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In the mood

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-25 09:38

In the mood

The Water Cube attracts visitors at night with its new color scheme designed by artist Ma Wen. Zou Hong / China Daily


The Water Cube moved away from it's standard hue of ocean blue over the weekend and instead started to display a variety of colors that reflect the mood of Beijing as part of an ambitious new art project.

The building's facade, illuminated by a fluid LED light, will start to change its colors daily in accordance with teachings of I Ching and emotional data collected from Chinese micro-blogging websites. The 2008 Olympic venue will now act as Beijing mood ring - with the building reflecting different light, color, composition, rhythm and movement based on the city's "emotion".

The light installation is the brainchild of Beijing-born and New York-based artist Ma Wen.

Ma says she was initially invited to design a 10-minute light show for the National Aquatics Center, better known as the Water Cube. But she refused.

"I believe many artists want to do it because the venue is world-renowned. But I don't want to simply change the skin of the iconic building. After 10 minutes of a dazzling show, it's still the same," Ma says.

She says she has a special connection with the building and she wants to do more with it.

Ma was a member of the core creative team of the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony and its chief designer of visual and special effects.

While working on preparations for the opening ceremony, she saw the Water Cube every day and was impressed by the bubbling exterior.

"It's the fifth anniversary of the Water Cube since it was inaugurated during the 2008 Olympics. I want to do something for it and for the people living in the city and passing by it every day," Ma says.

"A real public artwork is not something that stands alone. It should interact with the people."

She presented a proposal to the company running the Water Cube after the Olympic Games to turn it into a permanent conceptual light installation, Nature and Man in Rhapsody of Light at the Water Cube, based on her years of research on China's philosophical classic I Ching.

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