Fangyi (Yiyi) Yang

Ceremony Planning (2022) 

Interdisciplinary Design
Participatory Installation
Nature & Environment

Ceremony Planning is an examination in honoring nature and human relationships to the earth, through collaborative language building by the participants’ collective performance and decentering the designers from the site.  As we continue to invent more human-centered products, Ceremony Planning provides an open space for us to step back and reflect on our connection with the land, thus cultivating nature-centered behaviors. The goal is to transcend anthropocentrism and no longer view nature as an endless resource. 
This project has received the Social Justice and Sustainability Awards, MUSE Creative Awards, NYX Marcom Awards, and presented at the 19th Annual International Architecture Humanities Research Association (AHRA) Conference in November, 2022.

See full project at:

How might we transcend human-centered exceptionalism, so that we no longer place ourselves at the center of the universe or view nature as a source of endless bounty?

The Three Ceremonies

The goals of these ceremonies are to 1) create a space where people can contemplate our connection with Nature, and 2) gather people together to co-create a collective experience.

Ceremony The Land

Ceremony Giving

Ceremony Us &/ Nature

An immersive, sensory installation that invites people to sense the Land a little differently, by amplifying the microscopic view of the soil and recreating its smell and sound.
A documentary film that records the participants’ responses of the question: What are we willing to give back to Nature?
A participatory exhibition that lets people explore their own language of connecting with and honoring nature by making ephemeral sculptures on an indoor alter, followed by a language-building workshop.

Inspiration from Tibetan Buddhism

Every year, the Buddhists would goto the mountains and bury these “treasure bottles” filled with pebbles and prayers into the ground, as a way of giving back to the Earth.

These ceremonies might not be as “scientific”, but the sincerity of these acts of kindness sparked me: How might we continue preserving ceremonial practices in contemporary culture? How might we make visible our connection with the Earth?

What is “Ceremony”? 


A series of acts with a purpose, usually consisting of a number of artistic components, that creates change.


The steps that informed the process of the ceremony plannings. 

The Land

– How might we sense the land a little differently?

Bringing the Intention into Form

Enlarging the microscopic images of soil in the land of New York, and testing the patterns on different fabrics. The goal is to immerse the participants in the image itself, which Chiffon’s translucent quality can help achieve.

Creating a Sacred Space

To build a multisenserial and immersive experience, the fabrics are sparyed with Earth scents created from soil in the land of New York, and the space is infused with a music piece, “Schist”, which I created inspired by the ceremony. 

Listen here! 

Performing Ceremony 

Participants immerse in the ASMR microscopic world, explore the scents, and imagine being a little creature in the land, just like we are. 


– What are we willing to give back?

Bringing the Intention into Form
Making an Offer
Performing Ceremony

In an echo of the reciprocal relationship between humans and nature, and to encourage the act of generosity, the video documentary collects participants’ responses to the question “What are you willing to give back to the Earth?” 

Questions continued arising throughout the process, including: What is the boundary between natural and artificial matters? Are we nature?

Us &/ Nature

– What is nature? Are we nature? 

Creating an Altar

To continue exploring the relationship between us and nature, this indoor altar is to bring “nature” inside and let people connect with it by directly touching the objects from the land. There are simple instructions that guide people to make forms using both what we considered as the “natural” and “manmade” materials provided on the altar.

Laser cut and engraved recycled chipboards made into instrction boards and postcards to guide the parcipants and show my gratitude towards their efforts. 

After the participants contributed to the ceremony, they can continue reflecting on the questions that’s on these postcard. 

Parcipants exploring their own languages of honoring nature at the altar.

Bringing the Intention into Form

As the collection continues to grow, I almost started to see a language that is emerging, and extracted the shapes from the objects.

Making an Offering

A dfferent group of people assigned names to the symbols based on their own interpretations, and started forming simple narratives using these cards. The card game was later transformed into a digital space, which helps bring a broader range of audience to the conversation.

Thesis Show 2022

Next Steps

We have created a world where we think and behave as if we are a separate self-entity. As we invent more human-centered products, it’s important to take a step back and enter the state of reconnection to our life and nature, and learn to appreciate our senses and interrelation with nature.

Ceremony Planning is an ongoing series that apply participatory design and visual language to develop pluralistic approaches to our long term relationships with the earth. Ceremony creates change and is transformative in itself, which can help us recultivate a harmonious relationship with our surroundings. Over the past year, Ceremony Planning has collaborated with fellow creatives and organizations to build awareness in public spaces in New York City. We look for opportunities to continue expanding the impact beyond physical world and to explore ceremony plannings in virtual spaces.

For future development, the project is also interested in synthesizing principles and ideas with interested practitioners about ideological assumptions of design, to further inspire creatives to apply the methodologies in their own disciplines.

See full project at:

©Fangyi Yang