Ruga Lumina at Detroit Center for Design + Technology, Detroit, Michigan

Ruga Lumina, 2017, Coroplast, Video Projection, Digital Sensor, Detroit Center for Design + Technology, Detroit, Michigan. Photography by Kyle Overton

Ruga Lumina, an ongoing design research project, is part of my solo show, Jiangmei Wu: Folding into Rhythm and Algorithm, that was on display From January 10, 2017, to February 10, 2017, at Detroit Center for Design + Technology in Detroit, Michigan. There was a closing on February 10, 2017. As part of the solo exhibition, I spoke at School of Architecture and Planning at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan on January 12, 2017, at 4:00 pm.

In Ruga Lumina, the latest iteration of  Ruga Interior Skin, interactive digital projection techniques are used to actively engage body-space relationship. As the viewers move in the space, their movements are captured by the Kinect Sensors and the information is translated into color changing information in the digital projections to be projected onto the translucent interior skin that is fabricated from 4 mm Coroplast sheets. A scaffolding that was made of cardboard and wooden rods was used to frame the somewhat flexible topology of the interior skin to facilitate the positioning and connecting of over seventy individual panels. Since the folding mechanism in each of the Coroplast panel is a flexible hinge joint, the edges of the interior skin are reinforced with fixed braces to give rigidity to this otherwise flexible topology.  Both flexible and rigid,  the interactive interior skin draws the connection between the body and the interior space, placing the dichotomy of permanent vs. ephemeral, solid vs. light, and materiality vs. digital fabrication at the center of the concept.

Acknowledgment: This project is supported by New Frontier of Creativity and Scholarship and Center of Arts and Humanities Institute Fellowship, Indiana University. The artist will also like to credit Kyle Overton for his work on interaction technology.

Ruga Lumina 2017, Detroit Center for Design + Technolgy. Photography by Kyle Overton


Ruga Lumina, 2017, Detroit Center for Design + Technology. Photography by Kyle Overton


Ruga Lumina, 2017, Detroit Center for Design + Technology. Photography by Kyle Overton
Ruga Interior Skin at DCTC
Ruga Lumina 2017, Detroit Center for Design + Technology. Photography by Manzi Yang
Ruga Lumina, 2017, Detroit Center for Design and Technology. Photography by ManziYang

Video of Ruga Lumina deconstruction made of still photography. Photography by Joseph Caputo

Algorithemic Artistry: Washi Light Installation, Ozu Washi,Tokyo

Exhibition poster featuring Jiangmei Wu’s Eurus at Ozu Washi in Tokyo

Collaborating with Koji Shibazaki, professor of Aichi University of Arts, and Mikako Suzuki, Japnese master in foil painting, I exhibited at the prestigious Ozu Washi gallery in Nihonbashi, Tokyo in July 2017. Ozu Washi paper store/museum has been making and selling paper since the early 17th century. Today, the store/museum is world famous for its handmade paper and vast collection paper related art and design.

Ozu Washi Store/Museum in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Source:

The exhibition was sponsored by Aichi University of Arts. About 1300 beautiful designed postcards were printed and distributed in Nagoya and Tokyo areas. Hundreds of visitors came to the exhibition. The exhibition was truly a collaborative effort. Three large scale foil painting tapestries, measuring as big as 3′ by 7′, were made from the Washi paper that was hand-made and silver and gold foil painted in Aichi University of Arts. I also exhibited my latest folded light art collection as well as the award-winning Eurus. Special thanks to Koji Shibazaki, Mikako Suzuki and Sachiko Shibazaki. Without you, the exhibition would be impossible!!!

1300 postcards were printed. Postcard designed by Koji Shibazaki with custom typeface
A view of the exhibition. Photo courtesy of Sachiko Shibazaki
A view of the exhibition. Photo courtesy of Sachiko Shibazaki
Exhbition entrance
A display at Ozu Washi
A view of the exhibition. Photo courtesy of Sachiko Shibazaki

Upcoming Exhibition: Light Harvest

A photograph of one of the three chains of Light Harvesting Complex. Photo courtesy of Kyle Overton

Light Harvest will be part of a group exhibit, (Re)imagining Science at Grunwald Gallery at Indiana University. It is also part of Themester 2016 exhibitions that is centered on the theme of Beauty. The show opens on Oct 14th 2016.

This project is inspired by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s work on form and growth and the structural biology. In 1917, Thompson first published his magnum opus “On Growth and Form,” with a second edition appeared in 1942. Thompson studied the system of forms and structures found in all species of nature. He was the first bio-mathematician who used mathematical and geometric analysis to study the myriad living forms as a product of dynamics at work at cellular and tissue level within all organisms. For Thompson, the beautiful world we live in can be understood as an ethereal palpitation of waves of energy making up all things. Thompson’s book has inspired generations of artists and designs in search of beauty found in natural structures that reach into vastness and smallness beyond our human sensory range.

