Canvas of Destiny


Medium: p5.js, projector

Canvas of Destiny is a creative coding artwork created using p5.js. It dynamically generates a 'Bazi' (Eight Characters) panel based on real-time, transforming cityscapes like car bodies, courtyard screen-wall steps, and building dust nets into canvases that display changing images. Every two hours, a new visual representation of fate emerges.

Bazi, also known as Four Pillars of Destiny, is a form of Chinese astrology. It employs five elements - fire, earth, metal, water, and wood - to describe the interactions and relationships among various phenomena. By combining the eight characters each from the year, month, day, and hour of a person's birth, these eight characters can outline an individual's life trajectory, the means to achieve certain outcomes, and predict future fortunes. The visual program's computational and design rules for the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches are as follows:

  • Each stem is counted as 1.
  • The three hidden stems of an Earthly Branch count as 0.6 for the original Qi, 0.3 for the middle Qi, and 0.1 for the rest Qi.
  • Two hidden stems of an Earthly Branch are counted as 0.7 for the original Qi and 0.3 for the middle Qi.
  • An Earthly Branch with one original Qi is counted as 1.
  • The Day Master is not included in the calculation.
  • The Month Command is counted as 2.5 (following the same proportion as Rules 2, 3, and 4).
  • Yang elements are represented as solid circles.
  • Yin elements are represented as hollow circles.
  • The colors of the five elements are: Fire (Red), Wood (Green), Earth (Brown), Metal (Yellow/White), Water (Black).

The sky moves slowly, and it's only through time-lapse photography that we can see the trails of stars. Recording destiny is akin to storing extracted frames in a cartridge. As these cartridges are flipped through, people can truly feel the essence of living amidst change.