"Tactileye" is an art collective that focuses on developing what we call "Tactile Cinema" while doing all kinds of research, workshops, and knowledge production on tactile art. Tactileye is a platform, and each member is an individual artist. We all have various body abilities and welcome anyone to join, participate, contribute, and lead.
Our Wechat account:
Tactile Mahjong Board Game, Chengdu, 7-9/2021; Collaboration with Yaxin Ye, made in A4 International Artist Residency representing Tactileye.
Touch is deeply related to memory and can easily trigger imagination, but people ignore their communication most of the time. In this board game, the players' eyes are blindfolded. By coming up with an imaginative description of the tactile bottles, people use their tactile sensibility to puzzle other players and eventually win the game.
The rule is a little similar to the traditional rule of Chinese Mahjong but still has a very different core mechanism. When giving out a bottle, one describes what the bottle feels like or what it reminds one of, and other players decide whether or not to take it depending on the description.
A bottle = a card (catagorized by tactile feelings.)
Tactile Mahjong has traveled to various art festivals and public events
Clay and Wood, 12/2020-now
“Tactile Animation Bracelets” is a bracelet that creates an animation effect through touch. When the “audience” presses the beads one by one, they can experience change of the shape on the beads.
This bracelet provides a changing feelings of lines
The beads have holes changing from big to small and back to big. By Pressing the beads, the user can feel the change of the hole size, a frame-by-frame animation toggled with hands.
in person workshop
bracelet result from the online workshop
group screenshot of the online workhop on the topic of relationship with friends
screenshot from the workshop for office workers
impression object from the online workshop
participants' bractes from online workshop
participants' bractes from online workshop
Tutorial made for people
Paper Clay Tactile BraceletsWorkshop,
Jianze Zhao and I developed a paper clay version. and organized two online and one offline paper clay workshops, including group building for companies.
Tactile Animation Bracelets Online Workshop,
3/2022, Host: Jianze Zhao, Leilei Xia
We initiated an online workshop every two people partner together to maker their bracelets based on their feelings to each other. We mailed the participants materials package and instructions on the making. Each partners would make a special bead, and they try to transform one into another, as if they are trying to get close to and understand each other.
Tactile Cinema (Nezha Conquers the Dragon King)
7'. Live performance with various props. 2020.
This performance uses only tactile experience to tell a story. A cinematic experience without using sight. The story is a Chinese folklore called Nezha Conquers the Dragon King, about fighting feudalism. I chose it because it’s also a famous animation that is exciting to watch, which gives me enough fight scenes to translate. I recorded the lines and narration for the story, and arranged gestures and sensations based on the plot.
All the props that are used in the performance are found or repurposed daily objects.
Nezha Conquers the Dragon King was performed in various art fair and festivals.
You Will Shake Hands With Me
6'28'', video tutorial and live performance with various props, 2021
A tactile performance exploring the tension and dynamic in intimate relationship, and the pain and relief within it.
Tactile Jam Workshop In “Touch Jam” workshop, sparticipants share their life experiences and transform that experience into improvised tactile theatre within a day. We have done more than 6 Touch Jams in various places.
(Above:Tactile theatre exploration in touch jam workshop, two people's hands are connected together.)
Review of all the Tactile Jam Workshop I have hosted (Lick on the name to go to specific page, many pages are under construction)
“Tactile Riddle” Workshop, Goehe Instutite China,Beijing, 7/2022, (Hosted with Yiran Wang, representing Tactileye) “Mushrooms” Tactile Workshop, Kunming, Book2Hand Bookstore, Kunming, 8/2022 (Hosted with Fei Gao, representing Tactileye) “Love Live” Female with Disabilities Tactile Jam Workshop, SoengJoengToi, 12/2021 (Hosted with Zeyu Wang and Taotao, representing Tactileye) “Touch and Imagine” Online Tactile Workshop, Online, 10/2021-1/2022(As one of the hosts)
“Tactile conversation”, Chengdu A4 International Artist Residency Program Workshop, 30/9/2021,(prototyped and developed with Yaxin Ye, representing Tactileye) “Friendship” Workshop, Art Museum of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art, “Repetition, Deep Listening” Pan South East Asia Triennial, public art program workshop, 17/4/2021 (Hosted with Ruochun Yang, representing Tactileye) “Period” Tactile Jam, SoengJoengToi, 25/2/2021.
