00 Zhang building her imaginary world

The Overture of prototype series

The Prototype series is a world-building practice that consists of a sequencing of works that I have brought together to tell a larger story. Their evolution is realised across sculptures, Installations and CGI, but also through the text piece titled The Overture of the Prototype Series. With this practice, I am building a imaginary worlds that occupies the real space to envelop and engage viewers the viewers transitbetween reality and th evirtual world. Although the worlds I create are digital, the interactive nature of gaming allows a multidisciplinary narrative experiment actual cybernetic concepts, and potential of collective imagination that less attached to borders, cultural identities, gender and religion.


The players portray a band of brave travellers constantly lured to new and uncharted territory to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement; They are always pushed by a great curiosity and experiencing the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home.

1 Said, Edward (2002) Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, 65. (Harvard University Press)

Level 1 : The One 2

(Linear narrative)

-Unprecedented growth of cutting-edge technology and prosperity soon followed nimbly navigated unthinkable human beings' coding cognition makes us realize that the natural environment we currently living and staring at are not nature, but an advanced and highly encoded program. 00 finds fierce "Suiyo energy" through a synaesthesia3 moment with her computer RAM (Random access memory). This moment implant digital Memory 001 to 00's memory system. Even perfect the program glitches. Humans began to learn to use the energy of memory as well as their possible interaction. Scientist plan to store them for future usage.

2 Campagna, Federico (2018) Technic and Magic: The Reconstruction of Reality. (London: Bloomsbury Press) A reality system filtered by inbuilt parameters that dominates each historical age emerges to us as the One and only world.

3 Cytowic, Richard E. (1989) Synaesthesia. (MIT Press). Cytowic's early cases included individuals whose synesthesia was projected outside the body (e.g. on a "screen" in front of one's face).

Prototype 0023 has its working data and machine code sealed in CERES-1: a solidpropellant rocket that escapes Earth and lands on a satellite orbiting around us. *CERES-1 & Space Art DAO Powered by Galactic Energy Space Technology Co
Prototype 0022
Prototype 0022-23
Prototype 0022Beta

-The discovery of the energy of the Suiyo caused the Earth to use magnetic suspension, mental buoyancy, and memory energy. An insect like creature links of the wings link to satellite (Prototype0022-23) Whenever the butterfly is activated, human existing memory can be replaced by the star memory. The first data of the space Server's Memory001 comes from 00. Interacting with Prototype0023 can get memory to the e-mail of audience.

Prototype0022 Memory 001 from 00
Prototype0023 Installation view Invites at Zabludowicz
Collection, London, 2023
Prototype0022-23 Interface

-The invention and use of this new form of memory energy means people no longer rely on non-renewable resources. The new corporation Zion Transport for One (ZTFO) uses it to build “The Tube”, a light rail transit system overground of the city. As soon as The Tube is put into use it becomes the most important transportation network in the city.

ZTFO: Keep the City Moving

-One day, Prototype0016, ἄγγελος (‘angelos’) breaks into this plane[1] through cracks caused by gravitational waves. ἄγγελος is indeed a creature born from gravitational waves, which are disturbances in the curvature of spacetime. The Greek word ἄγγελος means messenger, implying the role of angels as messengers of God and intermediaries between God and humans. Similar to these spiritual beings, the creature ἄγγελος is a mediator who creates a portal between the current world and the Reverse side. Every ἄγγελος is a component of the tangible link which binds this binary system. If two ἄγγελος get close enough to each other, they can gravitationally distort the space between them, creating a liminal zone between the planes of worlds.

-The portal, permitting travel between the two worlds, closes, leaving this ἄγγελος trapped in this liminal zone, neither in the Real world nor the Reverse. It roams this nowhere space looking for a way to realize itself.

TOCTV: The One Central Television

-During a world system update, the creature is suddenly activated and downloaded into the current plane of one, ending up by chance in the tube. It unrestrained a clone machine (Prototype0013) in the tube and reproduce until its energy fills the space— and in this way becomes the space itself, so that rail transit cannot be operated.

4 Plane is a term that, in some spiritual and esoteric philosophies, is used to refer to a locality or dimension which can be physical or non-physical. Each plane is a universe with its own rules with regard to gravity, geography, magic and morality.

Prototype0013 clone machine

Prototype0016 ἄγγελος (or ‘angelos’)

-After the gravitational wave crack is enclosed, Prototype0016 ἄγγελος returns to its own plane, the Zion Transport for One (ZTFO) is bankrupt due to long -term shutdown. The Tube, which has been disrepair for a long time, is fully stopped and entered the deserted stage.

