Installation: artificial tear, wood, glass, electronics, pumps

TEAR SET is an installation, a crying machine, distributing artificially fabricated tear replicate of the artist’s own tear. The work addresses the tension and struggles of desiring intimacy. Filled with three liters of artificial tear, TEAR SET invites the audience to touch the replicate composition of the artist’s emotional tears.

Human tear film, composed of the lipid, aqueous and mucin layers produces tears. Collaborating intensely with chemists in Brown University, the project carried on four experiments to test  the concentrations of water mass, glucose, protein, K+ and Na+ ions in the artist’s emotional tears.

ICP-MS (K+, Na+ ions)― which is normally used to examine the metal components of minerals in geological research.  The rocks are grinded into dust and blasted through the fire while the flame color indicates the concentration of ions. When my own tear was turning into gas and burning inside the metal reactor, the data acquisition was romantic and comforting along its distanciation in subjectivity.

Plasmonic Interferometry  ― Glucose

BCA Protein Assay

Water Mass Measurement


The artificial tear is made of purified water, salt, protein (lactoferrin and lysozyme), carboxymethyl cellulose and sugar. It mirrors the concentration of the artist’s biological tear according to a series of chemical analyses. Sharing the materiality of emotion production, the tear is a hybrid of elaborated sentiments and indifferent mass-production. It weaves materiality and narratives into a social experiment where the simulation, expression and records of emotion become the source of affection.

Installation View @ OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shanghai1 2

Chemists: Researcher Guozhu Zhu, Professor Domenico Pacifici, Brown University
Industrial Designer: Sean Hongxin Zhang
Wood Structure Fabrication: Shanghai Dperot Furniture Co., Ltd
Glass Making: Niels Cosman