Proteins are essential to all forms of life on earth. Without proteins there would be no life as we know it. Proteins are small molecular machines with unique folding structures. Their various functions rely on their proper structural architecture; this is called the structure-functional relationship. Protein structures cannot be seen with the naked eye, therefore structural biologists use X-ray Crystallography to determine the structure of proteins, which can be visualized in 3D. This allows not just analyzing the folding structure to understand a protein’s function; it also reveals the beauty of nature’s design on the atomic level.

The particular protein that is presented in Light Harvest is called Light Harvesting Complex, which is the solar sail of the photosynthesis components in plants and some micro-organisms that uses bundled sunlight and together with water to create sugar and oxygen, thus providing the basis for life on this planet. It is made of three amino acid chains with 207 amino acids in each of the chains. Computer algorithm-based program Grasshopper was used to create the scaffolding of the three-dimensional protein chain. 642 pieces of roll out patterns, of which 207 were unique, were laser-cut and etched at Noblitt Fabricating in Columbus Indiana and were hand-folded and assembled at my studio at Smith Research Center. The material is high-tec kozo, a type of Japanese-made paper that comes from renewable mulberry trees.

Layout of three canopies of Light Harvest at Smith Research Center

Video projection mapping technologies will be used to bring the light, colors, and the interactivity to live. For the artistic meanings and the science behind Light Harvest, please come to the show on Oct 14th and make sure to check out for more information.

Acknowledgement: This project is supported by New Frontier of Creativity and Scholarship and the Grunwald Gallery of Art at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Project Credits: 

  • Science: Susanne Ressl (Assistant Professor, Structural Biology, Indiana University)
  • Technology: Kyle Overton (Ph.D. student, HCID, Indiana University)
  • Fabrication: Steve Dixon (Noblitt Fabricating, Columbus, Indiana)
  • Production: Siqiao Gao (Undergraduate student, Interior Design, Indiana University)


Folded Light Art at SIGGRAPH 2016


Folded Light Art, the design brand that I have established since 2013,  was chosen by SIGGRAPH Studio committee to be highlighted at SIGGRAPH 2016 in Anaheim, California. It was very interesting and exciting for me to be invited to SIGGRAPH, the world’s largest, most influential annual event in computer graphics and interactive techniques. At SIGGRAPH, participants were invited to have hands-on experience in paper folding and making small-scale folded lights.

The curator of SIGGRAPH Studio this year was Gerry Derksen, who is Associate Professor in Visual Communication Design at the Winthrop University. He described to me that there have been increasing interests at the culture of physical making with tangible materials among academics and professionals who primarily work in digital environment. Digital environment, unlimited by its virtual power, is quite different from paper folding, which is bounded by material realities and sets of mathematical and physical rules. So why do people who primarily work in digital environment become interested at paper folding? While paper folding can be simply done by hands, to design original crease patterns for paper folding is not so simple. Furthermore, to simulate the paper folding in digital space indeed is a very complicate computational task. Therefore paper folding is a perfect medium that bridges the digital world and the analog space. Understanding how paper folding works both in digital and analog environments might provide us with new insights on creating innovative digital tools to mitigate the difference between the virtual and the real.

Folded Light Art attracted great interests from SIGGRAPH community. Pieces of cardstock paper were laser cut and scored with sets of pre-designed crease patterns on site and were handed to participants to fold and assemble. During the five-day event at SIGGRAPH, there were such high demands and interests at Folded Light Art that laser-cut paper ran out frequently. The most common question I received from the participants at SIGGRAPH was how I came up with an original origami design . My answer to these questions was always the same: I came up with the design by folding and playing with a piece of paper by hand first.

Many thanks to Adam Roth, Haodan Tan, and many other student volunteers at SIGGRAPH for helping with this installation. Without all your help, the installation won’t have been possible.

Lighting Architecture Movement Project, an international lighting design competition


I participated at the 2015 Lighting Architecture Movement Project, an international lighting competition based in Vancouver, and was selected as one of the finalists for my folded light art titled Eurus. The theme in 2015 was Crystallize. The competition was evaluated based on aesthetics, function, creativity, social and environmental responsibility and creative interpretation of theme. The 2015 judges include some very well known names in design such as Tom Dixon, Michael Anastassiades, Omer Arbel, Falken Reynolds, John Patkau, Nancy Bendtsen and Andlight. The competition was covered in many major Canadian design magazine and newspaper, including Gray Magazine, the Globe & Mail, Western Living, The Vancouver Sun, etc. As a finalist, I had the opportunity to exhibit at the LAMP event at Jan Kath showroom in Vancouver in February 2016. Below are some pictures from the exhibition, photos courtesy of When They Find Us.



Niche Awards 2016 Winner


Boreas, part of Anemoi light art collection, is a winner in the 2016 Niche Awards competition in the category Paper. This year Niche awards received over 1,600 entries and it is truly an honor to be selected as the winner. Zephyrus, also part of Anemoi light art collection, is also selected as a finalist in this competition. I was invited to exhibit at Niche Awards Finalist Gallery at American Made Show in Washington D.C., in which the winner was announced.