Prototype0021 Meta
Game Design of 
Prototype0021 Meta

-A game developer re-forms the entire Tube into an immersive puzzle-solving game maze.
-All players play as a witness to human civilization. A specific location in The Tube hides an Easter Egg containing mysterious human treasures.5 Developers disclose at a press conference that clues are hidden in Psalm 46. 6 Players rush in, and Psalm 46 becomes the main topic in society.

5 An Easter egg is a message, image, or feature hidden in software, a video game, a film, or another, usually electronic, medium.

6 The Secret of Psalm 46: A talk by Brian Moriarty about easter eggs. https://youtu.be/u0OY1RDe8Yg

-A trend emerges at this time: players begin upgrading the game controller into actual weapons, in order to get better result in the game. That game is called Prototype0021-Meta. However, as time passes, no one finds any more Easter Eggs in The Tube. Subsequently, the game company becomes the target of public criticism. No one reads Psalm 46 anymore, and the game company announces bankruptcy.

Prototype0021 Meta:  players begin upgrading the game controller into actual weapons
Players in game

- Meanwhile, a pandemic of an infectious neural disease spreads across the One world. People who are not cyber-modified spend more time indoors and in confined spaces. This kind of life magnifies human perception of its own consciousness and cognition: people realize that the world is composed of different planes. And finally, human civilization is unprecedentedly unified. People abandon the restrictions of race, gender, and nationality, and begin to look for evidence of other, interconnected planes and means to cross them. Scientists use electronic ink and scrolling game thinking to create a world system prototype: the "post2020 experiment”.

2021 Now-Showing Before Rejuvenation at Shanghai Coutts Art Center, SHANGHAI

- Citizens become aware that environmental pollution around the world is irreversible, the air remains hazy and heavy, and they no longer want to travel or engage. But technology advances rapidly, and as a by-product, immersive all-in-one machines called “Fluoxetine” become available to consumers. By sleeping inside one of these devices, the perceptual cortex of the user’s brain and all the muscle nerves are connected to the machine. It creates the most lifelike Virtual Reality experience possible without affecting the receptor's muscular state. This gadget is developed to meet all the sensory and physical needs of people at home.

- Since the launch of this product, consumers' purchasing power rapidly moves from the physical world to the virtual one. Banks have become less necessary thanks to digital cryptocurrencies, there is no longer any inflation, national borders have become increasingly vague, and capitalists  now make money by investing in software for and inside the virtual world.

Advertisment in City of the One: Fluoxetine

- Fluoxetine is developed for home use, but is pricey and requires significant maintenance. In addition, with the decentralization of virtual currencies, the wealth gap does not narrow; instead, capitalists sit back and enjoy the rewards of their investments in upkeep projects and the creation of software and games. The hefty maintenance expenses of a Fluoxetine machine become untenable for younger people, who lack a reliable source of income. A force of anarchy is developing in the decaying nooks of the metropolis, slowly neglected by society.

- The semi-abandoned Tube still encircles the metropolis, but no one can explain why gravitational wave rifts formed in The Tube years ago, although these rifts hindered the infrastructure's ability to work normally. In the past, commuting workers were late for work due to the gravitationally distorted field of prototype0016, and there were not a few people who committed suicide by jumping off the track.

The Tube is now more frequently utilized as a picturesque viewpoint of the city and a gathering place for vagrants. There are also rumours of secret societies carrying out enigmatic rites in the tunnels. If you look carefully, you can find hidden symbols that these organizations have left behind in the city.

More individuals are vanishing from the Tube, according to recent municipal reports. They are captured on camera ascending the elevators, but no one comes out. The police step in when these marginalized individuals vanish, but as the government decides to cut the budget devoted to these missing cases, now so common an occurrence in the city. The only things it left behind are the fading signs on street walls and the urban legend of The Tube.

Lands Between 1

Fields formed by the seamless connection of various areas with changing conditions exist in confined spaces, such as The Tube.

1 French: L’Entre-Terre; originally from La Terre du Milieu, used in the game Elden Ring and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books.
Inside The Tube

Level 2: The Zone 1

(the collapse of time and space leads to a non-linear narrative)

The Zone is a generative complex system2, a plane built by consciousness: nonlinear couplings between a finite, systemic stable core and a permeable surface responsive to sustain dynamic boundaries but cohering a systemic whole. Only beings whose consciousness is activated can trigger The Zone; not just human beings, but any consciousness in the same dimension may interact with each other. This system is called Gaia3.

1 In film Stalker (1979) by Tarkovsky, a mysterious restricted site known simply as the "Zone", where there supposedly exists a room which grants a person's innermost desires.