The Monster from your bag
Following the guide zine, you can turn anything in your bag into a tactile storytelling. Through telling, making and reacting, participants in the workshop use their imagination and collaborate to feel the possibility of touch.
workshop first hosted in ICA at VCU
WEAR HEADPHONES BEFORE WATCHING
Rotten Girl's Love
23'10'', 1920*1080p. Live action with animation, 2019.
A girl, fascinated with gay romance, fell in love with a gay man, and started questioning her identity both as a Fujoshi and as a heterosexual.
13'37''', 3840*1080p. Multi-media performance with hand-drawn animation projection, 2020 A documentarian, who always can't capture the most important footage, tries to use documentary film to understand her grandfather's death. Through this story, I reflected on how media is framing and limiting our memory. The video image I projected is shown below on the right. I had various interactions with the projection shown below on the left.
Run 4'20'', 1980*1080p.Digital animation made frame by frame with photoshop effect, 2019. Racing in a running field is as dizzy as looking at a Morie Pattern.
Harvard College Film Festival, Staff Choice, Boston,
(below are all official selection & Screenings)
Feinaki Beijing Aniamtion Week,Beijing
Ivy Film Festival, New York and Rhode Island,
Malt Adult, New York and Ohio,
Paris International Animation Film Festival, Paris
Insomnia International Animation Festival, Moscow
Defy Film Festival, Nasville,
New Wave Film Festival, HongKong,
Experimental Super Star, Novi Sad,
Stoptrik International Film Festival, Maribord,
Animation Volda Festival, Volda.
Scar 4’16’’, 1920*1080p.Animation made with needle scratching on paper, 2019.
After I attended a funeral, the unrealistic feeling engulfed me. Maybe living in the world is like engraving on paper, even though we try to live so hard, it turns out fo be so transparent from the far.
58th Ann Arbor International Film Festival, The BarbaraAronofsky Latham Award for an Emerging Experimental Video Artist, Michigan
The Horse Guessing Game 8’59’’, 1920*1080p. Stop-motion animation 2021.
A girl is taken by a magician into the world of shadow, only to find that she is trapped in the realm of hidden rules.
11'24''', two-channel video installation, 2023 A king meets a monk and evokes their memories in the unseen palace. Part of a big project Empty-Touch
3'25'', 1980*1080p. Hand-drawn, cut-out, sand, paint on glass animation, water color animation, and so on, 2017.
Five Continents International Film Festival, January 2018, Best Student Short Film
Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards
Los Angeles Cinefest
Sunday Shorts Film Festival
Hollywood Screening Film Festival
New Orleans International Film Festival
Miami Independent Film Festival Monthly Edition
Knotty Magic Workshop
3 weeks online workshop collaborating with Ro Maiti and Icosa Magazine, ongoing now, 2023
This is a 3 week's "LARP + Learn" workshop aiming at individuals who are looking to strengthen their self-learning skills and tap into the art of community learning. Participants join the workshop as part of the magical world wizards or witches, and help each other learn knot theory and create projects with it, which involves mathematics, art, philosophy, live-action roleplaying… In our Knotty Magic workshop, learning will be fun, communal, and self-driven. Everybody enter the space with something unique to teach and learn from each other.
The first test workshop prototype outcome.
People "dressed up" in zoom to role-play the magician.
The Miro board for our workshop.
As the output, we weaved our imagination and research into a zine which not only is a catalog of all kinds of knowledge about knots, but also a documentation of our role-playing game process.
Still from the video instllation
Translucent gauze, two-channel video, two-channel sound, 2023
The Palace is a video installation featuring a narrative based on empty touch— drawing inspiration from Buddism classic Shurangama Sutra and Andersen’s FairyTale The Emperor's New Clothes, the video is a narrative tutorial: tells a story between a monk and an emperor, who they both have forgotten about each other, but found their connections in deep memory in “the Palace”. It takes people through a journey of entering the palace and create invisible object.
“Empty touch” is a tactile experience I discovered that can simulate the feeling of touching something by reenacting the gesture of touching the object guided, by verbal or visual cues.
behind the scene of the installation, one projector projects to the wall, and the other one back-project to the half transparent fabric in front of the audience.
Empty Touch Workshop
Using the same fictional framework of “The Palace”, the workshop is an embodied an interactive journey of the empty touch. The workshop starts with watching the video installation of “the Palace”, and then I acted as the host of “The Palace”, guide participants with various exercises: to touch objects, to extract texture from objects, to touch the space, or to use this method to experience other artworks, such as poems, films, etc.
