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Can You Tear for Me?

Tear Series
→Supassing r=a(1-sinθ),
Qimu Space, 2018
Can You Tear for Me? 

30 Internet-purchased photos
I posted a HIT (Human Intelligence Tasks) on Amazon Mechanical Turk* on March 19, 2015, titled Can you “tear” for me? And asked the online workers to upload pictures of themselves tearing for a stipend of 0.25D.

Here is my post:

Hi, I had a bad day and I want to collect photos of people “tearing” for me.

Can you submit a photo\selfie of you “tearing”?

You don’t have to show your whole face in the picture and you don’t have to cry.

Please make sure it is the picture of yourself not from the Internet.

30 photos have been collected on the date of May 19th.
  • The Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a crowdsourcing Internet marketplace that enables individuals and businesses (known as Requesters) to coordinate the use of human intelligence to perform tasks that computers are currently unable to do. One can create a HIT (Human Intelligence Tasks) and ask workers to complete the tasks for a monetary payment.

Photo collected from Amazon Mechanical Turk. ID: A1LBQT5SJI6F3R
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When Is The Last Time You Cried?

Tear Series

When is the last time you cried?

Online Event

artificial tear, glass, wood (online event launched in 2019 tother with VISION)
When is the last time you cried? I cried yesterday morning. A partner left our project in a sudden. Though it is just an obstacle at work,  I dropped down a few tears after hanging off the call. Only glad that she didn’t notice in the phone. Tear is the shameless body fluid in the dark. A kid cries for survival; Adult weeps out weakness.

Tears are secretions, symptoms and signs. We cry out of pain or joy, love and loss, sometimes for an onion. It rolls down the cheeks, leaving eyes red and trails of stains. Regardless the causes, tear generates from three layers in the tear film:

Lipid, aqueous and mucins.

I tried to understand these layers of sadness, while crying every day for a month in 2015. I brought bottles of tear to laboratories and analyzed what inside. It was dried out, burnt, reacted with chemicals and turned into different colors. I couldn’t tell which was more fatiguing, crying it out or breaking it down. 

After the month, I got my recipe:

Water: 97.56% Protein: 7905.9ug/ml PH: 7.62 Glucose: 0 mg/ml Na+ : 151.6mM K+ : 19.5mM

I made a big jar of my tear by mixing all the chemicals accordingly and an installation pumping the tear out. inviting people to touch it.

I wondered, would I feel the touch on my cheeks?

A visitor in the exhibition once asked me, are you sad?

I figured, we might feel the same.

I want to invite you to take a bottle my tear and the rules are simple:
Send me a 30-second long video of yourself tearing down in exchange for one bottle of the artificial tear I mixed. I have thirty bottles.

Here is my email: tearbottles@voidvision.com

Waiting for you.

Xin Liu 
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Tear Set

Tear Series
→Supassing r=a(1-sinθ), Qimu Space, 2018
Tear Set 

InstallationTear 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, it invites the audience to touch the replicate composition of the artist’s emotional tears.

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. 

*Including ICP-MS, BCA protein assay, micro-camera and plasmonic interferometry.  

Tear Set
Artificial tear: purified water, salt, protein (lactoferrin and lysozyme), carboxymethyl cellulose and sugar. Wood, glass, electronics, pumps.

Technical Documentation

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.
Tear Mesurement: protein
Tear Mesurement: watermass
Tear Mesurement: glucose
Tear Mesurement: ions


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

Thanks to 
Kelly Dobson
Zhang Ga
Lisa Morgan
Pattie Maes
Gershon Dublon
Cho-Tao Huang