2 Clarke, Bruce and Dutreuil, Sébastien (eds.) (2022) Writing Gaia: The Scientific Correspondence of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. (Cambridge University Press)

3 Lovelock, James, Rollinat, Christel and Couturiau, Paul (1979) Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. (Oxford University Press)

Gaia is autopoietic[1] tentacled, mysterious, indescribable, self-generated; a contingent, dynamic system that maintains boundaries and remains stable under certain conditions. The Tube is often used as a portal connecting the two planes, enabling travellers to activate their consciousness,  while consciousness is also exaggerated when people stay in an enclosed space.

For those who escaped from The One, The Zone appears to be a sanctuary, a fairyland, and a utopia. In fact, it serves as an experimental ground for a new order. Residents of this plane say that Gaia is the supreme goddess of all, but no one has ever seen her face; her terminal is called The Mother, and they swear she is present everywhere.

1 Haraway, Donna (2016) ‘Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene’. E-flux#75 (September 2016).

The continuously ascending stair shape of The Zone is Gaia’s metaphor for The Panopticon: it carefully weaves individuals into the social order using techniques of power and flesh.[1] The panopticon machine incorporates everyone into a discipline network with a delicate and gentle trick, making each person a component that promotes the flexible operation of the machine. What emerges in the panoptic machine is a disciplined and docile body.

1 Foucault, Michel (1975) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. (Paris: Editions Gallimard)

The Abstract General Entity[1] looks like an eyeball, but it is a plant made by Gaia, with the activated field of consciousness, a fusion of human and nonhuman DNA. It has a varied appearance, with some human characteristics. Tentacles serve as its most important sensing organs.[2] Travellers who come to The Zone need to make a choice after arriving. If the player opts to remain, they will have to communicate with Abstract General Entity to acquire tentaclular perception, a kind of synaesthesia with any plants and creatures on The Zone.[3] All knowledge and feelings can be shared, and it can also sense danger and defend itself.

Receiving the bonding power of the tentacles is also equivalent to performing a pact with The Zone. All actions and thoughts after that will be perceived by Gaia. This mechanism has effectively built a controlled collective consciousness. Centripetal visibility and lateral invisibility combine to eliminate individuality, leaving the traveller in a lonely state of being both isolated and observed. Any action that doesn’t follow Gaia in The Zone will be terminated immediately due to the synaesthesia of the tentacles.

The traveller has the option of continuing the journey and learning more about the truth, rather than staying in The Zone. Through a branching dialogue with the deity Janus, the traveller will be granted the chance to travel either back in time or forward in time. However, in order to re-enter The Zone, the player must contribute to The Zone, for instance by guiding newcomers to The Zone coming from other planes.

1 Campagna uses this term to refer to humans in the reality system of Technic.

2 Tentacle comes from the Latin tentaculum, meaning “feeler,” and tentare, meaning “to feel” and “to try”

3 Hayward, Eva (2010) ‘Fingery Eyes: Impressions of Cup Corals’, Cultural Anthropology 24(4) 577-599; Hayward, Eva (2010) ‘SpiderCitySex’, Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 20(3): 225-251; Hayward,Eva (2012) ‘Sensational Jellyfish: Aquarium Affects and the Matter of Immersion’,differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 23(1): 161-196.

Level 3: The Centre Console

In the dream of the man who dreamed, the dreamed awoke…With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he understood that he also was an illusion, that someone else was dreaming him. — Jorge Luis Borges Las ruinas circulares, 1940

Travellers remaining in The Zone are free to uncover hidden quests and clues by communicating with residents. They have chance to encounter an "eyeball matrix" to obtain new information, and communication may reveal a hidden dimension in The Zone, connected to Gaia through the terminal, which enables them to become the system itself and balance this plane. But even the residents are unaware of this hidden domain. Travellers can only infer the existence of this final secret space by observing buildings and terrain.

Upon entering this dark domain, travellers hear the sound from the real central London. Once they make it to the main console, they learn the mysteries of the worlding system. There is a familiar machine, much like the Fluoxetine the travellers havecome across in The One's advertising. Surveillance images from all planes appear on screens of different sizes, including the real-world gallery space. Travellers should look at the two slender pipes connected to the machine, where leading off into the distance is a giant, ancient apparatus in the shape of a spider, – this is said to be the original prototype of The Mother.

The Final Chapter

Neither darkness nor chaos.

Darkness requires eyes which see,

like sound and silence require the ability to hear

and the mirror needs a form to occupy it.

Neither space nor time.

Not even a divinity to plan

the silence prior to the first night

of all time, which will be infinite.

The grand river of Heraclitus the Obscure

has not begun its irrevocable course,

to flow from the past to the future,

to flow from oblivion to oblivion.

But something endures. Something begs.

And then, a universal history. Now.

— Jorge Luis Borges, ‘Cosmogony’

Non Player Characters

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