Prayer Lantern

Digital Media Placement Strategy to pray for victims in the Anti-Fascist War

  My role: Programmer Researcher
My team: In collaborattion with Hanyu Song Yunfei
Duration: 2018.8-2018.11

        Skill: Interaction Design
                  3D Modeling


On November 11, 1937, after securing control of Shanghai, the Japanese army advanced towards Nanking from different directions. In the following six weeks, the occupying forces engaged in an orgy of looting and mass execution which came to be known as the Nanking Massacre. Most experts agree that at least 300,000 Chinese died, and 20,000 women were raped. 

Endless distant places and countless people have nothing to do with me. There were countless people losing their lives during the Anti-Fascist War. When I started to read the details about this I know that if I forgot it I will be a inflicter. I hope I can do something to help our people to think of this.

I happened to be ask to make a video about memorial day of Nanjing Massacre during last summer. The days before I really do not feel like the history have anything to do with me, they just past.



 Master plan of The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders

The installation will be situated in the memorial square of Phase III after our investigation.The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, Phase III was to commemorate the surrender of Japanese troops in Nanjing on September 9, 1945, and highlight the theme-the victory of the Anti-Japanese War. The idea is to express the feelings of victory and fulfillment.

Why we need to remember the dead?

Remembrance is justified when it helps us realise "cosmopolitan" values — for instance, by helping us recognise the universal moral significance of all humans. 

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse … As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.

The city normally held about 250,000 people but by the 1930's, it's population was over one million. The map above is a map of the city, and where the massacres took place. (marked by a red "x") There were over thirty-four different massacre locations.

Our Purpose

We want to build a interactive installation that can be use to memorise the dead and history. 

There are things we always do on the  Memorial Day.  We choose pray as our basic activity because this can include much citizens to participant and is easy to operate. 

Here are the ways we choose that are possible for people to pray in the public.

Make wish upon a shooting star

Tie​ wishes on ancient tree

Burn incense and worship God

Wishing bottle

Pray Lantern(Kong Ming Lantern)

We finally choose Pray Lantern, for it can be easily interactive with and finish in a single space.

What is a prayer lantern?

Pray Lantern, in China we call it Kongming Lantern, is an ancient Chinese handicraft. Its principle is  similar the hot air balloon. When the light is heated, it will fly to the sky. People often fly kongming lanterns to pray for or cherish the people who passed away.

We have much opportunity by using technology and humanistic design to make a new version of the tradition rite.

What is the problem of existing mourn installation?



Kinect+Projector+sensor +arduino

The process match each step with the real pray lantern procedure.


In this concept, we choose to use the real lantern instead of the pictures.

Conceptual Section of Prayer Lantern

Aerial View Renderings


We show our concept to a group of people and design a quetionnaire to  get some feedback. 

Most of people show more interest to the second one , while some idea from the first one can be conbined.

Iterated Persona


The installation need  to let the participant feel a sense of participation

Rich information

We also need to get some information about the tragedy not just a game.


The participants may feel connection to those who passed away .


Interaction Flow

Function and Technology


The sky lantern scene includes two parts -- the  latterns and the blurring spots,  simulating the blurring effect of the camera. The viewer can control the lighting and movement of the lantern through physical interaction.

  • Basic Attributes


  • Basic Requirements

Move in different directions including front and back
Three dimensional effect
Simulate focus of a camera lens and Bokeh effect
Control the lighting and movement  through physical interaction.
Simulate the change in perspective according to the position of the viewer 

  • Flow Chart

  • Progamming


  •  Tools and materials

 Arduino UNO R3, ESP8266-01, LED lights, Ball switch, Computer windows system, and several Micro-USB line, Bread board, DuPont line, Breadboard jumper, Resistance

The lantern part fuction ca be devided  into 2 parts  Shining and moving.

  •  Hardware connection

We want the lantern to be turn on and shine at the pattern we want.


We want to raise the lantern as it been lighten

  •  Tools and materials

 Arduino UNO R3, ESP8266-01, Motor, Computer windows system, and several Micro-USB line, Bread board, DuPont line, Breadboard jumper, Resistance


  •  Hardware connection

  • Flow chart

  • Programming

Visual Design


Sky Lantern

side view

bottom view

The design draws on the shape of the orchid bell, the orchid bell symbolizes happiness and contains people's best wishes.


Overall View





Feedback and Future

After the long progress of the whole installation I finally know the difference between thinking of an idea and making it happen. I learn to use processing and arduino from the very begining. That must be the most fulfilling time  of these year and luckily I received much help from many friends and even strangers. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to them. 

And the most important thing is that I hope our work can make some differences to those who do not have much understanding to the heavy history.

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