This workshop has been hosted in UCCA Museum and VCUarts Graduate Candidacy Group Exhibition.
workshop at UCCA.
workshop at JC penny, a goup of people in a circle trying to do palace
some of the drawings made by participants in JC Penny. Not very sure who the author is because they didn't leave their name.
The after communication part. Photo credit Xiaolin Zhou.
when collaborating with deaf participants, we tried doing the invisible palace using vision
I made a little zine for participants to learn how to do the Palace
invisible sculpture by Yinan Liu.
I covered a pillar that was already in the gallery, and turn it into a pole. Visitors are welcomed to staple anything on the pole.
an interactive map is installed on it, and audience can also see the video on the wall through the pole.
display of TV
Single channel video and
Interactive map Installation, wooden
board covered pillar, and a city walk,
VCUarts Depillar Gallery, 2022
Amazed by the wild yet intricate
pattern on the utility poles in Richmond,
I created a fake research
term “Stapoleology”, meaning the
“research on staples on utility
The main part of the research is an
open-access map of the “masterpieces”
of utility poles in my neighborhood,
and a video essay where
I acted as an enthusiastic stapoleology
researcher explaining the philosophy
behind the staples on utility
image stills from the video.
People are welcomed to navigate the map, or add their own favourite pole to the map.
All the papers are posted by visitors of the show.
I put a stapler on the pole to welcome people to staple on the pole.
A city walk tour to introduce people to the “masterpieces” around the street.
I also summerize the project and wrote an article that is published in "BIEDE", a sub-culture online media platform. It's in Chinese and you can read it HERE
pushing hands outside.
After pushing hands outside, people come back indoor and do it again.
We project our animation together, give advices to each other.
We also emphasized the dynamic process instead of a fixed outcome in making the short. We used the software interface as part of our visual element, to show the spirit of push hands--listening and following--is implemented not only between people but also between the animator and the software.
When we are working together, we also do push hands just like in reality.
Push Hands + Blender Animation Workshop
1-month workshop, Guangzhou, 4/2022-5/2022, Animation Collaboration with: Haomin Peng; Workshop Collaboration: Yifei Chen from Prickly Paper, workshop participants: see the credits at the end of the film. Supported by: HB Station
In collaboration with Huangbian Station (Guangdong Times Museum),
I initiated a 3-week, 7-session workshop that combines 3D blender
animation and a traditional Chinese sport called “Push Hands”, similar to Taichi. Inspired by Jacques Ranciere's The Ignorant Schoolmaster, I wasnot focusing on teaching the 3D software techniques, but was trying to build a community that encourages self-learning, communication and sharing, and investigation of the mind-body connection. The process, instead of outcome, is highly emphasized in our practice. In the workshop, we do animation and push hands alternatively, and had a group sharing at the end of each session. Participants also collaborated on animation clips, as if pushing hands both in real life and in software.
After the workshop, I collected participants’ animations and their audio responses to the workshop and collaborated with Haomin Peng to make a short about the workshop itself. The short is both an independent film, a summary of people’s works, a text for critical reflection, and guidance for other people to carry out a similar workshop.We rebuilt Xiaogang Park where people practice pushing hands, put the participants’ animation assets in the scene, and let them speak to their author about the experience in the workshop.
Above is the tutorial I made for entry to blender.
We use Notion as our
platform. In the beginning,
I wrote a tutorial to
introduce the very basic
knowledge just enough to
make one grease pencil
animation clip, and the
rest of the advanced
techniques are all optional.
Later, we explore advanced techniques by
ourselves, and participants write their own
tutorials for each other. At the beginning of
each session, we also have a “demo cypher”
that allows participants to answer each
Leilei Xia was born in Guangzhou, China. She is a multimedia artist who works in tactile art, experimental animation, video art, and participatory collective art. As one of the editors of the independent science zine Icosa Magazine and the founder of the tactile art collective Tactileye, Leilei explores how tactility and bodily feelings are manifested in different mediums, and is interested in combining the process and result of creating art, treating art not merely as a noun but as a verb.
Her workshops have been hosted at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, The Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, and her films and animation have been awarded or selected in the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Stop Trik Animation Festival, Berlin Female Film Festival, Paris International Animation Festival, among others. Her works have been exhibited internationally in New York, Greensboro, Richmond, Guangzhou, and other cities. She was also one of the speakers at TEDxVCU 2023. She holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and is currently pursuing an MFA at the Virginia Commonwealth University.