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Sprint 1 Weird Reflective Blog


Before reflecting on the specified scenario, I would like to state my definition of WEIRD after two weeks of study. In my view, WEIRD can be understood as a departure from the conventional framework of thinking, often born when actors try to create some kind of connection between things that are not related previously in everyday perception or to subvert and reset their relations. In this sense,  weird studies can exist, where the research is oriented toward a phenomenon, work, concept, or existence that deviates from the ‘mainstream’ or ‘normal’ logic, including the reasons for these deviations and rebellions, how they are expressed, and their effects.

Weird studies are necessary to understand the ‘weirdness’ of contemporary society; they allow us to touch on the underlying common thinking of many ‘incomprehensible’, ‘repulsive’, and ‘unsettling’ works and provide shortcuts and inspiration for appreciation and creation. In preparation for this Monday’s Basho seminar, I sought out a work of art from Monica Piloni called ‘skeletal fruit‘ (see image 1), the handmade sculptures of animal/human bones embedded in cut fruits (“Monica piloni sculpts a species of hybrid skeletal fruit”, 2015). This work builds a strong connection between the flesh of the fruit and the bones of a human, a connection that makes the fruit less of tasty food in the mind of man and more of a frightening, brutal animal corpse, destroying the animal logic that dominates the world, endowing plants with animalistic life, and guides people to  look at plants with the same eyes as animals. And I was also inspired by the artwork on weirdcore that Yushan Zhao shared at the Basho seminar. Weirdcore is a series of videos in which the camera’s lens is directed for long periods at places that people often pass through but do not stay or live in, such as corridors, basements, airports, highways, etc; different people may have different feelings when watching this series of videos, some feel scared, some feel relaxed, and some simply feel puzzled (Aesthetics core, 2022). But with the tool of WEIRD, the idea behind these videos is still obvious: it seeks to force people to spend time with and gaze into spaces that are easily overlooked, renewing the traditional relationship between humans and architectural spaces.


Image 1: skeletal fruit by Monica Piloni


Video: liminal space/ weidcore playlist you can explore backrooms to


Based on the above analysis, the WEIRD does indeed resist ‘any settled explanation or frame of reference’, as the WEIRD always strives to produce fluid and flexible positions between entities. This is supported by the weird questions that emerged from the game ‘I wonder’ played in class this week. In our group game, a wild question was posed and sparked my attention: “I wonder what the sea feels like when someone jumps into it? Painful? Disgusted? Or sympathetic? Does it feel like it’s holding up in its stomach?”. This question displaces the sea and human feelings; it relentlessly changes the position of the subject and object and refuses to refer to the default human senses. The human being, who originally occupied the ‘subjectivity’, becomes the ‘object’, while the sea inexplicably becomes the core subject; the sea’s feelings, rather than those of the human, are given intense notice. The mutability of this positional relation is the fundamental criterion and soul of weird, which makes it impossible to accept a fixed, tacit frame of reference.


Furthermore, ‘mysticism’ and ‘art that breaks the habits of perception’ are two familiar faces of WEIRD to the public. In the realm of mysticism, it is natural for ‘weird’ to be seen as ‘other/misc’, since it is certainly something outside of the mainstream ‘us’. Yet it is worth noting that its so-called “supernatural entities, magical synchronicities, and occult rites” are not ineffable mysteries; they are still, in essence, the efforts of “weird” to betray the “mainstream” and actively invent or transform relations, but with the manipulation of people’s beliefs, faiths, expectations and psychological projections to write a novel story. For example, the year 2012 in the Mayan calendar is the beginning of a new era, but in the rumour mill it ends up in an apocalyptic conspiracy theory; the story draws on people’s dissatisfaction with the state of the world, their disappointment with their governments and their hope for a future of salvation, successfully linking the new era of the Mayan calendar to the end of the current world, allowing people to follow the prophetic narrative and gain some spiritual strength or be emotionally affected (Whitesides, 2015). “Art that breaks the habits of perception” is another face of the WEIRD. In this face, the reversal of logic and reconstruction of relations are still the basis of weird art practice, but it is particularly aimed at the overthrow, denial, and reconstruction of human sensory, perceptual and cognitive systems. In the Carsten Höller’s installation giant mushroom (see image 2), the gigantic mushroom sculptures were hung upside down from the ceiling to decorate the exhibition site so that the viewer must look up at the various grotesque mushroom giants (Yoo, 2014). Such art is intended to deconstruct the inherent relationship between humans and mushrooms: humans are reduced from grandeur to insignificance, while mushrooms are the opposite; the supremacy of humans in the natural world is questioned and visitors are forced to view plants from the perspective of a submission.


