Xixi Umbrellas

The project features seven umbrellas floating on the water at two sites in the Xixi Wetland Park. The panels of the Umbrellas are made of prismatic film, which depending on the light and the viewer’s perspective, shifts between a mirrored and a transparent surface. The Umbrellas capture the sunlight and cast rainbow light onto the surface of the water. Six umbrellas are located at one site, with only a single umbrella at the second site. Separated in this way, the Umbrellas become surrogates for people, with a group and an individual.

Umbrellas have suffused Chinese culture and imagery, with collapsible umbrellas described in the 2400-year-old Confucian text Rite of Zhou and an articulated umbrella shading a charioteer in the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin’s tomb.

We arrived in Hangzhou during the rainy season, very hot and very wet. The umbrella was our companion. The sun came out after four days and the umbrella shaded us from the sun. The Umbrellas are metaphors for rain, sun and the wind. The wetland fluctuates with the weather, the water rises and falls. The floating Umbrella can be like a lotus flower, a bird, a sail or a symbol of the Earth. It rises and falls with the water level and moves with the wind. Floating on the water the Umbrellas have a light impact on the wetlands.

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