away, while the young people are migrating to big cities for their livelihood. The actors of a troupe can only be together in the New Year to put on a complete play.  
Binding local material and cultural resources, the designers cooperated with residents and co-designed the art works. In order to enhance the interaction between people and Yang Drama, WISHING, an interactive video game was designed for people to participate in. When people approach the screen and make a wish by folding hands and bowing, local residents wearing casual clothes in the video begin performing in costumes. An interactive medium was adopted to reflect the cultural essence of traditional opera, enhance the cultural experience, and facilitate audiences to experience local culture in Youyang County. In 2016 more than ten thousand people around the world have participated in the game, and have attracted the attention of the national government to give support to Youyang culture.


Professor Tie Ji is Deputy Dean at the School of Design, Hunan University. He leads the Communication Lab at Hunan University. His research and practice mostly focus upon social innovations and design in rural China, including founding the “New Channel” program in 2009, initiating the “LotusPrize” Design and Innovation Competition for social engagement, and curating the 2012 Sino-Italian Design Exhibition, and more recently the “Xiang” Culture Maker Joint Exhibition at the 2015 Milan Expo Gate. He is General Secretary of the Teaching Instruction Commission of Industrial Design in the China Ministry of Education.