image 2: Giant Mushroom Upside Down Sculptures by Carsten Holler


Finally, according to Whitesides (2015), ‘cultic milieu’ has two distinctive features: primarily, it is conceived by a suspicion of the mainstream narrative, which stands in the opposite of ‘norms’ and ‘authority’; additionally, ‘cultic milieu’ does not exist independently and is not absolute because what is ‘cultic milieu’ in one cultural society may not be in another, which is depending on what the ‘mainstream’ of the local cultural group is. And it can be found that weird contemporary art also has the following attributes: first of all, the reason why people feel weird in art works is that artists start to try to challenge the social rules and ways of thinking that we have been defaulting to and abiding by for a long time; but not everyone in any culture agrees that a work of art is weird. For instance, the sculpted piece of ‘skeletal fruit’ mentioned above is listed as ‘weird’ by me because I grew up in the materialistic mainstream cultural group in mainland China, which is developed in modern industrial civilization and is oriented toward the human-dominated theory and relatively distant from plants in nature, advocating science and denying the belief of ghosts and spirits. But for the Miao people of Xiangxi, China — an ethnic minority that uphold plant deities and believes that plants possess life — ‘skeletal fruit’ is probably just a perfectly normal and representative ethnic item rather than ‘weird’. As a consequence, the value of ‘weird’ can be seen as a mirror that reflects some entrenched ideology that we may not even be aware of ourselves, as well as our curiosity, gaze and observation for another kind of value system.



Aesthetics core. (2022, August 29). liminal space/weirdcore playlist you can explore backrooms to. Retrieved from:


Monica piloni sculpts a species of hybrid skeletal fruit (2015, November 20). Retrieved from:


Whitesides, K. (2015). 2012 Millennialism Becomes Conspiracist Teleology: Overlapping Alternatives in the Late Twentieth Century Cultic Milieu. Nova Religio, 19(2), 30–48.


Yoo, A. (2014, October 20). Giant Mushroom Upside Down Sculptures by Carsten Holler. Retrieved from:

7 replies to “Sprint 1 Weird Reflective Blog”

  1. s2419012 says:

    This article not only describes the study you did in the Basho seminar, but also pays attention to the research of peers and expresses your own opinion. I love the statement “the value of weird can be seen as a mirror that reflects some entrenched ideology” that you mentioned in the article. I think people’s thought are often framed by an invisible frame, resulting in some kind of prejudice or exclusion. In the eyes of most people, the so-called cult may be grotesque and unacceptable. However, in the lives of those who see cults as mainstream culture, these are just normal and habitual things. Different values lead to different thinking. If we try to understand the repulsive and unsettling points of weird, maybe we won’t feel weird anymore.

  2. s2185092 says:

    I feel that this article is very specific, and the author has his own unique insights. I agree that strange studies are necessary to understand the “weird” of contemporary society; because they allow us to touch upon much of the “incomprehensible”. And the final document display made me reflect on the missing parts of my previous articles.

  3. s2341902 says:

    Yirong’s writing is very well structured and each paragraph has an argument of its own, which is worth studying.

  4. s2414944 says:

    “The mutability of this positional relation is the fundamental criterion and soul of weird, which makes it impossible to accept a fixed, tacit frame of reference.”is a new perspective. It is mainstream or not is not certain.

  5. Henry Jackson says:

    I like reading online resume services

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