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Global Network & International Affairs Residencies and Research Trips

Alan Bogana Captures «Qi»

© Alan Bogana

Alan Bogana


For Alan Boganas full experience report, please continue reading on the website of

Pro Helvetia Shanghai

Based in Geneva, Alan Bogana was selected for a residency in China in 2020. Due to Covid-19, Bogana’s residency was rescheduled and the format adapted to meet travel restrictions. In addition to completing a stay-home residency in October 2020 in Geneva, he spent two months in China in 2021.

Alan Bogana on his residency experience:

«During the month of home residency, I focused my research on three main topics:

The first topic concerns the notions of Qi and of Meridians in traditional Chinese medicine. These ancient notions, which conceive the body as a sort of “electric circuitry” have intrigued me for a long time. For my project, I’m especially interested in how people in China nowadays imagine and visualise in their mind these ancient notions, and how these notions coexist with contemporary practices. I was wondering if we could imagine the Qi as flows of energy, or even of light, that passes through the body. I had the opportunity to interview a doctor from Shanghai on the notion of Qi and on how to imagine and to visualize it. The exchange also brought to further inspiring questions, like how the Qi behaves in the absence of gravity, for example in the body of astronauts in space, and if traditional Chinese medicine could also be used in space and for which purposes.

© Alan Bogana

A second topic I focused on concerns the use of lasers in traditional acupuncture, where needles of light are used instead of needles of metal. This is a relatively recent development of this ancient technique, which seems to be spreading in different countries around the world. Several scientific papers exist on this recent development, and I’m eager to meet specialists who use this method.

© Alan Bogana

Third, and actually rather technical topic is the use of the motion capture technique to animate 3d characters in computer graphics imageries.  During the residency, I started to explore this technique in order to animate an avatar that would become the protagonist of a new work. In the past, I used computer graphics imagery quite often in my projects, and it does even make more sense now during this home residency situation. Thanks to Vytas, I exchanged with a company based in Hong Kong, specialized in this technique, about some ambitious ideas that I want to develop involving the motion capture of indoor skydiving performances. Work in progress!»

– Alan Bogana

In response to the global Covid-19 pandemic Pro Helvetia developed a «Home not alone» residency format. If travel restrictions prevent the artist from taking up their selected residency and no other way of realization is possible, Pro Helvetia can offer financial support and provide a mentor from the destination country. Support is available for the duration of the residency period with the artist working from home.