Juror’s Award at Craft Forms 2015

Eurus, part of Anemoi Folded Light Art, has won the Juror’s Award at Craft Forms 2015, an international juried exhibition of Contemporary Craft at Wayne Art Center near Philadelphia. This year the juror is Ronald T. Labaco, Marcia Docter Curator, Museum of Arts and Design, NYC. Only 6 pieces, out of 775 pieces of artwork submissions by 429 artists who participated around the world, won the Juror’s Award. I was very fortunate to chat with Mr. Labaco at the show and learn from him about some very interesting works at the exhibition.

In companion to Craft Forms 2015 exhibition, Wayne Art Center also presents a curated show titled Emergence: Craft + Technology. The show highlights the intertwining between advanced digital processes and the traditional analogy processes.

Both of the shows opens till January 30, 2016. Check it out if you are near Philadelphia. For more information,

Eurus and Durian Durian at Craft Forms 2015, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Eurus at Craft Forms 2015, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Eurus and Durian Durian at Craft Forms 2015, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Eurus at Craft Forms 2015, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, Pennsylvania

Ruga Swan at Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, Charleston, West Virginia

A few weeks ago I traveled to Charleston, West Virginia for a new installation of Ruga Swan at Clay Center for the Arts and Science, a 240,000-square-foot facility dedicated to promoting performing arts, visual arts, and the sciences. The installation went extremely well and fast. The staffs of Clay Center were very experienced and  professional. It took less than four hours to suspend Ruga Swan’s huge wing-like structure. Now Ruga Swan is siting at the center of a 20,000-square-foot exhibition space what is dedicated to eight other visionary origami artists including Erik Demain and Martin Demaine (both from MIT), Vicent Floderer (France), Paul Jackson (UK/Israel), Robert Lang, Yuko Nishimura (Japan), Richard Sweeney (UK) and Miri Golan (Israel).

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Folded Light Art at Toyota Civic Center, Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan

I recently exhibited at the Toyota Civic Center at Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The exhibition site was changed from Toyota Municipal Museum of Art as the museum is currently closed for renovation.

1400 copies of exhibition posters were printed
Folded Light Art at Toyota City Culture Center
Toyota Civic Center (Photo Courtesy of Lin Yang)

As the feature artist of the International Cultural Art Festival, I exhibited along the sides of sixteen best regional and national artists in Aichi Prefecture. The participating artists included Tomomi Kano and Hisashi Kano from Obara Washi Paper Museum,  Professor Koji Shibazaki from Aichi University of the Arts, well known artists Satoru Kato, Ooishi Matsue, Jianxiong Zeng, Yasuo Itami. etc. I exhibited part of my latest collection of folded light art titled Anemoi Light Art, as well as some of my earlier works. Anemoi Light Art is realized by combining algorithm-based digital design and tactile process. The main material is a type of tear-free Japanese-made Shoji paper called Hi-tec Kozo, which has a three-layer structure, with eco-friendly polyester film as core and Kozo Washi on both sides.  Kozo Washi is a type of renewable material that is made from the inner bark of Kozo, a type of mulberry tree originated in Japan.

Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan
Folded Light Art at Toyota City, Aichi, Japan

My exhibition was sponsored by Toyota City, Toyota City Education Committee, Toyota City Culture Promotion Foundation and Toyota International Association. Toyota City Mayor Mr. Ota Toshihiko , the President of Toyota International Association Akiko Toyoda, Member of the House of Representatives Yagi Tetsuya, and hundreds of visitors attended the exhibition. In addition, my exhibition was published in one of the four major newspapers in Japan the Chunichi Shimbun and local newspaper the Yahagi Shinpo.

Folded Light Art at Toyota City
Wu talked to Toyota City mayor Ota Toshihiko and his wife at the exhibition through translator and artist Jianxiong Zeng
Folded Light Art at Toyota City
Wu talked to Toyota City mayor Ota Toshihiko at the exhibition
Photograph with Akiko Toyoda at the exhibition.
Wu photographed with Akiko Toyoda at the exhibition.
Jiangmei Wu’s Folded Light Art featured on the Chunichi Shimbun.

Many thanks to dozens of volunteers who helped set up the exhibition. Special thanks to Satuoru Kato, Lin Yang, Jianxiong Zeng and Akiko Toyoda who meticulously planned and organized the event. Also thanks to Yoshimasa Nakata, Yasuo Itami, Hisashi Kano, Tomomi Kano, Koji Shibazaki and his wife Sachiko Kinoshita, Professor Shibazaki’s student Suzuki Mikako. Without all of your help, the exhibition would have been impossible. Thank you very much for all of your beautiful work.

Akiko Toyoda spoke at the welcome reception
Akiko Toyoda spoke at the welcome reception
Yoshimasa Nakata did beautiful electrical wirings at the exhibition
Yoshimasa Nakata worked on electrical wirings at the exhibition

My trip to Japan was partially funded through a New Frontier Exploratory Travel fellowship from Indiana University.  Besides the exhibition, my Japan trip also included visits to Washi paper museums in Obara and Mino, as well as Professor Shibazaki’s paper studio at Aichi Prefecture University of Fine Arts and Music, a state-funded public university in Japan.