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NOMAD - still #1


Directors: Yetong Xin and Muwen Li

China, United States, 2023, unknown length

Festival Year:2024

Genres:Fantasy, Sci-fi

Crew:Music: Yicheng Zhu, Zuochu Liu; Sound Design: JoNine Liu; Voice: Gabriela Bila Advincula; 3D Design: Yetong Xin, Muwen Li


NOMAD is a science fiction 3D animated short film that depicts the story of a tribe, followers of Shamanism, migrating with a giant urban device in the distant future. The tribe names this massive flying city 'kukulkan,' which can detect the environmental information of the tribe's habitat. When it deems the human production activities detrimental to the area's natural environment, it communicates with the tribe's female shaman through a series of pictorial languages—tattoos. The tattoos on the shaman's body start to change, signaling to the people to prepare for migration to a new dwelling place; she also prepares the golden wine to bless the journey. Upon receiving the signal, the tribe's members board their small living units, 'cubes,' flying to kukulkan. Together, they wander in the wind with kukulkan, until they find the next place where humans and nature can coexist...


About the directors

Yetong Xin - Proficient in motion capture, dynamic graphics, 3D and XR technologies, projection, and interactive media, her portfolio spans a range of fields, including animation, film, gaming, advertising, immersive exhibitions, and architectural projections.

She has collaborated with numerous renowned companies, projects, and brands, including Netease Games, Sense, Nowness, WAVES, Modern Sky, bilibili, Olay Group, and the Beijing Winter Olympics. Her work has been exhibited in various cities, such as New York, Melbourne, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou, and has garnered attention from multiple art galleries. She has earned accolades like the GDC Gold Award, recognition as a young director in China, and a role as a TED×Youth speaker.

Currently, she serves as a collaborative artist at HarvardCAMLab, contributing to projects like Cave Dance' and 'Embodied Architecture.' She is now learning at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design and is cross-registered at the MIT Media Lab. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tsinghua University, and her graduation project, 'The Edge of Chaos' was honored with the Tsinghua's Outstanding Graduation Design Award and collected by Art and Design Academy."


Muwen Li - Harvard University Graduate School of Design, MDes'25 Mediums | 3D Animation Artist | Architecture DesignHarvard University Graduate School of Design, MDes'25 Mediums | 3D Animation Artist | Architecture Design

Filmmakers' note

NOMAD is a short film we completed at the MIT MEDIA LAB, focusing on the Amazon rainforest, tribal cultures, and future cities.

Under this broad theme, we ponder a critical question: In modern society, people unilaterally exploit natural resources based on their interests, without considering whether nature can sustain these demands. This approach has led to a yearly reduction in the land area of the Amazon rainforest—a precious natural resource—contributing to the various environmental issues we face today. Hence, we envision a future where people are always "in tune with the environment," imagining that tribal natives could engage in a viable dialogue and balance between the supply and demand of natural resources. They would construct a city capable of moving freely, assessing a region's resources and environmental data to decide whether humans should continue to exploit resources there. If a region can no longer support human life, the city would summon its citizens and relocate to the next site.

We hope this city, which is forever wandering in the forests and winds, offers audiences a dual aesthetic experience, both spiritually and visually, and stimulates reflections on freedom, the environment, and the coexistence of humanity with nature.


Age: 13+

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